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Request to rate my AWA

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Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 05 Jan 2014, 03:49
Hi all, request you to rate my AWA below. Many thanks in advance!


AWA question:

The following appeared as part of an article reviewing summer camps for children.
Parents, if you need a summer camp for your children look no further than Federville Farms. In a recent survey, Federville Farms ranked first in both overall camper satisfaction and in food quality, and second in the variety of outdoor activities. Federville Farms has been family owned and operated for over forty years, so you have nothing to worry about when it comes to your child's safety, and it employs more Red Cross certified lifeguards than any other camp in the state. If you seek the best camp experience for your children, Federville Farms is the best choice you can make.

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.

My response below:

The argument is not very well reasoned. The argument present the results of two rankings in which it is ranked amongst the top camps and suggests that it is the best choice for parents to send their children to. It considers camper satisfaction and food quality the most important criteria for selection of a summer camp. While it mentions that it is an old camp and employs a large number of security personnel, it does not give its rank in the safety criterion.

The argument makes the following assumptions:

First, the argument assumes that overall camper satisfaction and food quality are the most important criteria parents look at while choosing a summer camp for their children. However, this might not be actually true. Second, the argument assumes that the ranks are a good indicator of the actual camp experience and quality and are not manipulated.

In order to strengthen the argument, the following evidence could be provided:
First, the safety rankings and rankings on other criteria such as diversity of children should be presented. Also, the basis of the ranks such as surveys etc. is not given. Presenting such information will also help make the argument more sound. Second, if the rankings are audited, it will lend more credibility to the results. Third, testimonials of past campers and their parents must be added to lend more credibility to the advertisement.

If there are other rankings where the camp ranks lower, the argument will be weakened. Also, if there are actual customer experiences which were not satisfactory, the argument may be weakened further. Even for the rankings presented above, if the basis of such rankings is found to be inappropriate (such as based on a survey of people not representative of the camp going children's parents etc.) the argument will be undermined.

Thus, to make the argument more logically sound, further details on all important criteria including safety and diversity must be presented. The authenticity of the rankings should also be stated. The argument should be supplemented with testimonials of past campers.

To better evaluate the argument, a competitive benchmarking study would be helpful. Hence, an analysis of the camp in question and other competitor camps on all important parameters would provide a more logical evaluation and conclusion.
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 05 Jan 2014, 07:07
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Hmm... I'm not quite sure what to offer for your essay here. It's written well, but is lacking a bit in the broader 'essay' structure. It feels more like a list of bullet points than a coherent five paragraph essay.

I'd say it'd probably get a score in the 4.0-4.5 range.

I'd offer two suggestions:

1. Take a look at the example essays in the official guide.
2. Take a look at this great piece from my friend Stacey -- http://www.manhattangmat.com/articles/ace-essays.cfm

Hope this helps.

-Brian
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2014, 11:13
Hi Brian,

Many thanks for your feedback. I now pay attention to the structure of the write-up and ensure its not like a collection of bullet points.

Given below is my latest AWA. Request you to rate and provide feedback on this one too, please 0- its very helpful. With my GMAT less than a month away, your thoughts would be immensely valuable.

Question:

The following appeared in the opinion section of a national newsmagazine:

“To reverse the deterioration of the postal service, the government should raise the price of postage stamps. This solution will no doubt prove effective, since the price increase will generate larger revenues and will also reduce the volume of mail, thereby eliminating the strain on the existing system and contributing to improved morale.”

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.

My response:

The argument states that increasing the price of postal stamps will help reverse the deterioration of the postal service. The author assumes that an increase in price will lead to an larger revenues and reduced mail volumes. However, it does not provide any evidence to support these claims. In addition, it assumes that reduced volume will lead to improve morale of the employees. However, this might not be the case if an increase in price leads to reduced demand for postal services and thus dries up volumes. Such a situation will not only reduce revenues (opposed to an increase assumed by the author) but also lead to dissatisfaction among workers due to lack of work to occupy them. Hence, the overall line of reasoning used seems very flawed.

Any evidence which proves that increasing prices of postal stamps leads to decline in revenues will weaken the argument. Such evidence may include a survey of a sample of people who use postal services regularly, historical evidence of the negative impact of increase in prices on postal services in a state or country, and the adverse impact of any price increase on similar utility services.

On the contrary, if there is evidence that a price increase leads to higher revenues and reduced volume to manageable levels, the argument will be strengthened. Also, if there is a survey that proves that postal stamps have elastic demand, and a higher price will reduce volumes (yet increase total revenues), the argument will be strengthened.

To better evaluate the conclusion of the argument, it is important to understand the underlying reasons for the poor state of the postal services. For instance, the reason for low morale might not be the workload but other factors such as the way the postal department treats its workers. The impact of changing technology and alternative modes of communication, such as email, and competition from private courier / cargo services should also be assessed. There may be a survey conducted to better understand these factors and their impact on demand for postal services. For instance, the survey may reveal that postal services are not be viewed as efficient or reliable by many and an increase in price will diminish the demand to very low levels, leading to a decline in total revenues.

Thus, a better understanding of the underlying reasons for the poor state of the postal service will help evaluate the argument better.

Thanks!
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2014, 12:11
Expert's post
abdb wrote:
Hi Brian,

Many thanks for your feedback. I now pay attention to the structure of the write-up and ensure its not like a collection of bullet points.

Given below is my latest AWA. Request you to rate and provide feedback on this one too, please 0- its very helpful. With my GMAT less than a month away, your thoughts would be immensely valuable.

Question:

The following appeared in the opinion section of a national newsmagazine:

“To reverse the deterioration of the postal service, the government should raise the price of postage stamps. This solution will no doubt prove effective, since the price increase will generate larger revenues and will also reduce the volume of mail, thereby eliminating the strain on the existing system and contributing to improved morale.”

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.

My response:

The argument states that increasing the price of postal stamps will help reverse the deterioration of the postal service. The author assumes that an increase in price will lead to an larger revenues and reduced mail volumes. However, it does not provide any evidence to support these claims. In addition, it assumes that reduced volume will lead to improve morale of the employees. However, this might not be the case if an increase in price leads to reduced demand for postal services and thus dries up volumes. Such a situation will not only reduce revenues (opposed to an increase assumed by the author) but also lead to dissatisfaction among workers due to lack of work to occupy them. Hence, the overall line of reasoning used seems very flawed.

Any evidence which proves that increasing prices of postal stamps leads to decline in revenues will weaken the argument. Such evidence may include a survey of a sample of people who use postal services regularly, historical evidence of the negative impact of increase in prices on postal services in a state or country, and the adverse impact of any price increase on similar utility services.

On the contrary, if there is evidence that a price increase leads to higher revenues and reduced volume to manageable levels, the argument will be strengthened. Also, if there is a survey that proves that postal stamps have elastic demand, and a higher price will reduce volumes (yet increase total revenues), the argument will be strengthened.

To better evaluate the conclusion of the argument, it is important to understand the underlying reasons for the poor state of the postal services. For instance, the reason for low morale might not be the workload but other factors such as the way the postal department treats its workers. The impact of changing technology and alternative modes of communication, such as email, and competition from private courier / cargo services should also be assessed. There may be a survey conducted to better understand these factors and their impact on demand for postal services. For instance, the survey may reveal that postal services are not be viewed as efficient or reliable by many and an increase in price will diminish the demand to very low levels, leading to a decline in total revenues.

Thus, a better understanding of the underlying reasons for the poor state of the postal service will help evaluate the argument better.

Thanks!


Better, I suppose. But you need to keep on pushing yourself here. The 2nd/3rd/5th paragraphs leave a lot to be desired. Every paragraph needs at LEAST 3 full sentences -- this revised approach does not accomplish that.

Feel free to repost -- I'd be more than happy to check out another.

Best,

Brian
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2014, 04:14
Many thanks, Brian. I will incorporate your feedback in my approach to the AWA. Please find below more AWA I wrote (before seeing your feedback yesterday). Your feedback will be immensely valuable as always, esp with my GMAT now only 15 days away!...Thanks!

"In a recent citywide poll, 15 percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago. During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city's art museums has increased by a similar percentage. Since the corporate funding that supports public television, where most of the visual arts programs appear, is now being threatened with severe cuts, we can expect that attendance at our city's art museums will also start to decrease. Thus some of the city's funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television."

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. Youcan 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.

My Answer:

The argument is not very well-reasoned. The author attempts to link the similar increase in two different things – citywide poll regarding TV programs on visual arts and the number of museum visitors. The author also states that since the corporate sponsorship for TV programs may decrease, it will also lead to a decline in the number of museum visitors. The author assumes that the lack of sponsorship will lead to a decline in the number of TV programs on visual arts and ignores that the programs may be self-sufficient. It also assumes that the population watching the TV programs (as per the poll) and the visitors to museum are very similar – hence the decline in one will mean a decline in the other too. However, this might not be true. Thus, the line of reasoning is flawed.

To strengthen the argument, the author must provide evidence that TV programs will not be able to run at the same frequency (number of shows per week) or even stop broadcasting without corporate sponsorship. It should also prove that there is a significant overlap between people who watch visual art TV programs and those who visit museums in the city. It is possible that the two sets of people are very different since one may prefer watching art in TV while the other may appreciate it only in the museum. To weaken the argument, it may be proven that the two sets of people are very different by analysing in detail the population going to the museum and the people who took the poll. Also, any evidence of self-sufficiency or sponsorship from sources other than corporates (eg, any arts supporting organisations will prove that the TV programs will continue to run with the same frequency.

To better evaluate the argument, analysing any historical evidence of the impact of withdrawal of corporate sponsorships may be useful. Also, studying changes in the demographics in the city in the last five years and changes in preferences of people will be useful. The underlying causes for increase in TV viewers of art programs and museum visitors should also be assessed to gain better understanding. Hence, the argument suffers from logical flaws and the above mentioned evidence will help to assess it better.
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2014, 04:16
here's another one for your review:

Question:

The following appeared in the opinion section of a national newsmagazine:

“To reverse the deterioration of the postal service, the government should raise the price of postage stamps. This solution will no doubt prove effective, since the price increase will generate larger revenues and will also reduce the volume of mail, thereby eliminating the strain on the existing system and contributing to improved morale.”

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.

My response:

The argument states that increasing the price of postal stamps will help reverse the deterioration of the postal service. The author assumes that an increase in price will lead to an larger revenues and reduced mail volumes. However, it does not provide any evidence to support these claims. In addition, it assumes that reduced volume will lead to improve morale of the employees. However, this might not be the case if an increase in price leads to reduced demand for postal services and thus dries up volumes. Such a situation will not only reduce revenues (opposed to an increase assumed by the author) but also lead to dissatisfaction among workers due to lack of work to occupy them. Hence, the overall line of reasoning used seems very flawed.

Any evidence which proves that increasing prices of postal stamps leads to decline in revenues will weaken the argument. Such evidence may include a survey of a sample of people who use postal services regularly, historical evidence of the negative impact of increase in prices on postal services in a state or country, and the adverse impact of any price increase on similar utility services. On the contrary, if there is evidence that a price increase leads to higher revenues and reduced volume to manageable levels, the argument will be strengthened. Also, if there is a survey that proves that postal stamps have elastic demand, and a higher price will reduce volumes (yet increase total revenues), the argument will be strengthened.

To better evaluate the conclusion of the argument, it is important to understand the underlying reasons for the poor state of the postal services. For instance, the reason for low morale might not be the workload but other factors such as the way the postal department treats its workers. The impact of changing technology and alternative modes of communication, such as email, and competition from private courier / cargo services should also be assessed. There may be a survey conducted to better understand these factors and their impact on demand for postal services. For instance, the survey may reveal that postal services are not be viewed as efficient or reliable by many and an increase in price will diminish the demand to very low levels, leading to a decline in total revenues.

Thus, a better understanding of the underlying reasons for the poor state of the postal service will help evaluate the argument better.

Thanks!
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2014, 08:58
Brian, i really need ur feedback...less than a week to go for the test. Look forward to your reply.
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2014, 09:41
Hi Brian,

Can you please provide feedback on this. I intend to use this structure on my actual test day - 5 days from now! Look forward to your thoughts.

The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper.
“Commuter use of the new subway train is exceeding the transit company’s projections. However, commuter use of the shuttle buses that transport people to the subway stations is below the projected volume. If the transit company expects commuters to ride the shuttle buses to the subway rather than drive there, it must either reduce the shuttle bus fares or increase the price of parking at the subway stations.”

Discuss how well reasoned...

The argument mentions that the subway train is used by more people than was projected but the number of commuters of shuttle buses is below expectations. While the argument has some merit in suggesting reducing fares of shuttle buses or increasing the price of parking at subway stations, they may not have the desired effect of increasing commuters riding the shuttle.
The argument assumes that all subway commuters would fall into two categories of (a) commuters driving to the stations or (b) commuters riding shuttle buses. However, there might be alternative means of transport such as buses operated by the government that people may be using. Hence, increasing parking price or reducing the fare of shuttle buses might not be fruitful. In addition, it would be useful to understand the price sensitivity of the shuttle service. It is possible that demand is highly inelastic, i.e. change in fares does not lead to a significant change in the number of commuters. Any evidence in this regard will be helpful to strengthen or weaken the argument.
Moreover, the real reason behind the unpopularity of shuttle service must be known. It is possible that the shuttles are too crowded, are not reliable, or just too infrequent for people to keep waiting for them. Hence, it will be helpful to evaluate the real cause of the relatively low commuter numbers. A survey of regular commuters of the subway might reveal the true cause and help devise effective solutions to the problem.
Also, as the argument mentions that commuters of the subway and the shuttle are above / below projections, it is important to understand the basis of these projections. It is possible that a key underlying assumption of the projections may have changed. For instance, if the projection is based on the assumption that >50% of the people will take the shuttle to the station, this might have been impacted due to recent improvements in public transport system or the recent popularity of “car pools” among colleagues
Hence, while the argument suggests solutions to solve the problem at hand, it does not fully explore the real causes. Hence, it is important to bring out the underlying causes such as quality of the shuttle service, the competition from local transportation, etc. and then suggest solutions, addressing the real cause of the problem.
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2014, 12:09
Hi Brian,

I got a 740 on the GMAT with a 6/6 on AWA. Many thanks for providing feedback - I couldn't have got that score without your help.

Thank you so much!
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2014, 17:49
Expert's post
abdb wrote:
Hi Brian,

I got a 740 on the GMAT with a 6/6 on AWA. Many thanks for providing feedback - I couldn't have got that score without your help.

Thank you so much!


ABDB -- This. Is. Outstanding!!!!!

Well-done!

-Brian
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Re: Request to rate my AWA   [#permalink] 15 Mar 2014, 17:49
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