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 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!

Magoosh students score 12 points better than average on the GRE. Click here to  learn more!

Most Popular Resources

8 Responses to Student Issue Essay Analysis Part IV

  1. Anshul May 26, 2017 at 1:14 am #

    The writer is in favor of those who are stubborn in their beliefs. Only in the last paragraph where he mentions example of Hitler does he mention the other side. With that in mind, and the last sentence (“These are ….of a legacy.”), I think that the writer was trying to be in favor of the prompt but concludes with the last line(and only 1 example as opposed to 2 to 3 examples in favor) that he does not believe the statement to be true.
    Am I correct?

    Also, suppose I am writing in favor of the prompt and gives similar examples but just to adhere to the instruction which asks to mention the case where my statement might not hold true, I give an example of Hitler (like the writer of this essay) as a concussion point, how can I still maintain my point that I still believe those with through idea leave a lasting legacy (since the role of concussion point is to outline a point where others think that the statement might not hold true but still I somehow convince the reader that it does).

    Please clear the doubt as my exam is in 2 days

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 27, 2017 at 6:54 am #

      You’re basically correct in your assessment of the student essay. The writer is largely agreeing with the statement from the prompt. And in mentioning Hitler, the writer is also trying to offer a concession point, saying that not all people who follow their ideas leave a lasting legacy.

      However, the “Hitler” counter-argument is very weak. It could be argued that it’s not a true concession point, because Hitler did leave a lasting legacy. He just didn’t leave a positive lasting legacy. For a better concession point, it might be good to instead mention someone who always followed their ideas but left little or no legacy.

      Still, the pattern that this student writer is trying to follow is basically a good one– support for an argument, with some concession points near the end. The concession points don’t negate your support for the argument. A well-written concession point basically says that the argument IS true, with a few exceptions– a few unusual cases where the argument doesn’t hold true.

      Does this make sense? If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to post them here. 🙂

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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”.

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