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Please critique/score my GRE essays


iksunl

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Hello everyone, I have been practicing my essay writing and this is the second issue and second argument essay I have written (practiced 4 so far, these are the latest 2). I pretty much scroll randomly through the pool of topics and pick the first one that I see and set a 30 minute timer for it. I realized it sort of depends on how familiar or how well you can relate to the prompt as well as what kinds of examples you are familiar with that work well. Excuse the spacing/formatting, not sure why it does this. If you can tell me anything that I do well on and things that I could work on and a predictable/likely score that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

 

A few questions as well:

1. Is it OK if I stick with a more direct/structured approach (as shown in my essays below) instead of a I guess you can say a more "artistic" or "poetic" approach with my wording to sound more scholarly, etc? Or is one better than the other? 

2. If I have an example/supporting body paragraph that I am on the fence about, like it kind of works, but it kind of sucks at the same time, is it best to put it in or leave it out?

 

ISSUE ESSAY (I actually slightly cheated on this one as I looked up the word "dispel" because I was not 100% sure of what it meant. I'm not sure if it would have changed what I wrote though):
 

The main benefit of the study of history is to dispel the illusion that people living now are significantly different from people who lived in earlier times.

 

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

 

The study of history can dispel the illusion that people in the present are living lives greatly different than people of earlier times, but the opposite can be true as well. It really depends on the topic of study and the aspect of history that is being studied. There are examples in history that we as people in the present can look back on and reflect on how much our lives have changed as well as examples of how similar of lives we are still living with people of earlier times.

                Take the idea of sports for example. In the ancient Greek times at the origins of the Olympics, the athletes trained and competed hard in their sport with a zero-sum mindset; they either came in first as winners or nothing at all. In present day, this mindset still holds true in many sports across many skill levels. Professional athletes for example train and perform with one main goal in mind and that is to win. In every well-known sport, there is a championship or award of some sort that represents someone or a team the best of something and athletes strive for this. The ancient Greeks had the same goal and for them it was the Olympic Games which by the way is still very prevalent to this day. If we look at history with this topic and scope, people are living lives with those of earlier times that are rather similar.

                The same topic of ancient Greek sports can also be looked at a different perspective to show how significantly different people are living lives now as compared to earlier times. The ancient Greek athletes primarily played and competed in sports to honor their Gods and they wanted to satisfy them. They believed that they too can become like the Gods through winning competitions. In modern day, people no longer compete and play sports to satisfy the Gods and become divine. When people play sports now, the primary motivating factors for playing are usually things such as staying healthy, exercise, for fun, and to bond with people. Back then, hardly any athletes had these on their list of reasons why they compete as they only competed to please the Gods. In this example, the same topic was used but shown in a different perspective to depict how significantly different lives are lived now as compared to earlier times.

                Whether or not history really dispels the illusion that people living now are significantly different or not compared to people of earlier times really depends on how the history is being viewed and study. The same topic and the same idea can be used to show both how lives are being lived similarly and significantly different. The perspective and scope of the topic really defines it all. 

 

 

ARGUMENT ESSAY:
 

The following appeared in a memo from the new vice president of Sartorian, a company that manufactures men's clothing.

 

"Five years ago, at a time when we had difficulty obtaining reliable supplies of high-quality wool fabric, we discontinued production of our popular alpaca overcoat. Now that we have a new fabric supplier, we should resume production. Given the outcry from our customers when we discontinued this product and the fact that none of our competitors offers a comparable product, we can expect pent-up consumer demand for our alpaca coats. Due to this demand and the overall increase in clothing prices, we can predict that Sartorian's alpaca overcoats will be more profitable than ever before."

 

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction.

 

The new vice president’s statement about the resurgence of alpaca coats does seem reasonable given how people were in distress when the product was discontinued and how no other competitor offered a comparable product, but the vice president should not be so quick to draw to the conclusion of alpaca coats being more profitable than ever. Here are a few things the new vice president should take into consideration before making a prediction on how the sales of alpaca coats will go.

 

Firstly, what season is it? The vice president fails to state what season the alpaca coats would come back in. Most people would wear alpaca coats in the winter time when it is cold. If Sartorian plans on rereleasing the coats during the summer season, people probably would not be too inclined to buy them, thus leading to lowered profits. It would be most optimal for Sartorian to sell these coats during when the season will be colder so that people will want to shop for coats.

 

Secondly, it is great news that Sartorian found a new fabric supplier, but do they provide the same high-quality wool fabric that was used previously for the alpaca coats? If the quality of wool is not the same as before, people may be disgruntled and disappointed about the anticlimactic return of alpaca coats from Sartorian. Perhaps people really liked the coats for the quality of material and so it would be of best interest for Sartorian to check the quality of the wool first.

 

Lastly, are alpaca coats still fashionable and in style? The vice president stated that it has been five years since the discontinuation.  After so many years, perhaps people do not even like alpaca coats anymore or that style of coats are no longer considered fashionable. Since the discontinuation, perhaps consumers were irritated at first, but have later moved on to alternative styles of coats to wear. The vice president should investigate the fashion market and trends first to see what people are wearing these days before getting the companies hopes up about profits.

 

As a vice president of a clothing company, it is reasonable to predict a record high profit on a product that people once loved and cried for but there are other factors to consider first especially in the fashion industry on whether or not a clothing will be profitable again. It is not so black and white when predicting demand and popularity.

Edited by iksunl
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Essay 1 looks well organized to me, and you make an appropriate argument. Some problems:

  • No indent on first paragraph
  • "...we as people in the present..." should be phrased differently - perhaps "modern-day scholars"
  • "...have changed as well as examples..." needs a comma between "changed" and "as"
  • "Take the idea..." is colloquial language (as is "we as people" above), and this opening sentence is almost a fragment. You need to use a more academic style, now that you are aiming for graduate level study.
  • "Professional athletes for example train..." needs commas around "for example"
  • "...there is a championship or award of some sort that represents someone or a team the best of something and athletes strive for this." This whole sentence needs to be rephrased - too much use of "some", and too wordy. find a more concise way of saying what you want to get across, e.g., "in modern sporting events, athletes compete to demonstrate who has the greater physical skills and strength."
  • Need a comma between "...Olympic Games..." and "...which..."

I could continue, but it comes down to three main problems: 1) brush up on the rules for commas and other punctuation usage, 2) avoid colloquial language, 3) improve your vocabulary, both so that you don't get thrown by words in the prompt and so that you can be more concise in your sentence construction. I don't mean to be harsh, but if you needed to look up "dispel", then I predict you will have trouble with the verbal portion of the test, also. Using academic language is not a matter of being artistic or poetic, but of knowing how to say exactly what you mean in fewer words. Failure in this regard  may suggest to reviewers that you are not graduate school material. In my own case, thought I have had good reviews of my writing, I have also been made aware that I need to step up my game if I am to compete successfully in a doctoral program.

 

Your second essay is also well organized and makes appropriate arguments, although I would have expected to see a paragraph about cost of production and expected sale values. Again, comma usage is a problem, but the language style is less stilted - perhaps the topic is one with which you are more familiar.

 

Best of luck!

 

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Essay 1 looks well organized to me, and you make an appropriate argument. Some problems:

  • No indent on first paragraph
  • "...we as people in the present..." should be phrased differently - perhaps "modern-day scholars"
  • "...have changed as well as examples..." needs a comma between "changed" and "as"
  • "Take the idea..." is colloquial language (as is "we as people" above), and this opening sentence is almost a fragment. You need to use a more academic style, now that you are aiming for graduate level study.
  • "Professional athletes for example train..." needs commas around "for example"
  • "...there is a championship or award of some sort that represents someone or a team the best of something and athletes strive for this." This whole sentence needs to be rephrased - too much use of "some", and too wordy. find a more concise way of saying what you want to get across, e.g., "in modern sporting events, athletes compete to demonstrate who has the greater physical skills and strength."
  • Need a comma between "...Olympic Games..." and "...which..."

I could continue, but it comes down to three main problems: 1) brush up on the rules for commas and other punctuation usage, 2) avoid colloquial language, 3) improve your vocabulary, both so that you don't get thrown by words in the prompt and so that you can be more concise in your sentence construction. I don't mean to be harsh, but if you needed to look up "dispel", then I predict you will have trouble with the verbal portion of the test, also. Using academic language is not a matter of being artistic or poetic, but of knowing how to say exactly what you mean in fewer words. Failure in this regard  may suggest to reviewers that you are not graduate school material. In my own case, thought I have had good reviews of my writing, I have also been made aware that I need to step up my game if I am to compete successfully in a doctoral program.

 

Your second essay is also well organized and makes appropriate arguments, although I would have expected to see a paragraph about cost of production and expected sale values. Again, comma usage is a problem, but the language style is less stilted - perhaps the topic is one with which you are more familiar.

 

Best of luck!

Hey, thank you for your response and I appreciate the feedback! You pointed out mistakes that I did not even know I made which is definitely useful to help me improve.

Regarding the lack on indentation on the first paragraph, for some reason when I copied and pasted it in there that first line just wouldn't indent. Also, if you have the ETS GRE book, the sample essay responses in the book also lack an indentation for the first paragraph for some reason. Hopefully on test day I can properly indent on the test there.

 

For the word "dispel", I was relatively confident it had something to do with "remove" or "get rid of" but I was not 100% positive so I figured I'd double check. However, I know that on test day I will not be able to look words up so I cannot rely on doing this in the future. You are right that the verbal section of the test is the section I struggle with most actually. 

Thank you again for your help!

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