107 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Playing a game is fun only when you win. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

I agree with the old saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” I don’t need to win. I have fun playing all games because it gives me time to be with friends, learn new things, and work as a team.

Tennis is one game that I enjoy. It’s a great opportunity to socialize. Of course, you can’t carry on a conversation while you’re playing, but my tennis partner and I talk a lot before the game. Since we have to reserve a court, we have to talk to one another to find a convenient time to meet. Then we have to make sure that the court is available at that time. This often takes many phone calls and, of course, we talk about many other things during the same conversation. Once we get to the court, we often have to wait. That gives us another opportunity to chat. After the game, we usually go out for a soda or a meal and talk some more. We don’t even talk about how well or how poorly we played. Tennis is just an excuse for us to get together.

The board game Scrabble, on the other hand, is a real skill builder. It’s a challenge to form words from the letters in front of you and on the board. I always learn a new word from my opponent, although sometimes I’m suspicious whether the word really exists. Often we don’t even keep score. We just do it because it’s fun and we learn new English words.

Soccer is the most competitive sport I’m involved in. I do my best, but it doesn’t matter to me if my team loses. I enjoy just being with my friends and traveling to different schools in different cities to play. I learn a lot about teamwork when we practice. Our coach tells us the most important thing is to play well as a team. It seems she just wants us to have fun and not worry about winning.

All in all, I just enjoy having a good time. Presumably that’s our purpose in life. Isn’t that better than worrying about who wins and who loses all the time?

108 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? High schools should allow students to study the courses that students want to study. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

I think high school students should be allowed to choose some of the subjects they study. However, the basic subjects, like mathematics, literature, and science, should be mandatory for all students.

When I was in high school, we were allowed to choose three electives each semester. Electives were subjects that weren’t part of the basic curriculum. They included things like music, journalism, art, and various kinds of team sports. Choosing some of these subjects to study gave me a chance to experiment. I was able to get a head start on what I was going to study in college.

However, college preparation shouldn’t be the main factor. I think all students should be allowed to take a certain number of courses just because they’re interested in them. For many students, high school is the last chance to learn about things they’re interested in. Maybe once they have a job there won’t be time for studying.

Of course, it’s also important that students study certain basic subjects. If I’d had a choice, I know I wouldn’t have studied mathematics or science. I wasn’t very interested in them. However, once I was in class, I found myself getting interested. I wouldn’t have known this if I’d been given the choice, because I would have chosen not to take the courses.

High school students aren’t always the best judges of what they’ll find useful in the years ahead. They need the guidance of experts in the field of education. However, they also need some freedom to follow their curiosity and individual interests. They should be given the freedom to choose some courses, while being required to take others.