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My first try on AWA, critique please? GMAT next Monday so I'm a bit nervous. Thank you very much!
I followed the standard template nearly word for word, can I really do that on the real exam?
"Scientific research has shown that Clear-One Bottled Water has many minerals needed for good health and that it is totally free of bacteria. Residents of the town where the water is bottled get sick less frequently that the national average. Even though Clear-One is higher priced than the other bottled waters, it is a good long term investment in your health."
This argument claims that Clear-One Bottled Water, with many healthy minerals and bacteria free, is a good long-term investment in one's health despite its higher-price because residences of the town where the water is bottled get sick less frequently than the national average. Stated in this way the argument 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. Therefore, the argument is rather weak, unconvincing and has several flaws.
First of all, the argument readily assumes that the residents of the Clear-One Bottled Water manufacturing town consume the product on a regular basis. This statement is a stretch and cannot be quantified in anyway. There may be other sources of drinking water available to the residents. For instance, tap water, if the town is geologically near lakes, may also be a healthy source of drinking water and contains disease inhibiting minerals. Clearly, the argument failed to consider the consumption ratio of Clear-One Bottled Water and that of other sources in its manufacturing town. The argument could have been much clearer if it explicitly stated the percentage of residents that consumes the Clear-One Bottled Water on a regular basis and the frequency.
Secondly, the argument claims that the manufacturing town of Clear-One Bottled Water are healthier than the national average and omits that the national consumption of the product may be similar, if not higher, than that of the manufacturing town. This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument does not demonstrate any correlation between the national consumption of the Clear-One Bottled Water and its average health. In fact, it is plausible that the national average consumption of Clear-One Bottled Water is higher then the average that of the manufacturing town. If the argument had provided evidence that the residents of the Clear-One Bottled Water manufacturing town consume more of the bottled water than the rest of the nation, then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.
Finally, the argument failed to consider alternatives to the Clear-One Bottled Water, as to whether other brands of bottled water with similar properties have similar affect on health if consumed on a regular basis. In addition, the geological area of the manufacturing town may have special features that contributed to its resident's health. 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.
Ultimately, the argument is flawed for the above mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. It could be strengthened if the author clearly provides supporting evidence to his or her claim. In order to assess the merits of a certain situation, it is essential to have full knowledge of all the contributing factors. In this particular case, the local and national consumption statistics of Clear-One Bottled Water would greatly contribute to the argument. Without this information, the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.
You can't simply follow it word-for-word because then you miss out on all-important context - it's just a chore to read and doesn't really go anywhere. I've seen a few on here that people have done this way and...well, they look completely forced and they're just bad essays.
But here in paragraphs 2, 3, and 4, you didn't copy word-for-word...you perfectly used the structure as way to display genuine context and those paragraphs are exactly what you should write.
Honestly, 1 and 5 look like copy-and-paste jobs. Really only one sentence per paragraph can be a complete context-less ripoff of a template or it starts to look pretty terrible. But as long as you have something topic-specific in most of your sentences, the main purpose that the template serves is to organize your thoughts and signal your intent to the reader...and that's perfect.
Thank you for the feedback Brian. I'm following the template word for word as a start to give myself a better feel of AWA. I doubt that I'll be able to memorize the exact template during the test and will have to improvise.
Any suggestions on the approach to stay within the 30 minutes limit? I'm not timing myself now as I'm learning my way to approach AWA. On average, I use about 45 minutes to write each essay.
Can you please review these two essays I wrote today? I'm trying to do daily practices before my exam...
Interesting about the timing...let me answer that here and then I'll take a look at those updated essays. I think I'd probably want to first ask where you think you're spending the most time:
-Up front brainstorming your "talking points"?
-Trying to think of things to write about while you're writing?
-Simply going through the process of writing?
I think for most it's likely that you lose the most time with that second one...you've started writing and then you get that "writer's block" and stall. If that's the case, I'd recommend taking 3-5 minutes at the beginning of the essay to jot down your ideas. For example, for an Issue essay, you ideally want to have:
3 points of support for one position 1 easy-to-rebut argument for the other position
So for me, I don't commit to a side first...I just start jotting down arguments on either side until I get to that point where I have enough to write about. Given that you only have 30 minutes to write, I think it's more efficient to brainstorm the talking points BEFORE you pick a side...see which side is easier to write about and once you have those thoughts down then you can start plugging them into the template.
That's my main suggestion for reducing time...that way you avoid writer's block and can get to the process of writing.