Below is a sample response to our GED Essay Practice Question. Review this response to develop familiarity with the structure of a high-scoring essay. You will notice that this essay follows the template from our GED Essay Writing Guide. At the end of this response, there is a short commentary that explains why this is an effective essay and why it would receive a perfect score.
Lately, the issue of climate change has generated a lot of debate. Some people argue that climate change is a hoax, claiming that all of our efforts are a waste of time. Others believe that recycling is vitally important, that it plays a crucial role in maintaining our planet’s climate and ecology. The two opposing passages above highlight the importance of this issue, however, the position arguing that recycling is an important part of protecting our ecosystem is more credible, since it is much better-supported with sound logical reasoning, an authority figure’s support, detailed statistics, and a strong ethical plea.
Unlike the anti-recycling passage, the pro-recycling passage employs excellent logical reasoning to convince the audience, explaining that recycling is more than simply placing paper and plastic in their proper bins, it is an “involved process of harvesting, transporting, building and shipping.” The author proves that recycling is logical by detailing how much waste is produced when goods are created from scratch, driving home her logical argument with the simple question, “Why cut down a forest instead of recycling paper?”
In addition to excellent logical reasoning, the author incorporates the opinions of an authority figure, Patty Moore, who “has been involved with recycling since 1983 and has her own recycling consultancy.” Moore is an authority figure on recycling, so when the author quotes her directly, the audience knows that Moore’s input is trustworthy. When Moore says, “’I know that this sounds as if you have to give up something to help the environment, but it really doesn’t.’” The author adds credibility to her argument while emphasizing that recycling does not have to be difficult.
To lend even more credibility to her argument, the author includes statistics relevant to recycling. In a clear, bullet-pointed list of data showing the importance of recycling, she provides relevant and useful information: “It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from raw materials.” Recycling aluminum is worth the effort because making new aluminum is less efficient, and the author has data to prove it. The author goes on to list four more pieces of data to support her argument compared the other author who only provides one.
Finally, the pro-recycling passage’s purposeful ethical plea more effectively calls the audience to action. By writing, “It is the morally sound thing to do to protect our beautiful planet for future generations,” the author conjures images of clear blue skies and clean shining seas, helping the reader emotionally to the argument. If we do not recycle, the author implies, we will be committing a sin against future generations. The author finishes her argument with a desperate and motivating plea to the audience: “Please make sure you recycle!”
Due to its strong logical reasoning, inclusion of an authority figure’s opinions, relevant statistics, and convincing ethical plea, the pro-recycling position is better-supported and much more convincing than its counterpart. The anti-recycling passage provides some evidence, but it is too vague to be convincing, and distracts from her argument. More statistics about the cost of recycling, or more formal language would have made her tone more academic, instead of implying that people recycle simply to “feel better about themselves,” which seems petty and unreliable. As presented, however, the anti-recycling position is less supported and significantly less convincing than its counterpart.
This sample essay would receive a perfect score on the GED. The writer clearly reviewed the prompt and outlined the argument before writing. Generally, it exhibits the following organization:
- Paragraph 1 — Introduction
- Paragraph 2 — Logical reasoning
- Paragraph 3 — Authority figure
- Paragraph 4 — Statistics
- Paragraph 5 — Ethics
- Paragraph 6 — Conclusion
The introduction clearly previews the passage’s topic, explains both sides, and demonstrates that the student understands each passage’s argument. The student uses strong, clear language and concludes with a bold thesis statement that lists four reasons why the argument chosen is “better-supported.”
In the body paragraphs, the student demonstrates a strong command of each of the scoring criteria:
- Analysis of Arguments and Use of Evidence: The student quotes multiple sections of the passage to support each point, demonstrating a clear understanding of the material presented.
- Development of Ideas and Structure: The student develops coherent organization by focusing on a supporting reason in each body paragraph, and providing transitions like “In addition to” and “Finally” to help the paragraphs flow together.
- Clarity and Command of Standard English: The sentence structure is varied and effective, and the author maintains proper spelling and grammar throughout.
Finally, the passage concludes with a brief concession to the opposing side, showing an ability to recognize the complexity of the issue, before wrapping up the discussion with a summation of why the pro-recycling passage is better-supported than the anti-recycling passage.