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Rant in F Minor

  1. May 31, 2007 #1

    honestrosewater

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    I just have to say that these stupid essays that they make you write on standardized tests -- you know, the "Is honesty always the best policy?", "Can any society afford to neglect its brightest members?", "Is teamwork what makes football so popular in America?" topics -- are so against my religion. They are encouraging people to form hasty conclusions and put the rest of their effort into mastering teh art of equivocation and talking out of their non-nice places to cover up the flaws that would have become apparent if they had thought about the question for more than 5 minutes. Man. I hate these things so much.
     
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  3. May 31, 2007 #2

    chroot

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    Hint: What you say hardly matters. All they're looking for is spelling, grammar, and advanced sentence structure. The topics are inane for a reason.

    - Warren
     
  4. May 31, 2007 #3

    honestrosewater

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    Yeah, but.


    It's so wrong. They should at least get me drunk first.
     
  5. May 31, 2007 #4
    that's weird, because I get questions like that on my philosophy exams.
     
  6. May 31, 2007 #5

    honestrosewater

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    Like I said... they are encouraging people to talk like philosophers.
     
  7. May 31, 2007 #6

    loseyourname

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    I had to take a university exit exam recently to prove I could write an essay. An SF Chronicle writer made the argument that, because he was a professional with inside sources and years of training that worked full-time at his craft, his writing was worth more than that of an amateur, and that the Chronicle should charge for its online content, and that newspapers generally should do so, to distinguish them from free, amateur news sources. I had to either agree with him or disagree.

    I thought it was a great topic. I disagreed, and laid out all of my reasons. First, many important stories (think the Dan Rather scandal recently) are broken by bloggers and not newspaper writers, and blogs also provide the opportunity for people with inside views of an event to write from their own perspective and not even have their stories mediated by a reporter in the first place. Second, the entire reason we have freedom of the press in the this country is the importance of the free exchange of and access to information to the workings of a democracy. An informed citizenry is essential if this American experiment is to continue working. Notably, the persons most likely to not pay for online content if given the choice between that and free content - those without means; read: youth - are those most susceptible to demogoguery and most likely to be ideological naive. If the writer truly believes newspaper content is better, then charging for it unintentionally excludes those most in need of it, which is almost certainly not what he wants to do. Furthermore, newspaper content is available for free regardless of whether the paper's website charges or not - at the local public or university library. Charging for the web content thus unintentionally discriminates against those without library access, forcing them to either pay for or be deprived of something that everyone else has free access to. Finally, newspapers and blogs alike have a common source of revenue - the selling of advertising space. The fact that both are free to view creates a natural meritocracy whereby, if one desires profit at all, it comes because of the number of viewers, may the best content profit most, rather than that which charges.

    No equivocation, and the position was clearly explained and carefully thought out. I received a perfect score on the exam, just as I did on the written portion of the GRE.

    Of course, my argument isn't perfect, and I could have written an equally convincing essay taking the opposite side, but that isn't the point. These quesions are not true/false questions. They aren't testing you on whether you can generate truth. They're testing to see how clearly you can formulate a consistent and convincing argument, in keeping with the advocacy model of public discourse. One person does not figure out the best way to do something himself. One person formulates one position as best as he can, and another person formulates the other position, and may the best one convince the most people. It's the way things get done outside of the world of science, where strict, clear-cut answers just aren't going to be found.
     
  8. May 31, 2007 #7

    Moonbear

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    The MCAT does that where they require equivocation. They'll give you some inane statement like that, then the instructions tell you to state whether you agree or disagree, explain your reasons, then give an example when that would not be the case and explain. :rolleyes: The topics HAVE to be inane in order to ensure there isn't any bias against someone who has a very strong opinion on a real issue. The problem is, the more inane the topic, the harder it is sometimes to give an example and counterexample when you're sitting there going, "This is just too stupid to give any thought at all."

    In those, they are looking at your actual writing skills, and your ability to present a persuasive (albeit trivial) argument. Organization of thoughts and a logical progression through example and counterexample are scored in addition to grammar and spelling.
     
  9. May 31, 2007 #8

    Mk

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    Normally people just say the essay questions are stupid. I must agree, although I did write quite an excellent essay in my 30 minutes for the ACT.
     
  10. Jun 1, 2007 #9
    these sentences are all rubbish, i haven't ever seen anyone following these things. parents and teacher do teach little kids these things, but i m 100% sure that they seldom follow them. i mean everyone puts himself/herself before everything. no one cares else.

    and about the essay thing, they always give you the hard questions. that brings the best writer out of you, but not the best person.

    if they give debates rather than essays in exam, it will be better i gues
     
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