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Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:57 am

My Rights or Yours?

In a democratic society, where the majority rules, there exists an inherent and rarely mentioned fact: the rights of the minority are often suppressed. In our democratic society we often assume that the values and the rights of the majority must be the most ‘correct’ and the best for the people of the country as a whole. But what happens when the majority does not respect the rights of the minority? What happens when the rights of the majority directly impede the rights of the minority? I assure you that this indeed happens, probably more often than one cares to agree. John F. Kennedy once said, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” When democratic law forces the rule of the majority onto the minority, are they not forcing the minority to conform? Is this not dangerous to the minority and to our society? When voting for representatives, the majority must keep in mind the religious and cultural rights of the minorities of the country. Morally, the rights of the majority should not lead to the oppression of the minority. For instance, in past centuries when the government was secular, laws were often passed that represented only the rights of the dominant religion, at the expense religious freedom. In fact, even following another religion, or denouncing the ruling religion, would lead to conviction, or worse, execution. The rights of the minority in this situation were clearly suppressed by the powerful majority.

However, while it is important to respect the rights of the minority when making laws, the rights of the minority should not suppress or endanger the rights of the majority. The minority cannot be appeased at the expense of the majority, particularly if protecting the minority means endangering the majority. For example, the government in France has made the decision to ban the Burka (a head scarf that Muslim women wear) in schools, public office, and on public transport. This ruling was made to protect the safety and the rights of the majority. One of the rights of the majority in France is gender equality and the government in France felt that the Burka directly impeded that right. While Muslims have the right to individual religious freedom in the country, the French government felt that the practice of wearing the Burka endangered gender equality, and that a fundamental value of France was gender equality. Therefore, in this instance, the minority was forced to conform with the majority in order to protect the rights of the majority and the values of the country.

In conclusion, every person’s rights should be respected and taken into account whether they are a member of the majority or the minority on a given issue. However, if the rights or the beliefs of the minority directly conflict with the majority’s rights, the rights of the majority must take precedence; especially if the majority are placed in danger due to these opposing rights. On the other hand, endangering the minority due to rights of the majority should also be avoided whenever possible.


SCORE: 58

GENERAL COMMENTS:
You tackle a very complex subject here - the issues surrounding the wearing (and banning) of the burqua / burka in France caused quite a lot of controversy. In as short an essay as this, the complexities of that issue could not be fully explored. With that said, it is a good example of minority rights.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
As already mentioned, this is a very complex issue. But you have addressed it as well as possible given the amount of space and time here. Your thesis statement is more a question: "What happens when the rights of the majority directly impede the rights of the minority", but the example you used illustrates a slightly different question, that is; what happens when the rights of the minority conflict with the values of the majority? This is a very interesting question, and, in this essay, one you addressed well. You might want to consider revising your thesis to reflect that.

Nevertheless, you do show a good understanding of the socio-cultural implications of what happens when minority rights come into conflict with societal values. To what extent do we allow freedoms? When do one group's freedoms become violations of another group's rights? It is a difficult question to resolve, and you are right to give space to both sides of the argument in your conclusion.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
Try to keep your paragraphs a little shorter. For example, Paragraph 1 should have ended after Sentence 5. The introductory paragraph in particular should be short and to the point. You should have an opening sentence or two to introduce your subject, and then your thesis statement. Anything more goes in the next paragraph.

In general, it is a good idea to keep paragraphs short, as long paragraphs are psychologically tiring to the reader, even before they start reading them. It is rather like seeing a very long, steep hill in front of you with no rest stops along the way.

There are no issues with grammar, sentence structure or language use. You write complex sentences with ease, and your writing is easy to read. The essay as a whole flows very well.
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A (Sample 2)

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:40 pm

The Role of Society: Protection of the minority

The fundamental role of a government or ruling body is not to acquiesce to the will of the majority, but to protect the rights of each individual in that society. As James Madison has stated, "the greater danager is that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority". That it is why is up the government, and in its capacity as guardians of the constitution and the rule of law, to ensure that minority interests in society are protected: whether that be a minority race, followers of a minority religion or disabled, sick or otherwise marginalised individuals.

The history of our civilisation is that certain races have been oppressed by other races. For example, history shows that there have been many groups that have been oppressed due to the overwhelming social economic dominance of certain groups: the white English over the Aborigines, the South Africa wihite apartheid regime over the black Africans and the Europeans over the gypsy groups. However, in the last hundred years, with the increasingly development of our society, it was recognised that it was fundamentally and morally wrong to oppress or discriminate on the grounds of race. Wars have been fought on this basis, and the result was that the rights of all races have been enshrined in most countries legislative framework. This is not to say that there are still some groups in soceity that believe these rights should be protected. unfortunately, racism is rampant. That is why it is up to the government as guardians of the constitution and rule of law to protect those rights despite the will of some groups of people.

Similarly, protection of the religious freedom has been increasingly recognised as imperative to a civilised socity. The freedom to practice one's own religious beliefs is now recognised as a fundamental human right that is protected by law. But what if it wasn't? What if the majority got to decide what religion a society should follow? Once again, wars have been fought and continue to be fought as some groups in society victimise minority religious groups. For example, in society today there is simmering tension and aggression between sunni and sh'ite muslims or jewish and islamic religious groups. Thankfully, in countries such as Australia, the marginalisation of relgious groups cannot occur in any significant way. Why? Not because there are not groups on society that want to pursh certain relgious groups out, but because the right to religious freedom is enshrined in law and protected by the government.

Another minority group to consider are those that are sick and disabled. Like in the examples above, their rights are legally protected. But for these groups, the role of government is even greater. Government must help these individuals with welfare to ensure they receive basic necessities. Thankfully, the protection of these individuals does not rest with the majority. The protection of sick and disabled individuals is enshrined in law. But what if it wasn't? What if in times of economic hardship, decisions on the welfare of sick or disabled people were left to a majority of the public that had little respect for the rights of this minority group? It is a terrifying thought that the basic interests of some individuals of society may not be protected due to the will of a majority that have self-interest at heart. For this reason, the protection of the sick and disabled must always be part of our constitution and legislative framework and must be implemented by the government as guardians of these basic legal rights.

The protection of every minorty group's rights is imperative to the functioning of civilised society. Whether it be the protection of minority race groups, protection of religious freedom or protection of the sick and disabled, the role of the government is significant. Left to the will of the people, or to the will of a vocal subset of the people, the minority groups may not receive the legal protection they deserve. But that is why the rights of minorities in Australia are not left to the will of the people - and thanfully.....(ran out of time because computer switched off for 5 min)


SCORE: 58

GENERAL COMMENTS:
It is too bad you ran out of time (and slightly ironic, given the subject of your previous essay!). Your writing style is brilliant; it is very clear, straightforward, and easy to read without being over-simplistic. You write with pizazz and an assertiveness that speaks of intelligence, confidence, and to a certain extent, passion.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
You use a wide variety of examples and explain your position well. There is good breadth here. You show a good understanding of the many socio-cultural issues that are contained in the theme of the quotes.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
The basic structure of the essay is very good. The use of the "what if" questions in each example is very effective. Your introduction includes a clear thesis, your examples are excellent and your conclusion is… unfinished. However, you did accomplish the majority of the task.

There are only a few errors in grammar or spelling. You would have caught and corrected these yourself had you had time to proof read. For example, it is unfortunate that you made a spelling error in the quote in Paragraph 1, Sentence 2 ("greater" rather than "great"). There are several other similar examples. In Paragraph 2 Sentence 5, "society" in misspelled. Sentence 6 lacks capitalisation of the first word. In Paragraph 3 Sentence 1, "society" is again misspelled. In Sentence 6, the names of religions should be capitalised.

OTHER COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS:
The suggestion here is to proof read and practise! While there is nothing you can do about technological glitches, if you had built in proof reading time you might have had time to finish the essay.

Keep in mind too that it is better to write a little less, and do so flawlessly, than to add in those few extra sentences and miss catching those little errors. This sort of attention to little details should ensure that you are able to write an excellent essay in your exam. Good luck!
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A (Sample 2)

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:42 pm

A world with no governing systems is quite unimaginable today. Throughout history other methods have been used to control society, but government has won out. It’s nice to think that everyone could live by a set of morals and act consciously of their neighbour, but we have proven this is just not possible. Without a system to set rules, and to enforce consequences to breaking them, society would be in mayhem. A government that is responsible for these tasks is absolutely necessary. The popular system of a democracy, where the majority vote counts, has been proven to be most just. But there will always be a minority group who feels disadvantaged. And what if it is the government who is corrupt, not the people?

Even if a child knows they are not allowed sweets, if there are no consequences to taking them, it is likely that they will. Hopefully our moral compass has improved somewhat as we enter adulthood, but we will still be tempted by ‘sweets’ perhaps in the form of money, revenge or power, and if there is no governing system in place there is a huge risk that temptation will win out over our conscious. This would result in an unruly society with no boundaries, and it would soon become chaotic. Laws and consequences must be in place to have reasonable control of the people.

Whilst it is obvious that there must be rules, a problem lies in who decides them. As Abraham Lincoln wisely said “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy”. This indicates the problem with a dictatorship, as there are no barriers to the dictator making the people his ‘slaves’ in that it is solely his choice how they behave. The same can be said about a minority ruling party. The views of the minority should not be enforced onto the majority who disagree/ would be disadvantaged. These unjust ruling systems have been seen in history with communism and through Hitler’s reign. It is essential though, that the majority protects the right of the minority. So if governments set up rules, and the people follow them or face the consequences, there should be no problems.

What if those in power, given that very power to protect society, have their own agendas? This could be very dangerous indeed. If the majoiry has power, there must be checks and balances in place to ensure that this power is not abused and that the system is fair for all. This has been well illustrated in Hitler’s use of the Arian race to allow the extermination of Jews. We must learn from this dark piece of history and ensure that it never happens again. The rights of the minority must be a priority.

Thomas Pain considers even the best governments to be a ‘necessary evil’. This view could be taken because it is impossible to keep everyone happy all of the time. We are all individuals and thankfully we have the right to behave as such. The best we can hope for is to keep our government free from corruptions, and hope that the majority of people will do right by all.


SCORE: 58

GENERAL COMMENTS:
This essay has a very clear thesis that is well-argued; although, the presentation of the antithesis needs to be more organised. Language skills are also excellent. Overall, a very good effort.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
The introduction immediately offers a response with a very assertive opening line. This is good. A confident tone should dominate a Task A essay. On the other hand, the paragraph is somewhat lengthy for an introduction and should have ended with Sentence 5. Likewise, the last statement in the form of an interrogative (And what if it is the government who is corrupt, not the people?) diffuses the strength of the whole paragraph. First, it questions the validity of a government system, and this counters your thesis at such an early part of the essay. Second, this should have nicely fit as Sentence 2 of Paragraph 3.

The analogy of "sweets" and justifying the need of an emplaced set of rules (government) is a creative way of supporting your thesis. But as mentioned above, the antithesis needs a more logical organisation in order to strengthen your central argument further. Given the points that you have presented in the essay, this is actually just a matter of moving and grouping your thoughts together. Below is how Paragraph 3 and 4 ideally look like. Take note that instead of two, these are now broken down into three paragraphs for clarity and conciseness. Also, a slight rewording is made (in all CAPS) at the end in order to pre-empt a synthesis of your major points in each of the thesis and the antithesis. This should help make your concluding paragraph brief and solid.

"Whilst it is obvious that there must be rules, a problem lies in who decides them. What if it is the government who is corrupt, not the people? What if those in power, given that very power to protect society, have their own agendas? This could be very dangerous indeed.

As Abraham Lincoln wisely said, 'As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy'. This indicates the problem with a dictatorship, as there are no barriers to the dictator making the people his 'slaves' in that it is solely his choice how they behave. The same can be said about a minority ruling party. The views of the minority should not be enforced onto the majority who disagree/ would be disadvantaged. These unjust ruling systems have been seen in history with communism and through Hitler's reign.

It is essential though, that the majority protects the right of the minority. So if governments set up rules, and the people follow them or face the consequences, there should be no problems. If the majority has power, there must be checks and balances in place to ensure that this power is not abused and that the system is fair for all. This has been well illustrated in Hitler's use of the Arian race to allow the extermination of Jews. We must learn from this dark piece of history and ensure that it never happens again. The rights of [BOTH THE MAJORITY AND MINORITY] must [TAKE] priority."

The concluding paragraph is fine; it ends on a positive note. However, it feels like you could have worded your final statement in a more remarkable manner; perhaps, with another quote or some sort of an afterthought to your "sweets" analogy.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
The structure of the essay itself is fine. You have an introduction, a strong thesis, an antithesis that shows more weight of your thesis, and a logical conclusion. Problems with organisation, as indicated above, only pertain to the counterargument.

No major grammatical errors are found - just these tiny typos in Paragraph 4 Sentence 3 (a misspelling of "majority" and in Sentence 1 of the last paragraph (Thomas Pain should be Thomas Paine). You would have caught these yourself had you had the extra time to proofread.

OTHER COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS:
Keep building on your reasoning skills by paying attention to the organisation of your ideas. Continue to practise writing timed essays, this time, leaving out at least 5 to 7 minutes of proofreading time. Proofreading is a skill that many tend to neglect. This would allow you to go back and see what else you can add or alter in order to make your content more logical and error free.
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:45 pm

"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)" Ayn Rand

Individual rights are not open for political debate or contestation. The fight for individual human rights and liberty has led to some of the most tumultuous times in mankind’s history. Ranging from the American revolution to protest taxation without representation, to the African American civil rights movement to end racial discrimination. It is not within the power of the governing majority to implement changes that affect the rights of the individual.

In the modern arena, gay marriage is a hotly contested political topic that has vehement supporters on both sides. The right of a ***** couple to get married is oppressed by the majority vote of the government. Marriage is a right that many gay couples fight for in an effort to earn equal rights with their ***** brethren that are allowed to marry freely.The prohibition of gay marriage is an affront to individual rights, the rights of gay man or woman should be no different than those of ***** orientation. The same prejudice was already experienced in the United States during the african american civil rights movement, it is equal rights for everyone, there is no difference. The love, trust and affection that precede marriage doesn't change for same ***** couples, it is the union of two people that love each other and gender doesn't change that. Allowing gay marriage isn't going to stop the prejudice but it’s a good place to start. ***** not having the same individual rights that straight people take for granted is an example of failed rights not being able to protect a minority group from oppression by majority.

Individual rights and laws that govern them are usually created in a time of upheaval where the everyday life of citizens was vastly different than the modern era. This can lead to certain rights not having the same importance or relevance they once experienced. The right to bear arms is an individual right included in the American Bill of Rights as an amendment to the US constitution in 1791. A time that necessitated the right to bear arms for protection. The recent wave of gun related violence in America, culminating the in the Sandy Hook massacre of school children, has brought about another argument on gun control. A group of people that vehemently defend their use of firearms as an individual right afforded to them by the US constitution. The very safety of US citizens is put in jeopardy from an individual right that was awarded during a violent time in US history.When security of society is placed in danger due to an individual’s right, it is necessary for the majority to safeguard their citizens by revoking or amending an out-dated individual right.

There is a fine line between a majority working to protect its constituents by banning certain rights and the majority oppressing a minority by doggedly refusing to accommodate change. The minority’s voice should be heard, and consideration given by the majority in an effort to safeguard the rights of an individual. The recent law amendment by certain states and countries to allow gay marriage is an example of majority vote working to protect rights of the individual. But when the right of an individual leads to dangerous situations for their populace, the majority can and should act to revoke the offending right. The majority should act to protect the minorities and themselves through careful consideration and willingness to adapt in a rapidly changing world.


SCORE: 50

GENERAL COMMENTS:
There is a famous line from literature that is relevant to the evaluation of this essay: "I do not understand your words but I do understand the fire in your words." There is fire in the words in this essay. The passion alone in the words hooks the reader's attention.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
The thing about fire, just to expand the analogy, is that it can both be friendly and useful fire; or it can be unfriendly and destructive. Unfortunately, the fire in this essay is not too friendly or useful.

First, there is an over-generalisation and over-simplification: "Individual rights are not open for political debate or contestation." The essence of democracy is that there is a freedom of expression in the marketplace of ideas. Individual rights can always be debated and contested. In court, every single day, individual rights are debated. In legislatures, individual rights are always debated. This is what democracy allows us to do. What is not allowed is for the houses of legislature to make laws that strip individuals of their rights without due process of law.

In countries where there is capital punishment, criminals can be put to death for certain crimes that are considered heinous. It is our inalienable right to live, but when a heinous crime is committed, that right to live may be debated and contested and in the end, the criminal's individual right to live may be deprived him but only if the due process of the law is followed.

Second, what the essay so hotly asserts in the first paragraph, it completely contradicts in the last two paragraphs. This is an inconsistency. This is not an antithesis, this is an outright contradiction. An antithesis is a different perspective, a different view, a different summing up of ideas that leads to a divergent conclusion.

Your essay (perhaps because of the overwhelming passion) contradicts itself. This is not good evidence of reasoning capacity: on the contrary, it seems illogical. Perhaps the problem can be solved by toning down the passion. The problem can also be solved by adding limiting adverbs to the overly general statements and assertions. The problem can also be solved by smoothly transitioning from one perspective to the other opposing perspective.

Perhaps you could insert another paragraph between the third and the fourth paragraph where you say that although individual rights cannot be voted away by the majority, there are times when individual rights, which were relevant and necessary in one epoch may not be so relevant or necessary in another more modern epoch. This way, there is no gap in reasoning between the two paragraphs.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
The control of language is adequate. The essay has good ideas (the ideas about ***** and ***** marriages are arguable). But there is certainly a lot of room for improvement.
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:48 pm

"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)"

Democracy has been one of the defining features of the modern world, especially in Western societies. With the decline of monarchies and similar concentrations of power, the public vote has become the key tool for decision making. Thus, it is the majority's will that prevails, while the minority must conform.
However, such a system is dependent on the assumption that the majority is benevolent, and is apt to make good decisions. When the majority strips the minority of rights, this may be a failure of democracy to protect all its members from oppression.

A prime example, at least from one point of view, is legalisation of gay marriage. It is beyond doubt that ***** are a minority who believe that they are denied right of marriage. This is a result of an uninformed majority who are subject to perceptions such as ***** are ineffective parents or are highly promiscuous. Thus, the majority votes away the rights of a minority using unproven speculations to justify their action.

On the contrary, situations exist where the majority rightfully strips a minority of rights. A murderer who is determined guilty by a jury may be incarcerated for a period of time. Their right of freedom is removed by the jury, a majority. What distinguishes this from the previous example is that the jury is an informed majority who are presented with evidence to make a decision that benefits society.

Individual rights are a boon that a minority can be denied of by the majority. Whether or not such action is suitable depends on the majority being informed and well meaning. A jury that contains members who act of spite towards to accused is not fit for such a responsibility. A ***** couple that is proven to be perpetrators of child abuse should not have the right to marry and have children.
It is not a matter of it individual rights can be stripped or not with just cause. Instead, it is a matter of if the majority is informed and benevolent enough to make such a decision in the first place.


SCORE: 55

GENERAL COMMENTS:
This essay is well-structured. Language skills are likewise very good with only a few yet negligible errors. The tone is brisk and exudes confidence. On the other hand, logical support needs to be strengthened with objective (factual, if possible) evidences.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
The introduction is solid. It clearly sets the context of the succeeding discussions as well as gets the main thesis across very clearly. The opening line could still be made more interesting though. (See examples under "Structure and Language")

On the other hand, the example about gay marriages - although sound - needs to be supported with stronger evidences. For instance, the claim that disapproval of gay marriages is a result of misconceptions would be more valid if published reports were cited. Because this issue is factual and current, proof should also be provided in pinpointing "perceptions of ***** being ineffective parents and highly promiscuous" to be the main reasons why gay marriages are not approved by the majority. You can use various forms of support, i.e., evidences, from any of the following sources:

1. Real Examples - drawn from history or news
2. Hypothetical Examples (but not highly recommended) - What if this were to happen?If this were to happen . . .then
3. Statistics
4. Expert Testimony - an idea, quote or short saying from a credible expert in the field representing your argument
5. Research, News Report or Commentary within the rubric of your thesis and exposition

These need to be used if possible to supplement and make your argument stronger.

The conclusion is good. It does not only summarise the salient points of the preceding paragraphs but also presents them in a fresh dimension. Still, the closing statement could still be remarkable. Always think of the concluding paragraph as your final push to convince the marker that you do deserve an excellent rating. Aim for a powerful clincher!

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
Organisation and structure are lucid. Ideas transition seamlessly. Just work on your memorability. As you may have already realised, hundreds to a thousand essays will be marked in the real GAMSAT. Most of these papers would most likely talk about the same things and in almost the same tone. You need to capture the markers' interests if you aim to score high in Section 2.

Increase your awareness of rarely discussed yet pertinent events and social issues. Consider as much various opinions on different topics. The following are very helpful resources:
http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_index.php
http://www.opinioneditorials.com/
http://www.procon.org/
http://www.thealtitudejournal.com/
http://www.doaj.org/ - If you type "social science" in the search bar of this site's home page, you will be presented with a good number of open access research journals

Try experimenting with any of the following stylistic devices for your intros and extros:

1. A dramatic anecdote; surprising facts and statistics; an interesting observation

This is an example of a brief one-liner anecdote: In 16th century England, an otherwise loyal subject of Henry VIII uttered, "I like not the proceedings of this realm. For this, he was imprisoned."

Also, if you type "interesting facts" in Google, you will be presented with a plethora of websites that specialise on a lengthy list of interesting facts about just anything. Browse through them and try crafting your first three introductory sentences using unique historical information that can create a surprising or quirky effect.

2. Analogies, metaphors, similes

These sites offer several examples. Browse through the different styles - from humorous to dramatic.

http://writingenglish.wordpress.com/200 ... -teachers/

http://www.metaphorsandsimiles.com/age/ ... miles.aspx

3. Thought-provoking questions

An example would be something like "Would you break the law to keep your country safe"

OTHER COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS:
Control of language, a confident tone, and a well-organised content - these are your strongest points. Make sure that you are able to use these to your advantage in the real test. On the other hand, keep practising as regularly as you can to strengthen your logical reasoning.
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:02 pm

Rules of society need to be governed by ethical rights for all

Society has an obligation to live by the rules which govern them. These laws and legislations are insisted upon by the majority. In some cases the minority of society may not agree however obedience is thrust upon them. It is necessary to discuss the matters in which the majority has it terribly wrong. Thomas Jefferson wrote, 'If the measures which have been pursued are approved by the majority, it is the duty of of the minority to acquiesce and conform.' However, when the beliefs and set rules ascertained are unethical to the said minority groups than society cannot stop the minority from their say.

Such an instance occurred in the mid 20th century in the United States of America. A group of African-Americans were appalled at the rules inflicted on them by the majority. Including not being allowed to attend the same universities as white people such as Brown University. This instigated the American Civil Rights Movement, where the minority need to gain the support of the majority to receive equal rights for all. The prejudices of the United States people were put on trial and in hindsight it is apparent that the beliefs of the majority were unethical. Hence, 'in matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place' (Mahatma Ghandi)'. It is with education we must realise the flaws of societies majority.

There are some occasions which are ethical for all humanity. The majority of the people believe that killing another human being is wrong. It is with this conviction that the people uphold this value when the debate about euthanasia arises. It is majority of the people believe that it is immoral then that is an acceptable reason for disallowing euthanasia in Australian society. Furthermore, it is unethical for the minority of the Australian people to allow a doctor to kill another human being just because it is their belief. Such a burden should not be welcomed upon any person. In this example it is unequivocally important that the minority of society to uphold the values enforced by the majority. Life is the most important thing to save.

There are many disagreements among human beings on a variety of topics relating to the laws of society. It is important for society and the communities to uphold the laws enforced by the majority only when it is the most ethical for society or the individual. It is with courage of conviction that we must enforce this to the greatest strength of the law.


SCORE: 55

GENERAL COMMENTS:
This essay observes good structure, and is easy to follow. On the other hand, breadth and depth could still be improved. There are grammatical errors found, but these mostly concern poor sentence structure and misspellings, which would have been caught through a quick proofreading.

Working on memorability, that is, incorporating a few creative lines in the introduction and the conclusion would also add weight to the overall content.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
The introduction aptly sets the central thesis of the essay. Still, organisation of ideas needs to be more organised in order to build a stronger logic for your thesis. For instance, placing the Thomas Jefferson quote after stating that the minority should discuss their disagreement with the majority disrupts the flow of your argument. It would, however, make the first half of your introductory paragraph sound had you positioned the quote as Sentence 3. The next half would then have a solid build-up towards your thesis ("When the beliefs and set rules ascertained are unethical to the said minority group then society cannot stop the minority from their say.")

The two examples appropriately support your thesis and antithesis respectively. But since you talk about the segregation issue within the context of education, a very interesting way to open your essay would have been an anecdote about a civil rights leader. The following is one example: "Ruby Bridges was a little girl who was one of the first blacks to go to an all white school. She was the first black student at her elementary school, and Ruby had to be very brave to stand up to all the people who didn't want her there. She knew at that moment that the minority needed a voice to help end segregation that was imposed by the majority." Then you can end this introductory anecdote with another declarative sentence that confirms your main thesis; for example, "I agree that. . ." or "Indeed, when the beliefs and set rules ascertained are unethical to the said minority groups than society cannot stop the minority from their say." 

The concluding paragraph does its job well. It synthesises the pros and cons of your argument and reinforces the importance of ethical factors at the centre of these issues, as also summed up in your title.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
If there is one important word that should describe the strength of this essay, it is FOCUS. The title, the quote from Ghandi, and the final statement all serve to bring the reader back to your central point on ethics in matters of societal rules.

It is, however, unfortunate that a grammatical error has to mar your title, as well as your final statement. You have to be careful with these. While they do not necessarily interrupt the flow of your ideas, these can pontentially decrease the marker's impression of you. For your title, the article "the" is missing at the beginning of the sentence. The same goes with supposedly another "the" before "ethical". Likewise, always remember that a title should ideally be in phrase form, not sentence form. Your title should then read as follows: "The Need for Ethical Rights to Govern the Rules of Society". With your final statement, the correct conjunction in "courage of conviction" should be "courage and conviction".

There are quite a few grammatical errors in the rest of your essay. Please watch for these. Grammatical errors are one of the main ways that jars the reader, and they have to go back to figure out exactly what you meant. Again, these are things that you would have caught had you left enough time to proofread the essay. The solution then is just constant practise with your timing. Leave enough time to complete your essay and a few more minutes to go back and correct these little errors. With constant practise, you will eventually have a feel of how much time it will take you to compose your essay, and how much time you need to proofread it.

OTHER COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS:
One way to improve your writing is to read good writing. Since you are preparing for an exam in which you are required to write short essays, read short essays. One good source for these is editorials in good quality magazines and newspapers. National Geographic and Scientific American are two excellent magazines that are easily available, and they run editorials every month. Also, The New York Times online edition contains several editorials every day. Pick a topic from one of these editorials, or an issue in your local area, and practise writing about that. Be sure to always consider both sides equally, but also be sure to have a strong thesis that is supported by your examples and arguments. Be sure to come up with a thesis statement that you can refer back to and defend well.

You might also want to have a better idea on how to go about the pros and cons of just about any issues. The following are excellent sources:

http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_index.php
http://www.opinioneditorials.com/
http://www.procon.org/
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:04 pm

In democratic instances, the majority makes the final decision. This in turn may have and effect on the minority who may not have their voices heard in the process, or are just ignored as their views are perhaps not deemed as important. Over many years it can be seen that there are sacrifices made in order to appease the greater good. However, these sacrifices may be the needs of the minority.

It can be argued that in order to become a truly efficient society, those whose personal views and opinions are not met, must conform in order to allow for the efficiency to continue and drive in the same direction. It can be seen in China, where a Communist society thrives as each member of the community strives towards a common goal. They are pushing their own views aside in order to reap the rewards for the greater good. This can only be achieved by not being focused on, for instance, self wealth and riches. If that were the case then the 'machine' working towards the goal would break down at one point and the entire structure would destabilise, causing chaos and anarchy. Those who believe that they have been wronged must put their qualms to the side and work with the majority in order to work for the common good. Although this could be seen as a violation of basic human rights, the theory is sound. A working society working towards the greater good of that society will see an increase in productivity and in turn may increase their wealth as a society.

It can also be seen in more primitive tribes where the tribespeople needed to work as a group in order to feed the entire tribe. There were hunters, gatherers and carers in each tribe that worked in harmony to allow for them to function in an efficient way. If this were not the case, chances of mortality were increased. By working together and working for the majority everyone of the tribe people had an equal chance of surviving the ravages that their habitat threw at them.

Conversely, some would argue that conformity by the minority to the majority is a violation of human rights and cause disharmony where there would otherwise be none. It can be seen in any western civilisation that the individual has their own needs and views and taking them away by forcing them to conform to the majority would not make for a happy community. There would be no striving for a common goal as the individual would still be looking for their own needs and looking to increase their stature. In this context there needs to be a minority which in some cases can show the majority where they are going wrong. It may only be rare occasions, but there are instances where the majority can take things to a level that may disadvantage some and the minority can be there to bring these disadvantages to light. The minority can form an opposition to the majority. Democratic processes that are present in most countries are designed for this purpose. It allows for a forum of ideas to come together in one place. It has been shown that those in majority will out vote and cast aside a minority's point of view just because they can. Is that what the majority should do? Isn't it a moral obligation to take every view into account?

It is a basic human right to be an individual and having an individual opinion. Being forced to conform does not allow for this and would take that right away. It would mean a world where men live like fish; the big ones eat the little ones. As a society there needs to be a difference in opinion and different takes on issues in order for it to grow into the future.

It can be argued that conformity by the minority to the majority can be positive as well as negative, but it is the context in which this is placed that would be the deciding factor on if it would be successful in a working society or not.


SCORE: 60

GENERAL COMMENT:
This is an interesting take on a difficult subject. It is easy to follow, yet provocative at the same time.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
This is an very well-presented essay. You have taken a very difficult and contentious subject and presented it fairly and concisely. You present both sides of the argument, and come to the conclusion that the validity of each side is dependent on context. The level of complexity in your thinking is impressive.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE
The structure of this essay is fine. There is a clear introduction, body and conclusion. However, you do need a clearer (or perhaps more thorough) thesis statement. In reading the introduction, a reader would think you would be discussing how the needs of the minority are sacrificed. Indeed, you do discuss this, but your conclusion is slightly different from your thesis.

There are no issues with grammar, sentence structure, word use, etc. The final statement, however, would achieve its rightful impact if worded more concisely: "Conformity by the minority to the majority can be argued to be positive as well as negative. However, this is exactly the context that poses as the deciding factor whether it would be successful in a working society or not." Take note that doing away with "it is" or "it can" makes the idea of a sentence clearer, simpler, and less wordy.

OTHER COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS:
This is a top-notch essay that fulfills the criteria. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement:

1. Work on memorability. You already have the logical reasoning and command of the language. You just need to make sure that you truly stand out from the rest of the other papers. Start and end your essays with creative or thought-provoking lines. Inject and maintain a very confident tone.

2. Work on sentence style, particularly on conciseness: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/572/01/
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:12 pm

When making statements about right and wrong as Henrik Ibsen has done in Comment 4, one needs to consider who the adjudicator is. Who is behind the opinion of right or wrong? Bias will always exist which will affect the end decision or opinion.

To say the majority is always wrong, comes from an opinion that considers the fact that there is a majority and a minority. The very fact that the existence of two different groups with different agendas suggests that yes, the majority will always be wrong because it is not right for all. This is because when you have a minority and a majority, one set of rules or opinions is never going to suit everyone, just as a one size fits all garment is never truly one size fits all. While the rule or opinion might suit the majority, it will always be wrong because it does not suit everyone, therefore someone out there will always believe they are wrong.

You can argue similarly for the second half of Ibsen's statement. The minority is rarely right purely for the very fact that being a minority means that those people and their interests are rare, they are not plentiful and therefore the opinion will usually come from the majority when the decision or opinion does not suit.

It is a circular argument that really aims to point out, in a roundabout way, that there will never be one solution for all; best practice does not suit every situation and so you may conclude that an individual approach should be taken. However, as the statement continues, this is not the way forward either as the demands of individuals are so unique that the probability of suiting a majority or making at least most of the group in question happy is highly unlikely. Therefore perhaps, the solution is to let democracy reign with a touch of governance; allow all free speech so that everyone's opinions can be heard and considered but then cater to the majority with the flexibility to make exceptions should the occasions arise and allow individuals the freedom to tailor the one size fits all solution to suit their personal needs. This solution is encompassed in the words of Sir William Blackstone, 'The public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual's private rights'.


SCORE: 59

GENERAL COMMENT:
You certainly considered every side of the quotes in this essay. This is a great way to approach the subject.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
Rather than writing a straightforward thesis statement, you choose instead to ask a question. This is not a common way to present a thesis but you have managed to pull it through with grace and skill. And in answering that question, you have considered several different aspects of the quotes. Clearly you understand the socio-cultural implications of the issue of rights (and wrongs). Since that is the whole point of the Task A essay, you have indeed done a good job.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
As mentioned above, asking a question rather than making a statement has served your essay well. It allows you much more freedom in the essay.

The structure is fine; you have a clear introduction, and each argument has its own paragraph. Your concluding paragraph is also good and relates nicely back to your introduction.

There are no problems with grammar, spelling, sentence structure or language.

OTHER COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS:
While this is a very good essay, please keep in mind that often in an argumentative piece, you may want to prove a specific point. If that is the case, make sure you use several relevant examples to make your case. This will also add length to your essay. On average, avoid writing less than one and a half pages for each task.
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:14 pm

Democratic societies operate by electing a small number of government officials to represent their views. The government functions to run the society by making decisions with the societies views in mind. The principle behind this is that collectively the government will enact the majority opinion when governing, and in doing so will act in everybody's interest and the best interest of the country overall. The challenge with this structure is twofold: (1) the wants of a society are not necessarily what is best for the country overall; and (2) governments do not necessarily follow through on their commitment to act in the best interests of the people. This essay will argue that a democratic government structure fails in these two situations.

The citizens of a society (or country) do not necessarily desire what would be best for the country as a whole. Therefore, the collective view of the majority of citizens, fails to be in the best interest of the country. In this situation, it is appropriate for a government to act against the wishes of the majority. The German economy is a perfect example of where this can be demonstrated. Prior to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the German government decided to enact a suite of financial austerity measures in the early 2000's. These were designed to strengthen their economy for the future, and included such measures as increasing national taxes and decreasing government subsidies. At this time, the majority of German citizens did not want for taxes to be higher and subsidies to be lower. It was in their individual interests for the opposite to be true. However, the government acted against these wishes for the greater good of the country. In doing so, it set Germany up to become one of the strongest nations of the European Union. As the GFC has unfolded, Germany has not suffered from the crisis comparable to its peers. It has emerged as a global leader because former governments strengthened the German economy for the future. Clearly this demonstrates that there are situations where it is not in the best interest of a society for the government to follow its democratic obligation to the letter. The democratic model fails.

Situations where an elected government does not fulfill the wishes of its people because it is corrupt, is another example of where this model fails. When the majority of a population votes in a government, it is with the expectation that they will fulfill societies demands. As outlined previously, a government can act against the wishes of the people to the benefit of the country. They can also however act against the wishes of the people strictly because they have no desire in fulfilling their governmental responsibilities. These governments are corrupt and act against the wishes of the people, however this is to their detriment. For example in Russia, Vladimir Putin has a long history of being democratically elected but then allocates government funds poorly, leading to the destitution of the Russian people. Similarly in Syria the elected government acts to suppress its people strictly to benefit the government leaders personally. In these two situations, the democratic model fails again.

There are always two sides to any government however, and although governments like Russia have failed in some areas to allocate wealth effectively, it has however been successful in maximising the value of the Russian oil trade. This has benefited members of Russian society and represents a success of the democratic model.

Although the democratic model regularly fails, this is never absolute. Like anything, when evaluating its effectiveness we need to appreciate that the answer will never be black and white.


SCORE: 65

GENERAL COMMENT:
This is an impressive essay. You write very clearly and persuasively.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
The use of two very different and contemporary examples is excellent. Clearly you pay attention to what is happening in the world around you. This essay shows excellent breadth and depth of thought.

You are very good at taking complex ideas and presenting and explaining them in a very clear way. This is a gift that not many people possess.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
This is a very well-structured essay. Your introduction is clear and concise as is your thesis statement. It is able to lead to the context of your succeeding focus of discussions. The body paragraphs are perhaps a little bit long, but they hold together well. Your use of complex sentences and language is excellent. The conclusion reflects the complexity of the arguments and shows that you have thought this through very well. Your overall tone is confident and firm.

One very small point: in Paragraph 1 Sentence 2, "societies" should have been "society's" as it is possessive. The same is true of Paragraph 3 Sentence 2. However, this is trivial and certainly does not detract from the overall quality of your essay.

OTHER COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS:
There is little we can say that is not complimentary. This is an excellent essay.
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:18 pm

5.If the measures which have been pursued are approved by the majority, it is the duty of the minority to acquiesce and conform.

Silent Approval

This statement outlines that once the majority has voted for a government or representative to be elected the minority should approve of the measures which have been accepted without complaint and should conform to the measures that will be put into place because of this decision. The decision may not be one that the minority is in alliance with but it is the decision that they will have to conform to as it will not change and they must prepare themselves to be able to become a part of the majority as they now have no choice.

The minority consists of those individuals who may have different ideals and would prefer a different governing body as opposed to the larger population. A minority includes not only those individuals who may have voted for a different political party but also includes those people who may practice a different religion, or have a different lifestyle to the majority.

Once measures; such as laws, government policies and the government itself is elected by a majority there is no denying the measures that will now be put into place after a majority vote. They can not be changed and they are to be implemented and followed not only by the majority that has approved it but also by all the individuals who fall under the jurisdiction of the newly elected measure. Minorities may not have approved of the changes but must conform to them without complaint as they will now be put into place and implemented upon. Minorities have to agree with the larger population to ensure that the society does not experience segregation and unrest. If minorities refuse to conform to the wishes of the majority it will cause unrest in a society and both the majority and minority will segregate themselves into separate groups who have different ideals and feel as though they have to defend their decisions.

Although minorities must conform without complaint to a newly approved measure; it is not to say that they should give up their beliefs and ideals while conforming. The rights of minorities in all societies must be respected; they have the right to be the individual that they are and their religious and political beliefs should not be looked down upon or rejected just because the majority has different ideals. The rights of all individuals should be respected and upheld; especially the rights of minorities as they are in the position where they must already conform to the society; it would be wrong to not give them their individuality and beliefs. The government itself must also make room for the minority to ensure that the wishes of all parts of a society are taken into consideration and that decisions which are implemented or considered are in the interest of both the minority and the majority.

The majority of decisions and measures are approved by a majority; especially in a democratic setting where individuals have the right to freedom and a right to decide what they want done. Democracy however is not only for the majority which may be something that people may forget about. Both the majority and minority in a democratic society have their rights and opinions and both have the right to have their opinions heard. The majority has the ability to enforce their opinions in a political setting; for example their votes make up the ruling party and hence minorities must conform to the wishes of the majority to ensure that society remains in peace. However the minority is also a part of the society and must be considered whenever a decision is made or put forward.

The minority must conform but they have a right to not be ignored. A government must consider the rights of a minority when putting forward new measures. Conformity is a part of society and allows us all to live with more harmony but we must consider the rights of every


SCORE: 45

GENERAL COMMENTS:
It is too bad that the essay is unfinished. It would be good to see how you concluded your presentation.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
Your discussion of majority and minority began with a discussion of suffrage and elections. In this context, the conformity of the minority is presumed because the decisions of the duly elected representatives of government are the law of the land, and they must be obeyed. The minority does not conform to the majority, really. The majority are just other voters. In this sense, all citizens have to conform to the laws (even if they did not vote for the representatives who passed those laws).

The problem is that the essay did not confine itself to a discussion only of suffrage. The essay extrapolated the idea of conformity of the minority to the cultural and social aspects of life. This is where the muddle begins. In deciding one's way of living, one cannot be dictated to by the majority nor should anybody feel like they have to conform to the majority. Each one is entitled to his or her own pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
The problem of presenting ideas that are too broad is that you will be theorising (explaining a phenomenon) and you cannot do this within the time allotted by the GAMSAT for the writing task. You have to limit your discussion. In this regard, having a clear and specific thesis statement is the best solution.

1. Consider that the essay is a response to the comments, so begin with the comments. What do the comments say? Look at the authors: surely the authors of the comments here are mostly political theorists. Thus, they are speaking of political rights.

2. Choose any two of the comments and harmonise their themes.

3. State the harmonised theme in your own words.

4. State whether you agree with the theme or not.

5. Give your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing.

6. Discuss the arguments clearly.

7. Give examples to illustrate the arguments.

8. Frame a conclusion by tying up all the ideas discussed. Make logical connections between them.

OTHER COMMENTS:
The essay writing task is a test of reasoning ability. In the Task A, reasoning ability means being able to formulate an opinion, being able to grasp meanings from the comments and being able to present arguments that are clearly explained and illustrated.

The suggested score is 45 as there is evidence of some problems with integration and transition of ideas. Major ideas need to be organised and discussed clearly.
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:44 am

This essay shall look at the idea that every individual within a democratic environment has just as much right to something as the next person. However, there are those who do not agree with this assertion in that within a world of finite resources, it may not be possible to offer everything to everyone.

A democracy is a system of government which entitles every individual to a say in how the country that they live in is governed. This being a shift from an absolute monarchy, where one individual or hereditary line of individuals and their opinions, likes and dislikes, governed the land. However, within a republic, there are several variations upon the idea of "democracy". For example, in many countries there is a party based system that collects various individuals under a single banner which can be voted into power wholesale. However, this method of democracy means that individuals will have to vote for a group, taking good policies with the potentially bad policies. This method of democracy is the most common form and will mean individuals will balance their priorities so they vote for the party with the greatest number of policies that align with their views. With this, we come to the crux of our problem that the party with the views that appeal to the most number of people, will ultimately be voted into power and therefore, the views of the majority, the party in powers' voters, will be preferentially implemented over the views of the minority. This, as quoted by James Madison, "is the greatest danger within a Rebublic".

In a truly altruistic society, "the public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual's private right". However, due to the way a republic is designed, ultimately, the views of the majority will superseed the minority. It can be argued that in these instances where there is not a representative democracy, "if the measure which have been pursued are approved by the majority, it is the duty of the minority to acquiesce and conform".


SCORE: 47

GENERAL COMMENTS:
This essay approaches the task with the incorporation and to some extent, an interpretation of the different quotations. This is a very creative method but one that requires a highly unified development of your response. You need to be very careful with the accuracy of your explanations and other related information. This is because you are basically relying on the context, if not the very ideas, of the different quotes' authors.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
Starting the essay with a clear statement of your purpose makes the introduction your strongest in this piece. You set out to prove that while democracy provides equal opportunities for all, this may not be realistically possible.

The succeeding argument indeed shows that with certain forms of democratic government, equality in the truest sense does not really work. However, a main problem of this piece is the lack of a clear distinction between democracy and the republic as forms of government. The discussion either assumes that the republic is classified under democracy or that the concepts of both systems are interchangeable.

Both governments do recognise the power of "the people" rather than a select few. However, their basic difference is that democracy relies on the power of the majority while the republic, on the individuals. You did indicate in Paragraph 2 Sentence 3 that a republic can have varied implementations of "democracy" - which is also valid considering that concepts and systems tend to evolve in time and in its social setting. However, you still need to be cautious NOT to interchange the respective terms and concepts; for instance, "this method of [democracy] means that [individuals] will have to vote for a group" and "due to the way a [republic] is designed, ultimately, the views of the [majority]. . ."

Overall, the skeletal outline of your argument actually makes valid sense. You just need to set a clearer justification of points in order to reconcile your various claims. Otherwise, your ideas will move from one thing and lead to another. It could been much better also if you focussed on the task's main theme, which is about the power struggle between the majority and the minority.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
The main argument is easy to follow, which indicates that your ideas are arranged in a logical sequence. Mechanical errors are also quite minimal. The only spelling errors are "Rebublic" for "Republic" in Paragraph 2 last sentence and "superseed" for "supersede" in Paragraph 3 Sentence 2.

Nevertheless, breaking up the lengthy Paragraph 2 would help structure the essay better. It should have ended at Sentence 4 and then, Sentence 5 up to the quote of James Madison could have formed a third paragraph.

OTHER COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS:
Your overall idea and argument are good. However, being too specific on terminologies and concepts (unless you know them inside-out) can sometimes prove to be disadvantageous.

You need to be more cautious next time, and work on using one or two quotes as springboards of your essay's discussion. Work on developing more of your own viewpoints and unique insights.
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:51 am

Every single human being who lives on earth is equal; we are all biologically the same species. The colour of our skin, hair, eyes, or the difference in our cultural backgrounds should not shape the way we are perceived in society or govern the rights that each individual deserves. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world where every individual's rights are protected. There are some parts of our world where one's individual human rights and freedom are compromised. It is evident however that the existence of majority and minority groups within our societies are slowly disappearing and that we are working towards a world of equality where everyone has the same rights.

There are many examples in our world where people are made to feel as if they are not equal or are a part of the minority of society. An example of this was the apartheid in South Africa. There was a clear system of racial segregation, where white people in Africa we seen as more superior and therefore had power over the black people in Africa. This segregation was illustrated through many aspects of their lives, for example in education as white people in Africa were able to receive a higher education to black people. White people in Africa where also the only individuals who were allowed to vote. It is through these examples that we see how the majority in society provided no respect to those who were considered to be the minority. It was only in 1994 that a democratic government was elected in South Africa. This now aims to allow for the protection of all individual's rights.

However although there have been situations in our world where it is clear that there is a divide between the majority and the minority in society, we can also see many of the leaders in our world continue to work towards a future where every individual is equal and respected. Our Australian government is a clear example. Our democratic government allows for everyone to have an equal say, where no one is considered more valuable than anyone else.

We can see how our world is changing and how we strive for a world where every individual is made to feel equal with the sam


SCORE: 55

GENERAL COMMENTS:
It's really a shame that this essay was not finished. Some ideas expressed were valid.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
It must be pointed out that the word "majority" literally means "most of the people or things in a group." It also has to be pointed out that in South Africa, the native Black Africans were the majority: they were more numerous than the Whites. The White people were the minority. They were fewer in number although they held the most power.

This fact has to be pointed out because the example does not stand "on all fours" with the proposition that the majority (referring to the Whites who held all the power) had no respect and oppressed the minority (referring to the Blacks). The opposite was true: the Blacks were more numerous than the Whites, and yet an anomalous situation developed in that the minority ruled the majority.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
Control of language in this essay is fair. Errors in grammar, word usage and sentence structure are not glaring. The only problem is that the essay has no ending. It is as though the essay has no legs to stand on.

OTHER COMMENTS:
There are valid and clear ideas. The presentation was organised. However, the essay is unfinished, thus, the ideas cannot be said to be well-developed.
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:08 am

If the measures which have been pursued are approved by the majority, it is the duty of the minority to acquiesce and conform. This quote by Thomas Jefferson is contentious and false. The minority within our society are individuals that have the right to have different opinions. Ideas are generated from those that do not conform and these can lead to positive change. It is important that the minority adhere to laws that are accepted as morally right such as those against violence and theft. However, just because the majority of people approve of something does not mean the minority must conform.

The minority should not have to agree with and conform to measures approved by the majority. Every person in our society has the right to freedom of speech. This means anyone can express their opinion, even if this does not agree with the norm. Life would be much like the Truman Show, where everyone is smiling and perfect, if everybody conformed to every majority vote. If nauseating and boring is what people want, then that is what everyone conforming to the norm will achieve.

Individuality breeds invention. When individuals diverge from the mainstream, ideas and inventions may be created. It took persistant convincing by a doctor that washing hands prevented disease in those they were operating on and although this was outrageous at the time, he proved to be correct. Technological advances come from thinking outside the box. If people adhered to popular opinion on every issue, progress of society would become stagnant.

There are certain measures that are approved by the majority that all people should adhere to. Laws including those around violence and theft are there to protect society. Those that do not conform to this cause harm. Individuality that causes no harm or leads to creation are within reason, but not if it causes harm.

It is not the duty of the minority to acquiesce and conform with measures that are approved by the majority. Every individual has the right to have different opinions and express these. Positive outcomes can result when individuals and minorities diverge from the mainstream. It is important however that this individualism does not cause harm and thus certain laws should be adhered to. Progressive ideas and development in our society is created from individuals who think differently and this is healthy for our .


SCORE: 50

GENERAL COMMENTS:
The introduction promises a robust discussion. It starts out with a strong opinion against the quote by Thomas Jefferson. You are also able to define a clear thesis for your ensuing discourse: "just because the majority of people approve of something does not mean the minority must conform."

Control of language is adequate, and the overall tone of the essay exudes confidence. The only glaring problem is the imbalance in the development of the thesis and antithesis.


THOUGHTS AND CONTENT:
For the thesis-antithesis mode of discourse to succeed, both the thesis and the antithesis must receive equal treatment in the discussions. Just as the ideas in the thesis must be well-explained and well-supported, so are the ideas in the antithesis. If you spent two paragraphs supporting the thesis, you must also spend the same length to support the antithesis. This way, the essay is not lopsided; there is consistency and balance in the presentation. In this way also, the conclusion must make a sufficient synthesis of both the thesis and antithesis.

Moreover, you must give concrete examples (remember, of the same number for both the thesis and antithesis!) to support each assertion. Name a specific advocate albeit a minority who brought progress to society - because he/she/they chose not to conform to the majority. In the same manner, name a specific event when social progress was curtailed because the minority failed to adhere to the will or the law of the majority.

Another weak point that you need to address is on the use of transitional devices. Paragraph 4 is supposedly your antithesis, and this shift in perspective must be properly signalled by words such as "on the other hand", "on the contrary", and the likes.

The conclusion summarises the important points in the discourse. While the paragraph shows that it is unfinished, the ideas almost carry out what you needed to articulate.

STRUCTURE AND CONTENT:
Other than the deficiencies cited above, you are able to use language effectively in order to convey your message. Only minor grammatical errors and misspellings are observed:

Paragraph 2:
In Sentence 2, "persistent" is misspelled.

Last Paragraph:
In Sentence 1, "with measures" should be "to measures".

OTHER COMMENTS:
Control of language is adequate. There are valid ideas, but the presentation needs to be polished with concrete supporting examples and equal development of both the thesis and the antithesis. The ideas must be organised in a more balanced manner.
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Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:15 am

It is human tendency to 'go with the flow', in other words follow what the majority decide to do.A majority is formed based on the opinion of a few but they have the skills to influence people to a point where they are unable to form an opinion of their own. The people that are still able to take a stand become the minority and unfortunately conform to the decisions and measures approved by the majority.

In the field of politics for instance the same speeches and information are seen by everyone. There will always be a difference in opinion between the people but the political leader that appears most convincing wins. It is almost impossible to attend to individual needs and opinions.Giving people the right to vote is the way the government ensures everyone is heard. However, the outcome without doubt will be the one the majority want. The minority are left to follow.

The outcome of the tragedy on September 11 in the United States of America showed the power of public opinion. It has taken a long time for people to realise that not all muslims are terrorists and they need to look past the religion when judging an individual. The voice of those that tried to help treat everyone equally got drowned in the chaos and emotions from those that lost loved ones.The stories people heard touched their hearts and the empathy they felt formed their opinions.

It is true when people say it is who you know that matters. It is difficult to have an opinion and stand by it if one is not able to convince the rest of the world. It is a world where majority are just trying to get ahead,protect their jobs and families which pushes them to choosing the option that appears most appealing. People are too self absorbed to realise there may be more than one way of viewing the world.The majority always win.


SCORE: 47

GENERAL COMMENTS:
The essay tries to express a valid idea: that popular opinion is strongly influential and thus always wins. The problem is that this idea gets obscured because the writer's idea of the "majority" and the "minority" is unclear.

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
The following is a common misconception among GAMSAT candidates (which is also manifested in the essay) when it comes to the terms and concepts of the "majority" and the "minority":

1. The majority consists of those who voted the winning candidate in an election. This is correct because democracy warrants that the candidate who gets the most number of votes (the majority) wins.

2. On the other hand, a lot of GAMSAT candidates also assume (more like overlap the idea) that this same majority are those people or groups who are either in the ruling party of the legislative branch or the social majority. This is a misconception.

During the election process, every individual (whether he or she belongs to the ruling party or the minority party, or whose sympathy is with either of these parties) gets one - just one - equal vote. Hence, the number of votes who goes to the winning candidate actually consists of the combined votes of individuals who align themselves to any one of these ruling or minority party.

3. There are also differences in the meaning of the "majority and minority", which are both composed of individuals regardless of their political affiliations; the majority group, which is the ruling party in the legislative branch of government OR the social majority, which refers to those who hold the majority of positions of social power in a society based on race, gender, wealth, health or ***** orientation; and the minority group, which characterise the opposite of the "majority group".

The reason that these are being brought to your attention is because your idea of the "majority" and the "minority" is not clearly defined in the essay. For example, in Paragraph 1, you stated that "majority is formed based on the opinion of a few". The word "majority" in itself means "the number larger than half the total". How can a majority be composed of a few? This entire sentence in Paragraph 1 is therefore vague, confusing and contentious. You need to concretise this with a specific example so that the reader can understand where your view is coming from.

In Paragraphs 3 and 4, your references to the majority seem to pertain either to the popular opinion or to the social majority. These loose references weaken the logical organisation and linkages of your argument. This unfortunately results to poor content.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
Control of language is adequate. The essay's organisational structure, however, is marred by the confused notion of the terms "majority" and "minority".

OTHER COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS:
You need to read up more about politics since the TASK A theme in the 2012 GAMSAT was quite specific in the political topic (i.e., affirmative action). We don't really know if the same thing will happen in the next sitting, but it is best to be equipped with sufficient knowledge and understanding of important socio-culutral issues.
jeanne_gsgamsat
 
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:31 pm

Re: Corrected Writing Task A Samples

Postby jeanne_gsgamsat » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:47 am

Decreasing The Divide, Minority Vs Majority

In society the majority mean the many and minority refers to the few. Within a Republic, this is determined by votes cast in the form of an election. Many countries today serve as Republics including the United States of America, South Africa and France. I believe that the gap between the minority and majority within a Republic is a direct reflection on the leadership of the country. A good leader will be representative and would narrow this gap regardless of issues or differences. However, on many occasions this is not the case.

In the recent 2012 presidential election, republican can candidate Mitt Romney made a major misstep when speaking to a room of benefactors. Mitt Romney infamously referred to the ‘47%’of Americans from mainly black or hispanic voters who he said “would never vote for him under any circumstance”. This was a case of Romney identifying who he believed would not vote for him and the public seeing a view of Romney’s interest if he were to be elected. On the evidence of this comment it is good for America that Romney was not elected, as he displayed a lack of moral fibre and leadership which would be required to lead and be representative of the whole population and not just the people who voted for him.

Similarly to the discrimination shown by Mitt Romney, the United States suffered from a much more visual, violent and hateful discrimination in the 1960’s in the form of the persecution of African Americans. During this time the African American population and treated as the minority and second class citizens. This persecution included separate restrooms, separate restaurants and being forces to sit at the back of the bus in the case of Rosa Parks. The separation between the majority white population and the minority white population was fueled by these laws. The separation of the black population in areas such as where they could eat, created increased tension and a greater gap between these groups. In recent years, as society has become more civilised and increased both human rights and equality, racial crime has been reduced. Although it is still and issue, good leadership is minimising its impact on society as a whole.

In contrast to Mitt Romney and the leadership in the 1960’s in the United States, South Africa produced a leader in Nelson Mandela who not only contributed to the end of apartheid but brought a country which was divided together. Nelson Mandela’s leadership and high level of morals, ethics along with a desire for equality made him a hero in his country and around the world as is evidenced by the out pouring of well wishers as he nears the end of his life. Everyone from Barack Obama to David Cameron has paid their respects to the great man who did the unthinkable at the time and united the minority and majority.

To conclude, in society there is always the danger that with many opinions and self-interested people that “the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority”. This fear is well founded but if was as a society elect the right leaders, leaders who have morals and the best interest of the country at heart his gap will narrow until hopefully one day it is none existent.


SCORE: 55

GENERAL COMMENTS:
It is truly challenging to write a coherent essay on democracy and republican democratic ideals within thirty minutes. The concept of "majority" and "minority" in a democracy and how they interact and how the law protects them is just too broad a topic to comment on in thirty minutes.

Unfortunately, this is the task, and any shortcomings in essay writing mechanics and/or misconceptions about the task itself or particular topics may well be tackled way before the real sitting. This will give a GAMSAT candidate, like you, enough time for more readings (if needed) or draw up a strategy in case a similar "big concept" topic is presented in the actual test. (Remember, past GAMSATs had Task A topics on affirmative action, meritocracy, and the nanny state.)

THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
It cannot be helped. There are topics, which are so broad. So what do you do? You bite off only what you can chew, and you chew it properly. For the most part, this is exactly what the essay did - bit off only what it can chew. The discussion focussed on the recent American electoral experience and the past South African experience. The choice of these examples and the choice to use these examples as launch pads and pivot points for the discussion is good.

There are gaps in the discussion, however:

1. The first three sentences of the first paragraph make sense. They contextualise the discussion of "majority" and "minority" to electoral majorities and minorities in the US and in South Africa. On the other hand, the fourth sentence jumps to the idea about the "gap between the majority and the minority". Introducing the concept of a gap is quite abrupt - it is as if the writer assumed that the marker likewise believes that a gap exists between these two sectors of society, in general. There is no explanation of this gap in the whole essay either - it is as if the writer also assumed that the cause for this gap is widely known and already understood.

2. Because these basic premises of your argument were not properly established, a marker might wonder: did you mean that in every election, the elected public official is voted for by a majority while it is the minority who voted for the losing candidate? How then can the interests of the minority who did not vote for the winning candidate be protected by the winner? Is this the gap you mean? You must explain what this gap is.

3. Another loophole in this essay is the apparent misconceptions about republican democracy. First, African Americans were not "treated as a minority" because they really were and are still a minority. In this case, the word "minority" means a race or group of people who are few in number within a given population. The given population is Americans of voting age. In the 1960s until today, African Americans are a minority when you compare them with the White Anglo-Saxon Americans; that is to say, they are still fewer in number than the rest of the "Whites". Asians are also a minority in the US as are Hispanics. The essay seems confused between the "miniority" of the African Americans in the 1960s because they are not as many as Whites in the US, and their "minority" as members of the population with few civil and political rights. These are two different concepts, and hence must be clearly defined within the essay.

The importance in differentiating these two concepts or the use of the word "minority" is more pronounced in the example of South Africa. In South Africa, the Blacks are more numerous than the Whites - they should be the "majority" because they are more numerous. Nonetheless, they were treated as a minority because they were not allowed to vote. Only White landowners and heads of families could vote. Then, it was White males and females who are of legal age. Even if the population of White males and females were combined, they will still be numerically fewer than the Blacks in South Africa. And yet, the minority Whites held all the power.

These are what we mean by "logical gaps" in this essay.

STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
The flow of ideas (except of the very wide gaps in reasoning and factual background) is relatively smooth. There is an introduction, a discussion of a thesis and an antithesis, and a conclusion. There is an attempt to limit the discussion. The gaps in the essay, however, cannot be ignored. Their presence gives an impression that the essay was not well-thought out, not well-reasoned; its conclusions were drawn from incorrect premises because of the gaps in the facts.

What can be done to prepare for topics such as these? You can read up and reflect upon what huge concepts such as these mean to you personally. Give a reasoned opinion on the basis of your personal experience with the topic (especially democracy) Have you ever voted for a candidate who lost? Then you have the experience of being in the minority, haven't you? As part of the minority, did you lose your right to vote in the next election? Did you lose your right to access public hospitals? How about access to public schools, did you lose that? Did you lose the right to protection by the police? Did you lose the right to call the fire department and have them put out the fire at your house? So, then, you can conclude that in your country, even if you are in the minority, your civil and political rights remain intact.

OTHER COMMENTS:
Personalise your opinion to a broad topic. This will make your essay meaningful to you. You will be able to discuss it intelligently because you have experienced it. Your practical lived experience with democracy will provide a logical anchor for the discussion so that your essay won't fly up into space. The ensuing discussion will be practical and down-to-earth. It would necessarily be engaging because you can be frank and candid. Remember, you do not need to write a brilliant piece on democracy that will turn the world upside down or right-side up. You just need to show the marker that you can think things through and show how big concepts (like democracy) affect your everyday life.
jeanne_gsgamsat
 
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:31 pm


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