GRE essay sample: Anyone can make things better and more...

Hi guy!!

I wrote an essay today and i thought to share it with you guys to get your responses. Feel free to post your critiques. I am open to any kind of suggestions.

[size=150]GRE essay sample[/size]

“Anyone can make things better and more complex. What requires real effort and courage is to move in the opposite direction – in other words, to make things as simple as possible.”

Today, we are in the world that has advanced in various multitudes of dimensions – and more significantly, in technological aspects. We have a broader knowledge base today, the society is more complex and even the problems that we are facing are inherently becoming complex each day. This has eventually led us to think and behave in a more complex manner. I would completely agree with the stated issue that it is rather intuitive to make things complex in an attempt to make it better and takes a real effort as well as courage to make things as simple as possible.

What could serve as a better example than the software world? Even a cursory look into the software advancements would show us many instances where the challenge has remained to build the world’s most simple and efficient tools. For instance, anyone who is aware of programming can build up an embedded system with a programmed microchip embedded into home appliances. However, what really is more challenging is the way the microchip is programmed and not just about its functionality. A microchip that has been programmed with minimum of lines of code, with minimum memory requirements and simplest of logics clearly outwits another similar microchip that performs the same task but with more complex overheads and logic. The same concept applies to any other software tool such as a user-interface. Even in this case, to create a simple user-interface, the engineers normally tend to enforce complexity in their programming code as they lack a strong logic. What is more challenging and requires effort is a simple logic and programming code to build the same user-interface. It is only the people who have put a real effort to move in the opposite direction to make things as simple as possible who have set revolutions and trends in the technological advancements. Platform independent and language independent tools and web-applications are the best examples from today’s world.

Yet other remarkable advancements could be seen in the making of robots for extra terrestrial applications and other industrial purposes. Scientists have pondered into years of research to create that one best robot that could emulate a human being as nearly as possible. The most complex challenge they faced earlier was in incorporating mobility into these robots. Though they were successful in making the robots move but these extreme machines became too complex when other functionalities such as identifying obstacles in their path, making intelligent decisions like facing enemies etc were programmed into them. In this process, the robots faced a nervous breakdown easily with more and more neurons built into them. The major factor that probably led to the failure could be because the scientists took a digital approach during all their days of research. There was one scientist (I don’t remember his name but I saw his interview in the Discovery) who decided to go back and start everything from the scratch. He built a simple robot using the basic electronic transistors and analog concepts that served as his first prototype. Thereafter the entire perspective in building robots became revolutionized. And now we have robots that can travel spaces for hundreds of years without a slightest of human support. This was only possible because of a handful of scientists who had the real courage and boldness to think in a different direction than other conventional research workers.

Thus in conclusion, I reiterate what I affirmed in the beginning that it certainly takes a whole lot of courage and effort to think in an opposite direction of making the best things in the simplest way possible. In fact, a majority of research is being done not in making new things but creating the existing things in a much simple manner.

What score do you think this response deserves?

Thankyou for your patience


Hi, Jayashree–

Some very good ideas and generally well thought out. Your main problem is verbosity, which makes for turgidity. Learn to say things simply and directly. I have revised your first two paragraphs (with comments). I have also simplified (!) your conclusion, and you will see that there is not much left of it. Try to create real content rather than padding what you have to say with circumlocutory or concessive clauses and phrases. If you like, go through the rest of your essay yourself and improve it according to these guidelines, then post your revision here in the same thread and we will look at it again.


hello Sir,

thanx a lot for reviewing my essay. I will take your advice and seem to be right that I tend to get roundabout while conveying my thought.

However, I thought I’d better stick to my own conclusion as the emphasis that these two conclusions make are quite different.

One more thing … i just wanted to ask you what shud I do when I want to cite an example of some case study or a research work but I am unable to recall the person’s name who actually did that work? (I found a similar difficulty in the essay aswell…if you have read my response completely, you’ll find that I’ve struggled a bit in the second paragraph where I’ve cited the robot example.)

Many have said just to drop the idea of quoting such examples where I find this difficulty as it will show up a bad impression. but at the same time I feel i couldnt get a better example than this!! What do I do?? Please advice!!

Thanx a lot for your patient reading!!


I’m not concerned with the thrust of your conclusion-- just that it is padded with verbiage which should be eliminated.

With regard to internal reference-- there is nothing to be done if you have not kept the details. You needn’t drop the example, though-- just write it as “One scientist decided to go back to the beginning…”.