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Please rate my GRE issue and argument task essays taken from the ETS pool.

Anirban Roy

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Issue Task

Claim: Governments must ensure that their major cities receive the financial support they need in order to thrive.

Reason: It is primarily in cities that a nation's cultural traditions are preserved and generated.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.


A city is a place where the finances and administration of a nation is concentrated. Cities are the financial and cultural centres of a nation. It is in the cities where the nation’s diverse populace converge and disseminate ideas and values which serve as a foundation on which a nation develops. Cities form the backbone of the cultural values of a nation. It is for this reason that Governments must ensure that their major cities receive the financial support they need in order to thrive. This is because it is primarily in cities that a nation’s cultural traditions are preserved and generated.

It is a well-known fact that cities represent the refinement that has been achieved in almost every aspect of culture in human society. It is in the cities where the essential administrative, financial and cultural activities of a nation operate. When nations want to exchange a particular commodity or aspect be it administrative, financial or cultural, they mainly do that by selecting a city for that exchange. When a foreign delegate visits a nation, it is in the major cities where they mainly visit to discuss important matters. Cities can serve as a place where a multitude of different people from different provinces and different nations live.

It is in the cities where the major educational institutions of a country are located rather being located in a rustic environment. This is because the tools and supplies that are needed for the advancement of education are easily available in a city. Major industrial centres are located close to major cities. This is because raw materials needed for the industries and factories to operate can be sourced more easily in major cities. A city often harbours a major port from where goods and commodities from other nations can be exchanged.

Without financial backing from the government, cities would cease to function properly. If the financial condition of a city deteriorates, they would no longer serve as the financial and technological hub of a nation. The cultural values required for a nation to grow may stop germinating and the existing cultural values, without preservation, would also cease to exist.

With that being said, the rural areas of a nation are also culturally important. This is because cities develop in areas which were once villages. All the cultural values may not be present in a nation’s cities. For that reason, villages are also important to a nation.


A city is the nucleus of the financial and cultural aspects of a nation. Without financial backing a city may cease to function properly and the cultural development of a nation may be sapped. A culturally deficient nation would lag behind other nations and may quickly face a situation where people would reject living in such a nation.


Argument Task

The following appeared as a letter to the editor from a Central Plaza store owner.

"Over the past two years, the number of shoppers in Central Plaza has been steadily decreasing while the popularity of skateboarding has increased dramatically. Many Central Plaza store owners believe that the decrease in their business is due to the number of skateboard users in the plaza. There has also been a dramatic increase in the amount of litter and vandalism throughout the plaza. Thus, we recommend that the city prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza. If skateboarding is prohibited here, we predict that business in Central Plaza will return to its previously high levels."

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.


The argument is flawed for numerous reasons. It makes many unwarranted assumptions which render the main conclusion that prohibiting skateboarding in Central Plaza will allow the business there to regain its lost ground invalid.

The argument makes an unjustified assumption that increased number of skateboard users alone have contributed to the decrease in business in Central Plaza due to their skateboarding activity. This may not always be true. Business in Central Plaza may be affected due to a varying number of reasons other than skateboarding. It may be the fact that the economic condition of the city may have taken a downward turn for the last two years which has decreased customers’ interest in shopping in Central Plaza. It may be true that the city or country is undergoing an economic recession which has had a detrimental effect on shopping activity in general.

It has also been observed that the decrease in shopping is due to the increase in litter and vandalism throughout the plaza. The reason for that has been erroneously attributed to the increase in skateboarding alone. The increased litter and vandalism may not entirely be due to the increase in skateboarding. It may be due to the fact the plaza area may be hosting some event or fair to offset the decrease in shopping activity. The activities in the fair have caused widespread littering and vandalism. Temporary settlements may have proliferated in the plaza region which may have also contributed to the increase in littering and vandalism. It may also be due to the fact that proper cleaning and sanitation activities have not been going on properly in Central Plaza and the administrative officials have been remiss in their duties.

Prohibiting skateboarding alone in the plaza may not see a remarkable turnover in shopping activity in the plaza. For that reason the city officials have to take various other steps to ensure that the shopping activity in the plaza is restored to its normal levels which was present two years ago. It might very well be the case that shoppers have discovered a substitute to Central Plaza in a different part of the city which caters more to their shopping needs. Maybe the plaza area needs some renovation to woo back more of its potential shoppers. The city administration may designate a particular place and time in Central Plaza where skateboarding activity may proceed without interfering with the normal shopping activity instead of prohibiting skateboarding altogether. The potential shoppers can also be lured back if the store owners offer some attractive incentives which would render the skateboarding problem insignificant.

Since it makes many unwarranted assumptions, the argument fails to make a convincing case that prohibiting skateboarding in Central Plaza would allow the business there to return to its previous high levels.

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