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Argument essay template, if anyone wants it

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myohmy Really wants to Beat The GMAT! Default Avatar
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Argument essay template, if anyone wants it Post Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:09 pm
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    Hey guys-

    I'm not hugely qualified to give GMAT advice (I'm not an instructor), but I took the GMAT twice and got a 6.0 essay score both times, so I hope someone will find my essay templates/advice useful.

    Analysis of Argument
    Paragraph 1
    I always start begin with a broad statement about the issue at hand. For instance in an argument essay about whether it was necessary to conserve energy, I would begin with:

    Energy conservation has become a hot topic in the United States as of late. There are those who debate climate change and those who affirm it, those who assert that humans are depleting the world's natural resources, including fossil fuels, and those who believe that humans are barely making a dent in consuming the resources the earth has to offer.

    This sets up a fluid introduction to my essay, and by starting with an introductory sentence, I felt I would set myself apart from the majority of other test takers who begin "I agree" or "I disagree" -- remember, you want to distinguish yourself from other essay writers (in a good way) right from the start.

    I always continue by saying, "In the preceding statement, the author claims that (paraphrase of the author's argument)." This shows that I understand the author's argument. I continue with my disagreement (and, as has been often said, ALWAYS disagree with the author's reasoning, and I pretty much always used the same thesis statement, something like:

    Though his claim may well have merit, the author presents a poorly reasoned argument, based on several questionable premises and assumptions, and based solely on the evidence the author offers, we cannot accept his argument as valid.

    I can use that statement for pretty much any argument essay I encounter. The beginning shows that I see the issue as nuanced, rather than black and white, and I recognize that though the author may have arrived at the correct answer, his reasoning is flawed. I also use "we" but I try to avoid using "I". Take that as you will.

    Paragraph 2
    For me, paragraph two always attacks the premises of the author's argument. I usually jot down a couple of premises on my board -- these are things that show up in the author's argument, usually without any evidence provided. So 99% of the time, I attack the lack of evidence that the author bases his premises on. I usually begin with some version of:

    The primary issue with the author's reasoning lies in his unsubstantiated premises.

    I like "primary" and "secondary" as transitional tools because they are more complex than "first" and "second". Throughout the first paragraph, I show flaws in the author's premises by pointing out his lack of evidentiary support (they pretty much always lack evidentiary support) and where they are open to holes or alternate explanations. I usually have two or three, but one would be fine if it it was strong. I generally end with something like:

    The author's premises, the basis for his argument, lack any legitimate evidentiary support and render his conclusion unacceptable.

    Paragraph 3
    In the third paragraph, I always attack the assumptions - again, I jot down a couple assumptions on my notepad while reading the prompt. Generally, the issue with assumptions is that they need to be clearly explicated - the author is asking the reader to make a jump with them, but the reader may well veer off course if the author doesn't explicitly state his arguments. I usually begin with some variation of:

    In addition, the author makes several assumptions that remain unproven.

    Again, I begin with a transitional phrase that the e-grader can pick up on. As with the premises, I spend this paragraph attacking a couple of the author's assumptions. The easiest way to do this is to find an alternate explanation -- ie, what if the assumption wasn't true? I usually have two or three, again. My assumption paragraph ends with something like:

    The author weakens his argument by making assumptions and failing to provide explication of the links between X and Y he assumes exists.

    Paragraph 4
    Paragraph 4 is where I talk about how the author could strengthen his argument -- that is, I go back to my claim that his argument could have some validity, but not as it stands. I usually begin this paragraph with something like:

    While the author does have several key issues in his argument's premises and assumptions, that is not to say that the entire argument is without base.

    Then I provide some concrete ways the author could strengthen his argument. The easiest way to do this is to give examples of what kind of evidence the author could provide, and discuss how he can fill the holes in his assumptions. I generally end with something like:

    Though there are several issues with the author's reasoning at present, with research and clarification, he could improve his argument significantly.

    Paragraph 5
    This is my conclusion paragraph. I pretty much always conclude with the same sentence:

    In sum, the author's illogical argument is based on unsupported premises and unsubstantiated assumptions that render his conclusion invalid.

    I usually use "in sum" because it's considered better stylistically than "in conclusion" but signals to the e-grader that you're at your conclusion. I usually add a couple sentences of fluff in between and then I end with:

    If the author truly hopes to change his readers' minds on the issue, he would have to largely restructure his argument, fix the flaws in his logic, clearly explicate his assumptions, and provide evidentiary support. Without these things, his poorly reasoned argument will likely convince few people.

    ...And that's pretty much it.

    So the cliff notes:

    P1- Intro with generic thesis statement that works for 99.9% of argument essays.

    P2 - Attack the premises of the argument.

    P3 - Attack the assumptions of the argument.

    P4 - Discuss what type of evidence or reasoning would strengthen the argument.

    P5 - Conclusion.


    Hope that helps someone out there and good luck on your essays!

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    vaishalijain7 Really wants to Beat The GMAT! Default Avatar
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    Post Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:22 am
    Thanks for the awesome post. It's really helpful and clearly states what is measured in 'Analysis of argument' questions. Any views on 'Analysis of issue'?

    Tweetyspeaks Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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    Post Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:43 am
    Thanks a lot for your wonderful template. This is so far the best I have seen. It would be very helpful to us if you could please post us your issue template too.

    myohmy wrote:
    Hey guys-

    I'm not hugely qualified to give GMAT advice (I'm not an instructor), but I took the GMAT twice and got a 6.0 essay score both times, so I hope someone will find my essay templates/advice useful.

    Analysis of Argument
    Paragraph 1
    I always start begin with a broad statement about the issue at hand. For instance in an argument essay about whether it was necessary to conserve energy, I would begin with:

    Energy conservation has become a hot topic in the United States as of late. There are those who debate climate change and those who affirm it, those who assert that humans are depleting the world's natural resources, including fossil fuels, and those who believe that humans are barely making a dent in consuming the resources the earth has to offer.

    This sets up a fluid introduction to my essay, and by starting with an introductory sentence, I felt I would set myself apart from the majority of other test takers who begin "I agree" or "I disagree" -- remember, you want to distinguish yourself from other essay writers (in a good way) right from the start.

    I always continue by saying, "In the preceding statement, the author claims that (paraphrase of the author's argument)." This shows that I understand the author's argument. I continue with my disagreement (and, as has been often said, ALWAYS disagree with the author's reasoning, and I pretty much always used the same thesis statement, something like:

    Though his claim may well have merit, the author presents a poorly reasoned argument, based on several questionable premises and assumptions, and based solely on the evidence the author offers, we cannot accept his argument as valid.

    I can use that statement for pretty much any argument essay I encounter. The beginning shows that I see the issue as nuanced, rather than black and white, and I recognize that though the author may have arrived at the correct answer, his reasoning is flawed. I also use "we" but I try to avoid using "I". Take that as you will.

    Paragraph 2
    For me, paragraph two always attacks the premises of the author's argument. I usually jot down a couple of premises on my board -- these are things that show up in the author's argument, usually without any evidence provided. So 99% of the time, I attack the lack of evidence that the author bases his premises on. I usually begin with some version of:

    The primary issue with the author's reasoning lies in his unsubstantiated premises.

    I like "primary" and "secondary" as transitional tools because they are more complex than "first" and "second". Throughout the first paragraph, I show flaws in the author's premises by pointing out his lack of evidentiary support (they pretty much always lack evidentiary support) and where they are open to holes or alternate explanations. I usually have two or three, but one would be fine if it it was strong. I generally end with something like:

    The author's premises, the basis for his argument, lack any legitimate evidentiary support and render his conclusion unacceptable.

    Paragraph 3
    In the third paragraph, I always attack the assumptions - again, I jot down a couple assumptions on my notepad while reading the prompt. Generally, the issue with assumptions is that they need to be clearly explicated - the author is asking the reader to make a jump with them, but the reader may well veer off course if the author doesn't explicitly state his arguments. I usually begin with some variation of:

    In addition, the author makes several assumptions that remain unproven.

    Again, I begin with a transitional phrase that the e-grader can pick up on. As with the premises, I spend this paragraph attacking a couple of the author's assumptions. The easiest way to do this is to find an alternate explanation -- ie, what if the assumption wasn't true? I usually have two or three, again. My assumption paragraph ends with something like:

    The author weakens his argument by making assumptions and failing to provide explication of the links between X and Y he assumes exists.

    Paragraph 4
    Paragraph 4 is where I talk about how the author could strengthen his argument -- that is, I go back to my claim that his argument could have some validity, but not as it stands. I usually begin this paragraph with something like:

    While the author does have several key issues in his argument's premises and assumptions, that is not to say that the entire argument is without base.

    Then I provide some concrete ways the author could strengthen his argument. The easiest way to do this is to give examples of what kind of evidence the author could provide, and discuss how he can fill the holes in his assumptions. I generally end with something like:

    Though there are several issues with the author's reasoning at present, with research and clarification, he could improve his argument significantly.

    Paragraph 5
    This is my conclusion paragraph. I pretty much always conclude with the same sentence:

    In sum, the author's illogical argument is based on unsupported premises and unsubstantiated assumptions that render his conclusion invalid.

    I usually use "in sum" because it's considered better stylistically than "in conclusion" but signals to the e-grader that you're at your conclusion. I usually add a couple sentences of fluff in between and then I end with:

    If the author truly hopes to change his readers' minds on the issue, he would have to largely restructure his argument, fix the flaws in his logic, clearly explicate his assumptions, and provide evidentiary support. Without these things, his poorly reasoned argument will likely convince few people.

    ...And that's pretty much it.

    So the cliff notes:

    P1- Intro with generic thesis statement that works for 99.9% of argument essays.

    P2 - Attack the premises of the argument.

    P3 - Attack the assumptions of the argument.

    P4 - Discuss what type of evidence or reasoning would strengthen the argument.

    P5 - Conclusion.


    Hope that helps someone out there and good luck on your essays!

    Thanked by: saketk, Evangelia IS
    kyabe Rising GMAT Star Default Avatar
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    Post Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:46 am
    Hi myohmy,

    If I use the word "AWESOME" to describe your post it won't be unjustified. This is a brilliant post mate and I reckon will surely help many people.. Now here I am being little greedy here.. Can you please give your insight about Issue Essay.. How to deal with the issue essay if nothing concrete example jumps out to you..

    Cheeers Mate ... Smile

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    myohmy Really wants to Beat The GMAT! Default Avatar
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    Post Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:42 pm
    I'm sorry guys -- I really didn't use a template for issue essays! I did those far more on the fly since those were more question-specific than argument essays.

    I guess a general template would be

    P1 - Intro and a thesis
    P2 - Example 1 (usually in depth)
    P3 - Example 2 (in depth)
    P4 - Exploring the nuances of the question -- ie, why the opposing position is not entirely wrong. This shows I understand that the issue is not black and white.
    P5 - Conclusion

    I'm sorry, I really structured issues essays loosely and didn't go as in depth with them as I did with arguments. I've attached an issue essay below and hopefully that might help some of you guys? If you have specific questions let me know.

    Question:
    "Despite the convenience of distance learning and online educational programs, they will never replace in-class instruction."

    Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the position stated above. Support your viewpoint using reasons and examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

    Essay:
    With an increasingly globalized world, and the advent of ever-improving technology that allows people to go as far as to project a holograph of themselves sitting in a chair in Tokyo from their office in San Jose, California, we are starting to reexamine the ways we structure learning. Gone are the days on the one-room schoolhouse, where all learning is completed between eight and three p.m. More and more often, schools are utilizing the significant technological tools that have been developed in order to redefine the way we teach and the way we learn. Indeed, we can now learn math from an online recorded voice while we sit on the couch in our pajamas. In the statement above, the author claims that though distance learning and online educational programs offer convenience, in-class instruction is irreplaceable. Though, distance learning and online educational tools can provide fantastic aids to traditional classroom learning and a great deal of benefit to certain students, as the author claims, they cannot entirely take the place of in-class instruction.

    The main reason that distance learning cannot take the place of traditional in-class instruction is that the primary benefit that in-class instruction provides is spontaneity. Students can learn from the questions another student asks, which can make them realize that they do not understand a subject as well as they thought they did. In debates with other students surrounding, perhaps, the Cold War, students can learn from each other based on their give-and-take, something impossible to duplicate in online educational programs. Many programs through reputable universities, such as Johns Hopkins' CTY program or Stanford's EPGY program provide distance learning to secondary school students. In such programs, students complete assignments, email them back and forth with their teachers, receiving comments each time, learn primarily from books or prewritten tools, and only hear their teacher speak through phone or web based tools. Studies show that humans communicate over 90% of their emotion through body language, yet this interaction is nonexistent in distance learning. CTY students cannot see the imperceptible body shift or raised eyebrow that let them know they are moving off track. Because they can only communicate with other students (generally) through discussion boards or chat rooms, they are not as spontaneous in their student-to-student interaction. By writing down what they say, they have time to read it over, think about it, before posting it. In a typical classroom, however, students bounce ideas off each other, and often, the exchange of ideas is far more free than if they are given the chance to self-censor. Because distance learning lacks the spontaneity of conversation that in-person teaching provides, by definition, it cannot perform the exact same function.

    Another issue with the replacement of in-class instruction with distance/online learning is that the two serve often drastically different populations. In-class instruction generally caters to students in a specific geographical area, whereas distance learning allows for interactions with students around the world. In-class instruction might utilize specific community examples such as a proposed city ordinance to teach a concept, while distance learning, by definition, must include more universal examples that are easily understood by people with a variety of backgrounds. This lack of personalization and tailoring of teaching to specific students makes distance learning fundamentally different than in-class instruction, and therefore, beneficial to different people. MIT recently launched an open courseware system where lecture notes, Power Point slides, essay questions, and assessments are provided to anyone with an Internet connection. Yet the act of attending MIT is substantially different than the act of using the courseware to take the same classes MIT students take. The students one would interact with at MIT are generally at the top of their high school classes, have been preselected by the university as able to do the work, whereas though the MIT courseware allows for online discussion of the material, any person can log in and utilize it - a significantly different population than the population that attends MIT. Because the two modes of teaching by definition must serve different populations, they cannot act (fully) as substitutes for one another.

    Though distance/online learning may not replace in-class instruction, we cannot go so far to say it is not valuable or that a student cannot learn a great deal from them. Many colleges, particularly community colleges, have launched distance learning and online educational systems to better serve their largely commuter population. The student who takes, for example, Calculus I through distance learning will likely leave with a similar understanding of the mathematical principles as the student who takes Calculus I through a traditional, in-class teaching system. The key point, however, is that their experiences will not be the same. Distance learning/online education and in-class instructions provide substantially different experiences to the students (and teacher) involved, and different students will prefer different methods of course instruction. Distance learning has value, can teach a student a great deal, but not all students learn best in such an environment. Distance learning will never replace in-class instruction, since many students learn better through in-class instruction than through distance learning (and vice versa), but that is not to say it will not continue to expand and provide value for the students who utilize it.

    In sum, distance learning and in class instruction provide different modes of learning, and neither can exist as a substitute for the other. Neither can replicate the other so completely as to say they are the same, and thus, neither can replace the other. While distance learning will likely to continue to expand, better serving populations that likely otherwise would not have access to the types of information the courses disseminate, in-class instruction will remain, primarily because it offers benefits that distance learning does not. Distance learning provides convenience and an ever wider net of people willing to be educated, but in-class instruction provides a spontaneity of interaction that distance learning cannot duplicate. Therefore, distance learning will never truly replace in-class instruction worldwide, though it will surely continue as a supplement to such instruction and beneficial program on its own merit.

    GMAT/MBA Expert

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    Post Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:03 pm
    This is so fantastic, thanks myohmy! I'm going to add this to our GMAT Resource Directory

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    myohmy Really wants to Beat The GMAT! Default Avatar
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    Post Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:31 pm
    Thanks so much, Eric, that means a lot!

    becnil MBA Student
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    Post Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:13 pm
    Thank You, the template is very nice. I would like to try it out.

    becnil MBA Student
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    Post Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:15 pm
    Thank You, the template is very nice. I would like to try it out.

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    Post Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:50 am
    Excellent template..what I like about the template is that it has lot of meat, the template itself covers 3-4 lines,irrespective of the topic, i think this would save me quite some time on the Exam..cheers!

    valleeny Rising GMAT Star Default Avatar
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    Post Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:06 am
    I scored a 6.0 using myohmy's template. I was taken in for a shock. Thanks myohmy! I suggest people take this template and build their own statements and styles surrounding the way the intro was made and how the points were structured. Thanks once again.

    punksareforever Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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    Post Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:42 am
    Scored a 6.0 with this template...
    @myohmy : Thanks a ton..Smile

    mjp9483 Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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    Post Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:35 pm
    This really is a great template! I hadn't practiced any AWA until I found this post about 5 days before my test. With minimal effort and practice I was able to apply this template to the actual GMAT and received a 6.0. Thanks myohmy for your post!

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    Post Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:46 am
    the best i ve even seen. thanks!

    gmatguy7 Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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    Post Sat May 08, 2010 4:43 am
    It is THE best template I have come across. Thanks for sharing!

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