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Intern
Joined: 14 May 2012
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14 Jul 2012, 17:16
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Hey Guys,

This is my first post on gmat club forums. Included below is my first sample AWA. I ran out of time at the end and wasn't able to re-check it. If someone could please comment on the flaws I chose vs. the flaws they would've chosen, it would be much appreciated!

The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts:
“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.”

The author’s conclusion, that some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television, is flawed. The author’s strong conclusion is based on weak evidence. The presented evidence makes unsubstantiated assumptions about the relationship between residents who watch television programs about the visual arts and people who visit the city’s art museums. Furthermore, the evidence has several statistical flaws and ignores the fundamentals of supply and demand.

First, the evidence presents several statistical flaws. The author indicates that 15 percent more residents watch television programs about the visual arts than residents who did five years ago. Because the author does not indicate the number of people who answered affirmatively in the recent poll and the number of people who answered affirmatively five years ago, it is not possible to establish a conclusion based on the evidence presented. For example, if the city’s population had grown by 15 percent in the last five years, then the evidence, that 15 percent more people watch visual arts programs on television than five years ago, is not useful.

Secondly, the author infers a direct relationship between the people who watch visual arts programs on television and the people who visit the city’s art museums. The author insinuates that because of a similar increase in people visiting the city’s art museums and the people who watch visual arts programs on television means that these are the people who visit the city’s art museums. This unsubstantiated assumption is flawed. If, for example, the city’s art museums had a new popular exhibit, that could account for the increase in visitors.

Thirdly, the author ignores the fundamentals of supply and demand. If there are less visual arts programs on television, the fundamentals of supply and demand suggest that an increase in the number of visitors to art museums and performing arts theatres would increase, not decrease. Thus, the proposal to increase funding for public television and decrease funding for art museums is flawed.

Finally, the argument could be strengthened in several ways. If the author presented evidence that the city has not grown in population over the last five years, then the statistical argument would not be flawed. Furthermore, if the author could provide information showing that the people who watch visual arts programs on televisions are the same people who visit the city’s art museums, the conclusion would be strengthened. However, in its current form, the argument is flawed. The conclusion is based on weak evidence, unsubstantiated assumptions, and statistical flaws.

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16 Jul 2012, 09:54
Expert's post
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AmeliaLau wrote:
Hey Guys,

This is my first post on gmat club forums. Included below is my first sample AWA. I ran out of time at the end and wasn't able to re-check it. If someone could please comment on the flaws I chose vs. the flaws they would've chosen, it would be much appreciated!

The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts:
“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.”

The author’s conclusion, that some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television, is flawed. The author’s strong conclusion is based on weak evidence. The presented evidence makes unsubstantiated assumptions about the relationship between residents who watch television programs about the visual arts and people who visit the city’s art museums. Furthermore, the evidence has several statistical flaws and ignores the fundamentals of supply and demand.

First, the evidence presents several statistical flaws. The author indicates that 15 percent more residents watch television programs about the visual arts than residents who did five years ago. Because the author does not indicate the number of people who answered affirmatively in the recent poll and the number of people who answered affirmatively five years ago, it is not possible to establish a conclusion based on the evidence presented. For example, if the city’s population had grown by 15 percent in the last five years, then the evidence, that 15 percent more people watch visual arts programs on television than five years ago, is not useful.

Secondly, the author infers a direct relationship between the people who watch visual arts programs on television and the people who visit the city’s art museums. The author insinuates that because of a similar increase in people visiting the city’s art museums and the people who watch visual arts programs on television means that these are the people who visit the city’s art museums. This unsubstantiated assumption is flawed. If, for example, the city’s art museums had a new popular exhibit, that could account for the increase in visitors.

Thirdly, the author ignores the fundamentals of supply and demand. If there are less visual arts programs on television, the fundamentals of supply and demand suggest that an increase in the number of visitors to art museums and performing arts theatres would increase, not decrease. Thus, the proposal to increase funding for public television and decrease funding for art museums is flawed.

Finally, the argument could be strengthened in several ways. If the author presented evidence that the city has not grown in population over the last five years, then the statistical argument would not be flawed. Furthermore, if the author could provide information showing that the people who watch visual arts programs on televisions are the same people who visit the city’s art museums, the conclusion would be strengthened. However, in its current form, the argument is flawed. The conclusion is based on weak evidence, unsubstantiated assumptions, and statistical flaws.
4

This essay is pretty well written, and the flaws you chose are good ones--well done!

However, this essay fails to get the highest levels of score because it doesn't hold together well. You present your three flaws as three completely unrelated flaws. This is not correct--all three are aspects of the same underlying flaw, the assumption of causality. That's not to say you were repetitive, or that you should have crammed everything into one paragraph. But to get a perfect 6 on this essay, your ideas need a stronger connection that "firstly, secondly, thirdly."

Consider:

"The author's biggest flaw is his assumption of causality. First, he doesn't give any information about the population of the town...

""Even if the increase represent real, significant increases, they might just be coincidence. The author never considers the possibility..."

"In fact, the principle of supply and demand suggests that the opposite of the author's assumption could be true. Rather than promoting Museum attendance, Art TV might be stifling it because..."

See how these three topic sentences flow better? The keep each paragraph clearly distinct, but they also explain how each paragraph comes from the same root assuption. Help your readers draw the connections you intend, and your score will be much higher!
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23 Jun 2016, 10:21
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