GMAT Exam Prep – the Argument Essay – is one area where you can excel. Watch the video below to learn more.
GMAT Exam Prep – Argument Essay [Transcript]
In the last lesson, we followed steps one to three in our general strategy to generate the following discussion points for the argument about photographers working in color versus black and white. In this lesson, we’ll take these discussion points and use them to write an essay. Okay, so now that we’ve identified some flaws, we’re going to choose the top two to four flaws to discuss in our essay. Now this is quite subjective, but I’m going to use these three flaws for the basis of my essay. Now, as I mentioned in an earlier lesson, all students should develop a template for each of the two essays in the AWA session.
Once you have your templates, be sure to practice writing essays in those formats. Now the template I’ll suggest here is just one option. You should feel free to create your own. Just keep in mind that all AWA essays should follow a basic approach.
First begin by telling readers what you’re going to say. Then tell them what you want to say and finally, end your essay by reminding readers what you just told them. So given this, here’s one possible template to consider. Your introductory paragraph will have the following elements. Begin by paraphrasing the argument and stating that it is flawed. By paraphrasing the argument, you’re showing the reader that you understand the basic structure of the argument and you are clearly indicating that the argument is flawed. So an opening sentence might look like this, “The author’s argument that photographers working in color have an advantage over photographers working in black and white is flawed.”
Now, the remaining sentences is in this introductory paragraph, will generalize the main flaws, so that later, each flaw will be the subject of its own paragraph. So here we might write, “In drawing this conclusion, the author not only fails to take into account the basic fundamentals of supply and demand, but also draws a conclusion based on vague terms. Furthermore, the author assumes that it is advantageous for photographers to have access to several different types of color film.” Great, the reader now knows exactly where this essay is headed.
Now after the introductory paragraph, the next two to four paragraphs are devoted to the flaws you identified. The first of these paragraphs will address what you perceive to be the biggest problem with the argument. For this paragraph, you should first state your point. Then you can elaborate on this point and/or provide examples that support your point. Finally and most importantly, you should explain why this point indicates a weakness in the argument.
For example, for our point about supply and demand we might write, “In the argument, the author bases the conclusion on a perceived demand for color photographs without considering or establishing the supply of photographers working in color. If, for example, the demand for color photographs is already sufficiently met by a large number of photographers, then working in color might not be advantageous. Conversely, if the supply of photographers working in black and white is low, then it could be advantageous to work in black and white even if the demand for black and white photographs is not as high as the demand for color photographs. Since the author does not provide any information regarding the supply of photographers working in color or in black and white, it is impossible to determine whether working in color is as advantageous as the author concludes.” Now after mentioning that the author does not provide information regarding the supply of photographers working in color, I could have also added here that the argument could be strengthened by including such information. However, for this particular template, I have decided to save my recommendations for the last paragraph.
Now the next one to three paragraphs will focus on additional flaws in the argument and these paragraphs should follow the same structure. This brings us to the last paragraph. For this template, we will begin by explaining how the argument can be strengthened and or suggesting ways in which we can better evaluate the conclusion. So earlier, we identified some ways to strengthen the argument. So lets work these into our last paragraph.
Here we might write something like, “The argument could be strengthened if the author provided information substantiating an insufficient supply of photographers working in color. The argument could also be strengthened if the author were to concede that working in color may be just one factor in determining a photographer’s success.” Finally, the last sentence of this paragraph should remind readers that in its current form, the argument is flawed. So we might write something like, “As it stands, however, the argument is flawed for reasons indicated.” And that’s pretty much it.
One possible argument template, can look like the one we just examined, or you can create your own. Just be sure to develop a template before test day. On a final note, it’s important to know that all possible essay prompts for the argument essay can be found on the MBA.com website or in the back of the ‘Official Guide for GMAT Review’. So be sure to browse these arguments and practice writing some essays.