GMAT Essay Ideas: Three Keys to a Excessive AWA Rating


Most web sites, books, and check prep programs providing GMAT essay suggestions do little greater than state the apparent. Ideas like “handle your time,” “construction your essay,” “use transitions,” and many others. apply to any timed writing project and ignore the specificity of the GMAT AWA, which requires that test-takers analyze an argument. To be able to obtain a excessive rating on the AWA, it’s due to this fact very important that test-takers perceive the weather of an argument and never simply the weather of excellent writing. The three GMAT essay suggestions launched under precede the weather of excellent writing: they’re important for figuring out which concepts in an argument require higher focus and for establishing a logical essay construction.

GMAT Essay Tip #1: Perceive the Construction of an Argument

On the most simple degree, an argument consists of two parts: premises (additionally known as causes or grounds) and a conclusion (additionally known as a declare). The conclusion is the principle level the argument is making an attempt to persuade the viewers to simply accept (e.g., {that a} sure motion ought to be taken, that the easiest way to perform “x” is by “y,” and many others.). The premises, then again, are the explanations or help used to justify the conclusion. Premises are statements believed to be true, however which haven’t been confirmed and will, the truth is, be logically suspect. In a logically legitimate argument, the premises should be related to the conclusion and the conclusion should essentially comply with from the premises.

To be able to assist illustrate the excellence between an argument’s premises and conclusion, contemplate the next instance:

The marketplace for the luxury-goods trade is on the decline. Current experiences present {that a} increased unemployment price, coupled with client fears, has decreased the sum of money the typical family spends on each important and nonessential objects, however particularly on nonessential objects. Since luxurious items are, by nature, nonessential, this market would be the first to lower within the current financial local weather, and luxurious retailers ought to refocus their consideration to lower-priced markets.

On this argument, the conclusion is that “retailers ought to refocus their consideration to lower-priced markets.” The conclusion is predicated on the next premises: 1) that the upper unemployment price and client fears has led to a lower within the buy of important and nonessential objects; 2) that luxurious items are non-essential objects, and; 3) that the decline within the buy of non-essential objects has been/shall be higher than the decline in important objects.

Recognizing the excellence between an argument’s conclusions and premises is critical with a purpose to precisely summarize an argument, decide which factors deserve emphasis, and successfully display an argument’s invalidity. Based on the GMAT scoring standards, to obtain a rating of 5 or 6 (the best attainable rating) on the AWA, the essay should “clearly determine vital options of the argument and analyze them insightfully.” It’s unimaginable to insightfully analyze an argument in case you are specializing in tangential factors and are unable to clarify the connection between the assorted factors offered.

To higher perceive the issues that may come up from not understanding the construction of an argument, contemplate this introduction from an essay on the above argument: “The argument that the luxurious items trade is on the decline on account of increased unemployment charges and client fears will not be logically convincing as a result of it is determined by three questionable assumptions.” On this case, the author confuses a single premise with “the argument” and fully fails to handle the conclusion of the argument – a very powerful level that accounts for why the opposite factors are related within the first place. Irrespective of how well-written this essay seems to be, it would by no means earn a rating above a 3.5 or 4: it’s doomed from the start because of the author’s incapacity to precisely summarize the argument and concentrate on its most vital options.

GMAT Essay Tip #2: Critique the Premises Earlier than the Conclusion

This isn’t to recommend, then again, {that a} author shouldn’t concentrate on difficult an argument’s premises or that premises are unimportant parts of an argument. Nonetheless, it is very important do not forget that the target is to not problem a premise merely for its personal sake, however to sever the connection between the premise and the conclusion that the argument makes an attempt to ascertain.

As a result of an argument’s conclusion depends on the premises, it’s extra logical to start by first critiquing the premises earlier than tackling the conclusion head on. After declaring an issue with a premise, nonetheless, the author wants to handle the connection (or lack thereof) between the premise and the argument’s conclusion by explaining how the precise downside recognized with the premise calls into query the argument’s conclusion.

To higher perceive the issues related to addressing the conclusion earlier than the premises, contemplate the next first two paragraphs from an essay:

The argument is made at a gathering of the administrators of an organization that manufactures elements for heavy equipment, throughout a dialogue of the corporate’s declining revenues. Delays in manufacturing are believed to be the reason for the falling revenues as apparently each the delays in manufacturing and the decline in income occurred on the similar time. The manufacturing delays are attributed to the poor planning in buying metals by the buying supervisor, who has a wonderful background in enterprise, psychology, and sociology, however lacks a scientific understanding of metals. Because of this, it’s suggested that the corporate exchange the present supervisor with a scientist from the analysis division. This argument makes many assumptions and fails to supply details about different elements that might be answerable for the failing revenues. Therefore, this argument is flawed and unconvincing.

Firstly, it assumes that the scientist from the analysis division would have all the required prerequisite enterprise associated information required to run the buying division. It assumes that there won’t be any issues on the subject of the stock administration and that scientific information is ample to deal with the stock administration. That is unconvincing as no info is offered concerning the coaching that the scientist could be offered on the stock administration or concerning the attainable transition of information from the supervisor to the scientist. The argument might be strengthened if details about coaching or transition is offered.

Whereas the author does a wonderful job summarizing the argument (even perhaps in an excessive amount of element for an introduction) and clearly acknowledges how the conclusion emerges from a number of problematic premises, the author’s resolution to problem the conclusion within the second paragraph versus later within the essay undercuts the author’s in any other case sturdy reasoning. Whereas the primary a number of sentences of the second paragraph make legitimate factors, the factors being made are all tangential to the principle points: the trigger(s) for the decline in income and the trigger(s) for the delays in manufacturing. By starting with the conclusion, the author within the above instance is implying the validity of the argument’s premises, for there isn’t a logical foundation for contemplating changing the current supervisor until each premises about the reason for the difficulties had been true. As paragraphs three and 4 truly problem each premises, the author is undercutting his/her personal critique by starting from a place the place each premises are implied to be legitimate.

As a normal rule, it’s best to critique concepts in an argument within the order that they’re offered in order that the connection between concepts might be critiqued as properly (the exception being instances the place the conclusion of an argument is offered earlier than the premises). Within the above instance, the author ought to have first challenged the concept the decline in revenues is owing to the manufacturing delays, after which within the third paragraph challenged the premise that the supervisor’s lack of scientific background was answerable for the manufacturing delays. The factors within the present second paragraph could be launched in a fourth paragraph, that will start with one thing like: “Even when we had been to simply accept that the decline in revenues is because of the manufacturing delays, and that the current buying supervisor’s lack of scientific information has been answerable for the manufacturing delays, there’s nonetheless no cause to consider that changing the current buying supervisor with a scientist is the perfect resolution… “

By critiquing the premises earlier than the conclusion, the author could be constructing momentum and logical drive. The author’s critique of the premises would all be working to indicate how the conclusion is problematic, and the conclusion of the essay could be a lot stronger. The author would have a number of grounds for difficult the argument’s conclusion, versus the at the moment weak, tangential reasoning supplied in paragraph two.

GMAT Writing Tip #3: Know the Totally different Logical Fallacies

As there are near 150 official GMAT AWA subjects, it’s troublesome if not unimaginable to arrange for the examination by writing a observe essay on every. Neither is this actually essential or advisable. A greater strategy could be to familiarize your self with the frequent logical flaws, or logical fallacies, that seem within the official AWA subjects, so as to instantly determine the main errors in reasoning within the argument you’re requested to critique in your official GMAT examination.

As an example, each premises within the argument above calling for the alternative of the buying supervisor are examples of the fallacy of false trigger: each premises posit a trigger and impact relationship between two separate occasions or situations based mostly merely on their coincidence in time or a correlation. Many of the official AWA arguments repeat a handful of logical fallacies which are far simpler to memorize than the 100 plus arguments themselves.

Good GMAT prep programs and books will cowl the commonest fallacies (there’s inadequate area to do an sufficient job right here). When you memorize them, observe figuring out the actual fallacy in an argument by working by means of the checklist of official subjects. Most significantly, observe explaining why a selected thought is logically invalid and the way the fallacy undermines the conclusion of the argument. As soon as once more, the aim is to not merely level out that there’s particular logical fallacy in an argument, however reasonably to clarify how this specific logical fallacy calls into query the validity of the argument’s conclusion.

Hopefully the GMAT essay suggestions launched on this article assist make clear that what distinguishes a high-scoring from a low-scoring AWA is one thing way more substantial than a author’s skill to construction their essay, use transitions, and keep away from grammatical errors. To write down a wonderful critique of an argument, a author should perceive the construction of an argument and what constitutes a logically legitimate versus an invalid conclusion. Solely then can a author precisely summarize and successfully analyze the connection between the concepts offered.

by Susan Feldman, Ph.d