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First attempt at AWA

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First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2013, 08:54
Hi guys,

I'm going to take the GMAT next week and this is my first writing. Would any one please rate it for me. Thanks a lot!!

“A year ago Apex Manufacturing bought its managers computers for their homes and paid for telephone connections so that they could access Apex computers and data files from home after normal business hours. Since last year, productivity at Apex has increased by 15 percent. Other companies can learn from the success at Apex: given home computers and access to company resources, employees will work additional hours at home and thereby increase company profits.”

The argument claims that in order to increase profits, companies can give their employees home computers and access to company resources so that they will work additional hours at home. As evidence, the author cites the example of Apex manufacturing which bought its managers computers for their homes and paid for telephone connection and it has productivity increased by 15 percent. Stated this way, the argument fails to mention several key factors, on the basis of which it could be evaluated. The conclusion of the argument is drawn based on one particular case for which there is no further evidence. Hence, the argument is weak and has several flaws.
First, the argument readily assumes that the increase in Apex manufacturing’s productivity is due to facilities and resources that the company equipped for their managers. This statement is a stretch because there are many other reasons which may possibly account for this increased productivity. For example, maybe the company applied new reward policy which is based on employees’ performance. Clearly, this is a motivation for employees to work harder, therefore, raising their productivity. The argument could have been much clearer if it explicitly stated that factors other than the new equipment do not affect the employee’s productivity in the years provided.
Second, the argument claims that the success of Apex Manufacturing should be learnt by other companies to increase their productivity. This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument generalizes the outcomes for other companies based on only the case of Apex Manufacturing. What if other companies are different from Apex Manufacturing that their operations do not involve much with computers and that their employees do not need access to company resources from home? Without convincing answers to these questions, one is left with impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substance evidence.
Finally, additional working hours at home do not grant growth in productivity. Since the employees can work from their home, they may save their tasks in office to do at home. However, they may be distracted while working at home, thus resulting in decreasing productivity. If the argument had demonstrated correlation between additional working hours at home and productivity, then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.
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. Without these information, the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2013, 19:57
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The essay is well structured. It should be 5.5/6.0
All the best :)
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2013, 21:16
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dynabyte wrote:
Hi guys,

I'm going to take the GMAT next week and this is my first writing. Would any one please rate it for me. Thanks a lot!!

“A year ago Apex Manufacturing bought its managers computers for their homes and paid for telephone connections so that they could access Apex computers and data files from home after normal business hours. Since last year, productivity at Apex has increased by 15 percent. Other companies can learn from the success at Apex: given home computers and access to company resources, employees will work additional hours at home and thereby increase company profits.”

The argument claims that in order to increase profits, companies can give their employees home computers and access to company resources so that they will work additional hours at home. As evidence, the author cites the example of Apex manufacturing which bought its managers computers for their homes and paid for telephone connection and it has productivity increased by 15 percent. Stated this way, the argument fails to mention several key factors, on the basis of which it could be evaluated. The conclusion of the argument is drawn based on one particular case for which there is no further evidence. Hence, the argument is weak and has several flaws.
First, the argument readily assumes that the increase in Apex manufacturing’s productivity is due to facilities and resources that the company equipped for their managers. This statement is a stretch because there are many other reasons which may possibly account for this increased productivity. For example, maybe the company applied new reward policy which is based on employees’ performance. Clearly, this is a motivation for employees to work harder, therefore, raising their productivity. The argument could have been much clearer if it explicitly stated that factors other than the new equipment do not affect the employee’s productivity in the years provided.
Second, the argument claims that the success of Apex Manufacturing should be learnt by other companies to increase their productivity. This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument generalizes the outcomes for other companies based on only the case of Apex Manufacturing. What if other companies are different from Apex Manufacturing that their operations do not involve much with computers and that their employees do not need access to company resources from home? Without convincing answers to these questions, one is left with impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substance evidence.
Finally, additional working hours at home do not grant growth in productivity. Since the employees can work from their home, they may save their tasks in office to do at home. However, they may be distracted while working at home, thus resulting in decreasing productivity. If the argument had demonstrated correlation between additional working hours at home and productivity, then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.
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. Without these information, the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.

Check highlighted portions. Also, consider revising certain sentence structures eg. do not grant growth in productivity
Hope it helps :)
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2013, 23:42
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vikasdwivedi wrote:
The essay is well structured. It should be 5.5/6.0

This claim is unsubstantiated and open to debate.


Seriously, why don't you give some reasons for your grade? I fail to see why this essay should be 5.5/6.0. I would kindly suggest to refrain from giving advice that you are not qualified to give.
Edit: Ok, I do see that you've got 6.0 on the AWA yourself. Then why don't you see that this essay is not that great? It has some ideas, but the analysis lacks in depth; the structure is limited, and there are quite a few mistakes in usage and mechanics.



I am too tired right now to give detailed feedback, but the grade should be about 3.0-4.0.
Consider the following issues:
- No evidence that the managers actually used this access from home.
- Difference between managers and other employees: whose productivity has increased? What does it even mean?
- No evidence that the managers did not work additional hours from home before the computer access; no evidence that anybody will work from home when given computer access.
- Even if there is growth in productivity, productivity is not the same as profits.
- There are security issues with accessing company data from home.

Quote:
The argument could have been much clearer if it explicitly stated that factors other than the new equipment do not affect the employee’s productivity in the years provided.

How can the argument possibly say such a thing? There are always infinitely many factors. Also, there was only one year, and "the years provided" is not good English.

Quote:
Since the employees can work from their home, they may save their tasks in office to do at home.

This seems irrelevant. How would it increase/decrease productivity?

Quote:
However, they may be distracted while working at home, thus resulting in decreasing productivity.

Yes, but they may also be distracted while working at the office, thus resulting in decreased productivity.

Quote:
For example, maybe the company applied new reward policy which is based on employees’ performance. Clearly, this is a motivation for employees to work harder, therefore, raising their productivity.

Better say instead "such a policy would be a motivation for the employees to work harder..."
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 00:23
SergeyOrshanskiy wrote:
vikasdwivedi wrote:
The essay is well structured. It should be 5.5/6.0

This claim is unsubstantiated and open to debate.


Wow, you really took Vikasdwivedi's comment to heart. :-D
This is OP's first AWA and I dont know how much destroying it so badly would help :)
However, your detailing is amazing. I must send my application essays to you for review. :-D
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 02:57
SergeyOrshanskiy wrote:
vikasdwivedi wrote:
The essay is well structured. It should be 5.5/6.0

This claim is unsubstantiated and open to debate.


Seriously, why don't you give some reasons for your grade? I fail to see why this essay should be 5.5/6.0. I would kindly suggest to refrain from giving advice that you are not qualified to give.
Edit: Ok, I do see that you've got 6.0 on the AWA yourself. Then why don't you see that this essay is not that great? It has some ideas, but the analysis lacks in depth; the structure is limited, and there are quite a few mistakes in usage and mechanics.



I am too tired right now to give detailed feedback, but the grade should be about 3.0-4.0.
Consider the following issues:
- No evidence that the managers actually used this access from home.
- Difference between managers and other employees: whose productivity has increased? What does it even mean?
- No evidence that the managers did not work additional hours from home before the computer access; no evidence that anybody will work from home when given computer access.
- Even if there is growth in productivity, productivity is not the same as profits.
- There are security issues with accessing company data from home.

Quote:
The argument could have been much clearer if it explicitly stated that factors other than the new equipment do not affect the employee’s productivity in the years provided.

How can the argument possibly say such a thing? There are always infinitely many factors. Also, there was only one year, and "the years provided" is not good English.

Quote:
Since the employees can work from their home, they may save their tasks in office to do at home.

This seems irrelevant. How would it increase/decrease productivity?

Quote:
However, they may be distracted while working at home, thus resulting in decreasing productivity.

Yes, but they may also be distracted while working at the office, thus resulting in decreased productivity.

Quote:
For example, maybe the company applied new reward policy which is based on employees’ performance. Clearly, this is a motivation for employees to work harder, therefore, raising their productivity.

Better say instead "such a policy would be a motivation for the employees to work harder..."


Hi, your comments are very valuable to me, especially the issue part.
I also realize the issues about managers vs. employees and about the additional working hours by myself. But I'm a little confused since I don't know should I put all of the flaws in my essay? It should not be enough time for me to write all. Do you think that I should include all of the flaws and remove the example part of my essay?
Thank you very much, love to hear from you :-D
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 08:22
Vips0000 wrote:
SergeyOrshanskiy wrote:
vikasdwivedi wrote:
The essay is well structured. It should be 5.5/6.0

This claim is unsubstantiated and open to debate.


Wow, you really took Vikasdwivedi's comment to heart. :-D
This is OP's first AWA and I dont know how much destroying it so badly would help :)
However, your detailing is amazing. I must send my application essays to you for review. :-D


Thank you for feedback!
I don't think I destroyed it so badly -- you can look at some of my other responses :lol: I actually said it was a 3.0-4.0 essay. Of course, if I were teaching in person, I would feel from the voice and the facial expression whether I should be more critical or more supportive. In this case I was indeed trying to balance the effect of Vikasdwivedi's comment. Also, you mentioned that "This is OP's first AWA". How many AWAs, then, should one write to practice? If we are talking about 50-100 practice AWAs, then we should be fully supportive of the first one. However, if we want to limit ourselves to 3-4 practice AWAs, how would the progress happen without criticizing the first one? Well, perhaps, you have a point, and the third AWA is going to be much better than the first one, no matter what. Perhaps one simply needs to write a few AWAs to become comfortable with the format, and naturally the improvement will also happen. In this case why post the first AWA to the forum? Why not write 3-4 essays first, and only then ask for feedback?

Yes, I can certainly look at your application essays. I have never yet reviewed one, so I can do it for free -- or, say, for a testimonial on LinkedIn. I did help people with their resumes, green card applications, etc., so I'd charge money for those services; but I have never helped anyone with college/grad school applications.

I also like your way of giving feedback: highlighting the mistakes in red, but not actually saying, how to correct them. I should use it too. (Although, for the first essay it may be more effective to present the correct version instead.)
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 08:44
dynabyte wrote:
Hi, your comments are very valuable to me, especially the issue part.
I also realize the issues about managers vs. employees and about the additional working hours by myself. But I'm a little confused since I don't know should I put all of the flaws in my essay? It should not be enough time for me to write all. Do you think that I should include all of the flaws and remove the example part of my essay?
Thank you very much, love to hear from you :-D


Well, let's look at the first flaw that you have identified and at your example.

Quote:
First, the argument readily assumes that the increase in Apex manufacturing’s productivity is due to facilities and resources that the company equipped for their managers. This statement is a stretch because there are many other reasons which may possibly account for this increased productivity. For example, maybe the company applied new reward policy which is based on employees’ performance. Clearly, this is a motivation for employees to work harder, therefore, raising their productivity.

First of all, the argument does not assume that explicitly. The argument suggests that the increase is somehow due to facilities and resources. Note that there may be many other ways in which this could happen. Even if the managers got so scared by the perspective of working long hours from home that they suddenly became more productive at work, this would still count. The real question is, will the same thing happen at other companies? If other companies purchase the same equipment, will they also get an increase in productivity? You can, of course, say, that correlation does not imply causation, but what is causation? It is possible to reject the notion of causation entirely and to analyze the world around us based on correlation alone.

Now, your example about a new reward policy is probably not the best one. Just as it is a stretch to assume that the managers will work harder or be more productive just because of the new equipment allowing them to work from home, it is equally a stretch to assume that the employees will suddenly get more productive because of a new reward policy. A more realistic example could be: the company fired 20% of the employees, and the remaining ones had to work harder. Alternatively, it is possible that the economy of the entire country improved during this year, the demand for the company's production increased, and so everyone had to become more productive.

The analysis would be deeper if it looked at the notion of "increased productivity". What does it really mean? If productivity is measured by time sheets, does it mean more hours worked? Is it the number of emails sent by the managers? Clearly, this is not necessarily something that other companies want to copy. On the other hand, if the company experienced a profit increase, then we again have the causation problem: how do we know that this profit increase was caused by the initiative with the new hardware? It is very difficult to measure or even define the productivity of the managers, and this is one of the central issues that should be addressed. This is why I mentioned that there is a difference between managers and employees.

Regarding the question about strategy -- yes, at first you can try to write an essay without any time constraints. You can even just take a topic and simply think about it for a long time, try to identify all possible issues. This is actually the skill that the AWA is testing. For example, you can try the prompt about illegal immigrants.

Prompt: “The autonomy of any country is based on the strength of its borders; if the number of illegal immigrants entering a country cannot be checked, both its economy and national identity are endangered. Because illegal immigrants pose such threats, every effort must be made to return them to their country of origin."

Think about it for a few hours or a few days. Then read some of my ideas and see if you came up with something different: awa-about-illegal-immigrants-revisited-145695.html But think by yourself first!
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 08:48
SergeyOrshanskiy wrote:
Vips0000 wrote:
Wow, you really took Vikasdwivedi's comment to heart. :-D
This is OP's first AWA and I dont know how much destroying it so badly would help :)
However, your detailing is amazing. I must send my application essays to you for review. :-D


Thank you for feedback!
I don't think I destroyed it so badly -- you can look at some of my other responses :lol: I actually said it was a 3.0-4.0 essay. Of course, if I were teaching in person, I would feel from the voice and the facial expression whether I should be more critical or more supportive. In this case I was indeed trying to balance the effect of Vikasdwivedi's comment. Also, you mentioned that "This is OP's first AWA". How many AWAs, then, should one write to practice? If we are talking about 50-100 practice AWAs, then we should be fully supportive of the first one. However, if we want to limit ourselves to 3-4 practice AWAs, how would the progress happen without criticizing the first one? Well, perhaps, you have a point, and the third AWA is going to be much better than the first one, no matter what. Perhaps one simply needs to write a few AWAs to become comfortable with the format, and naturally the improvement will also happen. In this case why post the first AWA to the forum? Why not write 3-4 essays first, and only then ask for feedback?

Yes, I can certainly look at your application essays. I have never yet reviewed one, so I can do it for free -- or, say, for a testimonial on LinkedIn. I did help people with their resumes, green card applications, etc., so I'd charge money for those services; but I have never helped anyone with college/grad school applications.

I also like your way of giving feedback: highlighting the mistakes in red, but not actually saying, how to correct them. I should use it too. (Although, for the first essay it may be more effective to present the correct version instead.)


Ha ha.. saw your other posts. I must say you've been a little tough on scoring compared to GMAC :-D

The knowledge that you exude through your posts is beyond doubt. Certainly, we all have different ways of giving feedback. However, what I know about constructive feedback is that it should be like a sandwich. The real and important thing should not be direct, but padded with positive ones. However, I am sure you being a teacher (from what I conclude from your posts), know it better than I do. You seem to be a great pool of knowledge; I’ll be in touch with you.
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 21:10
This is a very interesting question - about direct feedback vs. wrapping feedback like a sandwich.

I have no answer to this question. I have had great teachers who taught me by direct feedback as well as those who taught me by "wrapped feedback". My personal tendency is to err on the side of being too direct. Of course, it is also a cultural phenomenon. I am from St. Petersburg, Russia. This "direct" style of teaching is fairly common in Russia as well as in the Eastern Europe.

Two years ago I was preparing my green card petition - by myself, in the EB1A category. I was writing the petition, drafting the recommendation letters, etc. - all by myself. I went to a lawyer for a one-hour consultation. She said that I had a good chance, my credentials were fairly strong, but also criticized a lot of things. I felt a little bit as if she was challenging my credentials, which were quite strong and the presentation was also impressive. Yet I got the point: I had to get several more letters; in several places my support was unconvincing, and so forth. Basically my petition was not as strong as humanly possible. She even said to me (approximate quote): "Yes, it's good! I just don't want your petition to not be approved because you did not do everything that is possible."

Her feedback was extremely helpful. I spent a lot more time, did major editing/rearrangement of the whole thing, obtained several more recommendation letters and removed one letter that, as she suggested, could hurt my case. In the end my petition was polished to an absurd standard of quality. In my life I have never produced a piece of writing so impeccable. (It was twenty-something pages plus two hundred pages of supporting documentation. The whole project took about 200 hours of my time.) The result? I sent the first part of my petition (I-140) with premium processing, and it was approved in 10 days. (The second part, I-485, was approved in 3 months.) I certainly have to thank the lawyer that I went to for this insightful 1-hour consultation. If instead she complimented me on the job well done, I could still be struggling with my immigration status to this day... By the way, I can give her contacts if anyone is interested.

Quote:
I must say you've been a little tough on scoring compared to GMAC

This is what I also thought, but how did you come to this conclusion? Do you know what would be the GMAC scores for some of the essays that I have graded? Where would the difference come from - support for the points of critique, organisation of ideas, command of the English language?
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 21:49
Great story. The feedback was great and effective but so was the initial work. Consider if you had not gone to her with a such competent credentials and documentation, probably her approach would have been to first bring you up to that level.
Quote:
This is what I also thought, but how did you come to this conclusion? Do you know what would be the GMAC scores for some of the essays that I have graded? Where would the difference come from - support for the points of critique, organisation of ideas, command of the English language?

Actually after reading sample essays in OG, looking at writing styles of some 6.0 scorers and considering that approx 50 percentile is above 5.0, I think GMAC scoring is comparatively liberal.:-D
Grammar, organization, semantics are more important. In addition some key issues should be identified. Definitely it may not be possible for non natives to point out all the flaws perfectly and still come up with a perfectly organized essay in 30 mins.
For example, your post where u rated AWA by a user Sahil at 2.5, would get 3.5 with same essay on GMAT in my opinion. Of course I don't have credentials to back up my claim :-D
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 22:23
Well, I don't have the credentials either. I am just trying to stay consistent to my grading style. If GMAC is also consistent, it means that there should be a consistent difference in scores. Perhaps, one should add 1.0 to my scores to get GMAC scores.

In this case, I guess, you would probably rate this one as a 6.0.
manhattan-tarquinia-rate-my-essay-and-i-ll-do-the-same-145661.html

By the way, last year I also took the SAT and the ACT (and also scored in the 99-th percentile). For the SAT, I tried using a template for the essay. It worked, though I did not get the full score. I purchased a tutorial on writing SAT essays from the website of one well-established tutor and practiced writing meaningless essays, such as "Is it true that trees are better than flowers?" and "Is it true that letter 'T' is better than letter 'J'?" I had some fun, but overall it felt like a waste of time. Thus, now I am discouraged from using essay templates. This is, however, something that I see a lot on this forum: people repeating meaningless sentences of the form "this argument is making several unwarranted assumptions and thus has no legs to stand on. The conclusion has no legs to stand on..."

I also read somewhere on the Internet that if you want to become an official grader, say, for the SAT, then they will first test you. They will give you a set of essays to grade, and most of your grades should be within 1.0 point from the "correct" grade. Then there is a way to cheat - give 5.0 for every sensible essay that seems to be in the 4-6 range... But let's not think too much about the way GMAC grades these essays, or we may be preparing ourselves for a disappointment :roll:
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 23:04
SergeyOrshanskiy wrote:
Well, I don't have the credentials either. I am just trying to stay consistent to my grading style. If GMAC is also consistent, it means that there should be a consistent difference in scores. Perhaps, one should add 1.0 to my scores to get GMAC scores.

In this case, I guess, you would probably rate this one as a 6.0.
manhattan-tarquinia-rate-my-essay-and-i-ll-do-the-same-145661.html

By the way, last year I also took the SAT and the ACT (and also scored in the 99-th percentile). For the SAT, I tried using a template for the essay. It worked, though I did not get the full score. I purchased a tutorial on writing SAT essays from the website of one well-established tutor and practiced writing meaningless essays, such as "Is it true that trees are better than flowers?" and "Is it true that letter 'T' is better than letter 'J'?" I had some fun, but overall it felt like a waste of time. Thus, now I am discouraged from using essay templates. This is, however, something that I see a lot on this forum: people repeating meaningless sentences of the form "this argument is making several unwarranted assumptions and thus has no legs to stand on. The conclusion has no legs to stand on..."

I also read somewhere on the Internet that if you want to become an official grader, say, for the SAT, then they will first test you. They will give you a set of essays to grade, and most of your grades should be within 1.0 point from the "correct" grade. Then there is a way to cheat - give 5.0 for every sensible essay that seems to be in the 4-6 range... But let's not think too much about the way GMAC grades these essays, or we may be preparing ourselves for a disappointment :roll:


Ha ha.. very valid point. consider another awkward sentence in the first post that is taken as it is from the template : "factors, on the basis of which it could be evaluated"
True, templates help in getting one started, but to give your essays "legs to stand on" one should consider forming own sentences :-D

PS: This is my 500th post... I'm a director now!!! :-D
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Re: First attempt at AWA [#permalink] New post 23 Feb 2013, 10:36
IF I HAD TO WRITE , I WOULD HAVE WRITTEN THIS.I am not very good at writing . So please judge my performance on awa and provide suggestions.I took complete 30 minutes to write and review this essay..


The argument claims that employees on having access to resources such as computers and telephone services will work additional hours for companies and increase profit .Hence,other companies should learn from Apex.Stated in this way the argument reveals examples of leap of faith , poor reasoning and ill-defined terminology . The conclusion of the argument relies on assumption for which there is no clear evidence. Hence, the argument is weak/unconvincing and has several flaws.

First , the argument readily assumes that employees on having additional resources will work for additional hours . It may happen that instead of the employee his family members start using computer and telephone for their daily uses . Additionally , employees on having access to these resources may start working online for another company to earn more . Consequently , accessories which were provided with the aim to increase profit may end up bringing harm to company.The argument have been much clearer if it explicitly stated that the company is adding monitoring system with the resources they are providing so that no one misuses them . Thus without these solutions it is impossible for companies to follow apex.

Second , The argument claims that this method will increase profit . Nowhere , it takes other factors into consideration . May be high use of facilities may result in higher bills leading to decreased profit or even loss than what is expected . However , author suppose that apex should be followed to increase profit but never considers other costs such as repairing and maintenance of facilities provided . On providing these services to their employee company may suffer overall loss . If the argument had provided evidence that all kinds of bill resulting from use of facilities is to be paid by employee himself then then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.

Finally , Why would other company learn from apex if they have been using similar strategies in the past and have been lot more productive than Apex ?Also author considers that employee will work additional hours if they are given mentioned resources.Are employees after hours of long work will be in the state to work additionally at home? Is the rise of productivity of Apex because of its implemented plan mentioned in argument? Without convincing answers to these questions , one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantial evidence .

In conclusion , the argument is flawed for the above mentioned reasons .It could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentions all the relevant facts such as the real reason for Apex increase in production , Way the resources provided is monitored , who is to pay repairing and maintenance cost ,are employees really in the state of working additional hours etc. In order to assess the merits of certain situation , it is essential to have full knowledge of all contributing factors.. Without this information , the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.


Thanks in advance
Re: First attempt at AWA   [#permalink] 23 Feb 2013, 10:36
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