Pre Sessional English Test
By the end of this examination you are required to have completed the following essay task:
People behave in a certain way because they were born that way and their environment has a minimal influence on their behaviour.
To what extent do you agree with this statement? Clearly state your stance, provide arguments to support this stance and explain why you disagree with the counter-arguments
You should write at least 250 words.
Section 1: Analyse the question
This section tests your ability to understand essay questions. You should spend 20 minutes on this section and write your answers on the next page.
Study the essay task (on page 1) and answer the following questions:
- What is the general topic of the statement?
- What is the specific focus of the statement?
- What stance is taken in the statement?
- What is your stance?
- What are the instruction words? What do they tell you about the organisation of your essay?
Write your answer to section 1 here:
- people behave in a certain way because they were“born that way”and their environment has a minimal influence on their behaviour.
- People are born to behave in a certain way.
- It is a natural habit for people to behave in a certain way, regardless of the environment.
- I think the way people behave has a lot to do with the environment they are exposed to.
Section 2: Research
This section tests your ability to use sources. You should spend 30 minutes on this section and write your answers on the next page.
Study the extracts below. For each one:
- Decide whether it supports your stance or is a counter-argument.
- Make brief notes.
- Use your notes to summarise the main ideas.
- Make notes on how you might rebut the counter-argument
The concept here is that each baby is programmed in some way to take greater account of certain kinds of information, or respond in particular ways to certain objects. These are usually described as inborn biases or constraints. The linguist Noam Chomsky proposed that all children are born with a Language Acquisition Device (LAD), which enables them to learn to talk seemingly effortlessly.
Leather, N. (2004). Attachment. In Wyse, D. (Ed.) Childhood Studies: An introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
Few would dispute that hair colour is the result of genetic inheritance, or that the ability to speak Slovenian is a product of environment. No one is born with the ability to speak Slovenian. The ability is acquired either by growing up in a Slovenian-speaking environment, or by being taught Slovenian by someone else who speaks it. On the other hand the ability to acquire language as such would seem to be the product of genetic inheritance.
Beckett, C. (2002). Human Growth and Development. London: Sage.
Write your answer to section 2 here:
- Extract2 can support my position, but Extract1 is a counterargument.
Section 3: Organise your essay
This section tests your ability to plan an essay. You should spend 40 minutes on this section and write your answers on the next page.
Create a plan for a 250-word essay. Your plan should outline the overall structure of your essay including the order of your main points, counter-argument(s) and rebuttal(s). You should include details of the topics, supporting points and examples for each paragraph. You should also show where you propose to include the source material from section 2.
Write your answer to section 3 here:
I don’t agree that people are “born this way” to behave in certain ways and that the environment has little impact on them. I think the environment has a great influence on one’s behaviour. It is said that no one is born to speak Slovenian and that this ability is learned in a Slovenian-speaking environment. Or taught by slovenians.
Section 4: Draft your essay
This section tests your ability to write a first draft of an essay. You should spend 45 minutes on this section and write your answers on the next pages.
Using your paraphrases of sources from section 2 and your plan from section 3 write a first draft of your essay. Write at least 250 words.
Write your answer to section 4 here:
Section 5: Proofread and redraft your essay
This section tests your ability to write a final draft of an essay. You should spend 45 minutes on this section and write your answers on the next pages.
- Check the first draft of your essay carefully for the following:
- Language mistakes (vocabulary and grammar)
- The logical structure of ideas
- Punctuation errors
- Citation errors
- Academic style
- Plagiarism of the sources
- Rewrite your essay addressing the problems you have identified.
Note: You MUST rewrite your WHOLE essay.
Write your answer to section 5 here:
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