Example Essay

I have another example student essay. It really helps to look at sample essays, so you can learn more about how to make your own essay better. The new Writing Fundamentals course is online for students at The GED Academy, so I can recommend some parts of the course to look at to improve your writing. Also, I’ve got some links to online resources.

Here is the essay:

Why do people continue doing harmful to themselves? I believe that doing harmful activities come from childhood and continue through adulthood. A child is always curious with doing bad or good activities. The bad activities pertaining to kids are: playing with matches, tasting alcohol, trying smoking cigarets, or turn on a vehicle and try to drive it. These such activities can lead to death or can put a child’s health at risk.


These activities are taught from adults. Adults have big influence to these activities. The kids admire adults and they would like to be as they are. All adult activities are fascinating for them; while a child can play with toys or any other sort may find it boring. Moreover; if they have an older relative in their household, a child would do the learned activity. Any child is innocent because of the person whom they tend to admire, might find that is o.k. to do any such activities.


In my perspective; I learned a lot from different adults. Any adult who would care of myself, taught me from right to wrong. Adults gave me a lot of advice such as not to smoke, drink, steal, and even not to play with fire because you may get burnt from such consequence. Until one day I really got burned with a match and it hurt. While I was given these advices, I believe in them. Since the consequence from burned incident prove their advice.


My advice to people should give all the attention to youngsters. And while growing up and they did not learned the good, the consequence will do bad activities. This is why people continue doing bad activities, even though; they know is bad.

Whenever I look at an essay, I look at the same things the GED readers look at. Here they are:

1. Did I answer the GED question and stay on topic?

I think you did a pretty good job staying focused on the question of why people continue to do things, even though they know they’re harmful or bad. You say that it starts in childhood and that the behavior continues to adulthood, and then you tell how you think children get into bad behaviors. I wonder, though, if you could take one specific example and follow it through from beginning to end? At least one of the examples you give of bad behavior for children don’t really apply to adults…it’s not dangerous for an adult to drive a car. I think that if you really make the connection between the bad childhood behavior and bad adult education, it would be a stronger essay. For example, you mention that a child might want to taste alcohol. You can talk about how that behavior starts, grows, and becomes bad adult behavior…a child sees a parent drinking, wants to try alcohol, and then when they’re an adult they become an alcoholic. If you follow the specific example through, it’s easier for the reader to see what you mean.

2. Is my writing organized?

Your writing does have organization. You might look at Unit 6 of the new Writing Fundamentals course online to brush up on how to organize your essay. Still, it seems like you’ve got the basics down.

You start by asking a question, which is a good way to start. The more interesting you can make the question, the better….it’s better to restate the question in your own way than to just repeat the GED question.

Your first paragraph is your introduction. In the introduction, you make your main point, that bad adult behavior comes from bad childhood behavior. That’s good. You list a number of bad child behaviors, but then you don’t really follow through with them in the rest of the essay (and at least one of them doesn’t really become a bad adult behavior, so it doesn’t apply very well to the essay…unless you can make a connection). It might be better to have just one or two bad childhood behaviors and explain how they start and how they become bad adult behaviors.

The middle paragraphs talk about how children learn bad (and good) behaviors from adults, but it doesn’t really relate it back to the main idea…how those behaviors then become bad adult behavior when the child grows up. I’d like to see the middle paragraph talk about a couple of specific examples of bad behavior children might have, where they come from, and how they become bad adult behaviors. One thing that’s good is that you use an example from your life. That’s always something that helps in writing! But it needs to be better connected to your main idea. Could burning your hand have become bad adult behavior? Did adults’ good advice stop you from developing behavior that would hurt you as an adult?

The last paragraph is the conclusion. You give advice…to pay attention to children to stop them from developing bad behavior that will follow them into adulthood. I think the idea for the conclusion is good, but that it could be more clearly stated.

3. Did I give enough good details?

The details that you give in the essay are specific bad things children might do, and the story from your own life about burning your hand. I think that the details is really what needs work in this essay… you need to pick a couple of specific examples that really fit into your main idea (drinking alcohol is a good one, and so is smoking cigarettes, since both of these definitely become bad adult behavior!), and then explain more about what kind of adult behavior kids are imitating, how caring adults might stop them, and how the bad childhood behavior later becomes bad adult behavior (alcoholism, cigarette addiction).

4. Are there language mistakes, like spelling and grammar?

You do have some language mistakes that make it a little hard to follow. One thing is that you use semicolons (;) where you need commas. Try looking at Unit 3, Lessons 2, 3, and 4 for more advice on semicolons and commas…but basically, everywhere you tend to use a semicolon, try putting a comma instead. This won’t be a big deal on the test.

What’s more important are grammar issues that make it sort of difficult to follow. When you say “Why do people continue doing harmful to themselves?,” either it should say “harmful things” or the word “harmful” should just be “harm.” “Curious with” should be “curious about,” and “cigarettes” is misspelled.

There are minor errors throughout the essay. The place I think they’ll count against you most is at the end. Like, “And while growing up and they did not learned the good” is a little confused…hard to follow. What you mean is, “While growing up, they did not learn what is good behavior,” or something like that. Maybe by the time you wrote the conclusion, you were tired, or hurried… that happens. Take a breath. Try to write with simple sentences. You don’t need to write anything fancy… just with clarity.

5. Did I choose the best words to say what I mean?

I think you did okay with word choice. Most of your choices were good, accurate words. The only problem comes with grammar problems… like “harmful” instead of “harm” in the question at the beginning. Likely, you won’t catch all of these on the GED… but that’s okay. If I were you, I’d focus on having good organization, good details, and writing in clear, simple sentences. You’ve got good word choice, if you keep your grammar simple.

Try listening to Leonard’s solutions for the essays in Unit 7 of the Writing Fundamentals passGED course…it will give you good practice on what types of things to look for and how to improve an essay.

And here are some good links to learn more about commas and organization:

Comma Information:

Comma Practice:

For organization, a good resource for you is probably the five-paragraph essay. Here are some resources:

And here’s some information on paragraph organization:

Of course, I really recommend the passGED Study Program Writing Fundamentals course, Units 6 and 7, and also Unit 3, Lessons 2, 3, and 4. If you are enrolled already, just log in to the study program online, and the new course is there for you to use right away.

Good writing!

To find out more about the GED test and GED test preparation, visit The GED Academy at passGED.com.



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