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Test Prep GRE

with Vince Kotchian

Chapter 3: Essay Examples


The following essays are examples of those written by students for the GRE test.
9. Issue Essay
The effectiveness of a countrys leaders is best measured by examining the well-being of that countrys
citizens.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In
developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or
examples that could be used to challenge your position.
It is clear why someone would suppose that the effectiveness of a countrys leader can be measured
by observing the well-being of its public. Often citizenry well-being goes hand in hand with strong
leadership. Consider, the U.S. during Franklin Delano Roosevelts tenure. His effectiveness is not
questioned, as he gave the U.S. its biggest economic turnaround in history, brought America to the top,
and saw it overcome its competition with Western Europe. The overall well-being of the U.S. was restored
with strong overall economic health, and most people were employed.
However, the statement fails because it considers a national leaders effectiveness and the well-being of its
countrys public mutually inclusive realities, a flawed assumption made clear by multiple counterexamples.
Events naturally occur in detriment to the overall population. However, these can exist independently
of that countrys leaders effectiveness, because these can be in terms where the two are unrelated.
Consider El Nino, for example. The natural disaster wiped out hundreds of innocent civilians. To make the
argument, however, that this detriment to the overall American population reflects that George W. Bush
failed as a President is ludicrous. Weather, especially one as severe as the El Nio hurricane, is outside the
control of the nations leader, even though remedying the fallout of the natural disaster may fall within the
realms of leadership.
The given statement also fails because an effective leader may have interests that do not include the
well-being of that countrys citizens. This then means that effective leadership and public health not only
do not go hand in hand, the latter has deteriorated because the leader has been effective in seeking his/
her agenda elsewhere. Consider Kim Jong Il, for example. There is no doubt that, in pursuing the agenda
that his country be taken seriously by globally powerful forces, he was extremely successful. He navigated
super powers into providing financial and food handouts, without condition, enabling him to allocate
much of that aid to Pyongyang rather than many of those who were starving. He was able to continue
plutonium development but with monetary aid from South Korea and American assistance, despite
promises otherwise, giving him international leverage by being able to viably threaten the region. Kim
Jong Il, as a leader pursuing his own agenda, was an example of an extremely effective leader, without
his acute ability reflected by the well-being of his population. Here, it is his failure, in fact, as an effective
leader that may have helped the overall public health and well-being.
Because effectiveness of a countrys leaders and universal public well-being are not mutually inclusive
realities, the given statement fails. National leaders can have interests outside their publics health,
in which case, if they are effective, are detrimental to the publics well-being. Public well-being may
deteriorate due to reasons irrelevant to a national leaders effectiveness. Finally, a public can represent
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absolute health and well-being without having effective leadership. As a result, this paper disagrees that
positive or negative public health is any measurement of the effectiveness of a national leader at all, being
far from the best meter.
10. Argument Essay
The following appeared in a memorandum from the owner of Movies Galore, a chain of movie-rental stores.
In order to reverse the recent decline in our profits, we must reduce operating expenses at Movies
Galores ten movie-rental stores. Since we are famous for our special bargains, raising our rental prices is
not a viable way to improve profits. Last month our store in downtown Marston significantly decreased its
operating expenses by closing at 6:00 p.m. rather than 9:00 p.m. and by reducing its stock by eliminating
all movies released more than five years ago. Therefore, in order to increase profits without jeopardizing
our reputation for offering great movies at low prices, we recommend implementing similar changes in our
other nine Movies Galore stores.
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and
explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
There are several facts that are required for the reader to know in order to properly evaluate the
recommendation adhered to by the Movies Galores owners memo.
In order to determine if the owners memorandum is reasonable, it is important to first know why customers
seek out Movies Galore to rent movies, and also to know the motivating reason for why, in reality, profits
have declined. Simply because the franchise is known for its bargain, does not mean that that is why people
go there, and is not reason enough to assume that once bargains are taken away, customers will no longer
rent at Movies Galore, and thereby further reduce profits. Perhaps customers shop there because they
like the movie-renting experience. Perhaps profits have declined because a new movie-renting store or
franchise has opened and is stealing former Movies Galore customers. If both are the case, taking down
special bargains will not affect customer attendance nor will closing the shop early. In fact, the latter will
likely further hurt business and lead to more profit decline, especially if Movies Galores new competitor
remains open to 9 pm, as they will continue to steal their customers during hours that formerly used to be
available to Movie Galore-goers.
Additionally, the memo can be better evaluated if it can be known that other avenues of either cutting costs
or increasing revenue have been explored and decided unworkable. It is important to know both because,
as the definition, profit equals revenue minus operating costs dictates, both would help with raising profits.
For example, rather than closing shop early, has the possibility of firing employees or hiring fewer but better
employees been considered? Renting out videos is not a labor-intensive business and may not require as
many hands as are on deck at Movies Galore. Consider, even that it is true Movies Galores customers go to
the store because they are drawn in by specials. Even if that is the case, this does not mean that the store
cannot increase profits by raising revenue. The store can maintain their image of having special bargains by
still having them because this is does not mutually exclude the viability of raising rental prices.
Another failure of being able to evaluate the owners memo is that the reader is missing some vital
information about the Marston branch. While it states that the Marston store was able to reduce costs
by closing 3 hours early, the memo fails to discuss whether or not that branch was able to reverse their
decline in profits. If a reverse in profit decline was the case, then perhaps this tacticthe one offered by the
memocould be followed. If not, then other options must be considered, because then the memo would
only be recommending that a failed attempt be reproduced at this franchises branch. However, even if it
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is the case that the Marston branch tactic successfully reversed a decline in profits, differences between
the Marston and this store could be drastically different enough that this recommendation may still not
be viable. Differences in demographic, for example, will additionally assist in evaluation of the memos
recommendation.
As can be seen, a lot of missing information would assist in evaluating whether or not closing early
will help Movies Galores profits. By itself, the memorandum is weak in making a case for this store to
follow the recommendation provided on the basis of a half-told Marston branch case. As is such, it is
recommended that more information be gathered before it is ultimately decided to close shop 3 hours
early.

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