As you all know, I’m right now going through the GMAT experience, which is coming to be more complicated than I thought, as I mentioned on my earlier post.
The thing is that I am already starting to prepare the test, and thanks to Club-MBA, I found a template for the AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) questions. As you all know, there are two 30 minutes questions in the AWA section: analysis of an argument, and analysis of an issue.
Here you have the templates!
1. General Structure
1.1 Analysis of an Argument
Intro – Restate argument, point out flaws, or state intention to discuss them below.
1st Paragraph – First,…
2nd Paragraph – Second/In addition,…
3rd Paragraph – Third/Finally,…
Conclusion – The argument is flawed/weak/unconvincing because of the above mentioned…Ultimately, the argument can be strengthened if/by…
1.2 Analysis of an Issue
Intro – Restate issue, take a position
1st Paragraph – First/One reason…
2nd Paragraph – Second/Another reason…
3rd Paragraph – Third/Perhaps the best reason…
Conclusion – Acknowledge the other position but re-affirm yours and conclude that it’s the strongest.
2. Structural Word (should be all over the essays)
2.1 Supporting examples – for example, to illustrate, for instance, because, specifically
2.2 Additional support – furthermore, in addition, similarly, just as, also, as a result, moreover
2.3 Importance – surely, truly, undoubtedly, clearly, in fact, most importantly
2.4 Contrast – on the contrary, yet, despite, rather, instead, however, although, while
2.5 Decide against – one cannot deny that, it could be argued that, granted, admittedly
2.6. Ying-yang – on the one hand/on the other hand
2.7 Concluding – therefore, in summary, consequently, hence, in conclusion, ultimately, in closing
3.1 Analysis of an Argument
The argument claims that ….(restate)
Stated in this way the argument:
- manipulates facts and conveys a distorted view of the situation
- reveals examples of leap of faith, poor reasoning and ill-defined terminology
- fails to mention several key factors, on the basis of which it could be evaluated
The conclusion of the argument relies on assumptions for which there is no clear evidence. Hence, the argument is weak/unconvincing and has several flaws.
First, the argument readily assumes that……
This statement is a stretch….
The argument could have been much clearer if it explicitly stated that…
Second, the argument claims that….
This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument does not demonstrate any correlation between….and…
In fact, it is not at all clear…rather….
If the argument had provided evidence that…..then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.
(pose some questions for the argument)…..Without convincing answers to these questions, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence.
In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above-mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentioned all the relevant facts….
In order to assess the merits of a certain situation/decision, it is essential to have full knowledge of all contributing factors. In this particular case….
Without this information, the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.
3.2 Analysis of an Issue
Many/some people think that….Others…..(restate)
The issue is a controversial one but a closer examination reveals that….(take a position)…for several reasons.
One reason is that/for…
Another reason is that/for…
As a result,…
Perhaps the best reason is (that)….
In summary, while there are arguments to be made for both sides, it is clear that there are greater advantages to….(repeat the reasons).
Hence,….(re-affirm your position)
4. Going from the templates to full-fledged essays
4.1 Analysis of an Argument
The following appeared in the editorial section of a national news magazine:
“The rating system for electronic games is similar to the movie rating system in that it provides consumers with a quick reference so that they can determine if the subject matter and contents are appropriate. This electronic game rating system is not working because it is self regulated and the fines for violating the rating system are nominal. As a result an independent body should oversee the game industry and companies that knowingly violate the rating system should be prohibited from releasing a game for two years.”
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument’s logic and analyze the argument’s underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument’s conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.
The argument claims that the electronic games rating system, although similar to the movie rating system, is not working because it is self regulated and violation fines are nominal, Hence, the gaming rating system should be overseen by an independent body. Stated in this way the argument fails to mention several key factors, on the basis of which it could be evaluated. The conclusion relies on assumptions, for which there is no clear evidence. Therefore, the argument is rather weak, unconvincing, and has several flaws.
First, the argument readily assumes that because the electronic game rating system is self regulated, it is not working well. This statement is a stretch and not substantiated in any way. There are numerous examples in other areas of business or commerce, where the entities are self regulated and rather successful. For instance, FIA, the Formula1 racing organization is self regulated. Yet, the sport is very popular and successful, drawing millions of spectators around the world each year. Tickets are rather expensive, races are shown on pay-per-view, and nearly all drivers are paid very well. Another example is the paralleled movie rating system that the argument mentions. The author fails to clarify whether it is working well, but it is clear that the movie rating system is pretty well received by people, who often base their decisions to go see a movie with kids or not on the movie rating. It has never been a case when someone would feel cheated by the movie rating and express disappointment afterwards. Since the movie rating system is also self regulated, it follows that this regulatory method is working pretty well and it is not obvious how it can be the reason for the poor electronic game rating system. The argument would have been much clearer if it explicitly gave examples of how the self regulatory system led to bad ratings and customer dissatisfaction.
Second, the argument claims that any violation fees for bad electronic game ratings are nominal. It thus suggests that this is yet another reason for the rating system not working. This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument does not demonstrate any correlation between the monetary amount of the fines and the quality of the electronic game rating system. In fact, the argument does not even draw a parallel with the mentioned movie rating system and its violation fines. If any such correlation had been shown for the movie rating system, which supposedly works well, then the author would have sounded a bit more convincing. In addition, if the argument provided evidence that low violation fines lead to electronic game manufacturers to ignore any regulations with respect to the game rating system, the argument could have been strengthened even further.
Finally, the argument concludes that an independent body should oversee the game industry and companies that violate the rating system, should be punished. From this statement again, it is not at all clear how an independent regulatory body can do a better job than a self regulated one. Without supporting evidence and examples from other businesses where independent regulatory bodies have done a great job, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence. As a result, this conclusion has no legs to stand on.
In summary, the argument is flawed and therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentioned all the relevant facts. In order to assess the merits of a certain situation, it is essential to have full knowledge of all contributing factors.
4.2 Analysis of an Issue
“Poor health and high stress levels diminish the productivity of today’s office workers. In order to maximize profits, companies need to provide white-collar employees with free exercise facilities and free wellness classes.”
In your opinion, how accurate is the view expressed above? Use reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading to develop your position.
Some people think that productivity at work could be increased if workers are provided with free exercise facilities and wellness classes, as this will improve the workers health and diminish the level of stress in the office. Other people support the claim that people should manage their own health and stress level outside the work space. The issue is a controversial one but a closer examination reveals that companies that promote healthy living among their employees are indeed more productive.
One reason is that people often do not find the motivation or the energy to go to a wellness class and exercise outside of work. Most people are usually very tired by the end of the work day and have other family duties or priorities to worry about. For example, doing grocery shopping, cooking, picking up the kids from practice, etc. Therefore, it is very difficult for such people to make time for exercising and maintain healthy habits. As a result, the stress from a long day of work at the office gets carried over to the next day and the pattern repeats. Eventually, the health of those people worsens and their productivity on the job diminishes.
Another reason is that people often find it attractive to do what their friends or colleagues do. For instance, if five colleagues of a worker join a pilates class and are happy about it, they then tend to recommend it to the worker in question and she will eventually join the class. Contagious behavior such as this can be very easily achieved on the job if pilates classes are offered, because then the discovery of the opportunity and the motivation to join are easily found. Hence, exercising at work becomes a very comfortable activity easily fit into a schedule and promotes the health and happiness of the employees. They not only feel better heath-wise after exercise, but also strengthen relationships with co-workers by doing activities together. In a way, this whole experience can be viewed as team building. Consequently, workers are more energized, alert and therefore productive in their jobs.
Perhaps the best reason is that by providing free exercise facilities and wellness classes companies improve their image and become attractive places to be at for future employees. Not only can such companies attract more viable candidates for new openings, but they can also retain longer the employees they already have. To illustrate this point, let us take Google for example. The company was recently ranked as the best one to work at. One of the main criteria for achieving this rank was the fact that the company takes very good care of its employees in terms of encouraging healthy living. There are numerous sports facilities on the Google campus which people are encouraged to use. Those include gyms, swimming pools, volleyball courts, massage chairs, etc. Personal trainers are also available for free for anyone that needs them. There is also a health center facility on site. With that kind of environment it is difficult to not take advantage and live a healthy living, resulting in better productivity on the job.
In summary, while there are arguments to be made for both sides of the issue, it is clear that there are much greater advantages for companies to provide their workers with free health facilities and classes. Workers find it not only much easier to take advantage of such opportunities on site, but also are much more motivated to do so there. Participating in sports activities improves the workers’ mood, desire to work hard, keeps them healthy, and creates a bond among workers. As a result, this translates to a better productivity of the workers and ultimately to maximized profits for the company.
5. Final tips
- During the tutorial, type a few sentences in the mock essay window to get used to the keyboard.
- Again during the tutorial, jot down on your notebook the basic structure of your essays or the opening sentences in case you get too nervous, and forget them when the clock starts ticking.
- Write as much as you can. Try to write at least 500 words per essay.
- Always have the e-rater in mind as your potential reviewer. Remember that the human rater will make every effort to grade just like the e-rater. In that sense, keep your structure and volume in mind over actual quality/content.
- Be careful of spelling mistakes. Double check words that you normally know you misspell (e.g. exercise). Try to finish 2-3 minutes before time is up so you can slowly re-read your essays for spell checking. Do not reorganize/delete sentences/paragraphs with less than 2 min left.
- No matter how great you thought your essays went, try to stay humble and focused – remember this was just a warm-up and the real stuff hasn’t started yet!
Here is the link where you can find the source of this template Club-MBA.
Now we all to put into practice this valuable guide, and hope it help us out with the AWA questions!