In the GAMSAT, Section 2 consists of two tasks. The first one is an argumentative essay and the second one is a reflective one. In essence, this means that the first task usually has a general theme of tangible, global issues, such as poverty, free trade, and forms of government, among others. The second task consists of a more abstract theme, something that interprets for and impacts each person differently. In each task, you are given a set of four prompts, which can be a proverb, a quote by a luminary, or an excerpt from a book, movie, or song.
Basic knowhow on GAMSAT Section 2
So, basically, in the GAMSAT, you are required to fashion an essay based on a quote prompt. Here, we will see how to best go about writing 500-700 words from a single quote. But before that, we will discuss some aspects which are peculiar to the GAMSAT Section 2.
- You must write on at least one of the quotations given to you. You may also choose to write on two, three, or all four of the prompts.
- If you are choosing more than one prompt to write on, make sure your discourse comes together seamlessly. It must not be an explanation, elaboration, or interpretation of the different prompts, but a cohesive response to your original stance. We will discuss this in detail a little later.
- A quote, when seen separately, can be taken out of context, and its underlying meaning will change. For this reason, you must look at all the different quotes and determine the overall theme of the task, and interpret the chosen quote in context of the theme.
Understanding a Quote and the Theme
Now, let’s take a set of quotes.
Quote #1: We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world. Helen Keller
Quote #2: Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid? ‘That is the only time a man can be brave. George R.R. Martin
Quote #3: It is easy to be brave from a safe distance. Aesop
What is common between all the quotes? It’s the concept of bravery. Now, you need to choose a quote to fashion your response around. Remember, always choose the quote you have the most to say about, not the one you feel most strongly about. Sometimes, it’s easier to refute something than it is to list down arguments in its favor.
Here, we will discuss how to incorporate all quotes in an essay.
First of all, make sure you get the underlying meaning of all the prompts.
Quote #1: It is pain and unhappiness that force us to be brave and change things.
Quote #2: It is fear that brings out true bravery in us.
Quote #3: Everyone feels brave when they do not really have to face any danger.
How to Write the GAMSAT Essay
In order to incorporate all the quotes in the essay, we first need to come up with an idea that will combine all the prompts. Here, the best way to do this would be to discuss bravery as a concept, and make the transition from one prompt to the other as smoothly as possible. Here, let us create a gist of what the essay will look like.
Title: Must be short, thoughtful, and in sync with the essay content
Introduction: An anecdote about an act of bravery to hook the reader is a nice way of starting off the essay. From this, we can lead on to the next part of the introduction- the thesis statement: anyone can choose to be brave, because this is the one quality that we can actually learn and inculcate.
Body paragraph 1: We will lead on from the thesis statement, and use Quote #1. We can only learn to be brave is we are faced with unhappiness and discomfort. A nation that has everything does not need to be brave, because there is nothing to for and fight against. Here, we can use an example of a truly contented nation, juxtaposing it with a nation embroiled in civilian protests against the ruling power.
Body paragraph 2: We will make the transition from the final sentence of the preceding paragraph by using a transitional word or phrase, such as ‘however’, ‘on the other hand’, ‘besides’ etc. Here, we will discuss Quote #2. But is it so easy to be brave? Do the brave jump into the moment the minute things take a wrong turn, without feeling the slightest twinge of fear? That is impossible; everyone feels fear, because feeling fear is our common sense working. One who never feels fear lacks intelligence, and such bravery is mere recklessness. And it is courage born out of quelling fear that makes for the bravest of acts. Here, we can use an example of a person hitting back or taking action when they start to feel extreme fear.
Body paragraph #3: We will use Quote #3, and make the transition from the preceding paragraph by referring to something mentioned there. But, as we said before, it is not easy to be truly brave. Everyone can speak highly of bravery and extol their own courage when they are in the safety of their homes, cocooned in their comfort zones, far away from any real trouble. Whether you are truly brave or not will only be proven when you come face to face with danger and not flinch or turn your back.
Conclusion: Here, we will reinforce our original stance, that anyone can choose to be brave. This will forge a link with the introduction. We also need to establish a link with the body paragraphs, and we can simply refer to the examples used and connect them to the thesis statement like this: We will of course feel fear when we are threatened out of our comfort zones, but it is this fear of losing something precious that gives us the courage to fight. Whether we choose to take part in the fight, or turn tail and escape, is what defines our character.
As you can see, the quotes have all been incorporated, and they have been merged together to form a coherent whole. In this example, we have written it in the form of an essay. You can, however, choose to write a short story that contains all these thematic elements. Everything goes as long as you are coherent, logical, and systematic in the GAMSAT essay.