Compare & Contrast


The 'Compare & Contrast' type of essay question in the TOEFL exam requires you to analyze and discuss the similarities and differences between two or more given subjects or ideas. This type of essay assesses your ability to compare and contrast effectively, demonstrate critical thinking skills, and organize your ideas in a coherent manner.

When approaching a Compare & Contrast essay question, start by clearly identifying the subjects or ideas that you are going to compare and contrast. In the introduction, provide a brief overview of the topics and clearly state your thesis statement, which should indicate the main points of comparison or contrast that you will be discussing.

In the body paragraphs, present your points of comparison or contrast one by one. Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect or characteristic of the subjects and provide supporting evidence or examples. Use clear topic sentences to introduce each point and provide detailed explanations and analysis. Ensure that you maintain a balanced approach, presenting both similarities and differences between the subjects.

To help the reader follow your arguments, use appropriate transitional words and phrases to indicate similarities (e.g., "similarly," "likewise") and differences (e.g., "on the other hand," "in contrast"). These transitional markers help to create coherence and guide the reader through your essay.

While discussing similarities and differences, strive for depth and analysis rather than surface-level observations. Provide specific examples, statistics, or evidence to support your claims. Avoid simply listing similarities and differences; instead, explain their significance and implications. This demonstrates your ability to think critically and apply analytical skills.

In the conclusion, summarize the main points of comparison or contrast and restate your thesis statement. Emphasize the significance of your findings and their broader implications. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion and aim to leave a lasting impression on the reader.

It has been said, "Not everything that is learned is contained in books." Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books. In your opinion, which source is more important? Why?

When people move to another country, some of them decide to follow the customs of the new country. Others prefer to keep their own customs. Compare these two choices. Which one do you prefer? Support your answer with specific details.

Some people trust their first impressions about a person's character because they believe these judgments are generally correct. Other people do not judge a person's character quickly because they believe first impressions are often wrong. Compare these two attitudes. Which attitude do you agree with? Support your choice with specific examples.

Some young children spend a great amount of their time practicing sports. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

A friend of yours has received some money and plans to use all of it either (1) to go on vacation or (2) to buy a car. Your friend has asked you for advice. Compare your friend's two choices and explain which one you think your friend should choose. Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

Movies are popular all over the world. Explain why movies are so popular. Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

Some people believe that the best way of learning about life is by listening to the advice of family and friends. Other people believe that the best way of learning about life is through personal experience. Compare the advantages of these two different ways of learning about life. Which do you think is preferable? Use specific examples to support your preference.

You need to travel from your home to a place 60 kilometers away. Compare the different kinds of transportation you could use. Tell which method of travel you would choose. Give specific reasons for your choice.