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Hope,

Several years ago, when I worked in medical education, I taught an
MCAT prep course on essay writing (science faculty did the science
sections).  I used a booklet published by AAMC and available from
them that had sample questions and answers.  I found that students'
biggest problem was not understanding what was requested in the
essay--that they had to argue *both* sides of an issue and then
reconcile them.  A strategy that worked really well in class was
to do a group essay outline, in which students brainstormed ideas
for each section of the essay; then they organized them into an
outline that they had to make sure fully answered the question.
The improvement in their essays after this exercise was dramatic.

Annette Gourgey
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