In a previous article we looked at how to bring in current affairs, quotes and statistics into our GAMSAT argumentative essays. In this article we’re going to focus on how to improve your GAMSAT essay structure to get a higher grade.
1. Know what you’re being tested on
The GAMSAT essay is the examiner’s way of finding out if you’re a critical thinker with a good grasp of world affairs. You’re being assessed not on what your opinions are, but if you’re able to express those opinions and back them up with a sound argument. That’s why, just like a political debate you’d see on TV, there needs to be a clear and logical structure to your argument. If you go off on a tangent you stand the risk of not only not being able to express yourself properly but even losing track of your train of thought yourself!
2. Plan ahead for your GAMSAT essay
You’ll be faced with a series of quotes that you have to digest and then use to form an opinion. The first step then is to plan what you’re going to say. Circle the quotes you want to use and then use those as a starting point for a spider diagram to plan your work. Decide beforehand what your opinion is and then quickly jot down your thoughts and any quotes and stats you know in this planning phase.
3. Remember the Basic Structure of the GAMSAT essay
Broadly speaking, the structure of the essay is as follows:
4. Make the title an interesting one
This is a highly important point every GAMSAT aspirant must know. Keep in mind that the title is the first area where you can hook the attention of the reader. How many times have you come across a write-up and passed it by simply because the title didn’t look promising? Your GAMSAT essay is incomplete without a title, and it is imperative that you make it a short, catchy and intriguing one, something that provokes interest in the reader.
5. The introduction should be catchy as well
Yes, this is just as important. We hardly want to read through a book if we don’t like the first chapter, and the same goes for your GAMSAT essay. Start with a hook sentence, something funny, or dark, or even sarcastic, in short, something that would hook the reader instantly.
6. No unsupported hypotheses
There is no place for an unsupported assumption in the GAMSAT essay. If you are proposing a hypothesis, you must make sure that it is very well-supported by logical arguments and illustrations. Unless you present a backing for your hypothesis, there is no way you can convince the reader of the validity of your standpoint.
7. Be logical
Always be logical in your arguments. Remember, it doesn’t matter what your opinions are on a particular topic, you must be able to back it up soundly. It’s not okay to say “This is right because it is right” in the GAMSAT essay. If you are expressing an opinion, you must be able to back it up with indisputable logic.
8. Provide Illustrations
Illustrations to support your arguments are a must in the GAMSAT essay. Without illustrations, your argument falls flat, because there is no real basis for the reader to verify the authenticity and validity of your standpoint. You need to ensure that the reader is able to relate an incident with your view.
9. Avoid ambiguity
Make sure there is no ambiguity in your viewpoints. Whatever your standpoint is, it must be absolutely clear. Do not stay in a no man’s land; if you take a neutral stance, state all the opposing arguments and why they balance each other out.
10. There must always be a conclusion
Always conclude your essay. End it with a positive note, a reinforcement of your stance and a possibility of further thought on the topic. Remember, the conclusion is not where you summarise your arguments.
11. Take care of your grammar
Be grammatically sound in your GAMSAT essay. Incorrect grammar and sentence construction takes away the enjoyment of of reading even the strongest arguments, and obstructs the reader’s understanding of your opinions. Build up a good vocabulary so that you don’t run out of appropriate words. The trick is to be as lucid as possible.
As the GAMSAT essay is one of the only ways that you can show your personality and drive to the examiners (something impossible to do with the MCQs) you really need to give yourself the best chance of maiming a great impression. If you’ve got better or different ways to structure your essays that’s fine, but just remember to make sure you get your point across in a clear and professional manner. And here, there’s nothing better than practice, lots of it!
image source: whimsicallyours.com