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Could really, really use some help with scoring my essays!


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Hi! So I simulated an actual GRE test on the computer and would love it if someone could help score my essays. This is the first time I actually did them under the time pressure, and am not too sure how I would fare if this turned out to be the real deal (yikes). If you're too busy to help review both, I would be so grateful if you could even help review and score one! Much thanks, appreciate it so much!


Essay 1: A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.


In many countries across the world, such as Taiwan, Denmark and Malaysia, the secondary education system is based off a similar curriculum. All students across the country partake in learning the same set of subjects made compulsory by the Government. Yet, a question to ponder is this: does this system truly benefit the society of a country as a whole? Do the pros of such a system outweight the cons? Personally, I do not think a nation should require all its students to study a similar national curriculum before entering college.
As painful as the truth sounds, we have to acknowledge that some students, especially those in their younger age, would be more inclined to perform better in classes than their peers. This former set of students would be more driven and would be ready to learn more things, since they would tend to find the standardized material too easy. However, since they cannot take more difficult science or humanities classes, these students are forced to listen to stuff they already know! A direct effect of this is they will tend to lose interest in class, and consequently, lose their sense of curiosity to discover more about the world around them in the classroom. Take Terence Tao for example, who managed to score above a 700 on the Math SAT when he was only 9. Do you think he would be as accomplished as he is today had the education system confined him to only learning about topics on the Math SAT, which students only finish learning around junior year of high school? I do not think so.
Secondly, we also have to recognize that different students have different personalities. It would be unfair for a student who is more artistically inclined to be forced to learn more about the sciences. The sense of individuality of these students are stifled and they may also lose interest of their true passion. What is the good of forcing a student to learn something when he or she is clearly disinterested in the topic material, and when they are sure of what they want to do in life?
While some may argue that having a same national curriculum is beneficial because training for teachers would become a less expensive task, since all didactic material would be standardized, there are many assumptions that are overlooked. People need to understand that having a standardized curriculum is ideal, but the execution is not as easy. Different schools in areas of different socioeconomic status would gain different access to facilities. This provides uneven opportunities for students where the 'rich become richer, and the poor become poorer,' inducing the formation of an even larger gap of socioeconomic status that already exists today. In addition, not all teachers may be accustomed to a teaching the same material in the same way. This can widen the learning gap between students from different schools, depending on the teachers' abilities, also counter productive of the intention for a standardized national curriculum in the first place.
Without doubt, a perfect education system does not exist. But for me, making all students of a nation study a similar national curriculum before entering college is not the best prerogative to enforce. As we can see, doing so potentially stifles the students' creativity and individuality, as well as generating more social related problems, like creating a wider status gap between different socioeconomic regions. Any government which insist on executing this proposal really needs to conduct more research before doing so.
Essay 2: The following is a memorandum from the business manager of a television station: "Over the past year, our late-night news program has devoted increased time to national news and less time to weather and local news. During this time period, most of the complaints received from viewers were concerned with our station's coverage of weather and local news. In addition, local businesses that used to advertise during out late-night news program have just canceled their advertising contracts with us. Therefore, in order to attract more viewers to the program and to avoid losing any further advertising revenues, we should restore the time devoted to weather and local news to its former level." 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 business manager of this television station claims that they should allocate more time for weather and local news during their late-night news program to attract more viewers and advertising revenues. However, there are many aspects to evaluate before the business manager decides to revert back to the old time allocation.
A critical piece of information discussed was that most complaints from viewers voiced concern over the coverage of weather and local news. Yet, are the viewers who opted to do so truly represent the actual viewer numbers? Most of the time, people who lodge complaints are people who feel strongly about their opinion. In other words, people who are in fact fine with the recently implemented time slot change would not submit a complaint while those who are negatively polarized about it would tend to voice out their concerns. In short, the business manager should conduct a more comprehensive survey on what the local community really thinks. Depending on the collective results, one would have a better idea on how the community as a whole really thinks about having less time to local news and the weather, and thus, showing us if the business manager's argument is justified.
The memorandum also mentioned that local businesses have canceled their advertising contracts. One assumption here is that local businesses do so because the weather and local news have a smaller amount of coverage on the program. This is not necessarily true. There may be many reasons for local businesses to do so. For example, the target audience of these businesses may not be a large percentage of the viewers of the late-night news program. Maybe these businesses have conducted their own research, justifying their reasons for cancelling their contracts. The business manager should confirm if local businesses are in fact cancelling their contracts due to the difference in time allocation of the weather and local news, before deciding on changing any component of the program.
The business manager should also obtain evidence on whether restoring the time devoted to local news and weather would really attract more viewers to the program. Based on the memorandum alone, he or she assumes that allocating more time to the two previously mentioned components would increase viewership. Again, this does not have to be true. Despite the complaints, this does not mean that their viewership has dropped. Aditionally, they might have saturated their target audience given the current modus operandi of their program. They should really find out if they have saturated their target audience. If so is the case, they should come up with other measures to increase viewership. Merely increasing time devoted to weather and local news will not necessarily attract more viewers.
In conclusion, more evidence should be gathered to support the business manager's claims. Many assumptions were made in the memorandum that may not reflect the reality of the situation, such as assuming that local businesses retracted their advertising due to changes in time slots of the weather and local news, complaints received were indicative of the community as a whole, and that more people would watch the program by changing the time slots. Clearly, more research should be done to substantiate the argument made.   
Edited by gavinb432
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