TOEFL writing: my last integrated essay


Hi, I would be really thankful if someone could rate my integrated essay.

Reading passage:

Soon technology will provide smart cars: cars that virtually drive themselves. A computer in the car determines the speed and route to the desired destination. The computer is in continuous contact with a global positioning system and other technologies that will provide extremely accurate information about the location of the car, other cars on the road, congestion, accidents, and so forth. The human driver will be little more than a passenger. Smart cars promise to make driving safe, quicker, and less expensive.

First of all, smart cars will prevent many accidents, thereby saving lives. The cars will be equipped with a variety of sensors that very accurately detect cars and other obstacles in their path, and they will have automatic programs that control braking and turning to avoid collisions. Given the hundreds of accidents that occur on highways daily it is clear that humans do a poor job of avoiding accidents and that computer control would be a great improvement.

Second, with the wide use of smart cars, traffic problems will practically disappear. These computer-controlled cars can follow each other closely, even at high speeds. This ability will result in increased highway speeds. Today, commuting by car can take hours a day. So the increased speed of smart cars will be a great benefit, welcomed by the many people who commute by car.

Finally, smart cars will bring a reduction in the costs of driving. Because smart cars are programmed to drive the most direct routes, car owners will have to spend less money on repairs and replacement parts. Expensive items such as brake, tires, and transmissions will last much longer in smart cars than in other cars.

Listening Transcript:

Even if computerized smart cars meet all the technological expectations set for them, it’s not clear that they’d produce the benefits some have predicted.

Smart cars will still get into some accidents. After all, even the most technologically advanced devices fail occasionally. And since the smart car technology will allow cars to be more tightly packed together on the roads, these accidents will be pileups that involve many more cars and so be much worse than accidents that occur today. Overall, there is little reason to believe that smart cars will save lives or reduce the number of injuries in automobile accidents.

Second, let’s talk about the potential to increase highway speeds and therefore decrease commuting time. Well, history has consistently shown that when some driving convenience is introduced, more and more people decide to drive because they expect an easier driving experience. But then the increased number of drivers in the case of smart cars of the future would not decrease commuting time. This is because the traffic congestion caused by the additional cars on the road would not allow the drivers to take advantage of the smart cars’ potential for higher speeds.

And finally, it’s not reasonable to expect that smart cars will save drivers money. The global positioning technology required to direct smart cars to their desired destinations is very expensive, add smart cars will need other costly technologies too such as sensors that control how far a smart car stays behind the car in front of it. Moreover, the advanced technology of smart cars will make repairs to them more expensive than repairs on conventional automobiles. These new expenses will more than offset the expected savings on the repair and replacement of traditional mechanical car parts.

Q: Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge specific points made in the reading passage.

The lecturer explains that smart cars, cars that theoretically drive themselves, may not make driving safer, not reduce the costs of driving or allow people to commute faster. She disagrees with the reading passage and rebuts each of the specific three advantages of smart cars provided in the passage.

First of all, the passage mentions how smart cars will reduce and prevent car accidents by using various sensors to detect obstacles in front of the cars and using automatic programs to control braking and avoiding collisions. This point is refuted by the lecturer. She says that there will be some accidents by smart cars as technology tends to fail occasionally. Moreover, it might make car accidents worse as smart cars tend to more tightly packed to other cars. If an accident occurs, cars would pile up. This shows that it is unlikely that these cars would save lives.

Furthermore, the passage explains how smart cars can abate traffic problems as they can travel at high speeds. The professor challenges this point. She mentions how a convenience in driving is likely to encourage more people to use cars, thereby increasing the number of cars on the road. As there are a large number of cars on the road, the benefits of this high speed smart car will be limited and commuting times might not reduce.

Finally, the passage provides information about how smart cars can reduce the cost of driving. These cars are programmed to drive the most direct routes allowing car owners to spend less money on expensive parts like brakes. This point is refuted by the lecturer. She explains how there is a high cost in installing the global positioning system implemented in a smart car. Reparing the sensors in a smart car will be more expensive than repairing the parts of a traditional car and the cost of repairing a smart car will offset the benefits of not spending money on repairing conventional parts of a car.

(329 words)

P.S. I accidentally made a spelling mistake in this. How would it affect my score?

TOEFL writing: Should elderly people be looked after by their families or in old homes?

Sorry. I am celebrating Thanksgiving today. I should be able to get to your essays tomorrow.


Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family :family_man_woman_boy:.


Hi Anaam, I don’t think that single misspelling would affect your score at all. This is a very good answer, I would expect it to score a 5. Super-duper !


I absolutely agree. Nowadays we have very sophisticated spell checking features that correct any typos seamlessly and a growing number of people are using sprach to text which eliminates any spelling errors automatically.


Thank you so much Luschen! I took the TOEFL iBT yesterday. I’ll let you know about the scores as soon as I get it. Thank you so much for taking the time to check my essays and giving me advice on how to improve my writing skills.

I hope you and Torsten had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families!


You are very welcome - please let us all know how you did!