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GRE ISSUE TOPIC 13

Universities should require every student to take a variety of courses outside


the student's field of study.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or
disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure
to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used
to challenge your position.

It is crucial that universities include a mandatory range of courses, that


students must take beyond their field of study, as part of their curriculum.
Once a students enter universities, they have been exposed to most fields of
education at an introductory level in school. As students progress to higher
levels of education, fields of study grow narrower in scope and gain depth.
Currently most universities require students to choose a fields of study they
wish to pursue before applying. It is ridiculous for universities to assume that
students have such a firm grasp of their desires and interests that they are
willing to spend the rest of their lives dictated by a decision they make at
this stage.
This uncertainty that students experience, when they are forced to choose
between a number of equally intersting and fascinating fields, often causes
student to be ambiguous about the choice they finally make. How can one be
sure that the choice one made is the right one? At a university level, fields of
education have become sufficiently narrow that that there isnt much overlap
with other fields. Thus once a student makes a choice, they are not exposed
to the other possibilities that they were forced to overlook when they chose
the one they desired most. Without the possibility of exposure to fields
outside the scope of their study, students have no way of gauging whether
they made the right choice and whether they could have been more satisfied
pursuing some other field. Most universities do offer the possibility of
changing fields of study, but without exposure to what they are potentially
missing, it is impossible for students to even consider the possibility that
they would be more suited to some other field. Thus by requiring students to
be exposed to a large range of field, universities help student become

confident in their choice and help students find more appropriate fields if
their initial choices were not satisfactory.
It is a reality of the education process, that as atudent progress to higher
levels, they become more focussed on their chosen fields to the exclusion of
all else. It is important that students understand the diversity of educational
fields and get a broad understanding of the enormous scope of intelligent
work being carried out by people in other fields. It is common that as student
purse increasingly narrow fields, they sometimes forget that these fields are
not isolated but interact and have applications in other fields too. For
example, student studying nuclear physics focus on the microscopical
universe inside atoms and quantum mechanics of elementary particles, but
could overlook the impact it has in the field of astrophysics, where quantum
mechanics of elementary particles is used to explain the origins of the
universe!
A disadvantage of universities following such a program would be
experienced by a minority of student who are very sure of their interests
before they join. These students would be forced to study unrelated subjects
which would distract them from their main interests.
Universities may consider making these wide range of courses available, but
voluntary, so that student are affored the opportunity to single mindedly
pursue their goals as they wish to.

60 minutes, 532 words.

GRE ARGUMENT TOPIC 13

In an attempt to improve highway safety, Prunty County last year lowered its
speed limit from 55 to 45 miles per hour on all county highways. But this
effort has failed: the number of accidents has not decreased, and, based on
reports by the highway patrol, many drivers are exceeding the speed limit.
Prunty County should instead undertake the same kind of road improvement
project that Butler County completed five years ago: increasing lane widths,

resurfacing rough highways, and improving visibility at dangerous


intersections. Today, major Butler County roads still have a 55 mph speed
limit, yet there were 25 percent fewer reported accidents in Butler County
this past year than there were five years ago.
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to
evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or
strengthen the argument.

The author does not attempt to understand why the change in speed limit in
Prunty County had no affect. The fact that the new speed limit was not
strictly enforced and that many drivers exceeded the speed limit does not
neccesarily imply that this measure would have been ineffective if properly
enforced. The author may want to study what fraction of the accidents could
be attributed to excessive speed, and thus gain a better understanding of
how effective the reduced speed limit could have been if properly enforced.
The authors assumption, that following the measures implemented in Butler
County will have the same result in Prunty County, is faulty. Firstly, the road
improvement project in Butler County began 5 years ago and the conditions
and reasons for accidents could have changed since then. Secondly, the
reasons for accidents in each county should be carefully studied. In Butler
county, accident rates have droped by 25% after the conditions of the roads
were improved. This suggests that a large fraction of accidents in Butler
county were due to the bad condition of the road. This is not neccesarily true
in Prunty County and the author must consider the primary reason for
accidents in this county before making any assumptions of the effectivity of
such measures.
The author should also consider what other reasons may have accounted for
the change in accident rate in Butler County. If the amount of traffic passing
throung the county has decteased, it could account for the decrease in
accidents and thus show that the road improvement project was not as
effective as believed.

The author has not considered whether speeding is a predominant reason for
accidents in Butler County. Since no changes in speed limit were ever made
there, the author cannot know what effect changing the speed limit and
enforcing this speed limit would have.
Another factor to consider is the geography of each county. In Butler county,
by increasing visibility at junctions, the accident rate was decreased. This
implies that visibility was previously poor and may have resulted from hilly
terain and snaking roads. The author should consider whether this is the
case in Prunty County too, or whether the county is more flat and already
has good visibility, in which case such measures would be ineffective.
The author has not considered the situation sufficiently, and has overlooked
a number of key factors which could have affected his decision; thus a
deeper study is requied before any such measures are considered.
30 minutes , 416 words.