Sample Marked GAMSAT Essays on the Environment
by jeanne_gsgamsat » Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:17 am
Writing Task A
Read the following statements and write a response to any one or more of the ideas presented.
Your essay will be evaluated on the value of your thoughts on the theme, logical organization of content and effective articulation of your key points.
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Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.
Indian Cree Proverb
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Environmentally friendly cars will soon cease to be an option. . . they will become a necessity.
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I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
Elwyn Brooks White
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Every human has a fundamental right to an environment of quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being.
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After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say "I want to see the manager".
William S. Burroughs
Sample Marked Response 1:
The world we live in is full of wonders and awe-inspiring mysteries, yet it is extremely fragile. The power of the human race is often overlooked and our ignorance results in a path of destruction. The classic cases of global warming and poaching affect the environment and as a result the daily lives of human beings. Although the effect on our livelihoods may not be apparent, by the time we begin to realise the destruction we are causing as a species, it will be too late.
There is truth in the saying that a bright future is more thinkable if mankind spent less time attempting to prove that he can outwit nature and more time respecting the environment we live in. The need to conserve and look after the world we live in is becoming greater generation after generation. Our exploitation of nature in an attempt to satisfy our lust will eventually result in the demise of not only the human race but the world as a whole. In Africa, there are only 5 white rhinoceros’ individuals existing in the wild. And they require 24-hour armed protection against poachers looking to sell their horns in the black market. Although the alluding extinction of the white rhinoceros does not seem to have much of an effect on our livelihoods, the continual destruction of animal species will lead to an imbalance of ecosystems.
No matter how strong, beautiful and deadly nature can be, its fragility cannot be undermined. Mankind has left a trail of destruction that simply cannot be fixed. And as a result of this, nature's powers are in turn crashing down on the human race. In England, severe storms have left a large part of the country under water. Although many may argue that this is a result of severe rainfall, the act of global warming must not be ignored. Global warming has resulted in rising sea levels for the past century. With the temperature rising and ice sheets melting, it will result in many seaside communities finding themselves underwater. Acts have been attempted in several countries to limit carbon emissions and falter the extent of global warming however, the damage we have already inflicted cannot be undone. In Australia, the carbon emissions tax was introduced in a bleak attempt to limit carbon emissions, however the fact that humans rely on so many carbon emitting appliances undermines this act.
The fragility of the world and the destructive power of the human race cannot be undermined. It is often said that we don't realise how important something is to us until it is gone. Indeed, as the Indians say, we will only realise how important nature is to us until the last tree has died, the last river been poisoned and the last fish has been caught.
There is a meaningful analysis to your essay. It emits a genuine concern for the environmental issues it raises, and this honesty and conviction sets it apart as a quality essay. It is not perfect, but is well-reasoned and thoughtful. Well done.
THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
The essay combines an appeal for individual, as well as collective accountability and responsibility for environmental degradation. The thought process is logical and meaningful. It focuses on 2 main issues to illustrate environmental concerns: damage to our ecosystems and global warming. Although the outcome is not very positive, the point of view is genuine and well-expressed.
There is one area where the essay could potentially improve. Although the argument is well-formed and consistent, we would like to see more evidence to substantiate the claims made. You say that the recent severe storms causing flooding in England should be linked to global warming and you explain how many coastal areas have been affected by rising sea levels; but the recent floods in England were mostly inland so you need to substantiate this claim. There is also the potential to draw on learned sources and academic, historical or social analysis in general to strengthen your essay. BBC science and environment or the articles at this link http://www.currentresults.com/Environment-Facts/ are interesting. Both the Independent and the Guardian ran engaging reviews of global warming in line with changes to the Paris agreement of 2015. We do realise that the time limitations imposed in Section 2 essays does mean that a compromise has to be reached with what can be included, and it may just be a case of making astute choices.
LANGUAGE AND STRUCTURE:
The control of language is refined and scholarly. It not only brings the subject to life but also makes it a pleasure to read. This academic command will bring a finesse to all your work and deservedly help you to achieve recognition.
The essay structure works well. It has an even flow and sound organisation. The paragraphs integrate well with each other, although there is some room for applying transitions. Please review the Section 2 online lessons to see what we mean. The arrangement covers all requirements for an argumentative essay including effective and strong introduction and conclusion.
You do break the rules by not presenting a separate counterargument, and this is where you could consider the ordering of the essay. As it is, there is a fluency and clarity in what you say and you integrate other ideas well. However, the counterargument should always be presented as a whole but we appreciate that this is difficult when you are referring to more than one criteria in your essay.
The sign of a very good argument lies in the ability to combine style and content and here, you have achieved just that. The academic who can also make words come to life has a gift or a learned capacity for communication. We have no doubt that you will more than adequately transfer this skill in the future to dealing with patients and medical professionals who will benefit from your ability. Well done.
SUGGESTED SCORE: 68
Sample Marked Response 2:
Money cannot save us!
Nowadays, it is common knowledge that the earth’s environment is worsening due to extensive pollution contributed by the rapid growth of industrialisation. Only when the last tree has died and the last tree have been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise that we cannot eat money.” This Indian Cree proverb suggest that financial wealth cannot sustain us once our natural resources are ruined or depleted. Humans need to take responsibility for the earth’s pollution because what we do today will have an impact on the future generations of people to come. We must not procrastinate in restoring the environment of our only home here on planet earth.
The rise of modern technology has given rise to more factories being built so that the products or energy produced can benefit the needs of civilisation. It is interesting to note that many countries have welcomed the establishment of foreign industries to boost their economic growth despite toxic bi-products and fumes resulting in greenhouse gasses that further contribute to global warming. It is obvious that humans hold a major responsibility for emitting pollution into our environment. However, the drive for economic success is so desirable that it facades the underlying health of the country’s environmental well-being.
Some may argue that it is important to invest plenty of money and attention to strengthen a country’s economic development. Certainly, the rise of industrialisation and infrastructure has brought benefits to the country such as, creating new employment, increasing the attractiveness of tourism and increasing the country’s competitiveness in foreign trade. However, it is disappointing to note that the consequence of pollution not only affects the environment but also the health of its population. For example, China is one of the fastest developing countries in the world but Beijing is considered one of the most polluted cities where hazardous air may potentially spread to neighbouring provinces and countries. With such detrimental effects, the city may become less attractive for tourism hence causing a negative impact in terms of social and economic values. Moreover, research performed by the World Health Organisation suggest there to be a positive correlation between pollution and birth defects. These health outcomes are disgraceful and immediate measures should be taken to minimize the output of pollution because the health of the environment and population is under threat.
Furthermore, it is clear that the strategy of gaining financial wealth through rapid industrial growth has taken a toll on developing countries like China. It can be examined that the making of money is not the only issue but the methods and processes utilised which compromise the quality of life should be strongly discouraged. The preservation of public health should take priority over selfish desires for industrial investments and profits because life is much more precious. Life provides opportunities for people to have purpose, respect and dignity through relationships and communities. A selfish desire breeds temporal satisfaction whereas selfless motives such as the preservation of human life is rewarding as future generations of people arrive. Thus it can also be agreed that “every human has a fundamental right to an environment of quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being.”
It is clear that the earth is suffering from the consequences of pollution and humans are responsible for their actions. It is highly suggestive that actions should be taken immediately to minimise environmental pollution. In order for that to occur, governments need to be convicted of their country’s poor environmental status so they can endorse a national culture of environmentally friendly trends and habits. Some possible actions include reducing operational times of industrial factories, endorsing a culture of recycling products and materials, investing in research and development of renewable energy sources and applying strict fines for breaches of these policies. We need to start now and develop a culture of environmentally friendly trends because generating money alone cannot sustain us once our natural resources are depleted.
This essay is a good example of how a candidate can respond to the main theme given in the writing task and yet, can also choose one or more comments to use as the bases of the argument. While referring to more than one comment, where the comments agree with each other, is not necessary, in this instance it does not distract from the overall quality of the work.
THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
You develop some depth to your argument in relation to the common thread of the theme. While many candidates just choose one or two comments that appeal to them and then write an essay about the particular comments or choose a subject loosely connected with the theme of the essay, you determine the overarching theme that binds all the comments. Writing about the comments as a whole allows you to connect with the main theme and offers the opportunity to respond at a deeper level.
You correctly identify the common theme that man has caused environmental degradation and therefore it is his responsibility to stop further ruin if we are to have hope of future survival. Your argument is that the promise of economic growth has been too tempting to resist and that this has impacted our safety and the wellbeing of our environment. The example of contemporary China is evidence of the continued refusal to recognise the damage being rendered in the pursuit of money. The China example acts as the antithesis to your argument. The concluding paragraph brings your response to the theme in full circle and you prove that man has to take action to prevent the further degradation of the environment if the next generations are to survive.
It might be worth considering expanding the argument in your favour before setting up the counterargument. While the counterargument is well integrated into your essay and follows the natural flow of presentation, you might give a little more focus to developing your point in favour of the need to restore the environment. As it is, the focus on the counterargument takes more of a central position where it should represent a challenge following your evidence.
LANGUAGE AND STRUCTURE:
The essay’s structure is solid. Vocabulary skills are sophisticated. The quotes are interwoven in a subtle and natural manner and are included in the discussion at the most appropriate points. The tone is firm, and there is a good sense of urgency towards the end of the piece.
On the other hand, some minor errors are worth mentioning here:
“The rise of modern technology has given rise to more factories being built”
- The word “rise” is used twice in the sentence and almost successively. This is redundant. One way to avoid this is to show the parallelism of the two ideas - the rise of modern technology and the rise of factories being built. Hence you can write, “The rise of modern technology has LIKEWISE given rise to more factories being built.”
“For example, China is one of the fastest developing countries in the world. Beijing is considered one of the most polluted cities”
- These sentences need to be transitioned more smoothly to help drive home your point: “For example, While China is one of the fastest developing countries in the world, Beijing is considered one of the most polluted cities”.
This essay shows good effort. If you analyse the actual instructions of GAMSAT Section 2, it asks a candidate to do three things: one, express an opinion on the given theme (“what you have to say in response to the theme”); two, present a well-organised and logical support for your opinion (“organise and present your point of view”); and three, use coherent and clear language (express yourself effectively).
The essay successfully fulfils all the three tasks required in a Section 2 response.
SUGGESTED SCORE: 68
Sample Marked Response 3:
Human Exploitation of Nature: Is it too late?
The environment is dying at the hands of human exploitation borne of greed. In the name of development, raising standards of living, and scientific endeavour, Mother Nature, in her abundance of natural gifts, has begun a downward spiral into disrupted ecosystems; spoiled lakes, rivers, and oceans; and creatures of the earth disappearing at a rate never before witnessed in the history of the human race. The Indian Cree proverb is a dire warning to a reckless, yet, ingenious race, of the consequences of heeding Nature's distress signals too late: We stand to imperil our own survival.
That human beings will learn too late is well supported by our recent history of unchecked development, particularly in the modern world. The industrial revolution was only made possible by mining one of earth's most abundant non-renewable resources: crude petroleum. Then burning it in newly engineered factories for mass produced goods, now both cheaper to produce and of a higher quality because of human innovation and growing mastery of machines and technology. Yet, alongside the leaps and bounds made in scientific and entrepreneurial successes, Mother Eath has been choking on excess levels of toxic pollution directly linked to large scale commercial enterprise. Man's ambitions to continue along the economic prosperity trajectory remains as strong as ever, however, despite warnings from thoughtful, scientific men and women from the earlist days of industrial growth. The 'State of the Planet' report in the 1990s by the Club of Rome - an exclusive group of some of the world's most influential and forward-thinking intellectuals, scientists, and visionaries - was largely laughed off by the world's most powerful leaders as hyperbolae and scare-mongering. Now attention grabbing headlines in the popular press often reference the 'carbon tax', 'green policies', and the like, but as the Indian Gree proverb admonishes, it may be all too late.
That it is not too late is supported by the fact there is now broad concensus among the world's major economies that man-made climate change, due to despoliation of natural reserves, pollution, and general unchecked consumarist behaviour, must be a key consideration in current and future policy-making. For example, countries such as China are leading the way in investments and innovations in renewable energy technologies, alongsite government commitments to reduce CO_2 emission levels (albeit not formally binding to the international community). In like fashion, countries in the West, most notably the Americans, are focussing more and more on the investment potentials of green alternatives - something that is, of course, the only wise decision in the long-run, given finite non-renewable resources in the face of undiminishing demand.
It therefore looks promising that a middle way can be found to both preserve our standards of living (measured against that of the developed world) and minimise environmental degradation due to human led activities. Deciding that middle way through wise and timely policies and affirmative actions, both at home and abroad, is a major undertaking demanded of all concerned.
There is balance in this essay: an objective and an almost scientific approach coupled with a sense of urgency and an impassioned plea for action. The essay tackles the subject in a more complex way. Well done.
There are phrases which, because they are well-turned, pack a punch:
1. “We stand to peril our own survival.” (Very succinct)
2. “our recent history of unchecked development” (Good use of adverbs)
3. “The environment is dying at the hands of human exploitation borne of greed.” (Very dramatic and forceful)
4. “Mother Earth has been choking on excess levels of toxic pollution” (Very picturesque).
THOUGHT AND CONTENT:
This essay has a flair for letting the words do the work to evoke an emotional and intellectual response. This essay stands out in its presentation and eloquence. Ideally, the marker will look for a combination of both style and content, and this essay marries the two aspects well. Both in substance (“a middle way can be found to both preserve our standards of living and minimise environmental degradation”) as well as in tone and presentation, this essay shows temperance, moderation and yet, insightful perception. Nicely done.
The weakness of the essay lies in the inadequacy of the thesis statement to describe the point of view of the candidate. Subsequently, the essay becomes a dialogue and not an argument with the writer shifting position as the evidence is presented. The conclusion, rather than **** the writers’ position, settles for a harmonious integration of the two sides of the argument.
STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE:
The presentation is clear: first, the fact of environmental degradation is proved; second, the historical causes of the environmental degradation are linked with present mind-sets; third, the struggle of intellectuals to explain the reality of the problem and the initial reaction of disbelief are explained; fourth, current measures that have been implemented are cited; fifth, a proposition for a middle ground is encouraged. The essay is well-organised and well-presented.
There are a few errors in sentence construction but in a handwritten essay, these would be overlooked. Besides, when the ideas and its presentation are this good, errors in sentence structure can be overlooked. These will not be counted against the essay as they do not rob the ideas of their vitality.
Paragraphing is rather overwhelming. Although the presentation is logical for the argument, shorter paragraphs with transitions and links might make the essay a little less cumbersome in structure. There would be no loss of clarity and the flow of the essay would be enhanced.
Markers are likely to favour essays like these. They do not assault the grammatical sensibilities; they do not confuse the verbal skills; they give a smooth read; and best of all, it gives the markers hope that scholarship is not dying just like Mother Nature.
SUGGESTED SCORE: 64
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Re: GAMSAT Essay Topics
GAMSAT essay topics are usually abstractions taking the form of a famous quote, controversial statement or witty idea. As you most likely know:
Task A of the GAMSAT essay topics is most likely contentious, argumentative and critical which asks you to write for or against the proposition.
Task B of the GAMSAT essay topics is most likely more abstract, reflective, expressive, even poetic in its proposed contemplation and response. Since Task A is most likely political, it is best to be well-read in current global events. Since Task B is most likely reflective it is best to be well-read in aesthetics and literature.
Since you are given a number of quotations for either task, one can respond either directly to one quote, to the general implied idea behind the quotes, or use the quote as a theme to respond to. In a Task A marking, the highest standards are most likely evidence and support to back up claims made in the essay. In Task B markings, the highest standards usually revolve around an experiential evaluation based in style. This dichotomy is somewhat arbitrary when both standards work in conjunction for both essays.
Before we cover common examples of GAMSAT essay topics you can click below to download your Free GAMSAT Essay Questions for Section 2.
FREE GAMSAT ESSAY QUESTIONS
Examples of GAMSAT essay topics could be almost anything; so a wonderful source for practice and study is a book of quotations or a list of quotes found online. In addition, higher-grade periodicals, such as The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, et. al. can help immensely! These periodicals cover current events well, have a strong op-ed section, as well as showcase artistic pursuits.
Of course, the best practice in preparing for the GAMSAT essay topics is to actually write. Choose some common universal themes (Friendship, Love, Suffering, etc.) in a book of quotations and respond in writing. Read up on current controversial topics (politics, social injustices, etc.) and formulate a response. Share these with friends for feedback or post on your favourite online forums to generate responses.
You can also submit your essay to our Essay Marking Service to receive a sample grade and detailed feedback from our essay marking specialists!
Click the ‘Essay Marking Service’ link below to submit your essay for marking.
Essay Marking Service
We will now quickly overview a range of common GAMSAT essay topics.
Common Topics GAMSAT Task A
Task B of the GAMSAT is targeted to be the reflective essay. The quotes that students receive usually have a personal theme to allow students to relate the themes with their own experiences in life.
Common Topics GAMSAT Task B
Quick Tips For Writing Your GAMSAT Essay
1. It is highly recommended that students write about these GAMSAT Essay Topics. Students should find quotes that relate to these themes and write as many essays as possible about these. Then when students are in the actual exam they will already have so many examples in mind for each theme to back up their essays – This will greatly improve your timing in the essay!
2. Students should write practice essays for each of these themes and have them looked at by a professional or a friend who has went exceptionally well in the GAMSAT
3. When practicing essay writing students should work under timed conditions and try to simulate the actual exam environment as much as possible. Find a quote place and sit down at a desk. Students need to actually write the essays out on lined paper – just like they will need to do in the actual GAMSAT exam. This is also beneficial as it will train the writing muscles to copy with 1 hour of continuous writing in section 2.
Also, a great book that covers many GAMSAT essay topics is called ‘The Meaning Of Things’ by AC Grayling.
Finally, a word of advice, think of your writings not as practice, but as rehearsal. By rehearsing each day, you will develop the optimism in your responses to Ace the GAMSAT!
For GAMSAT Tips click here: GAMSAT Tips
To get a Full-Length GAMSAT Practice Test click here: GAMSAT Practice Test
To get our GAMSAT Study Package click here: GAMSAT Preparation Material