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"Problems with AIDS in poorer countries" - TOEFL Integrated Essay


Irrational 6 / 13  
Oct 20, 2010   #1
Hello guys,

today I practiced the TOEFL Integrated Essay.
First you get 3 minutes to read a short text passage. Afterwards you listen to a lecture, in which the lecturer might agree or disagree on the ideas of the text.

Then you have 20 minutes for the following task:
Summarize the points made in the lecture you just heard, explaining how they cast doubt on the contents of the reading. You may refer to the passage as you write.

I appreciate any feedback!

You can find the corresponding audio track here (just click on "play" on the left upper corner)

strictlyenglishusa.com/free-toefl-exercises/writing-materials/

For this essay I got the following reading passage.

AIDS is a disease that has killed millions of people all over the world. Most of the cases of AIDS in the world are in poorer countries where the people can't afford to buy the drugs that would help keep them alive and healthy. Many AIDS Advocacy Groups (AAGs) are trying to help the people in these developing countries get the health care they need to fight AIDS. AAGs are doing this in several ways.

First of all, they argue that the profits of these companies are too high and such high pricing is immoral in the face of such a devastating disease. AAGs believe that major drug companies should sell their AIDS medicines at a much lower cost so that AIDS patients who have very little money would not have to choose between buying their food or their medication.

Second, AAGs are trying to get governments to pay for AIDS drugs instead of individual people. In general, when buying in large quantities, the price goes down. Therefore, if a government bought enough medication for all the AIDS patients in its country, then the price per bottle of medication would be much lower than the price individuals currently pay when buying medication on their own.

Third, AAGs are beginning to encourage poor countries to make their own cheap versions of AIDS drugs, even though it is illegal to do so. If the drugs were made in the same country, this would not only reduce shipping costs, but it would also give many people jobs in these poorer countries.

An this is my essay.

The reading passage talks about the problems that AIDS causes in poorer countries and tells about several solutions that have been suggested by AIDS Advocacy Groups (AAGs). According to them drug companies should lower their prices, governments should pay for the drugs and poorer countries should start producing their own drugs. The lecturer, however, clearly casts doubt on the reading passage for the following reasons.

Firstly, the passage reads that high prices for AIDS drugs are not morally justifiable. In contrast, the lecturer states that drug companies face a tough market and thus need to set those prices in order to survive. Without the extra money, the lecturer continues, there would be no further investment leading to less money for the development of drugs. The lecturer clearly defies the idea that cutting prices helps fighting AIDS.

In addition, it is said in the passage that government could buy their citizens the necessary drugs. By the large quantities they would get a better price per unit of medication. On the other hand, the lecturer states that government of poor people are often poor themselves and hence can not afford the drugs. This argument is a valid point against the suggestion made in the passage.

Finally, it is written in the text that poor countries could start producing AIDS drugs in cheaper version. According to the text this not only save money but also reduce local unemployment. However, the lecturer states that cheap drug copies are more harm than good. Since there would possibly be no quality assurance and tainted chemicals might be used, infected people might get sick or killed by the use of these drugs. This argument given by the lecturer casts doubt on the argument given in the text.

To sum it up, the lecturer clearly defies the ideas that are proposed in the text by saying that companies can not cut costs, governments can not afford drugs and locally produced cheap copies are more another problem than a real solution.

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,335 129  
Oct 24, 2010   #2
toefl? I think you are already completely proficient in English, and you should go to the next level with your writing. Google this: science of persuasion.

In contrast, the lecturer states that drug companies face a tough market and thus need to set those prices in order to survive.

Well tough competition in a market causes prices to be lowered. It might be better if you specify that they have a "tough job of getting a return on their investments in research and development."

I don't think you did a good job of showing that the speaker contradicted himself. Actually, I think probably there was no contradiction, but I'm not sure.

This certainly is well written... not many mistakes.
Here is one:
Version is a noun. Pluralize it here: start producing AIDS drugs in cheaper versions .

:-)
gacesaa 6 / 10  
Oct 24, 2010   #3
no money no medicine no health = problems
OP Irrational 6 / 13  
Oct 26, 2010   #4
toefl? I think you are already completely proficient in English, and you should go to the next level with your writing. Google this: science of persuasion.

Hello Kevin,

thank you very much for the kind words as well as the interesting cue!

You started an argumentation in the other thread about class attendance. I have not responded to it yet, because I felt it to be the wrong place to discuss the contents of such an issue. Nonetheless, I found your thoughts interesting and would have loved to write you my opinion about the question, but unfortunately could not find a PM buttom (or sth. similar). The same goes for this question.

I don't think you did a good job of showing that the speaker contradicted himself. Actually, I think probably there was no contradiction, but I'm not sure.

I am little bit confused. Was there a contradiction? If so, should I mention it and how to do?

Thank you again for the motivating words. I am taking the TOEFL for grad school admission and need a very high score (110/120). As soon as I am done with TOEFL, I will definiteley think about taking my writing skills to the next level :-)

Kind regards from Copenhagen
David


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