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A Template Approach to the GMAT

Essay

You will be given an essay topic that ETS expects to be debatable. In other words, about
half of the people will agree with one side, while the other half will agree with the other
side.ETS will not give you a topic that most people agree on. For example, you will not
see a topic asking you to give your opinion on the value of education for children, nor on
whether or not the government should have programs to decrease the number of the drug
users.

However, you might see an essay topic asking you to give your opinion on school
vouchers, for example, or you might see a topic asking you to pick whether you think it is
primarily the government's or the family’s responsibility to prevent drug use among
children.
In general, do not take one side of the argument completely. A good rule of thumb is to
argue your opinion at about 60 percent or 70 percent. I should emphasize this—even if
you believe you are one hundred percent correct, you should still pretend that you are 60
or 70 percent correct.

Although the GMAT essay scorers are trained to forgive certain mistakes given the time
constraints of the essay, ETS can be very picky. Pay attention to your grammar, spelling,
and logicalsequence, just to name a few. How can you improve your score? ETS also
looks for sentence variety and ability to use language. I will show you some simple ways
to do this—really, it's not that hard!

OK, here we go.

One Way

First of all, you have to figure out why they chose this as a topic. Remember—not
everybody will agree, in fact it should be about 50/50. This is your hint. Try to find about
five points for and against each side (ten points total). Don't worry if you think that your
points are stupid or trivial. The important thing right now is just to get some ideas down
on paper, to start your brain working.

Second, figure out which side you are going to take. Duh.
Third, start writing! Don’t worry about an introduction or a conclusion right now—they
are the hardest to write and everybody gets hung up on them. Just get your ideas down
first.

Next, make sure you have about three or four paragraphs. You should be thinking about
adding some examples now. Try to make one personal, maybe from your country and
another one either international or American (the idea is that most educated Americans
will have heard about the topic before). Don’t make your examples too personal! Imagine
your prospective boss is reading this.

Now, go back and spice up your language—add something witty, an illustrative anecdote,
a rhetorical question, even sarcasm or irony. Also, try changing the order of some of your
sentences, i.e., put the subordinate clause first.

Almost done! Write your intro and conclusion!

Last, check grammar and spelling. Viola! A perfect essay!

Template

Okay, let’s try the essay now.

First Paragraph: Introduction

The issue/belief/idea/opinion that ______________________________________ is an


interesting/controversial one. This issue is increasingly important in this age of
___________________________. Many people believe _________________________,
but these people overlook _________________________________________________.
Furthermore, _____________________________________. In this essay, I will argue
that __________________________________________________ _______________.

Second Paragraph: Support


There are many good reasons for ____________________________. However, it cannot
be ignored/overlooked that ___________________________. A classic example of this is
___________________________________________ . Try to add something interesting
in this paragraph. Make sure you use a few complicated structures—try putting a
subordinate clause first. Like this: While many type of professional promote the notion
that _____________________________, I believe the opposite should be argued given
the current situation/status/ of ____________________________________.

Conclusion

I have argued _______________________. This view will become increasingly dominant


in the coming century given ________________________________. Many of these
issues can never be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction, but in the long run, promoting
________________________________ will lead to the betterment of all involved.
Finally, _____________________________ increased something like global
cooperation, cultural understanding, blah, blah, blah can only result from this, resulting
in ______________________________ for everybody.

I am submitting a template that I feel was quite good. For the record I scored 5.5/6.0 in
the GRE.

Instruction: What ever is in bold should be written in all arguments.

1 Para: The argument concludes that ...............mention the conclusion the author has
drawn from the argument. Avoid spelling mistakes of pronouns. Make sure you mention
all the premises and any assumption made by the author. The augument is full of gaps
and loop holes since it presents fragmentary evidence. Neither are the premises
convincing nor is the conclusion compelling. The argument is very evidently the
result of a hasty generalization.

2 Para: Discuss the biggest fallacy in the argument. Mention all counter arguments like
what the author should have taken into consideration or what he missed out.

3 Para: Same as above. Discuss second biggest fallacy.

4 Para: Mention other illogical assumtions. Do not state counter arguments.

5 Para: The argument is the result of a huge speculation in which the auhtor has
comfortably assumed a considerable amount of data. Had the author taken the
above discussed factors into view, it would have rendered the argument irrefutable.
But whatever presented fails to provide a hololistic picture to the superfluous claims
being made.

The following appeared as part of an article in a local newspaper.

During her three years in office, Governor Riedeburg has shown herself to be
worthy leader. Since she took office, crime has decreased, the number of jobs
created per year doubled, and the number of people choosing to live in our state
has increased. These trends are likely to continue if she is re-elected. In addition,
Ms. Reideburg has promised to take steps to keep big companies here thereby
providing jobs for any new residents. Anyone who looks at her record can tell that
she is the best qualified candidate of governor.

The argument concludes that Governor Reideburg should be re-elected into


office as she is the best qualified candiate. The author supports his decision by
saying that since Ms. Reideburg has taken over the office crime has decreased,
the number of jobs created per year have doubled, and the number of people
choosing to live in that state has increased. In addition, the author claims that
Ms. Reideburg has promised to keep big companies here thereby providing jobs
for new residents. The author has conveniently assumed that these trends would
continue and that companies present in the state will provide jobs continuously to
all residents. The augument is full of gaps and loop holes since it presents
fragmentary evidence. Neither are the premises convincing nor is the conclusion
compelling. The argument is very evidently the result of a hasty generalization.

The argument clearly lacks sufficient evidence and statistical data to make such
supererogatory claims. While the author has stated that crime has decreased,
there is no statistical evidence to prove such a claim. It could just be a yearly
trend, and nothing is expressed for us to believe that this a direct result of the
governor efforts. Similarly, even data about the residents moving to the state is
ambiguous as nothing about real estate values or quality of living is mentioned.
Furthermore, the author cliams that number of jobs created per year have
doubled, whereas the quality of the jobs or the pay of the jobs is not mentioned.
This only debilitates the argument.

The agument takes various subjective factors into account. The author states
that the governor promises to take steps to keep big companies in the state that
will provide jobs to all new residents. These are only promises and whether they
will be fullfilled or not is a huge speculation. The author does not include the
promises made by the governor in her previous election and whether she kept to
her word or not. Also, it is not necessary that the companies present would
continue to provide jobs to all new residents. Likewise, the argument fails to
mention what steps the governor would take to improve the infrastructure of the
state. Such a claim is not sufficient to arrive at a conclusion.

The argument also fails to include any testimonials of the present denizens of the
state, and whether they are satisfied with the progress the governor has
accomplised or not. Similarly, the credibility of the newspaper in which the
arcticle has appeared has to be taken into account. The argument is quite clearly
a propogandist motive to promote the governor. Finally, the article does not
mention credibility of the other candidates contesting for the governor's office,
and one cannot arrive at the conclusion that the Ms. Redeburg is the best suited
candidate for the job.

The argument is the result of a huge speculation in which the auhtor has
comfortably assumed a considerable amount of data. Had the author taken the
above discussed factors into view, it would have rendered the argument
irrefutable. But whatever presented fails to provide a hololistic picture to the
superfluous claims being made.

The following appeared in a letter to prospective students from the admissions


office at Plateau College.

"Every person who earned an advanced degree in science or engineering from


Olympus University last year recieved numerous offers of excellent jobs.
Typically, many graduates of Plateau have gone on to pursue advanced at
Olympus. Therefore, enrolling as an undergraduate of Plateau College is a wise
choice for students who wish to ensure success in their careers."

The argument concludes that students who wish to have a successful career
should go to Plateau College for undergraduate study as typically students from
Plateau College have gone to pursue advanced degrees in Olympus college. The
author continues that students of science and engineering from Olympus
University recieve numerous excellent job offers. The author has also assumed
that any student from Olympus University will definetely recieve good job offers
ensuring them success in their careers. The argument in full of gaps and loop
holes since it presents fragmentary evidence. Neither are the premises
convincing nor is the conclusion compelling. The argument in very evidently the
result of a hasty generalization.

The author has clearly assumed the fact that all future students from Olympus
University will procure numerous excellent job offers. The argument lacks
sufficient stastistical data to support his claim. The statistical data refrenced
could just be a trend of that particular year. The author should have provided
statistical data for at least the last three to five years to make such a clam.
Neither is the reputation of the recruiting organizations nor the type of job offered
mentioned in the argument. Futhermore, the argument fails to mention whether
students passing out from Olympus University fare well in other universities or in
the jobs thereafter. This only weakens the argument further.

The author mentions that students from Plateau College typically further their
studies in Olympus University. The author fails to mention how many student are
actually granted admission in to Olympus University and how they fare at the
university. The auhtor also does not speak about the costs associated with
studying in Plateau College or Olympus University. The author does not mention
the other facilities and ameneties provided at Plateau College. It is clearly a
propogandist motive to allure students to Plateau College.

The argument only mentions about science and engineering students. It does not
enlighten us about students from different fields of study like environment,
geology, medicine, etc. Hence it is not possible to conclude that studying in
Olympus college would be beneficial to all the students. Such a conclusion is
only non-sequitur.

The argument is the result of a huge speculation in which the author has
comfortably assumed a considerable amount of data. Had he taken the above
discussed factors into view it would have rendered the argument irrefuteable. But
whatever presented fails to provide a holistic picture of the superfluous claims
being made.

The following appeared in a letter to prospective students from the admissions


office at Plateau College.

"Every person who earned an advanced degree in science or engineering from


Olympus University last year recieved numerous offers of excellent jobs.
Typically, many graduates of Plateau have gone on to pursue advanced at
Olympus. Therefore, enrolling as an undergraduate of Plateau College is a wise
choice for students who wish to ensure success in their careers."

The argument concludes that students who wish to have a successful career
should go to Plateau College for undergraduate study as typically students from
Plateau College have gone to pursue advanced degrees in Olympus college. The
author continues that students of science and engineering from Olympus
University recieve numerous excellent job offers. The author has also assumed
that any student from Olympus University will definetely recieve good job offers
ensuring them success in their careers. The argument in full of gaps and loop
holes since it presents fragmentary evidence. Neither are the premises
convincing nor is the conclusion compelling. The argument in very evidently the
result of a hasty generalization.

The author has clearly assumed the fact that all future students from Olympus
University will procure numerous excellent job offers. The argument lacks
sufficient stastistical data to support his claim. The statistical data refrenced
could just be a trend of that particular year. The author should have provided
statistical data for at least the last three to five years to make such a clam.
Neither is the reputation of the recruiting organizations nor the type of job offered
mentioned in the argument. Futhermore, the argument fails to mention whether
students passing out from Olympus University fare well in other universities or in
the jobs thereafter. This only weakens the argument further.

The author mentions that students from Plateau College typically further their
studies in Olympus University. The author fails to mention how many student are
actually granted admission in to Olympus University and how they fare at the
university. The auhtor also does not speak about the costs associated with
studying in Plateau College or Olympus University. The author does not mention
the other facilities and ameneties provided at Plateau College. It is clearly a
propogandist motive to allure students to Plateau College.

The argument only mentions about science and engineering students. It does not
enlighten us about students from different fields of study like environment,
geology, medicine, etc. Hence it is not possible to conclude that studying in
Olympus college would be beneficial to all the students. Such a conclusion is
only non-sequitur.

The argument is the result of a huge speculation in which the author has
comfortably assumed a considerable amount of data. Had he taken the above
discussed factors into view it would have rendered the argument irrefuteable. But
whatever presented fails to provide a holistic picture of the superfluous claims
being made.