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Please rate this...be merciless

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Please rate this...be merciless

by ken3233 » Sat May 23, 2009 2:25 am
(This is my first attempt at GMAT essay writing; I'm not expecting high marks. Please rate this, and be merciless. I have a thick skin. Thanks.)

The following appeared as part of an article in a magazine on lifestyles.

"Two years ago, City L was listed 14th in an annual survey that ranks cities according to the quality of life that can be enjoyed by those living in them. This information will enable people who are moving to the state in which City L is located to confidently identify one place, at least, where schools are good, housing is affordable, people are friendly, the environment is safe, and the arts flourish."

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.

Although the argument endorsing the article about City L is merit-worthy in that it constructs a detailed and informative picture of the city's positive points, it (the argument) must be faulted for its constricted and superficial appreciation of the full range of elements that constitute a city's character. The argument is shortsighted, too, in that it fails to recognize the many different values, psychological traits and subjective views that constitute any given person's perceptions of, and experience of, a place to live.

The argument is correct in lauding City L's quality of schools, affordable housing, friendliness of people, cultural attributes and environmental health as being noteworthy elements in desirable place to live. However, it overlooks that many people seek additional qualities in in a city judging it to be a desirable home. For example, the article apparently overlooks City L's economic landscape, and the nature of City L's job market. Missing from the argument also is an appraisal of the predominant political and social trends in City L, both of which rank high on the list of attributes people consider important in evaluating the desirability of home city.

Another weakness in the argument is that it portrays City L only in a positive light, without addressing the city's negativities. All cities, ultimately, are a composite of favorable and unfavorable qualities in the judgment of people who choose to live in them. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for people reading this article to get a full-fledged impression of what City is really like: such an understanding of the city could be obtained only through mixing a realistic, sober assessment of the city's negativities with the positive qualities that are lauded in the article. For example, it is possible that public transportation, communications, roadways, taxation policies, and zoning laws are all problematic in City L. Until the reader understands the city's potential negativities, he or she has no way to assess the real value of the city's favorable attributes.

In summary, the argument about the article efficacy as a meaningful measure of City L's desirability as a place to live fails to stand-up to criticism. In the end, the article is useful only as a illustration of City L's positive attributes in microcism, and not necessarily as a indication of City L's merits overall.

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by Jose Ferreira » Mon May 25, 2009 10:31 am
This essay is a 10. Nice work. It features a strong, well-reasoned perspective.

As a bit of constructive critique I could offer only the following: Watch your organization. I like to tell students to create the following 5-paragraph framework:

1) Intro paragraph. State succinct thesis with specific perspective. Introduce 3 independent points/ideas/examples that bolster thesis. Intro paragraph should be at least 3 sentences.

2) First body paragraph. Introduce paragraph with topic sentence. Unpack first point/idea/example bolstering thesis.

3) Second body paragraph. Introduce paragraph with topic sentence. Unpack second point/idea/example bolstering thesis.

4) Third body paragraph. Introduce paragraph with topic sentence. Unpack third point/idea/example bolstering thesis.

5) Conclusion paragraph. Restate thesis using new language. Quickly touch on three supporting points/ideas/examples. Conclusion paragraph should be at least 3 sentences.

Obviously, this is not the only template that will help improve your score. But it is the one most preferred by GMAT essay-readers—so you would be best served by running your essay through this framework.

I hope this is helpful; please let me know if you have more questions.


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by ken3233 » Mon May 25, 2009 11:17 am
Thanks for the feedback, Jose. I just wanted to make sure I'm getting off on the right track with the AWA. I have a good idea of where to take things from here.