Ambition – Do you have what it takes to become someone? (GAMSAT Essay Example)
Consider the following comments and develop a piece of writing in response to one or more of them. Your writing will be judged on the quality of your response to the theme, how well you organise and present your point of view, and how effectively you express yourself.
- ‘Well is it known that ambition can creep as well as soar.’ – Edmund Burke
- ‘I had rather be right than be President.’ – Henry Clay
- ‘All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upwards on the miseries or credulities of mankind’ – Joseph Conrad
- ‘He is loyal to his own career but only incidentally to anything or anyone else.’ – Hugh Dalton
- ‘There is always room at the top.’ – Daniel Webster
Suggested Theme: Ambition (Section B)
Time limit in the actual exam: 30 mins
Chosen Quote: ‘There is always room at the top.’ – Daniel Webster
Do you have what it takes to become someone?
Becoming someone by following through one’s ambition involves a significant amount of commitment with sacrifice. Daniel Webster mentions that there is always room at the top; however, it is not an easy task to reach the zenith. Only the selected few can successfully manage to deliver the desired outcome, demonstrating world-class status. The following dialectic explores what it takes to be out there.
Today, a click of a button in Google search makes anyone as informative as any scholars. In today’s ever-changing global society, the education system requires adopting the economic needs in our global workforce and preparing students with more than necessary memorisation facts. The required critical skill is transforming the available information into practical skills and knowledge, then to act on it. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of ‘Outliers’, explains that reaching the 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is the key to success in any field, which would take ten years of practising a specific task for 20 hours per week. In consideration of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, it is a time-consuming process to reach a decent level within the expertise and requires sheer commitment and dedication.
Following through one’s ambition involves not only devoting hours required but also taking care of physical and mental health for consistency. Dr Mike Dow, the author of ‘The Brain Fog Fix’, advises on how best to keep one’s brain sharp and alert. It is common to develop a mild cognitive impairment when under stress, which is detrimental when aiming to perform to the best of one’s ability. Sufficient physical exercise, consumption of adequate nutrition, and meditation are all essential elements to reduce the stress level. Additionally, Omega-3s, according to the study, shows the best fats for the brain since they prevent inflammation – the key to cognitive function and warding off depression, stress and anxiety.
As Rome is not built in one day, it is a long journey to accomplish one’s ambition. Being at the top in any fields requires not only the tremendous amount of effort and dedication that many fail to sustain but also persistence to continue maintaining the quality of physical and mental health to handle any upcoming challenges. The important thing is to aim to become the best version of one can be without comparison with others. There is always room for improvement, and our potential is endless.
Feedback from METC Institute:
Engagement with the chosen topic:
The student shows a proficient understanding of their quote and topic. Their thesis statement is clear and direct. While the quote is utilised in the introduction it is not presented accurately. There is analysis however this is primarily surface level.
Knowledge and thought:
There is examples of good secondary evidence with this essay. Malcolm Gladwell’s publication is relevant and interesting. While relevant to the thesis the arguments made in antithesis are disjointed. The essay would benefit from more fluid argumentation and increase in the volume of the secondary supporting sources used.
Structure of the Essay:
This essay has a clear structure, with good examples functioning as the primary focus on each section. While there are some minor issues here with specificity of language and detail, the examples stand and do support the student’s overall arguments. There is however a feeling of disconnection between the thesis and antithesis, as the argumentation utilised does not follow on clearly from the previous points.
The student uses formal punctuation, tone and grammar in this assignment. There is an issue however with run on sentences and frequent grammatical and grammatical and spelling errors which does bring down an initially academic tone.
The student has produced a decent essay and shows obvious understanding of the topic. There is an issue however with the fluidity of the student’s argumentation and their language. The essay shows promise and has key areas, which once improved on would result in a greatly improved piece of work.
Begin your paper by planning out your argumentation. Ensure that your arguments work together cohesively and that your antithesis builds upon and form your thesis. Allow some time to check your work to eradicate spelling and grammatical errors.
Feedback from AceGAMSAT:
This essay is somewhat outside of the format you should be aiming for these kinds of essays. I am assuming this was for Task A. If so your use of evidence was good but just remember it is much more about making your thought process clear to the reader. Just going with evidence is not enough.
Some of the statements you make are also under defined or under explained. How exactly does this essay relate to the quote? I feel that you need to maybe work a little more on making this clear in your introduction. Also, the evidence which you do use should probably be a little more specific, more narrow if you like. Gladwell can be used for many, many discussions and as such is probably not ideal as evidence.
Your conclusion seems to be trying to do quite a bit. Please try to narrow the focus. Your essays will always be quite short, so try to nail down perhaps two major points per essay.
Feedback from the Gold Standard GAMSAT:
While the essay addresses the theme of the quotes, this has been written as a Task A dialectic, not the personal narrative style that’s suited for Task B. Nevertheless, even as a dialectic, this essay does not show two opposing perspectives or a thesis and antithesis.
Thought and Content:
Eek, please do not equate ‘education’ or being ‘scholarly’ with ‘the click of a mouse’. There is as much (if not more) disinformation, misinformation, ‘fake news’, and nutty theories about just about anything, as there is accurate and evidence-based information on any subject. Also, the goal of education for employment has always been the ability to transform information into practical skills: this is not new to our time (critical thinking is also a practical skill, as is the ability to memorise things, whether facts or formulas or procedures). This applies as much to medicine as to being a grocery store cashier, although obviously the length of time needed for mastery and complexity of the tasks are very different.
We appreciate your observation in the conclusion that the aim should always be to be the best version of yourself. The essay would have worked better by bringing this observation into the essay earlier.
Language and Structure:
There is a reason that there are two different tasks: they are designed to evaluate different abilities and characteristics. Task A is where your analytic abilities will shine through, but Task B is where your qualities of empathy, emotional intelligence, and adaptability should be highlighted.
It might help to think of this task as going for coffee with a friend. If the subject of ambition and success came up, what would you have to say? What story might you relate to your friend? If you have trouble thinking about what you would say, turn it around. What kind of story would you like to hear? What would you want to learn about the topic? Everyone has a story or two to tell – this is an opportunity to share one of yours. Keep in mind that this task isn’t about dialectics, analysis or knowledge, it’s about stories, empathy, and wisdom.
If you are not comfortable sharing a story from your own life, or if you can’t think of anything from your experience that relates to the theme of the quotes, there are some other options. You can draw on the experiences of other people – friends or family, or of someone you admire (Bill Gates or Elon Musk would be examples you could use here). You can also draw upon a book or movie or even a song that you know well. If you are familiar with the movie Limitless, or Inception, either one of them would be a great way to discuss this theme. Just make sure that you credit the source – i.e., ‘The movie Limitless is a great example of the power of ambition’ and then explain the basic plot. It would be a good idea to explain why you remember the book or movie as well.
The single best way to become a better writer is to read a good writing. In this case, you will need to look for good examples of short narrative essays. Look for Ann Lamotts’s Bird by Bird online, or the shorter essay ‘Shitty First Drafts’: not only do these provide excellent examples of this essay structure, but also provide some good guidance about writing. Look also for Neal Gaiman’s book The View from the Cheap Seats, as pretty much all of the essays there also show how to first tell a story, and then reflect on the lesson learned. Both of these writers write about the process of writing, which can be both interesting and instructive.
We also highly recommend the 100 Great Essays series published by Penguin Academics. The essays here are divided by both content and form, so it is easy to choose the narrative essays. Pay attention as much to form as to content. The book also contains very good advice about active reading, and how to structure different types of essays.
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