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Do awards and competitions serve a useful purpose?
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
August 4, 2012
9:45 am
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Awards and prizes are given for excellence in various fields. Do these awards and prizes serve a useful purpose? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.


Since ancient times humans have held sport competitions. These days competitions and prizes are common in sports, science, arts and many other fields from chess to gardening or breeding dogs. Given the abundance of such awards and prizes some people may question their value. In my view, competing and awarding prizes is an expression of human nature that has benefits for hobbyist or professionals in a field and for the society.

To begin, awardees are positive role models and prizes can give new starters motivation and orientation in an unfamiliar area. Some fields appear particularly hard or complex to beginners. For example, a student competition in science can be an excellent way of motivating students to explore difficult subjects. The prospect of winning a prize can provide a student with a clear goal in a wide and hard to overlook field. Former award winners can be their role models on their quest of exploring new skills, knowledge or becoming an excellent sportsperson.

People and companies competing for prizes can drive progress and innovation. In the US a prize has been set for the creation of the first private space ship. The hope is that this ‘space race’ will lead to the development of cost efficient transportation into space. It is expected that competition will result in a better solution than letting a government agency drive the development.

Finally, some people seem to simply enjoy competing and the recognition and attention the winner gets. Comparing our skills or possessions among peers is a natural social process. Children seems to do this in a playful way from an early age. This kind of ambition and the desire to be recognized by others are positive traits in my view in general.

All in all, I believe prizes and awards are an expression of our natural interest in comparison and searching recognition from others. Awards also help to motivate and set goals for people acquiring a skill. Moreover, competition benefits the society by promoting innovation, progress and best practices.

August 4, 2012
11:31 am
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Hi Katiss

Thanks for this essay. The timing is appropriate in this Olympic season!

As usual, your essay is a well-written and considered response to the question. You look at three aspects -  motivation, economic progress, and competition as a natural impulse. Your conclusion summarizes the ideas in the body.

I might link the first two sentences in your intro, but the result might be a very long sentence (32 words)

Sports competitions have been held since ancient times, and today countless prizes are awarded in fields ranging from chess to gardening, from breeding dogs to motor racing, and from literature to architecture.

My favorite paragraph is the one about the space competition. The example is interesting and current. The topic sentence is nice and short. It doesn’t seem labored, and the final sentence is a good summary of the topic

There’s one tiny grammar error or typo -  ‘children seems’ instead of ‘seem’ -  and a couple of possible punctuation changes. Otherwise there’s little else I would change without affecting the style. 

 

PS: Yes, the essay is long, at 335 words. Here's a health warning to readers: If you can't write at this level, don't even think of going over 300 words!

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