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Request to rate my AWA

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Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2014, 11:31
Given below is my AWA. Request you to rate and provide feedback on this. 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 22 Feb 2014, 21:39
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abdb wrote:
Given below is my AWA. Request you to rate and provide feedback on this. 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!


hey, your awa essay is not organised well. you have raised good points and explained well. But the organisation of the essay is not that good. I suggest you to paraphrase the argument in the first paragraph and tell why you are opposing it. And then pick three(three is the number that most people pick) flaws, state and elaborate each flaw in each subsequent paragraph and finally conclude stating how the argument can be improved.
The paragraphs are also not balanced. The second and third paragraph are small and there is only one line in fifth. GMAT likes to see more sentences in the paragraph. I suggest you to maintain atleast 4 or 5 sentences in each paragraph(Avoid complex sentences). I also suggest you to make a template for yourself before your exam day so that your job will be easy in your exam
Look for some sample AWAs and you will get an idea how awa would be. Also read how AWA is scored on the GMAT, you will understand what GMAT is actually testing.

All the Best!!
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2014, 09:35
Hi Bharat,

Many thanks for your feedback. I have now changed the structure of the AWA. 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 response.

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 26 Feb 2014, 10:38
abdb wrote:
Hi Bharat,

Many thanks for your feedback. I have now changed the structure of the AWA. 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 response.

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.


Great improvement!!!

I feel the essay a bit short. Try to write approx. 500 word essay. I think that would be ideal.
It is better to have 4/5 simpler sentences than complex sentences.

Use keywords generously.
Practice everyday with one/two essays. And give yourself time(2-3 mins) for reading the essay in the exam so that you can check grammar, punctuation and correct any other silly mistakes.
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 01 Mar 2014, 03:23
Thanks Bharat, another one I wrote today. Lemme knw ur thoughts on this.

"In the first four years that Montoya has served as mayor of the city of San Perdito, the population has decreased
and the unemployment rate has increased. Two businesses have closed for each new business
that has opened. Under Varro, who served as mayor for four years before Montoya, the unemployment rate
decreased and the population increased. Clearly, the residents of San Perdito would be best served if they voted
Montoya out of office and reelected Varro."
Discuss how well reasoned ... etc.

The argument is not very well reasoned. It states that the unemployment rates have increased under mayor Montoya and people in the city will be served better by the previous mayor, Varro, under whom the unemployment rate declined. The argument assumes that the unemployment is the single most important indicator of the performance of a mayor. It does not consider other factors such as crime, security, healthcare, sanitation etc. While suggesting that Varro will be the best choice for the city as the new mayor the argument does not provide any information on the performance of Varro in the last four years. Also, while mentioning the unemployment rate, it does not consider other factors which might have impacted the economics of the city. These may include national level security, foreign investment environment, economic situation of the country, etc.
While the unemployment rate may have increased, the actual number of jobs might have risen (since population declined). Any evidence that the actual number of jobs increased will weaken the argument whereas contrary evidence will strengthen the argument. Hence, providing the actual numbers will help to evaluate the argument better. Also, while businesses may have closed at a rate double than that of the ones opened, it is not an exhaustive indicator of economic activity. It is possible that the economy of the city is more oriented towards the tertiary sector and people are winding up their businesses only to take up jobs. Also, the role of agriculture in the economy of the city also needs to be assessed to gain a better understanding of the economy.
The argument also does not consider external factors such as the stage of the economic cycle in the last four years, the foreign investment environment, national security and political issues, etc. all of which may have led to a poor economic performance despite measures taken by the mayor’s government
Any evidence on other factors than the economy, such as crime rate, literacy, healthcare, sanitation etc. will be important to understand the performance of the mayor. It is possible that while the economy would not have done remarkably well in the last four years. Other areas such as the ones mentioned above may have witnessed significant improvement. Hence, it is essential to look at the social welfare factors to better evaluate the claim in the argument.
Finally, it is important to understand the credentials of Varro to become the mayor in the new elections. The argument does not provide any information on Varro’s performance in the last four years and his ability to contest elections. It is possible that he would have done poorly in a weak socio-economic environment in the last four years too and hence may not be the best choice for the post.
Thus, the argument has a weak line of reasoning and is unconvincing. To determine the best choice for the mayor’s post, it may be useful to conduct a survey. Also, data on other factors will help to make the argument more logically sound and help answer the questions raised due to assumptions. Thus, a well-rounded analysis must be done to argue who should be the best choice for the mayor’s position.
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 01 Mar 2014, 06:08
abdb wrote:
Thanks Bharat, another one I wrote today. Lemme knw ur thoughts on this.

"In the first four years that Montoya has served as mayor of the city of San Perdito, the population has decreased
and the unemployment rate has increased. Two businesses have closed for each new business
that has opened. Under Varro, who served as mayor for four years before Montoya, the unemployment rate
decreased and the population increased. Clearly, the residents of San Perdito would be best served if they voted
Montoya out of office and reelected Varro."
Discuss how well reasoned ... etc.

The argument is not very well reasoned. It states that the unemployment rates have increased under mayor Montoya and people in the city will be served better by the previous mayor, Varro, under whom the unemployment rate declined. The argument assumes that the unemployment is the single most important indicator of the performance of a mayor. It does not consider other factors such as crime, security, healthcare, sanitation etc. While suggesting that Varro will be the best choice for the city as the new mayor the argument does not provide any information on the performance of Varro in the last four years. Also, while mentioning the unemployment rate, it does not consider other factors which might have impacted the economics of the city. These may include national level security, foreign investment environment, economic situation of the country, etc.
While the unemployment rate may have increased, the actual number of jobs might have risen (since population declined). Any evidence that the actual number of jobs increased will weaken the argument whereas contrary evidence will strengthen the argument. Hence, providing the actual numbers will help to evaluate the argument better. Also, while businesses may have closed at a rate double than that of the ones opened, it is not an exhaustive indicator of economic activity. It is possible that the economy of the city is more oriented towards the tertiary sector and people are winding up their businesses only to take up jobs. Also, the role of agriculture in the economy of the city also needs to be assessed to gain a better understanding of the economy.
The argument also does not consider external factors such as the stage of the economic cycle in the last four years, the foreign investment environment, national security and political issues, etc. all of which may have led to a poor economic performance despite measures taken by the mayor’s government
Any evidence on other factors than the economy, such as crime rate, literacy, healthcare, sanitation etc. will be important to understand the performance of the mayor. It is possible that while the economy would not have done remarkably well in the last four years. Other areas such as the ones mentioned above may have witnessed significant improvement. Hence, it is essential to look at the social welfare factors to better evaluate the claim in the argument.
Finally, it is important to understand the credentials of Varro to become the mayor in the new elections. The argument does not provide any information on Varro’s performance in the last four years and his ability to contest elections. It is possible that he would have done poorly in a weak socio-economic environment in the last four years too and hence may not be the best choice for the post.
Thus, the argument has a weak line of reasoning and is unconvincing. To determine the best choice for the mayor’s post, it may be useful to conduct a survey. Also, data on other factors will help to make the argument more logically sound and help answer the questions raised due to assumptions. Thus, a well-rounded analysis must be done to argue who should be the best choice for the mayor’s position.



Overall it is decent. But there is always room for improvement.

I personally felt that the first paragraph is not in a way it has to be. I suggest you to first paraphrase the argument and state author's line of reasoning- This tells the reader that you have understood the argument. Then state flaws and say the argument is flawed.
Starting with the sentence-The argument is not very well reasoned.- disappointed me. Because everyone know that the argument is flawed. Moreover, after the sentence you did not state why it is flawed immediately. You have paraphrased the argument.
Make sure that each sentence is connected to the previous/next sentence logically. I mean, when you read the essay, it has to be in a flow.

Anyway no worries..
AWA score is the one that schools use to check whether you or somebody else wrote the essays.
So keep it simple. Don't worry much about AWA(if you score 4.5 or 5) and concentrate more on the other sections which are crucial.
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Re: Request to rate my AWA [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2014, 12:05
just received my official score report...elated to see a 6/6 on AWA (in addition to the 740, I already saw in my unofficial report too)...thank you so much bharat!

Let me know if I can be of help to you. Many thanks!
Re: Request to rate my AWA   [#permalink] 11 Mar 2014, 12:05
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