offers hundreds of practice questions and video explanations. Go there now.
Sign up or log in to Magoosh GRE Prep.

Student Issue Essay Analysis Part II

This is Part II of my Student Issue Essay Analysis series. I’ll be posting a prompt our Premium students have responded to over at the Magoosh product (under real exam conditions) and giving my analysis of the essay. If you want, have a look at the prompt first and try your hand at the essay, and see how yours stacks up.

Check out my past commentary:


Those who see their ideas through, regardless of doubts or criticism others may express, are the ones who tend to leave a lasting legacy.

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

Student’s essay

Although, doubts and criticism expressed regarding a particular by others seem valid at the particular time of inception of time, if the person follows through his idea or well cherished dream, then he may become success in his endeavor and leave a lasting legacy. So, people who see their ideas through, regardless of doubts or criticism others may express, are the ones who tend to leave a lasting legacy.

New ideas takes time to be accepted by general public, and during the time from the inception till the acceptance, the person who invented or discovered that idea, may be criticized or oppressed. Galileo was put into house arrest for his entire life for his heliocentric model of the solar system, because it came in direct conflict with the church’s geocentric model which regarded Galileo’s theory as heresy. Later, Galileo’s model was readily accepted. So, it’s really important that the people should see their ideas through criticism and doubts of others and shouldn’t be daunted, since other people are not connected to the idea or dream or feel the strength of idea in the same way as the person who invented that idea.

If a person doesn’t

My analysis

Score: 3.0
This essay struggles from a lack of clarity. The first two sentences are overloaded with words, and so it is difficult for a reader to figure out what the writer is trying to say. Since the essay graders do not have time to figure out what you are trying to say, you will be penalized. Luckily, the thesis is clear—though it is an almost exact rewording of the prompt.
The Galileo example—while expressed in language that is clearer than that found in the intro—isn’t that developed. We learn that he was arrested and confined for heresy. The essay automatically assumes that this is the same as criticism. I would say the church’s actions against Galileo are a little stronger than mere criticism.

What saves this essay from a sub-3.0 is the final sentence, which discriminates between the person with the idea and those who only have an inkling of that idea. However, this idea is not explored in more depth (and doesn’t really connect to the Galileo example). Indeed the essay ends there.

I sense that the writer spent time agonizing over the wording of the first few sentences (which led to the tortuous syntax and obscured meaning). My advice: the writer should work on the examples before working on the intro. Finally, the examples should connect a little more clearly with the prompt. In this case, if the prompt is focusing on criticism, the writer shouldn’t shift the focus to persecution, as he did with Galileo and the church.

A note about essay grading

While I’d love to grade everyone’s practice essays, that’s just simply not possible. Unfortunately I won’t be able to grade new essays, as students’ essays have already been chosen in advance. Instead, if you’re wondering how to get feedback on getting your practice AWA essays graded, check out this page:

How to Get Your AWA Practice Essays Graded?

If you have any questions about my analysis, let me know in the comments below!

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

5 Responses to Student Issue Essay Analysis Part II

  1. Michelle August 16, 2016 at 9:34 am #

    I sometimes have trouble with thinking critically and analytically. What are some good examples/support that could be used for this prompt?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! I love these blogs… they are lifesavers!!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 21, 2016 at 8:27 am #

      Hi Michelle,

      Some other readers may have more specific ideas, but I’d like to give you some general strategies for coming up with good examples. Before your test, try to think of some examples or topics that you are familiar with. For example, if you love science you can think of a few historical figures, events, or breakthroughs. Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Copernicus, the scientific method, etc. If you take some time to learn more about each example, you will have a little ‘arsenal’ you can use when you write your essays.You’d be surprised how versatile just a few examples can be! Any of those people could be an example for this prompt. For example, Copernicus was persecuted by many for his idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun, but he stuck to his ideas and is remembered as one of the most important Western scientists in history! Does that make sense?

      P.S. We are so glad that you love our blogs 🙂

      • Michelle August 21, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

        This was so helpful.

        Thank you so much!

  2. Jen November 18, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    I was looking at the ETS website and did not see this essay prompt. Is it possible that different variations of the essays will show up on the test? Or is this just an example of a made up prompt to help us see how to write the essays?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele November 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      Hi Jen.

      Oh, actually this is a prompt that we wrote for use in the Magoosh GRE program (we didn’t want to use the actual prompts for our own product).

      Sorry for any confusion 🙂

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply