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Task A Essay Structure

If this exam is important to you, you should try to leave nothing to chance. Excessive creative freedom can be a liability. You never know what your brain is going to come up with when you open that test booklet.

For this reason it’s important to have a premade essay structure which you can build around. Here is a very simple one which can help you channel your thoughts and get full marks.

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Preparations:

  • From the 5 comments given on the paper, pick one you understand.
  • Make it your title.
  • Agree with it (It’s easier. If you can’t agree then you don’t understand. Pick another.)
  • Spend some time planning your argument before you start writing. The faster your handwriting the more time you can spend thinking. I personally spend 15 minutes planning and 15 writing, but don’t get hung up on this.

Foundation:

  • Explain your understanding of the comment you have chosen.
  • Define any points that need clarification and any shorthand colloquialisms you intend to use throughout the writing.
  • Over 2 – 3 paragraphs, develop reasons as to why this comment is true. **

Development:

  • Ask yourself: under what circumstances might the author’s statement be false?

By thoughtfully answering this question you will be demonstrating that you have considered the ‘other side’ of the debate. At this time you may expose flaws in your own argument. That is fine. The important thing is that you demonstrate an awareness of this weakness in your argument. This last part of the essay is crucial to demonstrating depth of thought.

If you can’t think of any circumstances under which the author’s statement would be false then ask yourself this:

  • What assumptions does the author make?
  • What if that assumption was false?

These two questions will allow you to find an alternate point of view in any argument. This will be demonstrated in the sample essay below.

Closing Remark
Your closing remark should be a more specific edification of the author’s comment. You will have noted in your essay, at least one situation in which the author’s comment could be considered false. You final statement should specify the terms on which his statement is true. For example:

Author’s initial statement:                           “White bread is delicious”
Your closing statement:              “White bread is delicious, when fresh. And especially toasted.

**Developing reasons why the comment is true

Using the above essay plan, you will have successfully quarantined the need for creativity into this handy bracket.  Methods for circumventing this need for creativity and coming up with reasons will be included in my upcoming E-book Section 2 guide. Keep an eye out!

Here is a very simple argumentative essay that was written according to this plan.

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“Pigs can’t fly”
– Anonymous

I am inclined to agree with the above statement. As far as is known, domestic pigs and common boars possess neither the required biological appendages nor the technological ability to successfully defy gravity.

Unlike birds, pigs are heavy and dense, muscular animals. They walk on four legs and have snouts and tusks which enable them to search for food in the earth. They are specialised for living on land.

The technological advances of the boar community appears to be limited by their cognitive capacity. While widely considered ‘intelligent’ animals, pigs have yet to demonstrate any deep understanding of physics or mathematics. It is therefore unlikely that, given the necessary tools, a pig would be able to construct a machine that would enable it to soar at will through the clouds.

All common knowledge and sensory information afforded us by our eyes serves to suggest that pigs live solely on land. Even when it finds itself in physical peril a pig will remain rooted to the ground. The ability to fly may enable the pig to evade predation or slaughter, yet it remains planted on four legs. Since pigs on this planet do not fly, I would argue, it is likely that they cannot.

It must be noted, however, that the truth of the above statement depends on two assumptions the author makes. Those are the definition of ‘pig’ and the definition of ‘fly’. Biological science provides us with a highly specific definition of what constitutes a pig, based on genetic information. But what about the word ‘fly’?

If the author’s definition of ‘fly’ could be understood to mean “to appear to defy gravity for a period of time longer than 0.1 seconds” then pigs can, in fact, fly. It is merely the common use and understanding of human language that prevents them from doing so.

In this sense the author’s comment does not appear to lack for truth, but rather specificity. It is hard to say for certain, that in a possibly infinite universe there is nowhere that pigs can wander freely from land to sky. But certainly on this planet it is difficult to support a hypothesis that supposes the contrary.

Summary:
Agreed with statement.
Explained understanding of the statement.
Reasons:

  • Pigs are specialised for land.
  • They can’t build planes.
  • They don’t, therefore it’s likely they can’t fly

What assumptions has the author made? His definitions.
What if one of them could be changed? Then the meaning of his comment is changed.
Closing remark: Given a general understanding of the word ‘fly’, pigs can’t – on this planet!