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First AWA

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Joined: 04 Aug 2012
Posts: 16
First AWA [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2012, 12:59
Hey guys,

I took my first AWA tonight. I read the topic about "how to make a good essay", and tried to do my best on this one. I'd like to get any opinion about my work just to see if I need to work this section again or not. Thank you, bye bye ;)

The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper:

“The inflow of immigrant workers into our community has put a downward pressure on wages. In fact, the average compensation of unskilled labor in our city has declined by nearly 10% over the past 5 years. Therefore, to protect our local economy, it is essential to impose a moratorium on further immigration.”

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 in order to reduce the negative economic impact on the community, the city should take measures about immigration regulations.

First the passage assumes that the inflow of immigrant workers in the city contributed negatively on workers’ wages. This statement is a stretch as it only considers the negative impact of immigration on wages, but does not mentions any positive consequence. For example, immigration might stimulate a local economy. The more people come in a city, the more local shops and local business are able to sell their products. When selling a lot, shops increase their profits and expand, and so hire new workers. Therefore, an important inflow of immigrants would have been benefic for the local economy and for its businesses.

Second, the argument asserts that unskilled workers wages sharply declined during the five last years. This is again an unsupported claim as the argument does not demonstrate any correlation between the inflow on new immigrant workers and the decrease of wages. More precisely, the argument is mostly based on the assumption that immigrant workers are the only reason to the decrease of unskilled workers’ wages. Nevertheless, the author should have provided a piece of background in order to get an overview of the situation. We can consider the instance of an economic recession. When an economic slump occurs, unskilled workers are one of the first social categories to be affected. More precisely, it becomes harder for unskilled people to get a job. Therefore, some of them accept to reduce their salary in order to keep their jobs rather than to be sacked. If the argument had provided evidence that the salary decrease was only due to the inflow of immigrant workers, then it would have been much convincing.

Finally, the argument advocates that the government should adopt restrictive laws on immigrant regulations. Nevertheless, we lack of information in order to evaluate this decision. The author should have mentioned cities who adopted similar measures to prove the benefit of such decision. Maybe statistical data about immigration in this city and about wages evolution would have been useful in order to establish a clear correlation between the author’s claim and the conclusion.

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.

In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above-mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. It could have been considerably strengthened if the author had mentioned some of the relevant facts cited before. Actually, in order to assess the merits of a certain situation, it is essential to have a full knowledge of all contributing factors, and a good overview of the situation. Without these information, the argument remains unsubstiated and open to debate.
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Joined: 02 May 2012
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Location: United States (CA)
Concentration: Nonprofit
GMAT 1: 730 Q48 V42
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Re: First AWA [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2012, 18:59
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Overall I think your essay is pretty good. I can't tell you the rating, but having got a 6 on AWA, I think I am somewhat equipped to spot a decent argument.

The first and most critical error you make is not stating your position in the intro paragraph. You MUST say something like: "The argument claims that in order to reduce the negative economic impact on the community, the city should take measures about immigration regulations. The author has failed to substantiate this claim and his argument suffers from major assumptions and logical flaws." It's fine to restate the argument, but it's really important to explain whether you find the argument well reasoned (hint, you always don't!).

Did you write this in 30 minutes? It's a bit short, though the structure is very good. I think more opening and closing sentences fore every paragraph would help. You also need an overarching conclusion at the end.

Examples: "The argument's assertion relies on three assumptions: wages have only been influenced by immigrants, 10% is statistically significant given the economic situation of the past 5 years, and imposing regulations will have the desired effect of protecting the economy." NOW go deeper.

Basically the AWA grading LOVES transition sentences and closing remarks.

Blogging about the MBA application process. Because I need to do something with all this bschool energy. Recent post: September 20, "Transitions"

Yale School of Management MBA Candidate, 2015.

Joined: 04 Aug 2012
Posts: 16
Re: First AWA [#permalink]

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New post 13 Aug 2012, 04:46
Thank you very much for your opinion. I'll try to improve my technic with the next essay. And yes, as you said I did not write this essay within 30 min (closer to 20 I think).

By the way, is the argument analysis the only one essay that we can get ? I mean, since the IR is now included in the GMAT, is the AWA only focused on arguments, or is it randomly selected between issues and arguments ?

Re: First AWA   [#permalink] 13 Aug 2012, 04:46
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