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Please rate my independent essay

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Please rate my independent essay [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2012, 00:29
Hi all, this is the first essay I'm posting on this forum. My TOEFL is in two weeks.
Concerning the essay, I just took a random topic from a list and set the timer for 30'. My essay is 598 words long, I don't know if that's too much, but when my minds gets fired up I usually write a lot :lol:
Here it is, and thanks in advance for the help :

It is generally agreed that society benefits from the work of its members.
Compare the contributions of artists to society with the contributions of scientists
to society. Which type of contribution do you think is valued more by
your society? Give specific reasons to support your answer.


Society undoubtedly benefits from the work of its members, be they artists or scientists, two well-defined “roles” with two very different approaches: one is very down-to-earth, while the other requires the mind to escape. While my society used to be a prime place for artists, today it values the contribution of scientists far more.

First, empirically, if I had to look at how my society treats scientists and artists, then the former clearly come up on top: they are usually well-paid, receive interesting job opportunities, and contribute to society. On the other hand becoming an artist is often not recommended. When you look at a bunch of 18 years-old, a lot of them will usually attend a scientific university. There will be only one or two “artistic” kids, and they are usually viewed as the odd ones in the room, the “creative” ones. Later on in life, scientists in my society get well-paid jobs and a decent lifestyle, while very few artists succeed. Most fail. Most of them are struggling. For example, my aunt has an artist friend in his fifties, and his paintings are very childlike and average, but my aunt buys a lot of his paintings either way, to help him out… I don’t know whether he earns much, but the fact that his post is send to my aunt’s tells me otherwise.

Second, scientists create processes and tools that make our society work and our economy function. They help fulfill our most important needs. Scientists have created the processes and tools that make a manufacturing factory produce cars, electronics, and a slew of other things we use daily. Scientists have created the processes and tools that make our convenience stores, our IKEA stores, or even our streets, run smoothly. On the other hand, artists fulfill the “higher” needs, the self-fulfilling and spiritual needs, if I were to refer to Abraham Maslow’s famous pyramid. From what I have seen of my society, these needs are considered optional. The work of artist is thus restricted to the walled rooms of museums, cinemas and gardens. Scientists’ work is out here in the open.

Finally, scientists save lives by creating medicine, better processes, and life-saving devices. Artists don’t. The story about the teen who wanted to killed herself but decided not to after hearing a beautiful piece of music only happens in the movies… Meanwhile, Pasteur did invent penicillin and saved countless people. That’s not a story (though I expect Hollywood to create a biopic out of this in the coming years…). Another clear example of what comes to mind is Bill Gates’ toilet “conference”. Diarrhea is a huge killer in poor countries, especially in Africa. Yet, people are not aware of this, and artists don’t want to touch that subject. Yet Bill Gate, a scientist turned philanthropist, has created a competition for scientists to create a new, sustainable, energy-efficient, and life-saving toilet for poor third-world countries. Gates then awarded a grant to the winner to the tune of $500,000. This is just one of the efforts scientists do to improve the lives of people around the globe. Not to mention their efforts to save the earth itself.

All in all, if artists do allows us to step out of our own busy lives for a moment and dream, scientists are more valued by my society, because they contribute to making it work efficiently. I myself love watching movies and I am a voracious reader. But my life would be far worse if I didn’t have the tools that scientists created: my gas burner, my fridge, my computer, etc.
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Re: Please rate my independent essay [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2012, 03:04
Nice work! That is an exceptional essay. I believe that you will get a very high writing score with work like that. Here's a few notes:

1. Your opening sentence is a little bit unwieldy. You might want to break it up into two at "scientists." Just a suggestion.
2. It is certainly a long essay, but if you can write a long essay of that quality in 30 minutes then go for it. Just make sure you save some time for proofreading at the end.
3. Some grammar notes:

-try a comma after "on the other hand"
-try "18 year olds" instead of "18 years old" (important)
-Don't use ellipses in your essay. This is not a firm rule, but try to avoid using them. Really. Your second use looks pretty bad.
-"manufacturing factories" is a bit redundant. You can just say "factories"
-"wanted to kill" instead of "killed"
-"just one of the efforts that scientists do..." sounds awkward. How about "this is just one of many efforts by a scientist to help people..." or something like that.

This is not comprehensive. There may be a few more (small) mistakes

But overall... this is a phenomenal essay. It would earn you top marks, even with the little things I have pointed out. Great work.



Romain90 wrote:
Hi all, this is the first essay I'm posting on this forum. My TOEFL is in two weeks.
Concerning the essay, I just took a random topic from a list and set the timer for 30'. My essay is 598 words long, I don't know if that's too much, but when my minds gets fired up I usually write a lot :lol:
Here it is, and thanks in advance for the help :

It is generally agreed that society benefits from the work of its members.
Compare the contributions of artists to society with the contributions of scientists
to society. Which type of contribution do you think is valued more by
your society? Give specific reasons to support your answer.


Society undoubtedly benefits from the work of its members, be they artists or scientists, two well-defined “roles” with two very different approaches: one is very down-to-earth, while the other requires the mind to escape. While my society used to be a prime place for artists, today it values the contribution of scientists far more.

First, empirically, if I had to look at how my society treats scientists and artists, then the former clearly come up on top: they are usually well-paid, receive interesting job opportunities, and contribute to society. On the other hand becoming an artist is often not recommended. When you look at a bunch of 18 years-old, a lot of them will usually attend a scientific university. There will be only one or two “artistic” kids, and they are usually viewed as the odd ones in the room, the “creative” ones. Later on in life, scientists in my society get well-paid jobs and a decent lifestyle, while very few artists succeed. Most fail. Most of them are struggling. For example, my aunt has an artist friend in his fifties, and his paintings are very childlike and average, but my aunt buys a lot of his paintings either way, to help him out… I don’t know whether he earns much, but the fact that his post is send to my aunt’s tells me otherwise.

Second, scientists create processes and tools that make our society work and our economy function. They help fulfill our most important needs. Scientists have created the processes and tools that make a manufacturing factory produce cars, electronics, and a slew of other things we use daily. Scientists have created the processes and tools that make our convenience stores, our IKEA stores, or even our streets, run smoothly. On the other hand, artists fulfill the “higher” needs, the self-fulfilling and spiritual needs, if I were to refer to Abraham Maslow’s famous pyramid. From what I have seen of my society, these needs are considered optional. The work of artist is thus restricted to the walled rooms of museums, cinemas and gardens. Scientists’ work is out here in the open.

Finally, scientists save lives by creating medicine, better processes, and life-saving devices. Artists don’t. The story about the teen who wanted to killed herself but decided not to after hearing a beautiful piece of music only happens in the movies… Meanwhile, Pasteur did invent penicillin and saved countless people. That’s not a story (though I expect Hollywood to create a biopic out of this in the coming years…). Another clear example of what comes to mind is Bill Gates’ toilet “conference”. Diarrhea is a huge killer in poor countries, especially in Africa. Yet, people are not aware of this, and artists don’t want to touch that subject. Yet Bill Gate, a scientist turned philanthropist, has created a competition for scientists to create a new, sustainable, energy-efficient, and life-saving toilet for poor third-world countries. Gates then awarded a grant to the winner to the tune of $500,000. This is just one of the efforts scientists do to improve the lives of people around the globe. Not to mention their efforts to save the earth itself.

All in all, if artists do allows us to step out of our own busy lives for a moment and dream, scientists are more valued by my society, because they contribute to making it work efficiently. I myself love watching movies and I am a voracious reader. But my life would be far worse if I didn’t have the tools that scientists created: my gas burner, my fridge, my computer, etc.

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Re: Please rate my independent essay [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2012, 09:05
Thanks a lot for the feedback watchsmart ! Really appreciated.

Having lived in South-East Asia for 7 years and being a voracious "consumer" of American litterature and movies, I have had the opportunity to get a good English level.
I just wanted confirmation that I still could get a top mark on my writing :) , after having written 100+ English essays throughout high school and business school.

With 11 days left before the TOEFL, I guess I should really concentrate on the Speaking part, because I still have some trouble articulating an answer on the spot & under pressure.

By the way, just one question on my essay:
I'm French and currently live in Paris, so in my essay, when I talk about "my society", should I refer to France at least once (for example, when I talk about how "my society used to be a prime place for artists", referring to France might make more sense to the reader) ?
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Re: Please rate my independent essay [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2012, 09:42
I'm glad to have helped. I think you'll do really well. Do come by the forum to "debrief" and tell us about your experience.

Indeed, the speaking part is tricky. When my students are struggling with the independent speaking section I often ask them if they could answer the question in their native language. The answer is generally negative. It's darn hard to just opine on a random subject with only 15 seconds to prepare.



Romain90 wrote:
Thanks a lot for the feedback watchsmart ! Really appreciated.

Having lived in South-East Asia for 7 years and being a voracious "consumer" of American litterature and movies, I have had the opportunity to get a good English level.
I just wanted confirmation that I still could get a top mark on my writing :) , after having written 100+ English essays throughout high school and business school.

With 11 days left before the TOEFL, I guess I should really concentrate on the Speaking part, because I still have some trouble articulating an answer on the spot & under pressure.

By the way, just one question on my essay:
I'm French and currently live in Paris, so in my essay, when I talk about "my society", should I refer to France at least once (for example, when I talk about how "my society used to be a prime place for artists", referring to France might make more sense to the reader) ?

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:TOEFLresources.com: Step-by-step guides to the test and a free essay evaluation service

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Re: Please rate my independent essay [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2012, 09:44
And to answer your question: you should probably refer to your country by name. You could even say something like "here in France..." or "in my country, France, it..." You don't need to use the word "society" just because the question does.
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Re: Please rate my independent essay   [#permalink] 06 Nov 2012, 09:44
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