Essay analysis: The key to good health is lifestyle rather than medicine. HFDYA?

10 08 2011


Read the following excerpts and decide whether it meets requirements (in other words, will pass  for content), or whether it fails to meet requirements. For each example, state “Pass” or “Fail” accordingly. If you think it passes, state the main area(s)  for improvement. If you think it fails, state the main reason(s) why it does not meet requirements.

Example 1


My home country, Singapore, has emphasied repeatedly the need for us Singaporeans to stay healthy and keep fit. However, they do not exactly mention how they expect us to remain healthy.  Some believe that research and developments of new drugs will be the key that ensures our health.  Others refute that statement, convinced that a healthy lifestyle is the way to go.  Before, we go any further, health typically would mean staying physically fit, psychologically stimulated and emotionally stable.  For some reason, there are more people who place their faith in medicine, maybe because it is a tangible object where its effects are clearly seen, whereas the benefits of a healthy lifestyle may not always be substantiated by data.  Whatever the case, it is a fact that medicine and healthy lifestyles will ultimately contribute to health and fitness.  Moreover, the combination of the two will surely increase the likelihood of being healthy.  Therefore, lifestyle and medicine are equally significant factors for healthy living.

Example 2


The lifestyle we have is shaped by the society we live in, [and] has a great influence on our lives. Therefore, it is fair to say that our health is a reflection of our lifestyle as the daily activities we do in our life can affect our health easily in every way. Hence, lifestyle is the key to good health, rather than medicine.

Example 3

(body paragraph)

Having a healthy lifestyle prevents one from having to take medicine.  Just with regular exercise and a well-balanced diet, one will be able to maintain good health without needing the help of medicine.  For instance, there was a Korean lady in her 30s suffering from various diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.  Realising that it was her obesity that had resulted in these illnesses she started having a healthy lifestyle.  Not only did she lose weight, but she was also able to get rid of all of the illnesses she had.  As this example show, that there is a direct link between lifestyle and one’s health. In addition, living life with a positive attitude helps one to maintain good health.  As one attains good health due to one’s healthy lifestyle, one is likely to have a positive mindset and this, again, contributes to one’s own health.  This shows how much lifestyle can affect people’s health and thus, lifestyle is the key to good health rather than medicine which merely treats poor health to become better.

Example 4

Taking medicine can result in unwanted side-effects, such as nausea and hair loss. As lifestyle changes do not have these unwanted side-effects, it it lifestyle, rather than medicine, that is the key to good health.




35 responses

11 08 2011
Valerian, Zhong Yang

Example 1 – Fail. There is no clear stand – stand not acceptable, cannot sit on the fence. Note: Slant implication in question.
Example 2 – Fail. Too short. More elaboration needed.
Example 3 – Fail. Example is anecdotal – weak. There was a contradiction in one of his explanation – perhaps a poor attempt to show a cycle of good health and mindset?

11 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

One answer is correct.
One is correct, but with the wrong explanation.
One isn’t quite correct – subjectivity in marking. I can see your point, and I agree that it’s valid. However, I would still disagree with your assessment.

11 08 2011

Example 1-fail
stand is not acceptable. the way the question is phrased, one can only choose one over the other. not both at the same time
Example 2-pass
the issue is not mentioned
Example 3-pass
elaborate on how the medicine serves only to treat while lifestyle maintains good health

11 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

Two are right
One is wrong

12 08 2011
Ms De Souza’s 2010 Paper One Review « PROGRESS IN G.P.

[…] Essay analysis: The key to good health is lifestyle rather than medicine. HFDYA? […]

13 08 2011

Example 1: Pass.can be better if it includes overview of the points the writer will be writing in the body paragraph

Example 2: Fail.
Does not consider the view why medicine is or not gd for health.No comparision is made as the writer merely make a judgemnt on lifestyle solely.

Example 3: fail.Example is too simplistic.The healhty lifestyle jus revolves around losing weight and shld have made a clearer link that how health is not as important as lifestyle.Further elaboration is also required for the psychological health.

Example 4:fail The side impacts could have been much stronger rather than nauseau and hair loss because hair loss may be temporary asit may be merely part of the process that will lead to good health

14 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

I would have failed example 1. For example 4, I agree with your assessment, but not your explanation – there’s a bigger issue that causes it to fail.

13 08 2011
Ds Sol & Brenda

Example 1-Fail. No stand.

Example 2-Fail. Did not mention medicine. No comparison made.

Example 3-Pass. Meets requirements as there is comparison, “lifestyle is the key to good health rather than medicine which merely treats poor health to become better.”

Example 4-Fail.

15 08 2011

Example 1:

Fails. Question already implies that the any one ‘ key to good health ‘ has significance over another. Must make clear stand which is the key.

Example 2:

Fails. Into didnt address the significance of medicine and compare the relative impact of medicine with lifestyle.

Example 3:
First statement ==>
Having a healthy lifestyle prevents one from having to take medicine.

This is not neccessarily true all the time. Shouldnt be using absolute words???? (:

Example 4:

Fails. Statement is very blunt. Needs further elaboration

15 08 2011

Example 1-Fail…cuz thats my intro and I got 22 haha. Stand: ” Lifestyle is the foundation for good health, medicine is a tool or a means of staying healthy, lfestyle is a habit, taking medicine going to the doctor is part of lifestyle. So medicine and lifestyle are not opposite or contradicting. They appear to be but don’t.

15 08 2011

so my stand would be “A healthy lifestyle is the key to good health and reliance on medicine is part of that healthy lifestyle.
example 2- Pass/Almost Fail. Stand clear, but does not address underlying issue.
Example 4-talks about how medicine harms us…just because medicine harms us more than lifestyle does not mean medicine is not the key to good health. Angle should be how lifestyle helps us better than medicine, not how medicine harms us more than lifestyle. Maybe it can be used to strengthen the argument but not as the main idea.

16 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

I like that stand. Will need to discuss how to execute it in the essay.

2 – No

15 08 2011

Example 1: EPIC FAILURE. The stand does not meet question requirements as there cannot be a stand that sits on the fence for this question. ”Key words – rather than” Only one factor can be addressed, medicine or lifestyle, to be identified as the root key.

Example 2: No mention of medicine being t

15 08 2011

Example 2: Fail. Did not consider the aspect of medicine, where it is viewed by people mistakenly as being the answer to good health as stated in the question.

Example 3: Pass. Add in a CA and a R for a higher level of argument. ”Having a healthy lifestyle prevents one from having to take medicine” is a flawed statement, people are always susceptible to falling ill and at times have to rely on medicine as a last resort.

Example 4: Fail. Requires further elaboration. Just because medicine harms more than lifestyle, does not mean that medicine is not the key to health. The side effects experienced may be only just temporary and part of the process towards attaining good health in the long run.

16 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

3 – Pass, but barely.

15 08 2011
Jonsam and Rama

Example 1: Fail. Firstly, it does not show that it captures the slant of the question. The author adopts a balanced stand saying that both lifestyle and medicine share equal importance which does not appreciate the question that is asserting medicine is in fact the key to good health.

Example 2: Fail. No content, too short and has an unsubstantiated stand.

Example 3: Pass, poor choice of example though. It has a clear stand and shows how lifestyle is a better solution to attaining good health as opposed to medicine.

Example 4: Fail. TOO SHORT, NO LINK.

16 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

2 – Incorrect explanation
3 – Barely, yes
4 – Incorrect explanation

15 08 2011

Example 1: Fail. The paragraph adopts a neutral stand and this is NOT what the question is talking about.

Example2: Fail. The paragraph makes no reference to medicine and hence, fails to meet question requirements. Moreover, his stand is supported with mere assumptions.

Example 3: Pass. The example used may be rather odd but there is a clear focus in the paragraph and it does show “rather” to a small extent

Example4: Fail. Argument is not substantiated and its merely an assertion.

16 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

4 – Incorrect explanation

15 08 2011

Example 1-Fail. The passage did not explain why medicine is thought to be the key to good health.

Example 2-Fail. Passage had no reference to medicine and how it is linked to good health. Introduction is also too short.

Example 3-Pass. Paragraph showed how lifestyle is the key to good health and that medicine is only a treatment and not the key to good health. The example should also be more specific.

Example 4-Fail. Paragraph only says that medicine can cause side-effects and nothing on how it can lead to good health.

16 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

1 – Incorrect explanation

15 08 2011

Example 1: Pass
Improvement: Address the question first: is lifestyle the key in maintaining health rather than medicine? Leave the ‘Insight’ for conclusion.

Example 2: Fail
Reason: Does not address the perceived slant that society has: “It is medicine that leads to good health!”

Example 3: Fail
Improvement: Does not compare directly between medicine and lifestyle in promoting good health

Example 4: Fail
Reason: Medicine may lead to side-effects, but if it cures a genetic disorder that no lifestyle change can correct, does it not lead to good health? Also, medicine leads to ‘worsened health’ while lifestyle does not, so lifestyle necessarily lead to good health? Logic leaps.

16 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

1 – Yes, that’s one way of executing this.
2 – Incorrect explanation

15 08 2011
Shu En

Example 1 fail
Comparison on which is better, lifestyle or medicine is needed to answer requirement of ‘rather than’.

Example2 – fail
What kind of lifestyle is not stated and how medicine will not lead to good health is not mentioned in the paragraph.

Example3- fail
Why lifestyle rather than medicine is not answered.

Example 4 –fail
Need link to good health.

16 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

3 – Technically, it is, but only very briefly (last sentence)

15 08 2011

Eg 1: fail
Reason: a neutral stand is not acceptable.

Eg2: fail
reason: does not explain the “rather than medicine” part. Just because lifestyle affects health doesn’t mean medicine does not.

Eg3: pass
reason: more elaboration could be done on the “rather than medicine” part.

Eg 4: fail
reason: purely assumptions, no concrete evidence and is largely untrue and unconvincing. No side effects=good health??

15 08 2011

1) Fail
Does not meet question requirements –> question asks for how far do you AGREE that the key to good health is lifestyle rather than medicine, and not state how important is lifestyle as compared to medicine

2) Fail
No comparison between lifestyle and medicine, only shows how good health is a reflection of lifestyle but not how it is KEY/takes more precedence, rather than medicine.

3) Fail
Again, no mention of medicine within the paragraph but only about how lifestyle has a direct link to good health. Should compare between the two factors and show why one is better than the other in achieving good health.

4) Fail
Unwanted side effects… If these unwanted side effects still give rise to good health in the end, it would still make medicine the key to good health. Doesn’t mean that changing lifestyle has “no side effects” means that it is the better option for good health.

15 08 2011

Example 1 -fail. there’s no awareness of the slant in question towards lifestyle and being neutral does not work here, a clear stand needs to be made.

Example 2 -fail. argument does not consider medicine and the logic behind it is circular

Example 3 pass. clear comparison between lifestyle and medicine and how health requires a good lifestyle while medicine is not really necessary.
to improve, more emphasis and analysis on the role of medicine would be needed.

Example 4 -fail. the example and comparison between lifestyle and medicine does not encompass the main issue of good health at all. unwanted side-effects doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy and not having unwanted side effects doesn’t mean you’re healthy either. also it is not true that life-style changes do not have unwanted side-effects.

16 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

3 – Comparison isn’t really clear. Limited to a one-liner in the last sentence.

16 08 2011

Example 1: Fail. No attention is given to the nuance that medicine is indeed what people believe in, lifestyle is what the question thinks should be proven. A clear stand is required.

Example 2: Fail. No consideration for medicine. It just mentions that lifestyle affects health, and we define our lifestyle – does not prove that medicine or lifestyle is better.

Example 3: Pass. Engages clearly the idea that lifestyle can not only solve but prevent what medicine can only treat. Perhaps more could be done to prove that medicine has a significant role, but lifestyle is still integral to good health.

Example 4: Fail. Good health is not defined by the amount of side effects one does not get from medicine. It is the whole idea of health and well-being that defines good health. Side-effects merely affect individuals, healthy or not, and being unhealthy affects individuals, regardless of side-effects.

16 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

3 – Not that clear

16 08 2011
Tze Ling

Example 1: Fail. Slant of answer is wrong and does answer the question; question is asking ‘how far dya’ a neutral stand is not acceptable.

Example 2: Fail. Only engages with the lifestyle part of the question, does not engage with the ‘ rather than medicine’. Hence fails to show that lifestyle rather than medicine is the key to good health.

Example 3: Pass. Does compare lifestyle and medicine but should elaborate more on the medicine part.

Example 4: Fail. No comparison between lifestyle and medicine. Unwanted side effects does not necessarily mean that you have good health, vice versa.

16 08 2011
Adrienne de Souza

My answer:

1) Fail. There’s no clear stand; the writer is sitting on the fence.

2) Fail. No comparison with medicine.

3) Barely passes (benefit of doubt). The whole paragraph is about lifestyle, without any comparison to medicine. The comparison is only presented in the last sentence, “[t]his shows how much lifestyle can affect people’s health and thus, lifestyle is the key to good health rather than medicine which merely treats poor health to become better.” The phrase in bold redeems the whole paragraph because it gives a (very, very, very brief) reason why lifestyle trumps medicine.

4) Fail. This point sounds silly and is too trivial. Also, even if I lose my hair due to chemotherapy, would you really argue that lifestyle beats medicine when it comes to something as major as cancer? Essentially, the side-effects are trivial because the main focus is really on whether it makes you healthy or not.

18 08 2011
Essay: When attempts at insight go horribly wrong « read, think, write.

[…] essay I read (see Example 1 in this post) stated in the introduction that both lifestyle and medicine are important for good health. I […]

6 11 2011

Example 1-Fail. Good that it qualifies how good health is defined in this essay and address the assumption that they are mutually exclusive. It is a bit off-topic since the question requires a comparison between lifestyle and medicine rather than what contributes to good health. Also i think it is not wise to bring in a specific example of SG when they did not ask for a discussion in the context of ‘your society’. Instead it should examine under what conditions would the argument hold and not hold. Eg developed vs developing where medicine may not be readily available. Medicine as a short term measure with possibly immediate effect during epidemics for eg but in the long run, lifestyle matters more. Lifestyle is something that must be voluntary, difficult to encourage as compared to medicine. So for authorities, the key to ensuring wellbeing among its people may be developing medicinal solutions though encouraging a balanced healthy lifestyle is almost as important.

Example 2-Fail. Does not make a comparison between lifestyle and medicine. Completely discounts the potential effects medicine have on lifestyle. It also did not question the assumption that medicine and lifestyle are mutually exclusive.

Example 3-It address the assumption in the question that healthy lifestyle and medicine are mutually exclusive-by agreeing. But if we were to consider medicine in the broader perspective as not one that is merely palliative but preventive (e.g. Drugs that prevent stroke, oral supplements) as well. So it can actually be incorporated into one’s diet/lifestyle for good health. So it is too key to attaining physical well-being.

Example 4-Fail. It is contentious to state that lifestyle changes has no unwanted side effects. Someone who used to eat 3 small proper meals with regular exercises will definitely have his health suffer if he were to start eating heavy meals at fastfood outlets and become a couch potato. Gd to point out medicine’s side effects like nausea and hair loss but the link as to how it contravenes the goal of achieving good health must be examined. Hair loss is perhaps purely cosmetic and a small trade off in return of better health. Also not all medicine certainly comes with side-effects.

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