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Golden Rule Of GAMSAT Essays: Be Specific

Generalisation is the process by which you broaden the scope of a statement. Generalisations are often a manifestation of a logical fallacy called Composition/Division. The tendency to make generalisations comes from the desire to embelish your writing – to make your words seem more profound.

Unfortunately, their use tends to have the opposite effect.

Generalisations give the examiner the impression that you are not thinking. The marking scheme makes it clear that a large proportion of marks are given for demonstrating depth of thought. Generalisations are the exact opposite of this – they suggest an attempt at breadth of thought, and you don’t get marks for that.

Last time, we looked at an essay full of broad generalisations and unsupported statements. Here is another unedited one – many thanks to the student who sent this in!

Broad generalisations are marked red and unsupported declarations are in blue.

 

“Has television benefited us as a society?”

The topic of whether television has benefited us as a society is one that can swing both ways.
On the one hand, television is a tool for entertainment that has taken many hours of our time on a daily basis. This has led to a decrease in productivity, especially in children, and has only contributed to increased laziness in society.
On the other hand, television has allowed us to keep up to date with developments around the world. It has vastly increased the number of jobs for people who now have a large platform in which to express themselves and create a successful career. It has also become a vast source of information and has allowed individuals to experience exotic environments from the comfort of their living room.

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Sample Essay #1 – Argument Construction For Task A

The following essay was written and sent in by a GAMSAT student. It corresponds to a set of Task A quotes related to crime and punishment.

Spelling and grammar or otherwise striking mistakes have been highlighted in red. Comments, corrections and learning points are written below.

 

“Do we need tougher jails?”

Crime, it seems, will always remain present in our society. A logical method to reduce crime is not only to catch the criminals but to find a way to reform them so they can become positive members of society. A lot of this is dependant on the treatment a convict receives behind bars.
The topics of whether jails should be tougher provide conflicting views. On the one hand, we have examples of individuals who used their time in prison to educate themselves and reflect on the negative lifestyle they were living. Malcolm X is one high profile example of this. A hustler and burglar who could barely read or write found a way to educate himself on the history of his people and become a voice for the blacks around the world.

On the other hand, jails are seen as too soft. We have members of society celebrating going to jail due to an increase in their standards of living. Some jails offer 3 meals a day as well as access to faculties such as libraries and gyms. For those who spent much of their time on the streets, jail becomes a peaceful escape from their usual struggle for survival. Some criminals are released from jail only to try and find some way to return. In cases like this, we can see a tougher level of treatment is required.

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