The following is an example of a high-scoring essay response to our free practice GED Essay Prompt. Below our GED sample essay is a brief analysis justifying its perfect score.
The issue of how the police should interact with communities is a very hot-button topic. Some believe that criticizing the actions of the police hurts their ability to do their job, while others argue that the police have overstepped their authority and often cause more harm than good. Both arguments presented address this issue head on; however, it is the argument against the militarization of the police published by the ACLU that is the best supported and ultimately the most convincing argument.
While the second argument lacks specific statistics, or numerical data, the ACLU’s argument informs the reader that there were 80,000 military raids by police last year. Such an extraordinary figure surprises the reader and supports the idea that perhaps military-style raids have become too commonplace in society. The essay successfully uses statistics again when it cites a recent report stating, “of all the incidents studied where the number and race of the people impacted were known, 39 percent were Black, 11 percent were Latino, 20 were white.” This supports the idea that the militarization of police has had a disproportionately negative impact on African-American communities — further adding to the thesis that overall, the militarization of the police is detrimental to society.
Another reason why the ACLU’s argument is better supported than Mr. Hagner’s argument is because it addresses the idea of possible ethical corruption — an idea that Hagner’s essay ignores. The ACLU states, “Companies like Lockheed Martin and Blackhawk Industries are making record profits by selling their equipment to local police departments that have received Department of Homeland Security grants.” Here the ACLU implies that the reason for the militarization is simply profit; if this is true, then there is perhaps no actual real-world need for the militarization of the police at all. Ethically, companies are simply looking to make money from the police, rather than helping them to do their job.
Finally, the ACLU’s argument is much more convincing than Mr. Hagner’s argument because it uses much more impactful diction. The forcefulness of the language here, for example, when the ACLU calls the drug war “wasteful and failed” highlights the high-stakes nature of this issue. It appeals to the emotions of the reader, who is most likely a tax-payer and someone who has a vested interest in not having their money wasted by the government. The tone of this essay is much more impassioned than the tone of the second, and it helps to draw the reader in and engage them on an emotional level. The author implies that the reader may not be safe, since “heavily armed SWAT teams are raiding people’s homes in the middle of the night.”
In summary, the ACLU’s argument is better supported by statistics and data, accusations of ethical corruption, and forceful language that engages the reader. Mr. Hagner’s argument has some merit, and it does a good job organizing points with a numbered list, but ultimately it is too dry in tone and does not include any data or quotes from authority figures to back up its claims. The ACLU’s argument winds up being more convincing: the militarization of police is something we should all be concerned about.
Sample Essay Analysis
This essay is very well-organized. It uses 5 paragraphs and lays out the structure in the following manner:
- Paragraph 1 — Introduction (why the ACLU position is better-supported)
- Paragraph 2 — Reason #1 — Statistics (two examples given from passage)
- Paragraph 3 — Reason #2 — Ethics (one example given from passage)
- Paragraph 4 — Reason #3 — Vocabulary (two examples given from passage)
- Paragraph 5 — Conclusion
In the introduction, the author thoughtfully introduces the topic of police militarization and explains why it is relevant to today’s society. Both arguments are introduced, and the thesis is clearly placed at the bottom of the paragraph so it is easy for the reader to find. The thesis clearly states which argument the author believes is better supported; the language is confident.
Each of the next three body paragraphs is well organized. Each paragraph starts with a transition word or phrase and includes one example that supports the thesis. The body paragraphs cite specific examples from the passage, and then explain how those examples support the important point. The author uses three difference examples: statistics, ethics, and vocabulary, to prove why the ACLU’s argument is better supported. These examples are different from one another and show that the author understands what makes an argument weak or strong.
Finally, the concluding paragraph makes a minor concession to the opposing side, praising the numbered list that appears therein, before reiterating and restating the thesis from the Introduction.
The essay avoids any grammar or spelling errors and the sentence structure is clear and varied with the appropriate usage of commas and other punctuation. Clear command of the English language is demonstrated. As a result, this essay would earn a perfect score.
GED Practice Questions >>
For some students, writing an essay is a difficult task. The GED contains two extended response sections. Our top tips for GED writing will help you get ready for the extended responses on the GED writing exam.
About GED Writing
According to GED Testing Service, a well-crafted response to a GED writing prompt is around 300-500 words long! That equals 4-7 paragraphs with 3-7 sentences per paragraph. Writing anything less might not be an accurate representation of your skills and could result in a low score.
Writing takes place during the Extended Response portion of the GED exam. Scoring is based on how well you answer the provided prompt using basic English conventions and language. Your essay should make sense, communicate your ideas effectively and clearly relate to the prompt.
Top Tips for GED Writing
Use our 5 top tips to keep your GED writing in top-top shape!
1. Practice using real sample questions
Hundreds of GED sample questions are only a few clicks away online. Familiarize yourself with the prompt for each response. What is it asking you to do? What evidence from the text do you need to find to support your ideas? Some prompts ask you to provide a quote or cite specific evidence in your answer. Some ask you to analyze or compare passages.
Practice using sample questions like those from GED Testing Service to help hone your skills for the real test. Set a timer for 45-minutes if you want a more accurate preview of what the test will feel like!
2. Use formal language
Too often, writers slide into the language they use while texting or speaking to their friends. A GED extended response essay is not a good time to use abbreviations or slang. IMO, save that for after the test.
Essay scoring is based on the proper use of English language conventions. Grammar, sentence structure and word choice is all very important to your final score. Think about how you would speak at a professional conference or to the President of the United States – your essay writing should have the same formal tone.
3. Structure and organize your thoughts
A well-written essay is clear and concise. Help organize your thoughts by using the 1:3:1 writing rule.
- 1 opening paragraph: states your main idea by answering the question given in the prompt
- 3 body paragraphs: have three different ideas that support your main idea; one paragraph per idea. Include evidence from the text to support your ideas. Add more paragraphs here if needed.
- 1 closing paragraph: restate your main idea, making sure your answer to the prompt is clear
Begin your extended response by spending 5-7 minutes creating an outline following this structure. This format may seem awkward at first, but stick with it! It is one of the easiest ways to organize your thinking as you sit down to write your essay.
4. Edit and proofread your work
Save the last 5-10 minutes of your extended response time for proofreading! Check your writing for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes or unclear statements. Reading your paper out loud (in a quiet voice, or course) can also help catch writing errors that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
5. Type on the computer when you can
GED writing is online only. Your typing skills don’t have to be great in order to be successful on the test, but being comfortable with a keyboard certainly will help. If possible, type all your practice essays when you study. The more comfortable you are thinking and typing, the better off you will be the day of the test.
Need a little more practice on the keyboard? Sign up for some free online classes! Learn common finger positioning and key location. Skip ahead a few lessons if you just need to work on speed and accuracy.
Find other helpful writing tips and guides in our Magoosh GED blogs!
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