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[TOEFL] Being creative rather than planning.


john6503 9 / 27  
Jul 27, 2009   #1
Topic: Being creative, rather than planning carefully, often results in the best solution to a problem

In rapidly changing modern society, people have become more suceptible to a variety of problems and that of solutions than the past, which then raise intriguing question: what is the best way to solve a problem. Some may argue that creative person often come up with more plausible solution, while others disagree with the statement by saying that careful planning can bring better solution to a problem. In my opinion, I believe that solutions suggested by careful planner seems more reasonable than that by creative one.

To begin with, no individuals can exactly predict what problems they will face in their future, so planning is important to prepare themselves for those problems. Although people can learn from mistakes they made in their past,they are unlikely to come up with a solution for unforseen future based on their creativity and even so, the solution may bring unfavorable result. Take my case as an example, druing summer vacation, I and my friends promptly decided to have a special trip to Europe to explore new languages and cultures. However, most of us were in a hole for school loan to pay and rent for apartment. As we were so eager to put our decision in practice, one of us suggested to buy a number of lotteries which can provide us with enough money for our trip provided that we win the first prize. On the contrary to our high expectations, we ended up spending more money in addition to our huge debts to pay. This implies that planning is the best way to make more ideal solutions by looking at the problems more thoroughly.

In addition, only selective number of people have talent in thinking creatively but not everyone. Different people have different talents and not everyone share talents that the others have while some do share. To be more specific, Bill Gates, the former chairman of Microsoft, made a huge change in today's computur technology by inventing this innovative software that no one could think of. Furthermore, Jimmy, one of my best high school peers, had a dream of becoming the world famous Korean pop singer. Thinking he had an exceptional talent in singing, he had participated in Korean Idol, which auditions each candidates and select one with the best singing talent. Unlike his strong will to become a singer, judges discouraged him by saying that he can be better off by studying hard than singing since he had no ability in singing. Like this, well planning can prepare person for successful future by making them well aware of every possibilities along with the problem.

In conclusion, although some people might argue that planning is waste of time and people should think as they go, it seems to me that advantages of planning carefully far out than being creative for since one cannot predict his own future and creative is given to only few people.

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This is actual topic I had for my TOEFL test on last Saturday,
and this is what I wrote for that topic with slight difference.
Since it was the topic, I have not prepared for, it took me a while to
come up with ideas and I ended up just writing without proper planning(Ironically I contradicted myself by claiming that planning is important in my essay lol).

I guess my argument is off the topic, and I couldn't think of any supporting sentences for my second paragraph.
As you can see, my sentencing is very simple and plain with only basic vocabularlies
Anyway, I have one more test in August 8 and that will be my final
So please help me out..

EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Jul 27, 2009   #2
I think you would have been better off giving positive arguments in favor of planning rather than negative arguments against creativity. The argument about not everybody having creativity was good and supported by good examples, but the argument about the trip/lottery did not support your thesis.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Jul 27, 2009   #3
This is another one of those topics that cries out for a thesis, antithesis, synthesis structure. It is possible to be both creative and to plan carefully. That is, one can come up with a creative plan.
OP john6503 9 / 27  
Jul 27, 2009   #4
Reading it again, I understand what you mean, I should've focused more on the advantages of planning rather than negative of creativity and I also do think that lottery example sounds really stupid. But in real test, you are only given 30 minutes to write and it seems almost impossible to come up with two main ideas within 5minutes of brainstorming. I normally spend excessive amounts time in brainstorming, which isn't even on the right track and end up busy writing bunch of meaningless sentences to meet the words limit. When you see the topic that never heard before, how do you manage to come up with ideas so quickly.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Jul 27, 2009   #5
Remember that this is a test of English proficiency, not argumentative ability. Brainstorm until you come up with two or three workable arguments. They don't have to be brilliant. They don't have to be original. They don't have to be what you really believe. They just have to be something you can say in order to demonstrate your ability to write logically in English.

Is planning or creativity more useful in problem solving?

Here's what I come up with quickly on that question: People who rely only on planning can be derailed when events don't match up with expectations. Example: All of the people who planned carefully by putting money retirement accounts that are now broke because of the unforeseen financial crisis. In contrast, creativity allows people to come up with a new solution when circumstances change. Example: My friend lost a full-time job but was able to come up with a way to creatively combine part-time work with freelance work. Fact: Circumstances always change and it is impossible to predict the future. Conclusion: Creativity is better.

Now, this is not exactly what I believe. I actually think a combination is best. But I'd probably write the essay based on the outline above because that would be simpler.
OP john6503 9 / 27  
Jul 28, 2009   #6
I could nver think of that ideas until now. How can you come up with such reasonal arguments so quickly? I mean I could've thought of that ideas provided that I was given more than maybe an hour to think of, but my brain goes totally blank on condition that I have to finish my essay within time constraint.
orlando 13 / 94  
Jul 28, 2009   #7
I agree with John.

Fact: Circumstances always change and it is impossible to predict the future. Conclusion: Creativity is better.

How would you give 3 arguments about this fact? ... by giving three different examples?

If I write about this fact in the first paragraph, then I struggle to start second paragraph.
How about writing about planning in the first paragraph, then writing about creativity in the second paraprah and arguing that the combination is best in the last paragraph.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Jul 28, 2009   #8
Here's how I would approach this, if I were writing purely for speed.

Step 1: Pick a side. It doesn't matter which one. Since Simone covered creativity, I'll go with planning.

Step 2: Quickly brainstorm ideas for planning. Why do people plan? To avoid mistakes. What else do I know about plans. Well, I feel better when I have one, more in control (Here I hear the Joker from Dark Knight 'Nobody panics when things go 'according to plan.' Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all 'part of the plan.' But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!" Okay.I have two arguments already.

Planning is good because it allows you to avoid foolish mistakes

Planning gives you confidence that you know what you are doing.

I need one more. So, what can I use for a third argument. Well, what else can I think of? The phrase "I'm the man with a plan" comes to mind. I can't remember where it comes from, but I have the impression of someone trying to convince someone else to join him . . . and there I have my third argument.

It is easier to win support for projects if you can show people you have a plan.

Come to think of it, most banks require you to show a business plan if you are applying for a loan. Hmmmm . . . that could even be an example for that point.

So, in my brainstorming, I essentially started by seeing if any arguments came instantly to mind (planning to avoid mistakes) then just started trying to remember things I had heard about plans (Dark Knight, "man with a plan") and asked myself if there was anything I could use from that material that would give me more arguments.

I don't know if this helps you at all, but maybe it gives you an idea of how brainstorming should work . . .
orlando 13 / 94  
Jul 28, 2009   #9
That absolutely helps Sean. No diggin, no confusion, thinking simple and fast. Thanks for the advise.
OP john6503 9 / 27  
Jul 28, 2009   #10
Wow, that's the one really effective way of brianstorming. I will try that from now on.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Jul 28, 2009   #11
How can you come up with such reasonal arguments so quickly? I mean I could've thought of that ideas provided that I was given more than maybe an hour to think of, but my brain goes totally blank on condition that I have to finish my essay within time constraint.

The key words here are "my brain goes totally blank."

I have two thoughts about that:

1. Does it go totally blank? Or do thoughts, such as Sean hearing the Joker from the Dark Knight, drift through your mind? Brainstorming is just letting your mind generate ideas without judging them along the way. If you just jot down whatever comes to mind, even if it seems silly, you will eventually get where you need to go, especially if you prompt yourself with questions, as Sean did.

2. If your mind does go totally blank, that's anxiety. Breathe. Relax your muscles. Tell yourself, "I can do this." Breathe again. Then move onto brainstorming, which is a low-anxiety task if done non-judgmentally, as it is meant to be. Also, to lessen the chance of an anxiety-related shut-down, be sure to eat right and exercise in the days before the test and to get sufficient rest the night before. Sleepy, hungry, thirsty brains go blank more easily.
sung_tung /  
Jul 28, 2009   #12
Good essay but the phrase "In rapidly changing modern society". I would prefer to use "In rapid changing modern society". Can anyone explain it to me?
orlando 13 / 94  
Jul 28, 2009   #13
.. change(s) rapidly .. here 'rapidly' is adverb because it is adding to the meaning of the verb 'change'

.. a rapid change .. here rapid is adjective because it is describing the noun 'change'

"In rapidly changing modern society" here ' change' is verb, not noun. That is why you cannot say "In rapid changing modern society"
sung_tung /  
Jul 28, 2009   #14
I understand now, thanks very much, Orlando.
What does the word "suceptible" mean?

thefreedictionary.com/suceptible
orlando 13 / 94  
Jul 28, 2009   #15
I think it is 'susceptible', not suceptible.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Jul 29, 2009   #16
Right: Susceptible. Look it up.


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