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I took the GMAT twice and scored 6.0 each time. I did put a lot of time in it the first time....too much actually. Being a non-native speaker and having not written a damn essay (of any kind) in many many years, I was very scared of the AWA. So, I went through every guide that I could find and wrote nearly 25-30 essays. Even had a friend grade them for me.....Pathetic, huh?
Anyway, for my second time, I just looked over my templates I created and wrote one of each the day before test just to refresh my memory on faster typing without making too many typos......
So, here it is....Enjoy, and please do not blame me if the 6.0 percentile goes down to 80 soon
1. General Structure
Intro - Restate argument, point out flaws or state intention to discuss them below 1st Para - First,... 2nd Para - Second/In addition,... 3rd Para - Third/Finally,... Conclusion - The argument is flawed/weak/unconvincing because of the above -mentioned...Ultimately, the argument can be strengthened if/by...
2. Structural Word (should be all over the essays)
Supporting examples - for example, to illustrate, for instance, because, specifically
Additional support - furthermore, in addition, similarly, just as, also, as a result, moreover
Importance - surely, truly, undoubtedly, clearly, in fact, most importantly
Contrast - on the contrary, yet, despite, rather, instead, however, although, while
Decide against - one cannot deny that, it could be argued that, granted, admittedly
Ying-yang - on the one hand/on the other hand
Concluding - therefore, in summary, consequently, hence, in conclusion, ultimately, in closing
Intro: The argument claims that ....(restate) Stated in this way the argument: a) manipulates facts and conveys a distorted view of the situation b) reveals examples of leap of faith, poor reasoning and ill-defined terminology c) 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.
1st Para: First, the argument readily assumes that...... This statement is a stretch.... For example,... Clearly,... The argument could have been much clearer if it explicitly stated that...
2nd Para: Second, the argument claims that.... This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument does not demonstrate any correlation between....and... To illustrate,... While,... However,....indeed.... 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.
3rd Para: Finally,... (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.
Conclusion: 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.
4. Going from the templates to full-fledged essays
ESSAY QUESTION: The following appeared in the editorial section of a national news magazine:[/b]
"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.
5. Final tips
During the tutorial type in 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 essay for the purposes of 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!
Chinese Democracy is misunderstood...at your nearest BestBuy.
Best AWA guide here: http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html
Last edited by carcass on 26 Aug 2014, 11:26, edited 9 times in total.
Another testimony for 6.0 score (91 percentile). I'm non-native english speaker, yet I managed a perfect score. In fact I noticed 2 spelling mistakes that I could not correct in time before the screen changed.
I prepared for AWA only in the penultimate week of actual test. I quickly derived a similar passage structure and freely used several keywords that articles mentions such as to illustrate, precisely, on the other hand.... This structure helped me focus on what to write and helped me push the word count beyond 550 per passage resulting in 6.0 score.
Despite the structure, the most important thing is to provide at least one or two examples. To illustrate, I have prepared several examples for few possible cases. To support team work, I can use Government, Miliary, Doctors in Operation theatre, a Sports team. It is very important to preplan such general examples so that you spend as little energy as possible.
Another testimony of the greatness of this template. I gave my GMAT on 19-May with minimal preparation around AWA. I had just prepared a skeleton structure based on the template above (with slight rewordings) and still managed to get a perfect 6.0 without even practicing any essay before the actual exam.
This template is THE structure to use in GMAT. Thanks chineseburned, you rock! +1!
Expecting some feedback to improve myself on essays . .As i am preparing GMAT on self-study . .!!
"Our company’s chief financial advisor is outstanding. Of the ten stocks she invested company funds in over the past year, eight have increased in value, two of them by more than three times the market average. Unfortunately, we know that one of our competitors has been attempting to hire our employees away from us, and she is likely to be on that competitors list of targets. To retain her services, we should substantially increase her salary, contingent on her willingness to sign a non-compete agreement.
Discuss how well . . . . . etc.
The author argues that due to the company's chief financial advisor smartness and intelligent mind along with employees' hard work, and dedication , the stock in which she invested has increased the value and two of them has increased than 3 times the market value. And because of this reason the competitors are targeting her and the employees to hire . The author directly jumps to the conclusion, with the view in her(author) mind, to retain the current employees and the financial advisor by increasing the salary and contingent on her willingness to sign a non-compete agreement. However the conclusion to retain the financial adviser and the employees may be fallicious on the following background.
First, the author assumes that, due to the genius mind of the financial advisor and policy taken by her in investing the stock have significantly increased the value. However, the evidence might not be sufficient to support this. The author doesn't specify the economic stability and the economic cycle enjoyed by the nation. For.e.g If the nation is suffering from the double dip economic recession, than the company will not enjoy this much increment. it could be strengthened if the author recognizes, and present the overall economic conditions of nation.
Second, the author fails to mention the economic situation, the worth, the management quality and skill of the company whose stock to rallied higher, in which the financial advisor have invested. May be the companies introdues new innovations that led the financial data are more positive, and provide more satisfaction to the shareholders. Thus the value might have increased, not because of the financial advisor and the employees. The conclusion could have been strengthened if the author mention this facts.
Third, the author present that salary increment and contingent on her willingness to sign a non-compete agreement can help to retain the financial advisor and employees in present company. However the author fails to recognize the working condition, other intrinsic factors, self satisfaction, and motivation to work for present one. If the author specified this factor as well than the arguement coulkd have been strengthened.
In sum, if the author had considered the suggestions of strengthening arguement, the conclusion have been valid.
The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen foods: “Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3 by 5 inch print fell from 50 cents for five day service in 1970 to 20 cents for one day service in 1984. The same principle applies to processing of food. And since Olympic foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and maximize profits.”
This argument states that the long experience of organizations enables it to minimize costs of processing and maximize its profits. This conclusion is based on the premise that over time, the costs involved in processing reduce as organizations become more efficient. However, there are many assumptions that may not necessarily apply to this argument. Firstly, the argument assumes that the cost of processing reduces as organizations become more efficient. Secondly, the argument links color film processing to food processing. Thirdly, the argument claims that Olympic Foods with its long experience will be able to minimize costs and maximize profits.
The first issue to be addressed is whether efficiency of organizations leads to reduction in costs of processing. Clearly, one could argue that the efficiency of an organization has nothing to do with the reduction in the costs of processing. The cost of processing depends on various factors. Some of the factors include cost of raw materials, cost of labor, transportation and inventory costs and market forces. The only influence that the efficiency of organizations has on cost of processing is to handle crisis and has a greater hold on the market because of brand value. For example, if the cost of raw materials increases the organization can use its experience and its brand name to still remain a dominant player in the market. Therefore, the efficiency of an organization is not the correct parameter to measure the costs of processing.
The argument is flawed as it compares color film processing to food processing. The argument fails to reason out the decrease in costs of color film processing, rather the argument assumes that the only factor that caused a decrease in the cost of processing was time from 50 cents in 1970 to 20 cents in 1984. There are definitely other reasons for the decline in costs, which could be improvement in technology. For example, the use of laser printers from ink jet printers. This considerably reduced the costs. Also, the cost of color film processing could have been reduced because of an increasing demand of prints making it still profitable to reduce costs and because of competition among various color film processors. Also, food processing cannot be compared to color film processing, as these two processing are totally different in nature. The argument fails to reason why a decrease in cost of film color processing would result in decrease in cost of food processing.
The argument claims that Olympic Foods, with its long experience of 25 years will be able to minimize costs and maximize profits. Again, the argument fails to provide any evidence. It might happen that Olympic Foods faces competition, which could lead to decrease in profits. There might be geographical factors such as climate that determine the production of food in order to process them.
Finally, one must understand that while evaluating the costs of processing, the most influential parameters like labor costs, costs of raw material, competition in the market, demand, supply and market forces must be considered. And after consideration of the above-mentioned parameters, only then a conclusion can be drawn whether Olympic Foods will be able to minimize costs and maximize profits.
For example, in 2009, many food-processing companies were faced with high processing costs due to increase in costs of fruits and vegetables. In such a case, the experience helped organizations to come up with strategic plans and find solutions. But the experience did not help them to minimize their costs.
In conclusion, the argument could have been strengthened by using some statistics to prove that time, experience and efficiency are the only factors and no other, that influence the costs of processing and in this case food processing. Before conclusions are drawn, all the parameters and factors must be weighed and taken into consideration.
The argument claims that looking at national survey where it was found that a large number of people use company time for personal purposes rather than on work, the manager suggested to keep hidden cameras within company's premise to have a close watch on their employees and he comes to a conclusion that it will increase productivity of the company , prevent employees from misusing company time and also bring down the theft of company property. Stated in this way, the argument fails to indicate several key factors on the basis of which the argument can be evaluated. It makes assumptions without giving any clear cut evidence. Certainly , the argument is weak , unconvincing and consist of several flaws.
First of this flaw is the staff manager makes assumption that by monitoring employees with hidden cameras will reduce non-productive activities. This assumption is too far-stretched and doesn't substantiate in any way.There is no clear cut evidence regarding how hidden cameras will help in increasing productivity?. There is no clear cut evidence regarding employees who spend their time on non-productivy activities. There might be some employees who have actually completed their work and then had been utilising time on non-productive activities.The assumption is clearly a distorted one and lacks certain evidence.
Secondly, the staff manager predict that electronically monitoring employees will not only increase productivity but it will also bring down theft of company property. There is no correlation between office workers using company time for non-productivity activities and company's theft. A better evidence regarding the company's theft in the past would better substantiate the prediction. Also the evidence regarding implementation of electronically monitoring of employees by other contemporaries and their ramifications will help in evaluating the prediction better.
Thus in conclusion, the argument could have been strengthened if above mentioned factors were taken into account and proper evidence regarding above mentioned factors would have help in evaluating the argument better.
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