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Howdy guys! I'm looking for a study partner to grade each others essays...


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I'm looking to partner up with one-couple other people to check each others essays and support each other in our preparations for the GRE! I'm moving about, so the best way for me to do this is online. I'm looking to take the GRE end of September, with the option of retaking in October and November if needed...Hopefully will only have to take it once, but you never know! I'm shooting for a 340 & 6....hey--if you shoot for the stars, at least your feet will dangle in the treetops....who's with me!


Here's my first attempt at a practice essay:



Universities should require every student to take a variety of courses outside the student's field of study.

Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how these consequences shape your position.



     As the purveyors and champions of knowledge and learning, universities have an enormous responsibility to educate students in a way that creates contributing members of a variegated society. Therefore, universities should require students from all majors to take a variety of courses outside their fields of study.

     In order to be a well-educated individual in today’s society, one must be well-rounded. Take our hypothetical student pair, Mike and Erica. Mike is outstanding with numbers. He loves math courses and would be happy to never have to set foot in an English writing lab. But without effective English instruction, Mike will be less able to convey his ideas within his work environment. Erica, on the other hand, loves to be creative and would rather not focus on any subjects outside of interpretive dance. Without a grounding in history, social-studies and political theory, Erica would be less capable of serving her duty as a citizen to be invovled. It is important for each citizen to be informed on a number of issues, topics and subjects so that they can make better contributions to their communities. Those with a myopic view of one subject may not be able to contribute in effective ways due to their inability to see beyond their specific subject.

     Since Mike and Erica wouldn’t necessarily choose a variety of subjects on their own, each university should set a precedent by requiring them to choose courses of study outside of their field or major. However, particular areas of study should be offered as options instead of specific courses. A university shouldn’t be so onerous as to pigeon-hole a student into a specific track of classes, but should allow each student to choose courses of interest within a subject area. Mike, for example, would have the option to choose a course in classical sonnets or an acting class to fulfill part of his requirements, whichever seemed more interesting to him.

     The ultimate goal of the university in requiring students to be well-rounded by taking a variety of courses is to create an atmosphere where people can connect ideas. In an increasingly involved world, graduates must be able to connect their area of expertise to a variety of subjects and ideas. A course of study, however, should be careful to still provide enough time for each student to gain that expertise. One of the dangers of taking too wide a spread of courses in different subject areas is that Erica or Mike might graduate without a specific skill set. Because of this, a significant amount of time must still be dedicated to the student’s field of study.

     Because of today’s complex and interconnected world, it is not enough for students to simply focus on one subject area. Universities should take the lead in requiring students to study a variety of subjects, and offer each student choices within each of those fields.

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And here's the argument task:


The following appeared in a health magazine published in Corpora.

"Medical experts say that only one-quarter of Corpora's citizens meet the current standards for adequate physical fitness, even though twenty years ago, one-half of all of Corpora's citizens met the standards as then defined. But these experts are mistaken when they suggest that spending too much time using computers has caused a decline in fitness. Since overall fitness levels are highest in regions of Corpora where levels of computer ownership are also highest, it is clear that using computers has not made citizens less physically fit. Instead, as shown by this year's unusually low expenditures on fitness-related products and services, the recent decline in the economy is most likely the cause, and fitness levels will improve when the economy does."


Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.




     The author bases his conclusion that “fitness levels will improve when the economy does” on several lines of erroneous thinking. His argument fails to consider a wider set of possibilities for why “medical experts” are reporting a decline in those able to meet standards for physical fitness, and the relationship between the economy and fitness levels.

     The author’s conclusion is predicated on the idea that Corpora’s citizens today are less fit than they were twenty years ago. However, this may or may not be factual. The author states that half of Corpora’s citizens “met the standards as then defined” (emphasis mine). The standards for adequate physical fitness could have changed from twenty years ago. While it’s still possible that in actuality Corpora’s citizens are less physically fit than before, a fair comparison must be made between today’s and the previous standard in order to measure people on the same scale. If it is shown that the previous standards were less rigorous, that would weaken the author’s assumption that current citizens fitness levels are lower.

     The sudden jump to linking physical fitness to computer usage seems odd. There are a number of variables that could cause fitness levels to change. Computers and fitness level might be correlated, but it’s erroneous to assume any causality in either direction. The author seems to dismiss the claim to causality by trying to disprove the causality. Rather, the author should have made an appeal to the fact that these two observations might not be causitive at all. Conversely, just because areas where computer use is highest sees people who are well-fit, doesn’t mean that computers aren’t causing low-fitness levels in other places. Maybe those who are the least-fit also use computers at a high level, and the computers are causing people to be less active and eat poorly in front of their computer screens. An experiment—not an observational study—would have to be conducted in order to determine causality.

     Continuing in the vein of erroneous causal thinking, the author posits two further assumptions: one, that the decline in the economy caused fewer people to purchase exercise equipment and services, and two, that speding on fitness related products leads to people becoming more healthy. It takes one look into your average man’s basement to observe the number of weight benches and bicycles collecting dust to know that simply purchasing equipment and services doesn’t necessarily mean the overal population of Corpora is going to become more fit by making more purchases. But even if purchasing more services did lead to the citizens of Corpora becoming more physically fit, there is no indication that an improvment in the economy would lead people to buy more exercise health products and services. The decrease in spending might have been due to the closure of a sports outlet in Corpora and the citizens now don’t have access to exercise equipment. Additionally, an upswing in the economy might cause people to spend more money on things antithecal to health such as more meals at fast-food restaurants.

     Clearly, the author has based his opinions and conclusions on several assumptions that if don’t hold true, makes it erroneous for him to conclude that an upswing in the economy will coincide with citizens who are more physically fit.

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