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Can knowledge be a burden rather than a benefit

ccef888ccef888 Posts: 21Registered User New Member
edited January 2012 in SAT Preparation
Knowledge can be a burden rather than a benefit because having knowledge might stifle creativity and knowledge could be abused. A few examples from famous people and my personal experiences demonstrate that knowledge could be more of a burden.

One notable experience would be a business competition that I once participated in. In this competition, we had to come up with a proposal for a new business and execute it. The team with the highest sales revenue wins. The other team has many experts who studied a business course in high school and has all the knowledge about various business principles such as revenue maximization. My team, on the other hand, was made up of business amateurs with no business knowledge but we made up for that with our passion for business. The opposing team was obsessed on whether their business plans met the business principles that we taught during their business course. Our team, though, was more concerned about what sells and relied on our instincts. We were bold and creative in our business model and in the end our business came out on top. The other team floundered as they were too caught up with their business knowledge and were too timid to try things outside of the box. Thus, this experience shows that knowledge could be a burden as it could act as an impediment to trying some things new and creative. Knowledge, especially those from books, could be far from reality and stifle creativity. People could become too caught up with knowledge and forget their own instincts. Thus, knowledge could be more of a burden rather than benefit as it stifles your creativity and instinct.

Another reason why knowledge could be more of a burden is due to the fact that knowledge could be abused. One notable example would be that of Martha Stewart where she has the insider knowledge of an impending loss in her stock value. Hence she sold her stocks and committed a felony for both insider trading and lying to federal investigators to try to conceal her crime. In the end, she was punished for her crime and thrown into jail. As seen, knowledge especially those that you are not supposed to know could lead to serious consequences. Thus, knowledge could be more of a burden as it could be abused and leads bad repercussions.

Research has also shown that more knowledgeable people could be more prone to committing crime. As research from Computer Security Research Institute showed, more than three quarters of all computer-related crime are committed by people with with extensive knowledge of computers and insider knowledge of the companies that they are hacking. This shows how knowledge can be more of a burden as it enables criminals to commit crime.

After careful analysis of my personal experience, research findings on computer crime and example from a famous person like Martha Stewart, one can see that, indeed, knowledge can be more of a burden rather than benefit as knowledge could be abused for bad ends and stifle creativity.

Please help me evaluate and grade. Thank you very much :)

Addition questions about SAT essay in general:
1) Will I be penalized for using British English inadvertently?

2) Does it matter if one paragraph is very long with no spacing since the subject is the same as seen in paragraph 2?

3) In essays, I try to keep it simple and answer the question directly. For example in this case my thesis is that "Knowledge can be a burden rather than a benefit because...". I did not dare to take the risk to write essays like the model one given by College Board with the thesis "..while great knowledge can sometimes be a heavy burden, it always has outweighing benefits" This seems like a more layered thesis and more insightful. Will we be given more marks for attempting a more layered argument or in other words penalized for keeping it simple in order to avoid going off point.

Thank you :)
Post edited by ccef888 on

Replies to: Can knowledge be a burden rather than a benefit

  • ACTsecretsACTsecrets Posts: 99Registered User Junior Member
    I would give your essay 4/6

    1. No penalty, as long as the word/phrase isn't completely unintelligible.
    2. Your first paragraph could be divided into two, if not three paragraphs. Even if is the same topic, it is easier for the eyes if you break up long paragraphs into more manageable chunks.
    3. In your case, solely changing the thesis would have had no effect on your score. Changing your essay to match the insight and depth of a more "layered" thesis, may result in an increased score. The problem is that layered arguments are tricky. If you aren't adept at formulating the argument, the essay can quickly fall apart with such tight time constraints.
  • LuvhingitLuvhingit Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    did you take 20 minutes to write this? Because I think this is alot more than you can actually write on the actual test.
    Maybe cutting the first paragraph a little bit?
    Layered arguments are nice but if you think a 5 is good enough just develop three good examples and make them support your thesis. (: this is good.
  • GodfatherbobGodfatherbob Posts: 1,302Registered User Senior Member
    2/6 just because it really annoys me.

    Don't use personal experience, don't use "famous people," and, I can't stress this enough, don't use the word "thus" to sum up your argument, much less twice in the same paragraph, much less again the next paragraph, much less when you're using personal examples, much less when your sentences aren't coherent. I'm serious, if you come off as pretentious you will be penalized.

    Your examples are supposed to come from literature and history. Real history, not Martha Stewart. Martha Steward went to jail for insider trading. That has nothing to do with your prompt. In order to commit computer crimes, one needs to know how to use a computer. That also has nothing to do with your prompt.

    Don't break up your first paragraph into three paragraphs. You need to be concise. Say all of that (ideally, say something completely different) in four sentences.

    Also, there are a considerable number of mechanical errors. Those count.
  • ccef888ccef888 Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    Thank you all for your feedback. How do I sum up my arguments and transit to personal input without the transition words "thus" "therefore" etc? Pretentious in what sense? Should I reverse it to say that the other team won instead?

    Insider trading involves having insider knowledge so in this case this knowledge became a burden as it was abused and landed her in jail.

    Do I have any major mechanical or grammatical errors?
  • Fat_NerdFat_Nerd Posts: 941- Member
    I've taken the exam twice, and I've seen and read my friends' essays and scores. This essay would receive a score of 8 on the real exam, just because of length and varied sentence structure.

    Anyway, I have to agree with Godfatherbob's response. Stop being pretentious, and come up with more appropriate examples. The examples you gave for the topic were completely irrelevant.
  • ccef888ccef888 Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    Could someone please kindly explain what does being pretentious in this case mean? Is it because I said I won?

    Also, insider trading involves having insider knowledge so in this case this knowledge became a burden as it was abused and landed her in jail. How is this completely irrelevant???
  • Fat_NerdFat_Nerd Posts: 941- Member
    That is not the type of knowledge you were asked to make an essay about. The thesis clearly stated 'knowledge can be burden because it can stifle creativity. Do you agree?' Your first example may have been related, but still, it's personal anecdote, and on the essay you'd better come up with a historical/literary example to support your thesis. Is there any hint of knowledge stifling creativity in your two other examples? No, you were writing about knowledge in a context, other than what was asked.
  • ccef888ccef888 Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    The prompt is simply, "Can knowledge be a burden rather than a benefit?".

    My thesis is "Knowledge can be a burden rather than a benefit because having knowledge might stifle creativity and knowledge could be abused." There are 2 parts to it. The other 2 examples are related to the 2nd part of my thesis, hence the context.

    Could you also clarify the pretentious part, is it because it is a personal anecdote or is it the way I wrote that anecdote? would it be better if I wrote about the other side winning side? Thank you :)
  • Fat_NerdFat_Nerd Posts: 941- Member
    You use too many complex words in the wrong contexts.
  • ACTsecretsACTsecrets Posts: 99Registered User Junior Member
    Guys, you are being too harsh on the poster. Essay graders are told not to let personal bias affect their judgement, so to give it a 2 is an unrealistic score. Also, there is no rule that says historical/literary examples trump personal anecdote. In fact, the instructions clearly state that you can use personal examples.

    The poster is just having difficulty wording things properly, and that will come with more practice. Had the writer explained his/her examples with the proper insight could, he/she could have scored a 6/6.

    OP, you just need to practice writing a few more essays with some proper guidance, and you should be fine.
  • GodfatherbobGodfatherbob Posts: 1,302Registered User Senior Member
    Honestly, your English needs a lot of improvement. In addition to working on your essay writing skills, you need to read a lot more.
    How do I sum up my arguments and transit to personal input without the transition words "thus" "therefore" etc? Pretentious in what sense? Should I reverse it to say that the other team won instead?

    It's the word "thus" that is pretentious. "Thus" has a very professional, academic connotation, so when you use in an informal essay (informal, meaning you wrote it in 25 minutes and used personal examples) it sounds very pretentious. "Therefore" is fine, but ideally you shouldn't separate your paragraphs into example and argument, the two should blend seamlessly. Without changing any of the content, I'd rewrite your last body paragraph this way:
    Research has also shown that more knowledgeable people could be more prone to committing crime. As research from Computer Security Research Institute showed, more than three quarters of all computer-related crime are committed by people with with extensive knowledge of computers and insider knowledge of the companies that they are hacking. This shows how knowledge can be more of a burden as it enables criminals to commit crime.

    "Research has also shown that more knowledgeable people could be more prone to committing crime. As research from Computer Security Research Institute showed, more than three quarters of all computer-related crime are committed by people with with extensive knowledge of computers and insider knowledge of the companies that they are hacking. Rather than using their knowledge of computers to the benefit of their companies, these hackers become a burden to the very companies that gave them that knowledge in the first place."

    You see how it's a lot less rigid? As soon as you say "this shows" or "therefore," you're giving the reader a sort of jolt.
    Do I have any major mechanical or grammatical errors?

    Yes. There's a lot of them, but if you just read more you'll instinctively make less of them.
    Also, insider trading involves having insider knowledge so in this case this knowledge became a burden as it was abused and landed her in jail. How is this completely irrelevant???

    Ok, it's not completely irrelevant. You are misunderstanding the prompt a little bit, though. The word "burden" has a connotation of individual suffering, so it's not appropriate to say that her knowledge became a burden to the law. You can use her as an example (if you must), but emphasize her personal burden. As for the computer hacking, that's just irrelevant.
    My thesis is "Knowledge can be a burden rather than a benefit because having knowledge might stifle creativity and knowledge could be abused." There are 2 parts to it. The other 2 examples are related to the 2nd part of my thesis, hence the context.

    You do realize you're supposed to write an actual introduction, right? In fact, your introduction is the most important paragraph in your entire essay, simply because it's usually the only paragraph your graders will actually read. Start your introduction with a hook, transition to your topic, and then make your thesis. Just in 10 seconds: "The human quest for knowledge predates democracy, christianity, and a whole bunch of other things." Boom! Hook. "Our desire to understand the universe and better ourselves with the knowledge we acquire is one of the defining attributes of humanity. But at what cost does our quest for enlightenment come?" Boom! Transition to topic. "Knowledge, while it can benefit both our curiosity and our species as a whole, can become a burden to us if it is abused for personal gain or to such an extent that it stifles our creativity." Boom! Thesis.
    Essay graders are told not to let personal bias affect their judgement

    Oh, why didn't you say so! I know if I was an English teacher on the fringe of being laid off, making $30,000/year teaching Romeo and Juliet to a class of ass.hole 16 year-olds, buried under a mortgage worth more than my house, forced to read 1,000 awfully written SAT essays every single day during my summer break just to avoid foreclosure, I would neeeever let my personal feelings interfere with my oath of accurate grading.. You have to understand, your essay isn't even going to be read. They're going to look at it for a maximum of a 45 seconds and then make a decision as to how smart you are.


    ...Yes, clearly I have nothing better to do on a thursday night than to write a whole essay critiquing your essay.
  • ccef888ccef888 Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    Thank you Godfatherbob :) Your critique answered quite a few questions,especially for the intro and transition part, that I had about the SAT essay.
  • SuperGenericManSuperGenericMan Posts: 158Registered User Junior Member
    Actually, according to the Blue Book you can solely use personal examples and still get a six, as long as you demonstrate critical thinking. It's safer to go with historical/literary examples though.
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