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Student Issue Essay Analysis Part IV

This is Part IV 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 the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

Student’s essay

A famous author once remarked that ” Winners never quit and quitters never win”. People who see their ideas through, however unpragmatic it may be considered by others are the ones who have truly made a difference.

History is replete with examples of people who were perceived as crazy, illogical and even insane by laymen, yet when their ideas were sedulously worked upon, by the creator , day after day, combined with long hours of toil, the result was nothing, short of marvelous.

Lets’s take the example of the Indian freedom struggle fought by Gandhiji on the basis of Satyagraha. It was very difficult for the Britishers to assume that India would be freed one day under the leadership of a loin cloth covered ordinary looking man without the use of weapons or bloodshed. The reason that Indian freedom could be achieved was the unflagging determination of Gandhiji and the uncommon methodology used of winning freedom by peace and not bloodshed.

Looking not far, I can recall the example of Galileo who was reviled and persecuted by the Church authorities for challenging the existing norms that pervaded the society that time. Galileo ‘s fierce determination , not to give up on his ideas even during harsh criticism paved the way for modern space research.

Another convincing example is of the Wright Brothers. Who would have ever imagined that it is indeed possible to fly like a bird and traverse different parts of the globe. I am sure that the Wright brothers were reviled when they first came up with this idea of developing an aeroplane. But, again today their invention has become a legacy.

Though there are several examples of people winning through odds because of their determination and unflagging spirit and creating noteworthy inventions, there could be times when this may be the cause of much trouble. Consider the doggedness of Hitler.though he was criticised for his heinous atrocitities on the Jews, he still did not stop the atrocities. These are few examples when people with strong determination can create an ill legacy instead of a legacy.

My analysis

Score: 4.0
The writing in this essay has a lot of punch and makes reading it easy. However, there is little to no analysis. Like many essays on this prompt, the essay takes an extreme position, and beyond a vague, jumbled mention of Hitler, does not address the instructions: “…you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true.”

As an SAT essay goes—basically you can take a relatively strong position—this is a good essay. Even then, some of the examples lack persuasiveness: “I am sure the Wright brothers were reviled.” Maybe they weren’t (they actually were, somewhat), but to say “you think” vs. “many notable scientists mocked the Wright Brothers notion of human flight” makes the essay far more tentative than it should be.

Also, the examples are very sparse, especially Galileo. Some more development would have perhaps bumped this essay to a ‘4.5’. But without any analysis, and by failing to take into account the other side, this essay gets only a ‘4.’

Finally, the language is sometimes fluffy and orotund (“I can recall the example of Galileo”, “nothing short of marvelous.”). By saying that “another convincing example” makes your readers wary, and likely to challenge the convincing-ness of the example. (As noted earlier, the example isn’t convincing).

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.

6 Responses to Student Issue Essay Analysis Part IV

  1. Jafrina Jabin January 7, 2016 at 10:10 am #

    I think this essay don’t have a separate conclusion paragraph.

    Am I correct?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 8, 2016 at 9:24 am #

      Yes, you’re correct that the essay doesn’t have a separate conclusion paragraph. In this case, the student introduces a new example in the last paragraph to support their argument. That being said, the student does conclude their essay in the last sentence: “These are few examples when people with strong determination can create an ill legacy instead of a legacy.”

      With that in mind, even if you don’t have time to write a full conclusion paragraph, it is important to include at least a concluding sentence to wrap up your essay 🙂

  2. Tayo September 27, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    It looks like the instructions posted are not correct for this prompt. The prompt is more of an opinion than a policy that can be implemented, and the instructions quoted in the first paragraph of the analysis don’t match up.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele October 2, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      Hi Tayo,

      Good catch! Those instructions certainly do not match the prompt. I’ll make the necessary changes 🙂

  3. Gerfer November 14, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    Is repetitiveness a problem as well (using “Reviled” twice for those examples)?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele November 15, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

      Yeah, the sentence structure is repetitive, as is some of the word use (as you pointed out). Basically, there many reasons why this essay gets a “4”.

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