Can somebody please grade my SAT II writing sample essay?

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: April 2004 Archive: Can somebody please grade my SAT II writing sample essay?
By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 06:42 pm: Edit

on a scale of 1-6 please:

The ends justify the mean? If this statement were true, I’d go as far as to say that society would not exist as it does today. Society is based on the assumption that all human beings coexist in a mutually helpful relationship, but if the majority of the world’s population were to believe that their actions can be justified by their gains, societal structure may break down. The ends cannot justify the means in this sense.
Take, for example, a simple, wild animal living in some remote forest. It is obvious that this animal is not a member of a complex society, for it has had only a single interest throughout the course of its entire life: its own survival. This animal will probably do anything in order to ensure its own survival; stealing from members of its own species, or even from its own kin is never a problem for this egotistical animal, And, its greed isn’t such a bad thing, for if it weren’t so greedy and full of vice, it would have long been dead. Perhaps that is why wild animals will never for a “society” as long as instinct continues to run their lives.
Actually, not all of the world today disagrees with the topic statement; there are many groups and corrupt leaders that, like the wild animal, think only for the benefit of themselves. Not surprisingly, most of the war-ridden areas of the world are led by such groups and leaders. In fact, some nations are led by multiple groups of people! Take, for example, Somalia. There is still civil war there, for there are many bickering organizations with the pettiest differences. However, they have one thing in common: greed.
As long as natural instinct continues to guide us, the ends will always justify our means. However, peace and unity will never become a foundation if it continues to run our lives. Only through mutual support can we live in what we call “society”.

By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 06:43 pm: Edit

separate paragraphs are:



By Dannyferizzle (Dannyferizzle) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 07:45 pm: Edit

For someone who obviously spent more than 20 minutes on this, this is AWFUL. I forget that your paper was arguing the invalidity/validity, of the ends justify the means, which you ambivalently argued no less, you need to revert back to your thesus more. Also, make a clear stand on the statement from the beginning, all you say is "I agree" then you say "I Disagree" then half of your paper goes on to say that you disagree, then in the last half you don't. You forget to revert back to the thesis when you spend your two main body paragraphs on the greed of people, something you said that would never have ends justifying the means, and then in the next sentence you say "THE ENDS WILL ALWAYS JUSTIFY OUR MEANS". This paper has no clear or supported thesis, you spend your entire body paragraph on your counterexample(that in some cases the ends do not justify the means) but then you have no body paragraph that shows justifying the means. Then your conclusion says that ends ALWAYS justify the means but you gave arguments of instances where they don't.

IF this is what you write in more htan 20 minutes, I can't even imagine what you can write in 20 minutes.

By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 09:34 pm: Edit

i spent.... 20 minutes on it...

By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 09:41 pm: Edit

and isn't it pretty clear? read the last sentence of my introduction. then read the second sentence of my last paragraph.

what makes it so "obvious" that i spent more than 20 minutes on this essay? i want someone's honest opinion, and spending more than 20 minutes on the essay would defeat the purpose of writing in the first place...

i never explicitly say "I AGREE"; i gave examples of things that would happen if people were to accept the statement, and showed that doing so would be a bad idea... i'm not saying my essay is awesome, but i disagree with there not being a thesis statement in the essay. oh... that i didn't even support my argument... OH and that i spent more than 20 minutes on it =\

By Relinquo1 (Relinquo1) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 03:55 am: Edit

If that's what you got out of that paper Danny, I think you need to work on your reading skills. And there is absolutely no basis for your judgement on how long it took. The thesis is the "Society is based..." sentence and the next one.

I think I would give it 3 out of 6, it has a central idea that is well argued, and your ideas are definitely coherent. There are some major errors though. In your thesis, you say "if it were ..." which is conditional, but then you say "social structure MAY break down." May doesn't agree, "might" or "probably would" would be better.

"egotistical" is a bad word choice, the animal doesn't care about it's ego (how it looks to others) at all. Pragmatic might be a better word. After "egotistical animal" that should be a period, which may have been a typo.

The next sentence is factually wrong, which may completely kill that paragraph. Most wild animals DO form societies, they associate and care for others of their own species out of instinct. Some animals are like that - killer whales and tigers for instance, but not many. You could have used those specific examples and then said that a social animal does indeed care about its means of survival (it will not do things that harm it's offspring).

"In fact, some nations are led by multiple groups of people!" You need to add clarification, "people of this type" maybe. Otherwise it sounds like "WOW countries are ruled by groups of people!" Remarkable insight!

You have the instinct problem again - clarify by saying selfish instinct, because there are caring instincts as well. "... if it continues to run our lives." You can't refer to a whole statement as "it", say "this belief" instead.

Work on cleaning up those grammatical mistakes - they are also the exact things you need for the multiple choice part as well, so studying for that part might actually help your essay part too.

As a side note, have you read Machiavelli? Just considering the way you describe the world leaders compared to his way.

By Dannyferizzle (Dannyferizzle) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 05:51 am: Edit

Besides my bad word choice at time, this essay is still structurally VERY FLAWED, 20 minutes or not, I don't see any structure to it at all and once AGAIN YOU state that the ENDS DO JUSTIFY THE MEANS, yet your two body paragraphs are ABOUT EXAMPLES WHEERE THE ENDS DON't JUSTIFY THE MEANS.

It's as simple as that man, if your argument is that sometimes they do and sometimes they don't, you have to make that clear. You can't say in the conclusion, "the ends ALWAYS justify the means" unless your body paragraph has shown they that they ALWAYS justify the means, which your body paragraphs do not.

I'm sorry, but I've reiterated this like 20 times and I guess you stil don't get it because that is a MASSIVELY inherent problem, that's not just a minor flaw that is A HUGE problem. Relinquo, they don't grade on whether or not they use the conditional right, in fact, for a 20 minute essay they barely look at grammar at all as long it's not like "I is happy". Relinquo, you may be right, but this is not meant to be like the MC section esepcailly when you only have 20 minutes.

I'm trying to help you, this is what the readers look for, INTRODUCTION, a CLEAR statement, CLEAR support, and CLEAR relating back to thesis, and a CLEAR conclusion that GOES ALONG with what YOU SAID BEFORE, and a conclusion that doesn't introduce new ideas or doesn't sum up what your body paragraphs were about.

I need to work on my reading skills? Jesus, where you can get that from? I'm sorry but you need to be less myopic and see that if he makes a few grammatical mistakes, that does not detract from the quality of the essay, what the hell do they teach you in school?

Listen, Haruhara, clarity, structure, content. Your content is ok, just make sure you pick a side, or if you don't pick a side, equally divide your body paragraphs to each side, make sure your thesis, your bodies, and your conclusion are in agreement. These will get you 6's, whether or not you make a few word choice errors, they couldn't care less about that, they realize you have TWENTY MINUTES, they want to know exactly the things i told you, a thesis, body, and conclusion in AGREEMENT, and clearly stated and supported.

Simple as that.

By Dannyferizzle (Dannyferizzle) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 05:58 am: Edit

By the way, some advice on your body paragraphs, they seem to lose focus on what they're trying to argue. I know they're supopsed to be examples of negative justifications of means--but it seems like you go off on a tangent about greed and evil and you forget to remind the reader of your thesis--You'll get slammed big time on this. In fact all of the two body paragraphs don't quite fit your essay at all, the biggest reference you make is, "MOst people disagree with the topic sentence".

If you want to disagree with me fine, I don't care, but you're the one who's suffering, this isn't the time to be defending yourself, if you want a decent writing grade you better listen to criticism.

By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 11:49 am: Edit

thanks for all of the criticism everyone. but danny, i thought i was making agreement with the statement look bad through negative examples, while making the reverse look good with positive examples, therefore supporting my thesis statement, which was the last sentence of the first paragraph.

so relinguo, i just have to work on those grammatical and logical errors? thanks.

no, i haven't ever read machiavelli. i'm a phillistine so i wouldn't know about those things, heh.

By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 11:50 am: Edit

oh nevermind danny... you're sorta right... i do seem as if i'm going on a tangent in my body paragraphs.

By Tired_Student (Tired_Student) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 12:11 pm: Edit

The official readers of the essay will not look for anything spectacular. Just make sure your grammar is tight and that you dont ramble nor go off the topic.

By Dannyferizzle (Dannyferizzle) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 03:44 pm: Edit

.....grammar isn't that long as its not clearly noticeable, obviously if someone was reading with the same discerning eye as on the MC they would notice, but THEY AREN'T, they have one minute to read your essay.

By Arow (Arow) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 04:11 pm: Edit

They do look for grammar mistakes. Its the differences between a 5 and 6 a six.

What do you mean by "as long as its not clearly noticeabe"? Please give some examples.

Also, the Princeton Review says that grammar and organization is more important than content.
The graders know that the test taker's time is limited, which is why they don't expect an extremely developed and astounding idea. Grammar, however, is not an exception. No matter how limited in time you are,they expect that you be able to write clearly and correctly.

As for Hanhura,
Your essay contains many unnecessary words
For ex:
"Take, for example, a simple, wild animal living in some remote forest."
You can just say:
" Take for example a wild animal living in a remote forest."
Good writing is concise and to the point.

By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 04:47 pm: Edit

well, was my content acceptable at the least?

By Dannyferizzle (Dannyferizzle) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 07:35 pm: Edit

Clearly yes, correctly but by no stretch, how the hell can they expect you to write perfect grammar in 20 minutes? I mean like, as long as it sounds allright and its clear, they wont take off, but if it sounds "People hates the world" or "Dad and me kills deer" its fine. or "Me like the way.."

They're not going to take off if you write "The way the poet effectively describes and the way he is clear adds to his impact." Where you should write the way he clearly and effectively describes adds to his impact. 20 minutes, they aren't nazis jesus, that's why organization is so important. As long as it's not retarded english, they won't hurt you the difference between a 5 and 6 is :

6: Solid Thesis, Support, Agreeing Conclusion
5: Solid Thesis, Support, Open ended conclusion

(Or some variation of which one of the three components is slightly weaker)

By Lahlahlah (Lahlahlah) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 07:43 pm: Edit

im suprised u got a 1550 on the sat

By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 10:04 pm: Edit

what do you mean, you can't believe i got a 1550?

By Dannyferizzle (Dannyferizzle) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 11:04 pm: Edit

ooooh harsh--I saw that you got a 1550 on another post--I think it just goes to show that many of the kids in america are going to great schools with great scores and they have no idea on how to write--yet kids at my prep school, mostly all great writers and thinkers, struggle with the competition to get B's and have to go to "lesser" schools.
This isn't meant to hate on you haruhara, it's just an observation i've made from this forum.

By Lahlahlah (Lahlahlah) on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 11:42 pm: Edit

i agree... btw haruhara, keep in mind that the people grading these only read them for a minute... and as stupid as it may seem proper indentions, filling up the whole page, and putting in things like "in conclusion" are going to get you the points...

By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 12:11 am: Edit

danny, i agree, and i hate to see them struggle so much. i'm actually one of those people, but i just don't write. actually, i don't see how anyone can have an "innate" writing ability, but i can see physicists and mathematicians being great thinkers, no?

By Haruhara (Haruhara) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 12:13 am: Edit

i don't see how one's writing ability can measure his intelligence; i just don't see how? please explain. most "writers' that i know usually have to study really, relaly, really hard for their grades, and their ability to write doesn't come from their head, but through intensive studies and such. therefore, they aren't very brilliant people like you'd think they are.

By Lahlahlah (Lahlahlah) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 12:40 am: Edit

the ability to write clearly and concisely is a fundamental skill... think about it...

your ideas are useless if you can't express them

By Tired_Student (Tired_Student) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 12:48 am: Edit

Writing is a learned process. Great writers do not wake up and become great writers. However some people get their inspiration from other things, and most great writers seem to get theirs from *drugs, alcohol* e.g., Fitzgerald and Shakespeare.

By Jason (Jason) on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 03:30 am: Edit

I had a quick read of the essay, and in my opinion it wasn't terrible by any means.

I'd say it would get a 4.

By Shadow_Wolf (Shadow_Wolf) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 01:59 am: Edit

UHm..grammar is not the only difference between a 5 and a 6; I think in order to get a 6 you would need an interesting and thought-provoking essay. A mundane essay that sticks to its thesis and has very few grammatical errors would still get the 5 while an essay with outstanding arguments and the same amount of grammatical errors as the other will get the 6.

By Conker (Conker) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 07:32 am: Edit

"i don't see how one's writing ability can measure his intelligence; i just don't see how? please explain. most "writers' that i know usually have to study really, relaly, really hard for their grades, and their ability to write doesn't come from their head, but through intensive studies and such. therefore, they aren't very brilliant people like you'd think they are."

You obviously don't know any good writers then. Good writers write their papers at lunch and end up getting the best grade in the class.

By Justice (Justice) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 10:03 am: Edit

You guys overestimate how well the SAT II writing tests anything. I think that essay would be a 5 easily. The people who read the test have seen so many crappy essays which misuse simple verbs and adjectives that they sigh with relief when they enounter coherency. The point is well-made too.
And no offense guys but I'm pretty sure I could write twice that much in 20 minutes. Writing should be just like speaking--if you can say that much in 20 minutes, you can certainly write it. Why do you doubt that this OP did it in 20min? I can write an entire DBQ for US history in under 15 minutes and still get a full score.

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