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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.
Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink]
02 Jun 2014, 12:04
Chineseburn, this is extremely helpful. Thanks to this post I got a 5.5, after bumping into this post 2 days before the exam. I had not practiced AWA at all before than. Unfortunately my overall score was very poor so I´ll need to retake the exam, but at least I know that AWA section won´t be a problem
The argument that <restate argument> omits some very important considerations that are necessary to get a full 360-degree view of the described scenario. The argument does not provide substantive evidence to be able to prove or even support the main conclusion from the given premises.
First, the argument readily assumes that…
Second, the argument claims that…
Lastly, the argument fails to account for the fact that…
In summary, the argument is extremely flawed because of the above-mentioned reasons and hence comes across as weak and unconvincing to the reader. If the author had mentioned all the relevant facts that are essential to objectively assess the situation under consideration, the argument would have been much stronger. Without this information, the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.
Now that you’ve typed out your template, take 3-4 mins to read the question and JOT DOWN 3 loopholes. Write them down on your scratchpad, do not memorize. Fill in the <restate argument> part in the introduction.
The argument claims <restate argument> omits some very important considerations that are essential to get a full 360-degree view of the described scenario. The argument does not provide substantial evidence to be able to prove or even support the main conclusion from the given premises.
First, the argument readily assumes that…<The assumed cause-effect relationship> There could be multiple reasons for...<The assumed blah blah...>. For example..... <for loophole 1> Another example..... <for loophole 2>. Hence, the argument fails to convince the reader that… <The assumed cause-effect relationship>
Second, the argument claims that… <Any secondary assumed cause-effect relationship>. <Discuss it again as loophole 3. Give example as well.> This is again a very weak and flimsy assertion as it does not portray any correlation between <cause> and <effect>
Lastly, the argument fails to account for…<negative effect of cause> Without backing evidences and examples from <any related area>, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence. As a consequence, this conclusion has no legs to stand on.
In a nutshell, the argument is extremely flawed because of the above-mentioned reasons and hence appear as fragile and questionable to the reader. If the author had come up with relevant facts necessary to objectively assess the situation under consideration, the argument would have been much credible. Without this information, the argument remains sceptical and open to debate.
Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink]
05 Aug 2014, 22:36
I can confirm that this guide still works. I received a 6. Just a word of caution though, please don't think that every argument will have a correlation that you can point out and write about. Don't force out a correlation if there really isn't one you can think of.
I didn't exactly follow every sentence of this guide but I did make a point that weakens all the premises that the argument presented. I suppose if I had to add to this, it would be to make a point that could possibly weaken all the points made in the argument all at once.
Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink]
08 Aug 2014, 09:32
Can you please rate my essay?
The following appeared in a magazine article on trends and lifestyles.
"In general, people are not as concerned as they were a decade ago about regulating their intake of red meat and fatty cheeses. Walk into the Heart's Delight, a store that started selling organic fruits and vegetables and whole-grain flours in the 1960's, and you will also find a wide selection of cheeses made with high butterfat content. Next door, the owners of the Good Earth Cafe, an old vegetarian restaurant, are still making a modest living, but the owners of the new House of Beef across the street are millionaires."
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
The author states that in general , people are not as concerned as they were a decade ago about regulating the intake of red meat and fatty cheeses. He bases his conclusion on the fact that a wide selection of cheeses made with high butterfat content is sold in a store Heart's Delight and that owners of a vegetarian restaurant are making a modest living whereas owners of new House of Beef are millionaires. The author's argument is not well reasoned and his conclusion is derived from facts but with a lot of questionable assumptions.
The primary reason the author's reasoning is flawed because in his conclusion he states that people in general are not concerned about regulating their intake of red meat and fatty cheeses. Yet in proof all his facts and data regarding the food sale and intake are from a single locality. We know that he is talking about a single locality because Good earth cafe is next door to Heart's delight and House of Beef is across the street from the Cafe. The author is making conclusions about a general population based on just the data from one locality which is flawed. The secondary reason why his facts dont add up to the conclusion he's made is because he is linking people's intake of cheeses to the sale of cheese in a store. We dont know if there is such a simple relationship between the sale of a merchandise and its consumption or not. What if the store has a wide variety of products on sale and these high butterfat content dont even sell much. We dont have any information about the sale of these cheeses.
The author's conclusion is also flawed because of a lot of assumptions in his conclusion which are not substantiated. To prove his point he has compared a vegetarian restaurant's owner's income to the worth of the owners of House of Beef selling meat. This comparison doesnt tell us anything about people's intake of red meat directly. There can be many other factors in play here which the author has failed to consider. There are a lot of questions that can be raised before actually arriving at the conclusion that the author has: What if the vegetarian restaurant is not doing good business due to bad food or bad service and not just because its serving vegetarian food? What if the owners are making a modest living because the restaurant is not making profit which could be due to wrong pricing or high maintenance costs? What if the owners of House of Beef were millionaires from before? He does say that the House of Beef is new so it is unlikely that the owners made millions from the store itself.
Based on the flaws in his arguments and a lot of assumptions the author's argument is pretty weak. To strengthen his argument he should have substantiated his argument with more proof and solid facts. Firstly he could've taken a larger sample of data to analyse and not just from stores in just one neighborhood. He could've also talked about the actual sale numbers of the cheeses in Heart's Delight and the red meat in House of beef as compared to vegetarian fare in Good Earth Cafe instead of other data from these places. This would have led us to believe strongly in the conclusion he made.
To sum up I would like to state that the author's conclusion is quite flawed and based on a lot of unsubstantiated assumptions. With more facts to back up his conclusion and more data applicable to a larger segment of the population his conclusion would've been more believable.
Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide
08 Aug 2014, 09:32