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.
- ‘Everyman, I will go with thee, and be thy guide, in thy most need to go by thy side.’ – Anonymous
- ‘The fox knows many things – the hedgehog one big one.’ – Archilochus
- ‘Knowledge is power.’ – Francis Bacon
- ‘I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.’ – Socrates
- ‘Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.’ – Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Suggested Theme: Knowledge (Section B)
Time limit in the actual exam: 30 mins
Chosen Quote: ‘Knowledge is power.’ – Francis Bacon
Knowledge is power
In the political economy, knowledge, technology and innovation are the driving forces. As Francis Bacon suggests that knowledge is power – the one country that can best lead the information innovation will be more potent than any other, and China’s rise in recent years deserves close attention and examinations. The following dialectic explores how China represents and obtains its power through the application of knowledge.
China, one of the lowest income courtiers in the world at the turn of the 21st century, has become a superpower in less than two decades. Chinese industries are getting close to the technological frontier in the space technology, advanced nuclear energy, 5G, Artificial Intelligence and robotics, to name a few. The possession of power came from an acquisition of territory when land and natural resources were the dominant components in the production of wealth. Today, however, staying at the leading edge of advanced technology is power.
China’s rise in technological capability is unique. Research and Development activities based in China are more effective in identifying or creating new combinations in the Intellectual Properties sector because of China’s status as a worldwide mega factory in production. Additionally, National Bureau of Economic Research finds that Chinese researchers now publish more scientific papers than others; thus, China has also demonstrated their rise in science through their obtained knowledge from higher educations, particularly from the West.
Despite the success of the technical and scientific rise, and being the world’s second-largest economy, China maintains the status of a ‘developing’ country. Beijing maintains that it sees no reason to give up the self-declared status at the World Trade Organisation, claiming that the preferential treatment is a fundamental right. ‘China, therefore, gets tremendous perks and advantages’, proclaimed by the 45th and current US President, Donald Trump. China indeed enjoys the same distinctive and differential treatment afforded to nations like Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe.
China’s political manoeuvre demonstrates its calculated tactics to obtain power by applying adequate knowledge. It is important to note; however, none of those elements discussed herein implies that China will become a global leader in technology and innovation. China’s achievements are limited to the realm of ‘catching up’ to the leading countries by the reproduction of the technology in the targeted fields. Their ideas are imported from overseas and thus, lack originalities and missing the innovative component. It is still al long way for China to be a genuine power player and earn the respect of its counterparts.
Feedback from METC Institute:
Engagement with the chosen topic:
The student shows a proficient understanding of their selected quote. Their thesis statement is clear and relevant to the topic at hand. There is an interesting level of engagement however there is still room for further depth to the analysis.
Knowledge and thought:
Some arguments made here are detailed, supported by strong evidence, and are relevant to the topic at hand. The student raises good points in a clear and coherent fashion. There is however a counterpoint where several arguments especially in the synthesis lack any evidence at all and instead rely upon sweeping statements.
Structure of the Essay:
You follow the thesis-antithesis structure as recommended. Better linking between and within paragraphs would strengthen your writing. Be explicit about where you are taking the argument by using ‘signposting’ phrases (this shows, on the other hand etc.) This secures and solidifies your structure.
The student’s writing is free from any major or significant errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation. There is however the tendency to lose structure within the sentence itself, resulting in unfocused run-on sentences. There is also the occasional drift into an informal tone.
The argument made here are of a decent standard. The essay would greatly benefit from improved use of sources and clarity in the flow of argumentation.
Make a plan. Decide on how your essay will progress and which arguments you will use. From there you can ensure each argument is supported by strong secondary sources. Take time when writing and avoid running on without focus.
Feedback from AceGAMSAT:
This essay has your typical issues with clarity and evidence. I cannot recommend enough that you continue to work on your grammar, syntax and expression. Also, the concepts you explore require much more detail in the first half of your essay. It is possible that the marker may not get a complete sense of the deeper meaning behind your statements. I will be specific as to what I am referring to. You seem to be discussing what you would construe as general point of interest on China, etc. What are you discussing about China though is only partially applicable, to the point that it is actually ahistorical, meaning at odds with the historical record. This must be avoided. Be more confident in your historical assertions. This would represent an improvement. Do not feel too discouraged. I think your verve is commendable, and with an essay of the right length I am sure you will score highly.
Focusing on the positive the second half of this essay is quite good and does not have the same types of issues found in the first half.
Feedback from the Gold Standard GAMSAT:
It might be a good idea to understand the difference between the two Section 2 writing tasks, as well as the purpose of each task.
Thought and Content:
This is an interesting dialectic on China’s plan to become a new superpower, and that they still hold ‘developing nation’ status. However, we are not so sure that Trump believes this and he certainly doesn’t act that way in his trade agreements (or lack thereof) with China.
Your observation about what gives a nation power is also interesting. You are quite right that resources and land were for many centuries one of the main forms of power (that and the ability to defend said land). The more recent shift towards knowledge as power seems set to continue; from this perspective, China has been very political savvy.
Language and Structure:
This response is structured as an argumentative/dialectic essay, which is quite apropos in dealing with the socio-cultural theme of a Writing Task A. However, Writing Task B has personal AND social themes. While you have addressed the social aspect, this response wasn’t able to draw the personal implication of the comments about knowledge.
You write well, and you are good at creating and supporting academic and theoretical arguments. What you need to work on is your storytelling ability. We are confident that you know how to tell stories – if you have ever sat with family or friends and just talked in a relaxed way, or if you have ever read a fictional book or watched a movie, you know on some level at least how to tell a story. When you are writing the Task B essay, that is the energy that you need to harness.
We have already repeatedly made suggestions as to how you can learn to write an appropriate Task B essay. We understand that you submitted this essay before reading those comments and being able to act upon them, however, it would not be constructive to repeat those suggestions here.