TOEFL iBT | Independent Essay | How to Write Good Body Paragraphs for your Independent Essay

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to write the body paragraph. 

In the body paragraph, you will explain the reasons and ideas to support your essay’s thesis statement. A TOEFL essay normally has three body paragraphs. Each body paragraph gives the reader a detailed explanation about one main idea. This idea helps to show or convince the reader that your idea is true or correct. In addition, each paragraph must flow from one to the next. This is called coherence and is done using transitions. Transitions between paragraphs can be done at the start of the new paragraph. 

What does a body paragraph usually include? It includes

  1. Main idea
  2. Impersonal detail
  3. Supporting statement for detail
  4. Personal example



Using more complex transitions will help you get a perfect writing score, but it is not necessary to do well. For example, your body paragraphs can use simple transitions like

Body paragraph 1 – first of all, firstly, or to begin with
Body paragraph 2 – In addition to.., secondly, or furthermore
Body paragraph 3 – finally, thirdly, or lastly


We will look at a few high scoring essays that use both complex and simple transitions later on.

The main idea will summarize the body paragraph’s purpose. It’s meant to tell the reader what the paragraph will be about.

Finally, you need to write the supporting sentences. The supporting sentences are used to explain in detail the main idea. The supporting sentences need to fully explain the topic sentence using anything to help the reader understand. You can use things like reasons, examples, and even personal experiences. Since there should be more than one supporting sentence in each body paragraph, remember to use transitions to connect your ideas between supporting sentences. 

Now I want to teach you about how to write a good body paragraph. What you just learned were the basics, but to get a high score, you need to write more than the basics. 

There are three things you need to do to get a high score:

  1. Write a good topic sentence
  2. Use transitions to organize your supporting sentences with logical connection
  3. Show variety in sentence structure and grammar and a range of appropriate vocabulary


There are a number of things you should keep in mind when you write the topic sentence:

  1. Make sure your topic sentence is concise. In other words, don’t cover too many details and make sure it’s not too broad or too narrow.
  2. Make sure your topic sentence gets right to the point. Do not beat around the bush. When there is too much surrounding the topic sentence, the reader might interpret the main idea incorrectly, which could lead to confusion later on.


Also, avoid the following when writing the topic sentence.

  1. Avoid using facts. Don’t use facts as topic sentences. Remember, you are using the topic sentence to introduce a point or opinion you’re trying to make. Facts are better used in your supporting ideas to help convince the reader of your point.

  2. Don’t just talk about the “what” – talk about the “why” as well. That is, don’t just think about the effect, but it’s cause.

  3. Avoid telling the reader that you are going to tell them something. For example don’t say “I am going to tell you…” or “I am going to speak about…” when introducing a topic. The reader already knows you are the writer, it is irrelevant to say this.

Alright, let’s continue.

Bad Topic Sentences

  • Driving is stressful.
  • Four out of ten drivers use cell phones while driving.


Why are they bad? 


Well…the first one, “Driving is stressful”, is too broad. A good topic sentence could be “Driving on the highway in heavy traffic is stressful for many motorists”. 

Can you see the difference? 

We’ve narrowed down the topic to be about a specific situation while driving. This will help the reader understand your essay much better. 

The second one, “four out of ten drivers use cell phones while driving”, is using a fact and only talks about the what. It does not give the reader enough information to understand what the essay is about and what opinion you have about the fact. A good topic sentence would be “Using a cell phone while driving should be banned because it causes a lot of car accidents.” You should be able to immediately see a difference in that topic sentence as it provides more detail on the topic of the essay in addition to expressing where you stand on that topic.

Suppose the thesis statement is 

In order to succeed in the classroom, college students need to utilize the resources available to them throughout their academic careers. 

Here are 3 good topic sentences that support this thesis statement.

  1. One important resource that all college students should utilize for success is tutorial services.
  2. Another important resource for student success is frequent use of the library.
  3. In addition to using tutoring services and the library, college students should consult with their advisor on a regular basis to monitor success and make necessary changes when needed.


Notice how these topic sentences help the reader understand what the essay will be written about. Well…they actually do more than that. They also help the writer organize the main ideas of the essay. If a writer creates clear topic sentences early in the writing process, they can use those to organize the essay and create unity in each of the paragraphs. 

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Personal Development | How to Proact to Situations (Not React)

This is definitely going to be one of the top podcasts of the year. While I was doing my personal development podcast, I came across an AMAZING technique that will help you with reacting to situations.  In this podcast, I will inject some personal development into your lives that will help you understand your feelings, react to situations, and find a systematic way of breaking down a situation. This is very good not only for business but also for all relationships in general.

Personal Development Series | Last Job Stole My Work

While lounging around on my bed, I wanted to see what previous language centers that I had worked for — were up to. I went to my last job, a language center with a lot of racial hate towards people of color, and I found this photo. For those of you joining me, this is the first time you will hear the backstory and how negative opinions of other people are completely FALSE.

The Background

The notorious Future Park Rangsit, located in Pathumthani just north of Don Meung International Airport, is known for its’ creeps. Pedaphiles would flock there and prey on children. Men would buy food for younger girls and touch them underneath the table while running their fingers through their hair (and the Thais just think this is normal and doesn’t report anything). Nonetheless, the job that I had accepted as a part-time role had a lot of problems when I first arrived in October of 2014.

First question at the interview, “Arsenio, how is it being a black teacher here in Thailand?”

Next statement, “just to let you know, there’s some racism around here.”

Wow, so much for a job interview. Unbeknownst, I had to win over management there. Ma’am, the name she’s formally known as, didn’t speak to me for one year because she was disgusted at the fact the head teacher from New Zealand hired their second-ever black teacher. So, the proving grounds were already set from the very beginning.

The Controversy

I made a personal development podcast speaking about my life and the things I saw on a routine basis. I told NO ONE about it, but after letting a snake from the Netherlands in the language center — after pleading to management not to let him in because he would create an obscene amount of division, they let him in. The amount of bickering, complaining, ignorance that developed in the office was heavy, feeling it as you walk through the doors every morning. Then one July 2016 day, the original head teacher who had hired me, walked into my room just before my 1pm class and said, “Arsenio, apparently you have a podcast that has gotten some people upset around here.” My jaw dropped. The guy from the Netherlands had google’d me and the only thing I had on google search at the time was my podcast. He shared it with everyone and the entire workplace was against me because I called out wife tourists. In the end, I was given a verbal warning for literally having an opinion, and the division was created.

Now, The Story

Kim Kim, a girl who I had brought onto my ESL podcast, who interviewed me on my personal development podcast, and has been my source of inspiration, had taken 200 hours worth of classes with me at this specific job (I should’ve told her to pay directly through me — lol). Although her speaking capabilities was astounding, she didn’t like writing so much, so when it came to getting her full score in IELTS, she received a 7.0 overall but a 5.5 in reading, which is quite low. Nonetheless, she just so happened to be on the promotional photo featuring one of my biggest critics EVER.

The Hellish Brit — My Biggest Critic Ever

Because I called him out on moving to Thailand to marry a woman, he never quite liked me — just like the rest of the teachers who had the same agenda in terms of taking advantage of poor-minded women. When this Brit had become the head teacher of my job back in April of 2017, ceasing the power from the previous New Zealanders, my workload evaporated. He wanted to get back at me as much as he could by believing in his feelings — you’re not good enough to teach these courses or that.

The frustration and discontent had been building for months, even working at corporate sectors, which I was actually forced to do. And then this happened…

The Infamous November Day

  • “If you want to continue working here, we need to have a meeting.”
  • “I don’t think you’re as good as you say you are.”

It was a threat, which he didn’t even have the power of using, and then the demeaning remarks that ensued over the course of 45 minutes during an afternoon. I went home, looked for a new condominium and moved to Bangkok within a month — following was the resignation in February of 2018. I felt that the oldies at this place had won, and because I wanted to feed my pride, I really wanted to send a brutally honest email with disparaging remarks towards everyone within the company, including those in Bangkok who didn’t like black teachers whatsoever.

Why I’m Writing This — They Took My Credit…lol

The photo of my student, unbeknownst to me, was put onto their social media page. I said to myself, “wait, they didn’t even teach this student! I DID!” Also, there was another native speaker who had learned with another teacher they promoted. These old photos are from 2016, and the two teachers they’re promoting in the photo (as you see from the blog post), didn’t even teach them, nor did they teach any of the others. What’s more is ALL OF THE STUDENTS received 5.5-6.0 in writing. The guy’s face you see, Mr. “I don’t Think You’re Good Enough,” told me I couldn’t teach IELTS because he said my writing was terrible? Yet, look at your work? At the time, your students got the same marks in writing! HA! So all of those ugly comments and degrading remarks in regards to my body of work was out of your “feels” instead of based on facts, as I stated years ago.

To sum this up, when I left, there was a lot of resent in my heart, but it’s because I accepted the negative opinions of those who slandered me without any real facts. They were part of Thai society which spewed as much racism at me as possible to get me to “leave” the country; but when I left the language center, it was because I knew that I had plateau’d there. There was nothing else for me to achieve there. This country and state is where oldies go to take advantage of weak-minded Thais who see only “white” through a monolithic lens. It was the greatest decision ever, because now I’m known worldwide and I get 6.5-7.5 in writing (with my students).

Since then, I’ve had to cut off other testing centers who would employ me to teach TOEFL iTP because they would also insult my intelligence saying, “you didn’t get this on the test so that means you’re not good enough to teach.” A very backwards way of thinking, although I was handed perfect scores in the grammar, listening and almost reading sections. Although with 18 hours of learning, a student had passed his exam after 66 tries and another one after 21. No credit given; zero fucks given.

And the story ends like this. When someone insults your intelligence, it’s normally because they’re afraid of the amount of power bestowed in you and what you’ll become. They know that you’re way better than what they’ll ever be, but to “bring you back down to Earth,” they’ll blast with you with their perception and tell you you’re not good enough based on: race, creed, color, religion, gender, etc. They’ll steal your work in the end and perhaps even post a photo of two white men, giving them credit instead of a black man….because remember, in Thailand, you can NEVER give a black man credit.

And what a beautiful journey it has been. Now that I’m switching back to conversational tone (as the teacher had said during that life-changing meeting in November of 2017), I can tell you that I had to take quantum leaps through my journey here in Thailand. The student in my photo was encouraged, by me, to move to Singapore…which she did. She’s now graduating and has her own business at the age of 22. I took her under my wings and she knew that I had so much in me to spur her onto success. In fact, she veered away from other teachers because they were too “literal” and “boxed in.” I saw her potentiality, just as she saw it within me and accepted me as a teacher. After teaching her last year again, four years later, I can say she has matured much more than the previous two years I had seen her in Singapore. And with that being said, the dirty laundry has officially been aired out.

Someone else’s negative opinion of you doesn’t have to become your reality

{Patreon Special} TOEFL iTP | Grammar | Structure Mini-test #1

Full TOEFL iTP Mini-test! Questions 1-15 are now available on my TOEFL iTP Badge (plus coaching and other perks). It will debut to the public on February 10th, so if you want it now, now’s the time!

Welcome back to another full mini-test podcast! In today’s podcast, I will be covering a number of different sentences (as seen down below if you’re reading this blog) and break down each individual segment. You guys are going to enjoy this because this will be a round-up of all the past TOEFL iTP podcasts I’ve done, so make sure you refer back! We’re on the home stretch before we get into the Written Expression phase, so let’s kick this off with a BANG!

Here’s a tester for you guys….what’s the answer?

  1. __ by Anna Baldwin in 1878.
    a. The invention of the vacuum milking machine
    b. That the vacuum milking machine was invented
    c. The vacuum milking machine, which was invented
    d. The vacuum milking machine was invented

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TOEFL iBT | Reading | Full Lesson | Household Pests

Who’s ready for a full, crazy reading lesson? In the first of its kind, I have the FULL RUNDOWN for you guys today. We’re going to go through all these questions together and pray we can make it through. I would’ve like to make this live, but premiere’s are better because I can speak to you while the video is going. Nonetheless, the lesson is on household pests, and after all the reading techniques, let’s see if you got what it takes to succeed!

[1] Including almost 10 million species and representing over 90% of life on planet Earth, insects are ubiquitous. And while humans live peacefully side by side with most insect species, some pose a threat to human activity and habitats. You need only to consider the damage caused by insects to agricultural crops, and the ramifications for food security and agricultural economies, to understand their potential to wreak havoc. But it is not only the food we grow that can be threatened by insects; our homes themselves may be impacted. And while many pests – such as cockroaches and beetles – are regarded as disgusting and unseemly on our floors and walls, others may be outright damaging and threaten the value of a homeowner’s property. Two such pests are ants and termites.
 

[2] To a homeowner, termites can pose a significant threat. As detritivores, termites consume dead plant matter, which includes the wood we use in construction. Thus a colony of termites may undermine the strength of timber foundations, chew through walls, and hollow out stairs in a matter of months. This not only damages the home itself, but also creates safety hazards for the human occupants. Another insect capable of chewing through wood is the humble ant. Ants may put their well-deserved reputation for industriousness to work on more than just your house; they are also attracted to foods in the home and, left unchecked, can quickly become a terrible nuisance in the kitchen or garbage areas.
 

[3] Of course, pests such as termites and ants can be prevented, controlled, and eradicated, primarily through the use of chemical compounds that are toxic to the pests. These chemical compounds combat the insects at a biological level. Most compounds are composed of a pesticide, a dilutant, a particulate, a thickening agent, and a surfactant system. The pesticide is the toxic chemical that kills the pest, while the dilutant ensures that the compound does not endanger its human users (still, direct exposure is not recommended). The particulate agent suspends the pesticide within the dilutant, and the thickening agent serves to make the compound easier to apply to infested areas. Finally, the surfactant lowers the surface tension of the compound, further facilitating application.
 

[4] When it comes to pesticides, application is key. More specifically, the compound must be applied in the correct location, either exterior to the home or on the interior. Exterior application of a pesticide will help to prevent future pests from entering the structure. This commonly involves applying a compound to outside walls, porches, and window areas. Interior application can be more challenging, since insects seek out nesting areas which are relatively inaccessible to humans. This includes hollow spaces between walls, soft spots beneath floors, and hard-to-reach corners in cabinets and other furniture. Interior application is meant to eliminate those pests which have already infested a home. Thus effective pest control involves both prevention and eradication. While many homeowners choose to take the problem into their own hands and apply pesticides themselves, others choose to support the burgeoning pest control industry, hiring professionals who have the knowledge and equipment to ensure that compounds are applied safely.
 

[5] Exactly how big of a threat to termites and ants pose to homeowners? Global statistics are difficult to compile, but it is estimated that in the southwestern U.S. alone termites cause approximately 1.5 billion dollars in damage each year. The scale of the problem is such that the pesticide and pest control industries are growing, and entire communities have undertaken measures to control and eradicate these insects.
 

[6] While biochemical solutions remain highly effective methods of pest control, there is growing opposition to the use of chemicals in and around human habitation. The move toward “organic” food – that grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides – has helped to raise awareness of the potential health risks of such chemicals. Thus natural pest control, relying on non-toxic methods and compounds, is becoming more popular. Natural methods may utilize plants or even other insects to ward off or eliminate pests. Particular plants are known to repel particular insects; for example, crushed mint leaves are touted as an effective ant deterrent.

bestmytest.com

Questions

  1. The word “others” in paragraph 1 refers to…
  • cockroaches and beetles
  • pests
  • floors and walls
  • homeowners

2. Which of the following can be inferred from paragraph 1?

  • a majority of the world’s insects cause problems to humans.
  • insects’ damage to homes is a greater problem than their damage to agriculture
  • insects are the most common type of animals on the planet
  • cockroaches and beetles are commonly misunderstood by humans

3. The word ‘unchecked’ in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to:

  • inside
  • uncontrolled
  • persistent
  • bothered

4. Which of the following components helps to make applying the pesticides easier?

  • particulate
  • dilutant
  • pesticide
  • surfacant

5. According to paragraph 4, which of the following is true of the interior application of pesticides?

  • it is more dangerous than exterior application
  • it helps to prevent an infestation from happening
  • it is more difficult than exterior application
  • it is not very effective

6. In paragraph 4, the author mentions “hard to reach corners in cabinets and other furniture as an example of

  • common points of entry for insect infestations
  • areas which should be avoided when applying pesticide
  • key pathways for insects within a home
  • possible nesting areas for pests

7.Which of the following best expresses the essential information highlighted sentence? Incorrect answer choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.

While many homeowners choose to take the problem into their own hands and apply pesticides themselves, others choose to support the burgeoning pest control industry, hiring professionals who have the knowledge and equipment to ensure that compounds are applied safely.

  • Homeowners may work alongside pest control professionals to support the safe and effect application of pesticide.
  • Some homeowners choose to support the pest control industry, which hires knowledgeable and safe professionals who can assist the homeowner in applying pesticides
  • Some homeowners deal with pests on their own, but others seek professional help for a higher level of safety
  • Even though the pest control industry is growing some people do not wish to hire professionals and instead attempt to control pests themselves.

8. In paragraph 5, why does the author mention “1.5 billion dollars in damage?”

  • to lend support to community-wide pest control solutions
  • to prove that estimating the impact of pests is difficult
  • to introduce the idea of natural pest control methods
  • to illustrate the extent of the problem caused by termites and ants

9 Examine the four █ in the selection below and indicate at which block the following sentence could be inserted into the passage:

Another natural approach involves altering the timing or pattern of lighting, since this appears to disrupt the insects’ breeding habits.

While biochemical solutions remain highly effective methods of pest control, there is growing opposition to the use of chemicals in and around human habitation. █ [AThe move toward “organic” food – that grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides – has helped to raise awareness of the potential health risks of such chemicals. █ [B] Thus natural pest control, relying on non-toxic methods and compounds, is becoming more popular. Natural methods may utilize plants or even other insects to ward off or eliminate pests █ [C] Particular plants are known to repel particular insects; for example, crushed mint leaves are touted as an effective ant deterrent. █ [D] .

A)

B)

C)

D)

10 Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.

Termites and ants are pests that can damage homes by chewing through wood.

?????

a. the pest control industry is growing rapidly, and pest control professionals can help ensure safe application of pesticides.

b. pesticides may be applied outside the home for prevention and within the home to kill existing insects

c. pests do a lot of damage to homes every year, and some people are turning to more natural methods of pest control

d. pesticides alone have been found to be less effective than pesticides used in combination with natural methods of pest control

e. compounds used to eliminate pests are typically comprised of several key ingredients

f. besides damaging homes, insects can cause significant damage to agricultural crops and food supplies

{Patreon Special} Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Sales | Customer Retention: Building Relationships

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
{Patreon Special} Arsenio's Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Sales | Customer Retention: Building Relationships
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During trying times, such as what we’re going through right now in the world, do you believe it’s easier to find new customers or easier to retain customers you already have? Sometimes we look to expand our services to a broader group, but then we forget about our existing customers and relationships deteriorate. If it’s a customer who buys cakes from you every fortnight, or someone who comes to you for coaching services. Building those relationships –and not making it seem like it’s all about the money — is unbelievably important. Let’s get into it!

Available on Patreon and Business English Podcast Badge!

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{Patreon Special} Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Personal Development | How to Pro-act to Situations (Not React)

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
{Patreon Special} Arsenio's ESL Podcast | Personal Development | How to Pro-act to Situations (Not React)
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This is definitely going to be one of the top podcasts of the year. While I was doing my personal development podcast, I came across an AMAZING technique that will help you with reacting to situations.  In this podcast, I will inject some personal development into your lives that will help you understand your feelings, react to situations, and find a systematic way of breaking down a situation. This is very good not only for business but also for all relationships in general. This is on Early Access Podcast and Business English!

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{Patreon Special} Pronunciation Course | Phase III | Reducing Structure Words

Welcome to the second-to-last audio/video of my pronunciation course, phase III! Today I’m bringing you reducing structure words. After coaching an Egyptian pharmacist and hearing out she over-stressed structured words, this is very important for everyone out there. Here’s a sneak peek. Remember, it’s available on all Patreon badges!

Unstressed words are often reduced, meaning some sounds are shortened or omitted.

Dictionary Pronunciation Reduced Pronunciation

Is John’/z/ an old friend.
Can /kan/ you see?
Him Letem go.
Of I need a book /uh/ stamps.

Structure words are often reduced through contractions, the omission of consonant sounds, and the reduction of vowel sounds to schwa.

Tip: Practicing Reduced Words

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Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6: Episode 20 | Tips for Running a Successful Meeting

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's Business English Podcast | Season 6: Episode 20 | Tips for Running a Successful Meeting
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Shouting matches, complaining, interruptions, zero accountability….we’ve all been there. Whether it’s at home with the family or at work, things never seem to get done when people don’t have an agenda for a meeting or course of action. How could you avoid this from happening? In today’s podcast, I will give you five useful steps for running a successful meeting and focus on the solution.

Self-scoring 7 Habits Assessment | Habit #3 | Putting First Things First

The importance of putting first things first gets you out ahead and one step closer to achieving a micro/macro goal. However, we have a tendency of putting ourselves secondary, and when that happens, the slump begins. Here are the questions.

  1. I am disciplined in carrying out plans (avoiding procrastination, time-wasters, and so forth).
  2. I do not allow the truly important activities of my life to get lost in the busy activity of my days.
  3. The things I do every day are meaningful and contribute to my overall goals in life.

Podcast