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Eval. my Essays

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If anybody has the time to critique my Issue and Argument Tasks, I'd appreciate it. I used real test scenarios for both. I feel they're worthy of 4's. It seems to be a typical score for me. Any advice to improve and overcome this plateau would be appreciated as well.


Discussing controversial topics with those with contrasting views is not useful because very few people change their mind when questioned about their core beliefs.

Write a response to the prompt in which you discuss whether or not you agree or disagree. Be certain to fully develop your position and carefully consider ways in which your position could be challenged.


To say that it is not useful to discuss controversial topics with those who have contrasting views is false. Engaging in controversial topics can have risks but there are benefits. These engagements allow for people to listen to opposing sides of their arguments that can lead to one expanding their thinking and practicing open-mindedness as well as the possiblity of increasing their confidence in their core belief.

When two people engage in a controversial topic it allows for both parties to listen to a side that they may not have given much thought. They may listen to the evidences provided in the opposing argumen which can lead to an individual to question their belief. Why they believe it? What are the positives and negatives of this belief? A person could then start on a path openmindedness that could lead to a solid self indentification that may not have occurred if they never engaged in controversial topics that questioned their beliefs.

Taking part in debates such as these may not always lead to one changing their beliefs, in fact, it may futher cement their beliefs. Listening to opposing views may help a person see where certain arguments are flawed, including their own. If one can recognize an opposing view is flawed, then that person can use that fallacy as a way to defend their beliefs in future arguments. If one recognizes that their own arguement is flawed then they can revise their reasons for their beliefs which can lead to a more structured and solid argument that futher build their confidence.

It should be noted that partaking in these debates are not 100% beneficial for all parties involved. Debates like these can lead to major conflicts with close friends and family. To preserve valuable relationships, one must recognize the risks that are involved in these debates and weigh the consequences to determine if it is worth engaging in the discussion. There are times when an argument can lead to a "stalemate" in which case neither party is influenced. This does not mean neither party benefitted from the debate. Debates can be a valuable experience that help people grow into erudite

Being involved in controversial topics has its risks but is useful for the parties involved. A person may change their thinking and lead a life of openmindedness or they can increase their confidence in their core beliefs.



The following is a petition to the city council of Centerville:

"Over the past three years, there has been a marked increase in cases of 'sidewalk rage,' similar to the irrational anger drivers experience on the road, but instead among sidewalk walkers. The result is an increase in assaults, property damage, and disruptions of normal pedestrian traffic. In order to address this growing problem, the council must ban cell phone use on sidewalks. Not only do people texting or using their phones slow down pedestrian traffic, but they are also more likely to walk into the road or bump into other walkers. Children are especially vulnerable because they are too short to be easily seen. Middletown passed such a ban and not only have they heard no complaints, but the reported incidents of sidewalk crime has gone down significantly."

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.


The argument infers that if the city council bans cell phone use on sidewalks then "sidewalk rage" will decrease therefore leading a decrease in assaults, property damage, and disruptions of pedestrian traffic. This argument makes several assumptions that requires additional evidence before a complete analysis and decision can be made.

The argument discusses assaults and property damage but it does not say that these crimes are specific to pedestrains. It is possible that if cell phone use is limited on the sidewalks then possibly foot traffic will flow more smoothly and the chances of property damage will decrease but only in the relm of sidewalk crimes. It is possible that the crime rates that are increasing do not invlove pedestrains and the increase in crime rates have nothing to do cell phone use on sidewalks. A more thorough survey of crime rates needs to be evaluated to make this assumption.

The argument that Middletown passed this ban and saw positive results so Centerville should do the same is flawed as well. Obviously these are two different cities. An analysis needs to be made of the two cities to see how they are related. What are their populations? How many people commute by foot? How are the two cities traffic systems structed? These are some questions that need to answered before you can compare the two cities and expect similar outcomes.

It is also posssible that Middletown's crime rate decrease had nothing to do with cell phone use on city sidewalks. Did Middletown start enforcing other sidewalk rules? Maybe they started putting up new signs that help direct traffic. There are other possibilites that led to the decrease in sidewalk crime.

Before Centerville passes such a bill, the city should consider a complete survey of city crime rates, compare/contrast themselves with Middletown, as well as other possibilities for Middletown's success in sidewalk crimes.

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I think they are really good. I particularly liked the Issue Topic one -- how you have structured the essay, with an initial introductory paragraph, then 2 paragraphs to expand on your argument, a final paragraph that notes the limitation of your argument, and then finally ending with a quick summary of the entire essay. I don't see how I could have come up with a better structure to it. The language you have used is not 100% GRE language (for e.g., using some standard words from the GRE vocabulary) like the kind you would see in essays that get 5 or above, but overall, I'd say it would be 4.5 for sure, or even more. 

I am not too sure about the argument one, one of the things that struck me is how they initially talk about 'sidewalk rage', but the reference to Middletown talks about 'sidewalk crime'. I wasn't convinced that they are both the same things, although in your essay you have chosen to interchange between them. So depending upon whether the evaluators see that as same as different, you might lose some points, but nothing wrong with the rest of the arguments that you have presented. 

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