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TOEFL writing: academic discussion

TOEFL Academic discussion

Dr. Byrnes' TOEFL Academic Discussion book

Excellent example

Your essay provides a compelling example that effectively drives home your point: new hires can often bring significantly more to the company than their senior counterparts, especially in the realm of technology. This example has the potential to impress your rater and secure a score of at least 4. However, there are a few areas where the essay could be improved to enhance its clarity and achieve a perfect score of 5

Problems with the essay


  • pronoun-antecedent number agreement

any company (singular) ≠ they, them

  • tense shit

use the past perfect to indicate a past event that happened before another past event: 

I had been working at CVS for six years when a new employee joined our team.

  • tense consistency

need to use past tense consistently

the system was…   helped

Topic development

  1. Your argument for strict equality in compensation is flawed. Treating everyone the same in every situation may seem fair, but it overlooks the reality of varying contributions within a company. A more equitable approach would be to base compensation on the quality of work produced. This ensures that employees are rewarded for their individual contributions, fostering a sense of fairness and motivation.

  2. Your idea is in support of Karen’s, not just another idea. So, don't say “I would like to add,” which makes your argument unimportant. This is a way to present a strong argument:   

In agreement with Karen, I believe  that the current seniority-based compensation policy is unfair as it fails to accurately reflect the true value of its employees. For true fairness, compensation should be proportional to an employee's contributions. Those who contribute more should be rewarded accordingly, while those who contribute less should receive commensurate compensation. Younger employees often possess a greater technological aptitude compared to their older counterparts, giving them the potential to make significant contributions to the company's profitability. My own experience at CVS exemplifies this point. [Your awesome example here]. I believe it would be unfair for the company to disregard his contributions to the improved work productivity and instead pay him significantly less than older, less productive employees. Such a practice would not only be unfair but also demoralize employees, hindering their motivation to contribute to the company's growth and ultimately diminishing the company's competitive edge in the market.