An understanding of the past is necessary for solving the problems of the present.
Explain what you think the above statement means. Describe a specific situation in which solving a current problem may not require an understanding of the past. Discuss what you think determines whether or not the past should be considered in solving the problems of the present.
Your first task will be to fully explain the meaning of the statement, not simply paraphrase or restate it. Reading an opening such as “Often we find we must look to the past to find solutions to conflicts we experience in the present day . . .” will certainly make the grader cringe. Explore the <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal]significance of the statement, and discuss it with reference to an example to illustrate your point, if possible.
For your second task, you must cite a <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal]specific example that refutes the meaning of the statement; a vague generality won’t do. In this example, perhaps you can examine a modern phenomenon, such as the growth of information technology or experimentation with cloning, for which reference to the past will be of little use. Whatever the topic, be sure to clearly define a situation in which the statement rings false.
While your job in the first two tasks is to discuss the statement in an objective fashion, you have the opportunity with this third task, to inject your own opinion. As you conclude your essay, make a compelling argument for either the thesis or antithesis, being careful not to merely reiterate your earlier remarks.
Sound too complicated? Perhaps . . . but not when you consider that you are creating what is essentially a draft essay in 30 minutes. You certainly can't be expected to produce your finest writing in such a short time period. Nevertheless, you <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal]will be expected to satisfy the requirements of the exam by completing each of the three outlined tasks. Indeed, your score will be determined by your ability to do so.
This is not to say, however, that you should ignore basic rules of grammar and syntax. Your essay needn't reflect your best work, but it should at least be well constructed. And if you can manage to throw in an impressive word like “superfluous,” you can consider it a bonus.