Please evaluate my argument essay! : Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
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# Please evaluate my argument essay!

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Please evaluate my argument essay! [#permalink]

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18 Jan 2011, 11:44
The following appeared as part of an article in a weekly newsmagazine.

“The country of Sacchar can best solve its current trade deficit problem by lowering the price of sugar, its primary export. Such an action would make Sacchar better able to compete for markets with other sugar-exporting countries. The sale of Sacchar’s sugar abroad would increase, and this increase would substantially reduce Sacchar’s trade deficit.”
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The author argues that by lowering the price of the sugar Sacchar exports the current trade-deficit problem the country is facing would be solved. Although, the author seems to have a solid argument, at first glance, there are several assumptions with which he arrived at his conclusion.

Firstly, the author begins his argument with the assumption that nothing else other than reduction of the price of sugar would reduce Sacchar's trade-deficit. He fails to consider that perhaps reducing the price of other products such as cotton, wheat, and precious metals would decrease the deficit. Moreover, he fails to consider what may have caused the trade deficit to begin with, such as a recession, inflation, etc...

Secondly, the assumption that sugar exporting countries compete by price reduction is flawed. In that they might be producing sugar of better quality, such as fine sugar that dissolves quickly enabling the consumer not to waste his time and energy on simply stirring his cup.

Thirdly, the author is certain that because of the reduction in the price of the sugar Sacchar exports the sale of the product would increase, without the providing the evidence that that would be so.

In sum, the author could have presented a valid argument but with the assumptions that do not support the conclusions he has made it is likely that his statements are vulnerable to attack. To strengthen his argument he must provide the proper evidence that the price reduction would be the best strategy to solve the deficit problem, on what the competing countries are using to stay competitive in the market and he must consider the points that have been raised above.
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Re: Please evaluate my argument essay! [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 10:37
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Okay. This essay seems like it's on the right path but your approach needs a little bit of work.

First of all, it is not an Assumption here that reducing the price of sugar is the "only" way to solve the problem -- the author instead explicitly states that it's the "best" way. I point this out for two reasons: One, on the Argument Essay, it's a good idea to stay away from thinking about alternative arguments (that is, other proposals that you think could be better than this one) and more time thinking about what could be right or wrong about THIS argument, and THIS proposal. Secondly, in Critical Reasoning questions, this kind of difference in words is essential. Unless the author says "only," never assume the author means "only."

Second, although you do identify correct assumptions in your third and fourth paragraphs, they are not fully explained enough. You must avoid one-sentence paragraphs like your fourth paragraph here. If you don't have time to fully elaborate on this point, stick to making just 2 points, and be sure they are fully explored with examples.

The logical analysis you give is mostly apt, but this essay lacks in examples and elaboration; your earlier-submitted Issue Essay is a far better exemplar of really strong examples and explanations in your body paragraphs, so use that as a guide for your next try.

Score: 3
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Re: Please evaluate my argument essay! [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 10:47
So you're saying that instead of pointing out the assumption its just better to elaborate further on a couple of points???
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Re: Please evaluate my argument essay! [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 11:07
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I'm saying that it's better to have 2 points, well-elaborated, than 3 points without full explanations. If you can fit in 3 points in terms of time and space, then absolutely do it. But the one-sentence paragraphs hurt, rather than help, your score, even if you raise good points in them.
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Re: Please evaluate my argument essay! [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2011, 11:09
Thank you!
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Re: Please evaluate my argument essay! [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2011, 08:39
AdamKnewton wrote:
I'm saying that it's better to have 2 points, well-elaborated, than 3 points without full explanations. If you can fit in 3 points in terms of time and space, then absolutely do it. But the one-sentence paragraphs hurt, rather than help, your score, even if you raise good points in them.

Hi Adam,
Good to see you on GMAT Club too. This is first time I am writing essay. Could you please rate this essay.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Argument claims that the country of Sacchar would best solve the trade deficit by lowering the price of sugar, which is primary export product. This price reduction will increase the abroad sales and thus it will reduce trade deficit. The conclusion of the argument relies on assumptions for which there is no clear evidence presented. Hence, the argument is unconvincing and has several flaws.

First, Argument assumes that price is the main factor that controls the exports of the sugar. Indeed, that is not only the factor for increasing sales at abroad. Major foreign sugar importers that imports sugar from Sacchar are giving more importance to the quality rather than price. For example, ABC industries, which produce major sugar based products, claims that going forward they will use only high quality sugar for making all sugar, based products. In addition, few foreign countries are imposing new regulations on quality of sugar that imports from other countries. So, quality is another major factor that would impact the sales of sugar at abroad. The argument would have been clearer if it would have given examples that price is the only major factor that affecting the exports of sugar.

Second, Argument ignores the demand factor which is pivotal for the argument. There are several factors affecting the demand for sugar in the foreign countries. Firstly, Due to the recession major foreign industries that use imported sugar from Sacchar are cutting down their production, and international economists also predicting that these industries will not recover from recession for another few years. Secondly, worldwide health organizations are running awareness programs to avoid or reduce the use of sugar based products for health reasons. These programs got tremendous response from worldwide and people are cutting down their intake of sugar based products. Indirectly, this is another factor that reduces the demand for sugar. Due to the less demand in foreign countries, all other countries that export Sugar are lowering the prices too. So, from the above factors it is clear that lowering prices of sugar unlikely increase Sacchar’s sales at abroad. If author would have given any examples that demand in foreign countries and lowering prices in other countries are not factors that affect Sacchar sales to abroad, then argument will be more convincing and clear.

Finally, without supporting examples how lowering price will increase the sales of Sacchar sugar at abroad, one is left with impression that the claim is more of wishful thinking rather than substantial evidence. As a result, this conclusion has no legs to stand on.

In summary, argument is flawed and therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author mentioned all relevant facts. In order to assess the merits of certain situation, it is essential to have full knowledge on all contributing factors.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%55
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Re: Please evaluate my argument essay! [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2011, 16:31
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Score: 3

I can tell by the examples you do give that you have a clear idea of what the Assumptions inherent in this Argument are, and how to weaken them with specific evidence. The organization, the specifics, and the reasoning are all terrific. However, you state all these weakeners as if they're fact, when they're not; they're examples of what COULD be true that might invalidate the assumptions in the argument. This is a big problem, because it makes your essay one that refutes the conclusion, instead of argues that the argument's logic is weak by pointing out that there are many unknown possible factors -- and it's this second thing, pointing out flaws in the argument's logic by pointing out unknowns, that you are supposed to be doing here, NOT refuting the proposal given.

This on its own might not drop your score too much, but there are also a number of minor errors in grammar, particularly use of articles (a, an, the), that make some of the writing a little unclear. Now, to be honest, I find that it takes a great deal of effort for non-native speakers to fix all these errors and write, on the spot, in clear idiomatic English, and I have found that it's not really worth it, at least not for the AWA; with your current English skills, there's no reason you can't score a 5 on the real test, since grammar is the least important thing that's graded. However, when the small grammar problems are combined with the logical errors stated above, the essay will not score very high.

It should actually be an easy thing to fix: simply rephrase your wonderfully specific examples as hypotheticals. Instead of writing "ABC industries claims that...", write "It is possible that an industry leader would.... If this were the case, then...." Thus your focus isn't on real-life actual examples of the argument being wrong, but is instead on hypothetical possible situations which could, if true, disprove the argument. As a result, your thesis isn't "the argument is wrong" but "the argument is flawed because it is unconvincing without additional evidence."

Hope that helps!
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Re: Please evaluate my argument essay! [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2011, 21:28
Hi Adam,

Thank you very much for review. Very helpful.

AdamKnewton wrote:
Score: 3

I can tell by the examples you do give that you have a clear idea of what the Assumptions inherent in this Argument are, and how to weaken them with specific evidence. The organization, the specifics, and the reasoning are all terrific. However, you state all these weakeners as if they're fact, when they're not; they're examples of what COULD be true that might invalidate the assumptions in the argument. This is a big problem, because it makes your essay one that refutes the conclusion, instead of argues that the argument's logic is weak by pointing out that there are many unknown possible factors -- and it's this second thing, pointing out flaws in the argument's logic by pointing out unknowns, that you are supposed to be doing here, NOT refuting the proposal given.

This on its own might not drop your score too much, but there are also a number of minor errors in grammar, particularly use of articles (a, an, the), that make some of the writing a little unclear. Now, to be honest, I find that it takes a great deal of effort for non-native speakers to fix all these errors and write, on the spot, in clear idiomatic English, and I have found that it's not really worth it, at least not for the AWA; with your current English skills, there's no reason you can't score a 5 on the real test, since grammar is the least important thing that's graded. However, when the small grammar problems are combined with the logical errors stated above, the essay will not score very high.

It should actually be an easy thing to fix: simply rephrase your wonderfully specific examples as hypotheticals. Instead of writing "ABC industries claims that...", write "It is possible that an industry leader would.... If this were the case, then...." Thus your focus isn't on real-life actual examples of the argument being wrong, but is instead on hypothetical possible situations which could, if true, disprove the argument. As a result, your thesis isn't "the argument is wrong" but "the argument is flawed because it is unconvincing without additional evidence."

Hope that helps!

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Smiling wins more friends than frowning

Re: Please evaluate my argument essay!   [#permalink] 21 Jan 2011, 21:28
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