Re: GAMSAT Essay Writing – The Art of Persuasion
Can you effectively sell ice to Eskimos? Religion to an atheist? The concept of climate change to Donald Trump? If not, this is a skill you had better start honing because Section II of the GAMSAT, Task A in particular, calls upon the skill of persuasion in your essay writing.
Effective persuasive essays use logic, reason and emotion to convince the reader to join you in your particular point of view. Each element of the essay plays a part in persuading your reader to ultimately agree with your point of view.
- The hook captures the reader’s attention and instantly draws them into your essay.
- The thesis states your assertion about the theme/quote, further peaking the interest of the reader (provide a concise preview only here – the complete argument and supporting details are revealed in the body of the essay, not in the introduction).
- The supporting arguments convince the reader that your thesis is correct. To do this, use logos – appeal to logic; ethos – appeal to ethics; and pathos – appeal to emotions (note: not all emotional appeals are sad).
- The conclusion persuasively reaffirms your thesis.
If writing persuasively doesn’t come naturally to you, dig into the toolbox of persuasive writing techniques below to enhance your success at swaying the viewpoint of the person marking your GAMSAT essay.
9 Tips for effective persuasive gamsat essay writing
#1 Take a clear stance on the issue – there’s nothing less convincing than a fence-sitter or someone whose opinion changes with the wind.
#2 Write with passion – use powerful wording, strong assertions and demonstrate that you believe strongly in what you are writing… why should the marker share your point of view if it sounds like you barely believe it yourself?
#3 Don’t overtly tell the reader what to think – be subtle in “leading” the reader to share your conclusion rather than forcing it upon them. For example, don’t write: “Therefore, you have to agree that…” Instead write something like: “Faced with such compelling evidence it is undeniably clear that…”
#4 Use metaphors, similes and analogies to demonstrate and emphasise your point. Relating your scenario to something that the reader already accepts as being true is a powerful way to convince them to see things your way.
#5 Use real life stories as evidence – real life stories have a much more powerful persuasive punch than hypothetical examples or theoretical discussion as they tend to be more relatable and appeal more to the emotions of the reader, which is essential in persuading them.
#6 Consider the other points of view and come up with a rebuttal – the last thing you want is your reader reaching the end of your essay and still thinking “Yeah, but…” To fully persuade the reader you must convincingly rebuff their major objections.
#7 Include effective repetition – Steer clear of boring, redundant repetition, but be sure to include effective repetition that serves to emphasise your point. This means making your point in several different ways: directly, in a story, within an example, using a simile or metaphor, via a quote, etc.
#8 Provide reasons why – The reader is more likely to be convinced that your thesis is true if you give them solid reasons as to why they should agree with you, so harness the power of the word “because”.
#9 Employ storytelling – storytelling allows for the reader to naturally persuade themselves without you having to do any hard work to convince them. A powerful story will help the reader independently decide that you are right!
When writing persuasive GAMSAT essays, always maintain an awareness of the crucial interaction between yourself and the reader. Your job is to use whatever techniques necessary to successfully persuade the reader.