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GMAt in a week struggling on AWA section...

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Joined: 17 Jun 2013
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New post 23 Jun 2013, 20:43
Hello everyone, Firstly Thank GMAT club for such an comprehensive guide. You guys have helped me prepare immensely for this test and I am very close to reach my goal 680.

Hoever, I am bit concerned about the AWA section. I feel Im simply not fast enough to deeply analyze the statement they present. I am able to do it fine in the practice tests but for some reason I feel my CAT(Computer adaptive tests) essays are not up to par with what I want. I am aiming for a 5 but I feel some of my essays are not even 4.

One example of my recent essays is below:

I feel like the essay below would probably get me a 4 at best...

Managers at our central office report that their employees tend to be most productive in the days immediately preceding a vacation. To help counteract our declining market share, we could increase the productivity of our professional staff members, who currently receive four weeks paid vacation a year, by limiting them to a maximum of one week’s continuous vacation time. They will thus take more vacation breaks during a year and give us more days of maximum productivity.”

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."

The passage is concluding that by limiting vacation time will lead to an increase in productivity. The supposed proof given for this conclusion are the reports prepared by the managers. However, the statement is short sighted and jumps to many conclusions without giving any concrete data. We cannot simply rely on the manager reports to make such drastic changes in the company. The statement is vague and jumps to assumptions without providing any evidence.

Firstly, the manager reports are used as the basis of the conclusion. However, the details are lacking in the statement for it to be considered of any value. We do not know whether this report is merely based on observation or if there was statistical data collected. Without this information it would unwise to jump to any conclusions and make any drastic changes in the company.

Secondly, The reason for increase in productivity could be many. It could simply be that the employees were trying to finish up any projects they maybe working on before going on a long vacation. In this scenario limiting vacation time would have the opposite effect. Since the vacations will be shorter the employees could comeback and finish the project instead.

Furthermore, it could even have an opposite effect where limiting vacation leads to low moral and in turn could lead to even lower productivity. The company should look for other ways to balance productivity and market share than just limiting vacation. If the statement has included how the data was collected and what parameters were followed then the argument for change in the company would be strengthened.

The statement as it currently stands is very vague in that it fails to adequately provide any concrete data to support its conclusion. The Company is also incorrectly assuming that limiting vacation will help it improve productivity. It could also have the opposite effect and could lead the company to lose their market share even further.

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