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 may notice that this essay follows the template that’s featured in 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.
The writer of the pro-recycling passage, unlike the writer of the anti-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?”
To lend even more credibility to her already logical argument, the writer 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 writer has data to prove it. The writer goes on to list four more pieces of data to support her argument while the writer of the other passage only provides one.
Finally, the writer’s purposeful ethical plea in the pro-recycling passage 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 writer conjures images of clear blue skies and clean shining seas, helping the reader emotionally connect to the argument. If we do not recycle, the writer implies, we will be committing a sin against future generations. The writer finishes her argument with a passionate and motivating plea to the audience: “Please make sure you recycle!”
Due to its strong logical reasoning, relevant statistics, and convincing ethical plea, the pro-recycling position is better-supported and much more convincing than its counterpart. The writer of 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 passage more academic, instead of just implying that people recycle simply to “feel better about themselves,” which seems petty and unsupported. Without these improvements, 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, the response exhibits the following organization:
- Paragraph 1 — Introduction
- Paragraph 2 — Logical reasoning
- Paragraph 3 — Statistics
- Paragraph 4 — Ethics
- Paragraph 5 — Conclusion
The introduction clearly previews the passage’s topic, explains both sides, and demonstrates that the student understands each writer’s argument. The student uses strong, clear language and concludes with a bold thesis statement that lists three reasons why the argument he or she chose 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.