Writing Task 1: Will the Lecture Always Oppose the Reading?

Updated: Mar 3

Probably.


The oppositional style of three points in the lecture that contrast the three points in the reading has been the trend in TOEFL over the past several years.


But, TOEFL likes to change from time to time.


Also, I’m not a psychic so I can't predict what will exactly happen on your test day.


I can’t predict when or if the TOEFL test will change. A long, long time ago, there were different relationships between the reading and lecture:

  • The lecture supported the points made in the reading and provided specific examples to explain how each of the points worked.

  • The lecture provided solutions to the problems presented in the reading passage.

Will the TOEFL test bring these structures back?

Maybe, but I can’t be sure.


My advice is to prepare for the oppositional relationship since this is most common.

If you'd like to practice a Writing Task #1 where the lecture contrasts the reading, click here.


If you’d like to get some practice with a Writing Task #1 Format where the lecture supports the reading, read on!


Read the following passage. You have 3 minutes to read the passage. Get your timers or your stopwatch ready to time yourself. The time starts as soon as you begin reading the passage below.


Reading

Honoring the Feminine


Ninety percent of the Stone Age sculptures found around the world are feminine forms. This is indicative that at one time the womb was the primary way of understanding and making sense of the world. Honoring the sacred womb was an integral part of life, and the primary symbol for the womb was the circle.


One naturally occurring circular symbol of the womb space was the cave. Caves would have served as homes for prehistoric humans, providing safety and shelter. Moreover, caves are dark recesses that may be partially or entirely filled with water. Thus, on a psychological level, ancient humans would have perceived caves as external expressions of the womb, which holds new life during gestation.


Another circular womb symbol prevalent during The Stone Age of womb cosmology was the mound. The mound could be naturally occurring or man-made. The round shape of hills and some mountains resembles a pregnant belly. In this way, mounds signify fertility and the capacity to give life. Sacred mounds also served as burial grounds. In ancient womb religions, death was thought of as a return to Mother Earth and the cosmic mother creator.


Finally, concentric series of circles or spirals also reflect womb consciousness. Circles within circles were often drawn on cave walls. Ancient temples or spiritual sites frequently contained circular pathways or labyrinths. These circular pathways typically indicated a downward or inward movement, suggestive of the movement through the birth canal.


Now, listen to the Lecture. You may take notes as you listen.


Lecture



You have 20 minutes to write an essay that explains how the points made in the lecture support the points made in the reading passage.


Now, it's your turn to write! If you missed some points from the lecture, you may want to review the listening again. Remember that on the TOEFL you will only be able to listen to the lecture ONE time. The transcript of the lecture is available on the video above. To access it, click on "cc."


As you try to write your essay, do you look like this guy?

Don't panic!


Below are some structures that you can use in your essay when the lecture supports the reading. You will see a guide (or template) and you will see an example of two completed essays that use the template.


The following guide provides one way to organize your essay. This is not the only way to write a successful Writing Task #1 essay. However, this particular structure is simple, easy to learn and helpful for the construction of a clear and coherent Writing Task #1 when the lecture supports the reading.


WRITING TASK #1 GUIDE

When the Lecture Supports the Reading


Introduction (2 sentences)

1. State the Topic

Both the reading and lecture discuss ____(topic)____

2. State the relationship between the reading and the lecture

The reading says that ____ (main idea) ______ . The lecture supports the points made in the reading by providing more specific examples.


Supporting Paragraph #1

The Start

First, the reading explains that (point #1 from the reading)

The Transition

The lecture exemplifies this point. (point #1 from the lecture)


Supporting Paragraph #2

The Start

Next, the reading asserts that (point #2 from the reading)

The Transition

The lecture adds to this point by stating that (point #2 from the lecture)


Supporting Paragraph #3

The Start

Finally, the reading states that (point #3 from the reading)

The Transition

Moreover, the lecture points out that (point #3 from the lecture)



Writing Task #1 Example Essay One


Both the reading and lecture discuss the circle as a symbol of the womb. The reading says that the womb was revered and a central way people understood the world. The lecture supports the points made in the reading by providing more specific examples.


First, the reading explains that caves were representative of the womb space as they provided shelter. Because caves often contain water, they are an outward representation of what is happening inside during pregnancy. The lecture exemplifies this point. It discusses the Womb Cave in Bulgaria. Humans purposefully carved out a passageway in this cave and designed an altar in the shape of a uterus. Some researchers believe that this was once a fertility temple.


Next, the reading asserts that the hill or mound is another symbol of the womb and its importance. The rounded shape of a mound is similar to a pregnant belly and is often found for burial sites. The lecture adds to this point by stating that holy sites are often found on top of mounds. One mound site in Ireland that dates back to 3,500 B.C. served as a place for burial and for spiritual ceremonies. At a certain time of year, sunlight enters the opening of the mound in a special way. This could indicate fertilization and vitality. Similarly, the Egyptian pyramids were places for the burial of the dead, but also places where the dead would be reborn and journey into the next life.


Finally, the reading states that circles within circles are often found in sacred sites. Passageways that circle in and down may reflect the journey through the birth canal. Moreover, the lecture points out that this movement inward reflected the idea that heaven was found within. One archeological example of this is found in the Hypogeum on the island of Malta. There are spiraling passageways and also circle shapes painted on the walls. One figurine called the Sleeping Lady may represent death or the gestation period.


Writing Task #1 Example Essay Two


Both the reading and lecture discuss the circle as an ancient symbol of the feminine womb space. The reading says that the womb was a way for people to make sense of their world. The lecture supports the points made in the reading by providing more specific examples.


First, the reading explains that the cave was one expression of the womb found in nature. Prehistoric people would have regarded the cave as a safe dwelling much like the womb during gestation. The lecture exemplifies this point. The Womb Cave in Bulgaria is one example of a space that was intentionally carved to resemble a womb. Inside, there is an altar that resembles a uterus and water flows along its walls. In the 11th century BC, it was believed to be utilized as a fertility temple.


Next, the reading asserts that another circular representation of the womb was found in mounds, hills or mountains during the Stone Age. These mounds could be both symbolic of fertility and also a place where the dead go to be delivered back to Mother Earth. The lecture adds to this point by stating that one site in Ireland, known as Newgrange, represents the womb mound. Dating from 3,500 BC, Newgrange was both a burial ground and ceremonial site. Every winter solstice, sunlight enters its rooms and this may symbolize fertilization. Egyptian pyramids would later follow a similar tradition of death and rebirth symbology. The pyramids were burial places for the king, but were also a place where the king would be reborn into the next life.


Finally, the reading states that spirals represent the womb. Circles drawn on cave walls or spiral pathways mirror movement through the birth canal. Moreover, the lecture points out that that an underground structure in Malta built around 3,300 BC illustrates these spirals. The walls of one room are painted with red spirals. In one room, a figurine of a sleeping woman was found. She may represent death or pregnancy. At this time, heaven was not thought of as something above or outside the individual. Instead, heaven was found within. This concept is represented in the archeological evidence of the descending spiral passageways that connect caves, rooms and burial grounds.


Question: I need someone to look at my writing and help me improve. What do I do?

Answer: Click here.


Do you need help writing an essay like the ones you see here? Check out TOEFL Land's "Master Writing Task 1" course here.

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