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Please rate my first AWA essay!

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Joined: 23 Jan 2013
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Please rate my first AWA essay! [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2013, 07:11
The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen foods:

“Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents fro five-day service in 1970 to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect othat our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and this maximize profits.“

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. ....

The Author of the report argues that the efficiency of organisations increase over time, since organisations learn how to do things better. Following his example for color film processing, he concludes that the same applies to the frozen food processing. This argument appears to be weak for mainly two reasons.

Firstly, the author compares two very different industries to arrive at the conclusion why the frozen food processor should maximise profits. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that the two industries behave in the same way.
There is no connection made to the frozen food processing industry.
Furthermore, the passage does not even suggest that the color film processing organisation itself has become more efficient through improving their skills. The color film processing industry might have gone through major technological development in the timeframe mentioned, which reduced the cost and time of printing. This would have led to a more efficient way to print, however does not suggest the efficiency increase by a particular organisation through learning how to do things better.
A similar development could happen to the frozen food processing industry, but there is no evidence to support this. There is no evidence to support that the frozen food organisation has become more efficient.

Secondly, presupposing there is a related efficiency increase in both industries, the time frame mentioned in the paragraph for the film processing is much shorter than the existence of the frozen food processing organisation. It may well be that the frozuen food organisation is already at a point, where time alone will not increase the efficiency of the company. No reference is made to how long it will take either industry to reach such a point.

To conclude, the argument is flawed since there is no evidence to suggest the comparability of the two industries. Hence there is no support for the conclusion why the stakeholder should be in a position to expect maximum profits.
The argument could be severly strengthened if an example from the frozen food industry would be taken, or at least from an obviously related industry.
Otherwise, an explanation why the color film processing would behave similar to the frozen food processing, would support the author in his conclusion.

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Re: Please rate my first AWA essay! [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2013, 08:50
Hi odoaker , after reviewing your essay, I'm hoping I can give you a couple of quick pointers to help maximize your score on the exam. Overall I think the the content is good and you really seem to grasp the crux of the flaw in the essay.

Firstly, you mentioned two different points, but didn't preview either in the introduction paragraph. It's always a good idea to at least mention all the arguments you're going to elaborate on in the introduction. This serves as a kind of executive summary to the reader, and ensures that no one is blindsided by topics that come up in paragraphs 2 and 3 (and 4 if need be). Three arguments is also the golden number you should be looking for. It's fine to only have two if you elaborate on them a little more. Either option is fine but I recommend three faults if you can find them.

Secondly, your two paragraphs are of very different lengths. I would recommend trying to make your paragraphs roughly the same size for the sake of symmetry and analysis. In your essay, the first paragraph is about three times longer than the second (I use as deleneations your structure words firstly and secondly). You can either elaborate further on the second paragraph or else break the first paragraph into two sections, more or less where "furthermore" is located, but elaborating more fully on the first paragraph and using firstly, secondly and thirdly (or finally) to really make clear the outline of each paragraph.

For the second argument specifically, I'd introduce some aspects from CR that would be helpful here. What would I need to better evaluate this conclusion? How about statistics from the frozen food industries? Or some technological advancements that might bring down costs in the future? Maybe there's something about economies of scale that could be mentioned or emerging worldwide markets? Anything that would demonstrate the same kind of reasoning that CR questions use on the GMAT. This exam is about logic and reasoning, and the AWA is a great warm up for the rest of the test.

Overall, I'd say this is a solid essay that's a good base for a couple of quick improvements. I'd probably put it in the 4.5 range, so if you can make a couple of quick adjustments you should be ready to get at least a 5 on test day. Good luck!

Ron Awad
Veritas Prep | GMAT Instructor
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Re: Please rate my first AWA essay!   [#permalink] 21 Feb 2013, 08:50
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