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Class Supplement, TOEFL Essay, Pre-Summer 1

2011年6月23日

Writing Topic 1
What invention in the last 100 years has been most beneficial for people in your country?

Let’s Think
The questions of the same type as today’s topic are as follows:
♦The twentieth century saw great change. In your opinion, what is one change that should be remembered about the twentieth century? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.
♦What discovery in the last 100 years has been most beneficial for people in your country? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
(Note: The difference between discovery and invention is that you discover something that has existed all the time but you did not know it was there till then, while you invent something that did not exist before. For example, Newton discovered gravity while Bell invented a telephone.)

It is rather easy to think of the answer for this type of question. For today’s question, you can easily come up with inventions like computers, cell-phones, or jet planes. Probably the difficult part is to explain why, but remember, the hints are in the questions. In this case, the hints are the words “change” and “most beneficial.” They are related to great moments in history: the story of before and after the invention / change / discovery. What is expected in your essay is probably the description of how great something is, in other words, in what way and how much it has benefited society, human life, or the environment.

☆Your short response:

I think … has been most beneficial for people in my country in the last 100 years.
Before the invention of …,

However, after the advent of …,

Ideas and Expressions
♦the computer: speed, huge memory, accuracy, versatility (calculation word processing, internet search, etc.), ubiquity, gave birth to social media
♦the cell-phone: handy, has many functions
♦the commercial airplane: accelerated our life, made the world smaller

Sample short response:
I think the Internet has been the most beneficial for people in my country in the last 100 years.
Before the invention of the Internet, the information was something that was provided by authorities in limited amounts.
However, after the advent of the Internet, most information on this planet has become available to anyone. Also, it has become possible for anyone to provide information to the public quite easily.

Now let’s not forget that the superlative, “most beneficial,” requires you to show why you think people have benefitted from a particular invention more than they have from the other inventions, why you chose not the microwave, which has benefited many of us, oven but the computer. One way to do this might be to point out the phenomenon it has caused that the others have not.

☆Your short response:
… has been most beneficial to our society in that…

Its impact on our society was so great that …

Ideas and Expressions
♦the computer: changed our lifestyle – We cannot go back to life before computers. / Many things have become outdated (typewriters, CDs, stationery, paper dictionary, encyclopedia, etc)
♦the cell-phone: changed our way of communication – We talk to people in person less often. / We can bond with large numbers of people easily.
♦the commercial airplane: changed our life plans – People are ready to move to places far away from home. / People spend more time abroad on vacations.

Sample short response:
The Internet has been most beneficial to our society in that it has decentralized information management.
Its impact on our society was so great that no one in our society now live absolutely independent from the Internet.

Writing Topic 2
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? It is more important for students to study history and literature than it is for them to study science and mathematics.

Let’s Think
If a statement says that A is more than B, and if you disagree with this statement, you are to prove either A equals B or A is less than B:【A > B】⇔【A = B】or【A < B】. Therefore, if you disagree with the statement that it is more important for students to study history and literature that it is for them to study science and mathematics, you are to prove either both are equally important or the latter is more important than the former.

Is studying science and mathematics equally important to or more important than studying history and literature? What if school taught neither science nor mathematics? Would there be any problems?

Ideas and Expressions
Agree:
♦Humanity is related to all people while science is only for experts. A discovery of a 1-meter-long Cambrian shrimp fossil cannot be a common conversation topic while Pyramid excavation can.
♦An office worker without scientific knowledge is just boring but a scientist without knowledge of human nature and historical lessons is dangerous.

Disagree:
♦Without basic knowledge of math and science, you could not lead a daily life with confidence. You would not be able to use spreadsheet and neither would you understand the importance of vaccination or seat belts.
♦Science and mathematics answer important questions we ask such as what is life or what is universe.
♦To have a good perception of current social problems, we need to have some basic knowledge of science and math (e.g. global warming).

☆Your short response:
I agree / disagree with the statement that it is more important for students to study history and literature than it is for them to study science and mathematics
because …

Essay for Ideas and Expressions
I do not think it is less important for students to study science and mathematics than for them to study history and literature. Without having some basic knowledge of science and mathematics, we cannot lead our daily lives, have better perception of ourselves and the universe, and face our future problems with determination.

Today’s world is heavily based on science. It is now difficult to survive or function well without knowing the meaning of basic scientific terms such as virus or electricity. Ignorance of these words will cause problems or even death. For an office worker, the fundamental idea of calculus is necessary to use the most prevalent computer programs such as Excel. Science and math are now so finely woven into our lives that we do not even realize that we use them all the time.

It might be generally believed that history and literature deal with humans while science and mathematics deal with the physical world. However, science and math help develop the study of humanity in significant ways. Geology and chemistry help trace back through history, and astronomy, physics, and mathematics attempt to know the origin and the shape of the universe. Biology has made clear that all life is related (DNA, the theory of evolution, etc.), and zoology has questioned the conventional idea about the difference between man and animals (animals with behaviors that had been thought to be distinctively human). All these studies provide deeper understanding of who we are, where we are, and what will happen to us in the future, and these are the fundamental questions humans have always asked probably since primordial times.

Science now plays the central role in predicting and saving our future. For example, global warming cannot be handled without initiatives of governments and general consensus, and to understand how serious the problem is scientific knowledge is necessary. Although we are in a hopeless situation where politics is preventing even politicians who are conscious of this problem from making decisions, the silver lining is that perceptive business leaders have already started tackling the issue and many ordinary people have long been trying to help reduce CO2 emissions. This has been possible because of science and math education, because most people can read graphs, know what CO2 is, and understand the significance of greenhouse effect.

Science and mathematics cover not only materials but also humans. It is as important for students to study them as for them to study history and literature for a better life.

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