Re: GAMSAT Writing Advice
As I have said multiple times before (and am clearly about to say again), there is no single correct way to approach section II. There is no one perfect method. In fact, using a method or structure that you do not understand or that does not fit with your way of thinking may land you in an uphill battle and cause you to produce suboptimal essays. Anyway (rants aside), the following post aims to identify some two common pitfalls that you might encounter as you prepare for section II and how to overcome them.
Pitfall #1: Covering a very small proportion of the theme (i.e. writing a very specific essay)
For example, let’s pretend that the theme of imagination is represented by the iceberg below. If you were to write an entire essay (perhaps in response to a single quote) that looked only at how imagination allows us to overcome limitations present in our lives, you might be able to cover a vast amount of ideas on the function of imagination and this notion in general. However, what you might end doing, depending on your writing ability, is only dealing with a tiny bit of the imagination iceberg sticking out of the water at the top (the ‘red box of death’)! Obviously this is to be avoided.
How to fix it:
If you think you often end up ignoring a large chunk of the theme, consider a ‘layer cake’ image when composing your thesis and thinking of your examples. Can you explore issues/ examples that relate to your thesis on an individual, group and societal level, or would you need to expand your thesis in order to do this?
Basically, thinking of cake is helpful when preparing for section II.
Ok, where were we?
Pitfall #2: Not linking your body paragraphs back to your thesis
This is an extremely common area of weakness in students that I tutor. Many students will develop an excellent thesis, and identify wonderful and persuasive arguments to use to flesh out that thesis. They even select good examples that illustrate their argument and explain these well. Their paragraphs often lack conviction and cohesion, however, because they fail to explicitly tie what they have just said (often really well!) in their body paragraph back to their thesis and the points that they have already established in their essay.
How to fix it:
Become a master at the linking sentence. This final sentence of your paragraph is critical to ensuring that your essay as a whole is persuasive and logical. Ensure that this sentence also includes persuasive language (e.g. ‘The above examples of social prejudice powerfully exemplify the capability for discriminatory behaviour amongst human beings and the deleterious effects of this for individuals and society’).
I hope that the above advice is beneficial to you, and assists you in overcoming challenges that you may be experiencing in your preparation.
Happy essay writing!
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