Could someone please rate my Argument and/or Issue attempts? : Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
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# Could someone please rate my Argument and/or Issue attempts?

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Joined: 17 Oct 2013
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17 Oct 2013, 09:52
Hi there! I am practicing the AWAs for the first time so these are pretty rough, but I'd really like to know where I stand so I know how much I have to improve. Below are my Argument and Issue topics and I would very much appreciate if someone could look at these and rate/give feedback. Thanks!

Analyze an Argument
There is now evidence that the relaxed pace of life in small towns promotes better health and greater longevity than does the hectic pace
of life in big cities. Businesses in the small town of Leeville report fewer days of sick leave taken by individual workers than do businesses
in the nearby large city of Masonton. Furthermore, Leeville has only one physician for its one thousand residents, but in Masonton the proportion
of physicians to residents is five times as high. Finally, the average age of Leeville residents is significantly higher than that of Masonton residents.
These findings suggest that the relaxed pace of life in Leeville allows residents to live longer, healthier lives.

Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s)
can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.

This prompt makes several assumptions about the two locations and its peoples where other alternatives can easily explain
the same consequences, making the argument a flawed one.

Firstly, the argument assumes that both cities are similar in financial standing, giving the people of each one equal opportunity
to pursue better health options. However, Leeville could be less well-off economically than Masonton, meaning that people in Leeville
may be taking fewer sick days off simply because they cannot afford to take off more. Workers here could be just as ill as those in
Masonton, but cannot risk to lose those days' incomes as much as their Masonton counterparts. In this same sense, Leeville could have only
one physician because the people cannot afford the insurance or health costs of visiting a specialist, so there is no sense or means of
having more physicians.

Secondly, the argument assumes the people in these cities have the same interests and lifestyle choices. Stress from urban life can cause
distressing health repercussions; however, that is not to say that stress does not exist in small town life. The difference could also come from
the residents' interests in health. For instance, the greater longevity in Leeville may be due to people's desire for fresher foods and routine
exercise, as opposed to Masonton citizens who do not care for exercise and consume more processed foods, therein causing for worse health outcomes.

In conclusion, the facts presented in the prompt can be accounted for by other factors than the supposed relaxed pace of small towns as the argument
assumes. Financial insecurity on the part of Leeville residents could explain the fewer sick days taken off work and few physicians available, while
differing levels of interests in health could be the cause of differences in lifespans of citizens in each respective city.

Analyze an Issue
Educational institutions should actively encourage their students to choose fields of study in which jobs are plentiful.

Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing
and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how these consequences

Institutions of higher education should steer students to study in fields for which jobs are plentiful.

The bounty of jobs available is typically the mark of a booming market in that field. One can infer, then, that this field would provide a
decent sense of job security for someone who has managed to find work within that field. If a student can find work within such a field, such as
business, broadly speaking, then he/she does not need to worry about losing their job or moving around withing that field because it is presumed that there
will almost always be vacant positions for him/her to fill--at least not as much as their fellow students who are searching for jobs in fields with
narrower scopes of opportunity. Computer science, for example, experiences such an abundance of jobs in today's technologically accelerated society.
So if Bill graduates in computer science, his odds of attaining work upon graduating college are much higher than say, Tom who decided to pursue an esoteric
major such as Russian literature, for which job opportunities are slim.

In this regard, time, effort, and resources spent on attaining higher education would be more effectively used if these resulted in a job within that area.
In turn, the student can pay off loans more quickly because he/she has a secure career with a steady income, than someone who is still searching for a job or
is working in a position unrelated to their major in order to pay off the same loans. Essentially, all their hard work has been largely unrewarded because their
efforts are spent doing something that does not make use of the knowledge they gained. However, it is certainly true that not everyone is interested in the fields
in which there are many jobs available. Using the previous example, Tom may not be interested in computer science despite its job security. If he decides to pursue it
anyway purely to secure a profitable paycheck, he could become very depressed working ceaselessly at a job that does not fulfill him emotionally. Hence, he could become
less productive at his current job, which would diminish his paycheck--the reason he took the position in the first place. Nonetheless, there is often room to move
around career-wise within any field, so one can surely find a job that suits both his/her interests and offers job security and steady income.

The financial and work security that is offered by studying in areas that offer the most jobs are reasons enough for institutions to push students to study in such fields.
Current Student
Status: MBA Candidate, Class of 2017
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Location: United States (TX)
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
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19 Oct 2013, 22:13
analysis of an issue essay has been removed from the GMAT, integrated reasoning has been introduced for in place of it.
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22 Oct 2013, 02:56
Hi,

It looks like you are working with GRE prompts and not GMAT prompts. The type of instructions on this argument prompt -- to present alternative scenarios -- is specific to the GRE; the instructions on the GRE are far more focused and ask you to consider something specific (e.g., assumptions, evidence needed, etc.), whereas the instructions on the GMAT are more general and you are just asked to critique the essay.

That said, here are a few suggestions for your argument essay:

1. You need to briefly summarize the argument in your introduction before you present your thesis. You need to demonstrate you understand the main claim and premises before you can critique an argument's weaknesses.

2. Your essay is far too short and you should spend more time challenging the assumption that the people in the small town are actually healthier. Your second paragraph accepts the conclusion of the argument -- that people in small towns are healthier/small towns promote health but attempts to account for this as a matter of personal interest. However, it is far better to present an alternative scenario that challenges/calls into question the argument's conclusion.

3. Your points are not really organized effectively and I would develop a separate paragraph addressing each of the premises: 1 paragraph looking at the # of sick days and presenting various alternative scenarios; 1 paragraph looking at the # of doctors and presenting various alternative explanations; 1 paragraph addressing the ages of residents.

Good luck!
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Susan Feldman, Ph.D.
GMAT AWA & Verbal Tutor
Peak Performance Test Prep

Re: Could someone please rate my Argument and/or Issue attempts?   [#permalink] 22 Oct 2013, 02:56
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