gmat analytical writing Flashcards

Terms Definitions
What are the steps for answering analytical writing questions?
Steps for answering the analytical writing assessment
a. Read the topic and decide what position you want to take
b. Outline your thinking using the scratch paper that is provided
c. Type your essay
d. Proofread your essay
What 3 things must you avoid when writing your essay?
Things to avoid
a. Never write on a topic other than the one that you are given
b. Do not try to make the subject of the prompt more important than it is. Avoid extreme passion or grave concern
c. Do not try to do too much: keep it short and to the point
How should you illustrate your ideas?
Illustrate your ideas with solid examples
How should you organize your paragraphs?
Organize the essay using the three main points principle
i. Paragraph 1: introduction
ii. Paragraph 2: first point
iii. Paragraph 3: second point
iv. Paragraph 4: third point
v. Paragraph 5: Conclusion
When proofreading, what should you be looking out for with regards to the following?
a. Verbs
b. Pronouns
c. Parallel elements
d. Clear meaning
e. Organization and punctuation
Proofread your essay using a checklist of common errors
i. Does each sentence have a main verb?
ii. Does the verb agree with the subject?
iii. Does each pronoun have a referent (antecedent)?
iv. Are all of the elements of each series presented in the same form? (are the elements parallel)
v. Does each sentence say what it means to say? (have you avoided misplaced modifiers and faulty comparisons?
vi. Is each sentence properly organized and punctuated? (simpler sentence structures are less likely to result in errors than complex ones)
What is a good rule of thumb for the length of each section (paragraph)?
3-5 sentences each
In analysis of an issue essay, What 3 points should you cover in the introductory paragraph?
1. Briefly explain the issue
2. Show that you understand the full complexities of the issue (for example, by recognizing competing interests or various factors)
3. State your position on the issue (without the details yet)
In analysis of an issue, What should your 2nd paragraph(example) cover?
Develop your position with your most important reason. Use one or two examples to back up your main point.
What should your 3rd paragraph cover? (in the analysis of an argument essay)
▲ Acknowledge a different viewpoint or a counter-argument.
▲ Provide rationale and/or examples that support it.
▲ Provide a rebuttal.


acknowledge a competing viewpoint or counter-argument (and rationale and/or examples that support it), and then provide rebuttals to further support your position. In this paragraph you walk a tightrope, acknowledge the counter argument, but yet deny it immediately in the next sentence and use that denial to strengthen your own argument.
What should your conclusion paragraph cover? (in the analysis of an argument essay).
▲ State the thrust of your position.
▲ Restate the main points from the body of your essay.
The concluding paragraph is not the place for new information or reasons. It is not a place to draw
new conclusions.
in the analysis of an issue conclusion, what should you avoid doing?
do not draw any new conclusions that have not been mentioned in your previous examples (paragraphs).
In the analysis of an issue essay, Break down how much time you should spend on each paragraph.
1. Examine the issue (2-3 minutes)
a. What is the basic issue? Try to phrase it as a question.
b. Those in favor would say….
c. Those against would say….
2. Choose what points you want to make (4-5 minutes)
a. Arguments in favor:
b. Arguments opposed:
c. Take a side: which side do you prefer?
d. What are the assumptions in the arguments?
Step 3: Outline (1 minute)
(use the template)
1. Make sure that your outline:
a. states the central idea of the essay clearly and forcefully;
b. provides a word or phrase for every paragraph in the essay;
c. relates each paragraph to the central idea of the essay in (2a) above;
d. includes an opening and closing paragraph which tie the essay together.
2. Build your paragraphs in the essay carefully. You may produce effective writing in the GMAT
analytical writing section on the analysis of an issue by following a few simple rules:
a. Each paragraph should state a central idea which relates to the central idea of the entire
essay.
b. Every statement in each paragraph should relate to the central idea of the paragraph in (3a)
above. In each paragraph, use examples to support the central idea or explain it completely.
c. Consciously choose paragraph length, for if your paragraphs are all too short (one or two
sentences), you will be penalized, and if they are too long you will also be penalized.
Step 4: Write/type your essay (20 minutes)
▲ What's your thesis sentence?
▲ Arguments for…
▲ Arguments opposed...
Step 5: Proofread your work (2 minutes)
Check for grammar, spelling, etc..
How should you structure each paragraph and each sentence within that paragraph in relation to the central idea?
a. Each paragraph should state a central idea which relates to the central idea of the entire
essay.
b. Every statement in each paragraph should relate to the central idea of the paragraph. In each paragraph, use examples to support the central idea or explain it completely.
c. Consciously choose paragraph length, for if your paragraphs are all too short (one or two
sentences), you will be penalized, and if they are too long you will also be penalized.
What should you do before submitting your essay and how much time should you allocate for it?
Proof read your essay. allocate at least 3 minutes for it.
In an analysis of an argument, what should you look out for to find weaknesses in the argument?
One type of weak term is the emotionally loaded term.
Terms such as "socialized medicine" evoke emotional responses and, thus, obscure the argument.
Thus, anyone who writes an analysis of an argument should examine the terms used and be sure
that the writer avoids emotive, subjective terms. To the extent of your ability, make sure that the
writer defines terms clearly and objectively.
what 5 things do graders of analysis of an argument essays look for?
i) They want an essay that analyzes the several aspects of the argument with critical insight.
ii) They want a cogently developed essay that is logical.
iii) They want a coherent essay with well-chosen transitional devices.
iv) They also expect an essay that uses varied sentence structure and vocabulary.
v) They expect an essay that is free of mechanical errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization,
grammar and errors in the use of standard written English.
What is a difference between Analysis of Issue and Analysis of Argument in terms of their assumptions and what questions you are trying to answer?
The difference between Analysis of Issue and Analysis of Argument is that
reasonable people could differ on Analysis of Issue, but no reasonable person would absolutely
support something in an Analysis of Argument question. When you are doing Analysis of Argument
questions, look for reasoning fallacies.
What are the two main objectives that you are trying to address in analyze an argument essays?
1. You should critique the argument. Discuss whether you think it's
convincing or not and explain why.

2. Spot weak links in the argument and offer changes that would
strengthen them.
What should you avoid doing in analysis of an argument essays?
avoid personal opinions.
What common questions should you ask yourself about the essay in analysis of argument essays?
※ What is the argument's conclusion?
※ What is the basis of the author's conclusion?
※ Do you find the argument persuasive? What makes it persuasive or not persuasive?
※ What could be done to strengthen the argument?
※ What assumptions does the argument rely upon? (there should be several)
What are 13 common logical errors that you should look out for in analysis of an argument essays?
1. circular reasoning
2. biased-sample fallacy
3. Insufficient sample fallacy
4. Ad hominem
5. Fallacy of faulty analogy
6. straw man
7. The "After This, Therefore, Because of This" Fallacy (Post hoc ergo propter hoc)
8. Either-or thinking
9. "All things are equal" fallacy
10. fallacy of equivocation (ambiguity)
11. Non sequitor (does not follow)
12. Argumentum ad populum (solely using popular opinion to argue your point)
13. Irrational appeals




1. Circular reasoning: an unsubstantiated assertion is used to justify another unsubstantiated assertion, which is used or could be used to justify the first statement.

2. Biased-Sample Fallacy: The data
drawn and used to make a generalization is drawn from a group that does not represent the whole.

3. Insufficient sample fallacy:
an inadequate sample is used
to justify the conclusion drawn.

4. Ad hominen: an
attack that is made upon a person rather than upon the statements that person has made.

5. Fallacy of faulty analogy:
Reasoning by analogy functions by comparing two similar things. Because they are alike in
various ways, the fallacy is that it is likely they will share another trait as well. Faulty Analogy
arguments draw similarities between the things compared that are not relevant to the characteristic
being inferred in the conclusion.

6. Straw Man: when a person is portrayed as someone that they are not. i.e. the speaker attributes an argument to an opponent that does not represent the
opponent's true position.

7. The "After This, Therefore, Because of This" Fallacy (Post hoc ergo propter hoc): something is associated with something else because
of mere proximity of time. The error in arguments that commit this fallacy is that their conclusions are
causal claims that are not sufficiently substantiated by the evidence.

8. Either-or Thinking: The argument assumes that there are only two possible alternatives open to us.
There is no room for a middle ground.

9. The "All Things are Equal" Fallacy: This fallacy is committed when it is assumed without justification that background
conditions have remained the same at different times/locations. In most instances this is an
unwarranted assumption for the simple reason that things rarely remain the same over extended
periods of time, and things rarely remain the same from place to place.

10. The Fallacy of Equivocation: when a word or phrase that has more than one meaning
is employed in different meanings throughout the argument.

11. Non Sequitor: the conclusion does not follow from the
premise.

12. Argumentum ad populum: the belief that truth can be determined by more or less putting it
to a vote.

13. Irrational appeals: These urge us to accept ideas at face value or on some basis other than their reasonableness.
in analysis of an argument, what 3 points should you make in your introductory (first) paragraph?
▲ Briefly restate the argument.
▲ Briefly trace the argument's line of reasoning.
▲ Indicate the extent to which the argument is logically convincing.
▲ If possible, sum up your arguments in one sentence (or two brief sentences).
In analysis of an argument essays, What are 3 points to make in your 2nd & 3rd (example) paragraphs?
In the first body paragraph your goal is to critique one of the following:
▲ The reasoning of the argument
▲ One of the premises of the argument
▲ One of the assumptions of the argument
in analysis of an argument, what should the 2nd last paragraph cover?
IIn this paragraph (optional) you acknowledge a competing viewpoint or counter-argument (and
rationale and/or examples that support it), and then provide rebuttals to further support your
position. In this paragraph you walk a tightrope, you must acknowledge the counter-argument, but
yet deny it immediately in the next sentence and use that denial to strengthen your own argument.
▲ Acknowledge a different viewpoint or a counter-argument.
▲ Provide rationale and/or examples that support it.
▲ Provide a rebuttal.
in analysis of an argument, what should the final paragraph cover?
In the final paragraph your goals are to:
▲ Summarize your critique of the argument
▲ State the main point of your essay
in analysis of an argument essays, give the steps for attacking it, some questions to ask yourself, and how much time you should allocate for each.
Step 1: Dissect the issue/argument (2 minutes)
a. What is the topic and scope of the argument?
b. what is the arguments conclusion?
c. what is the evidence?
d. summarize the argument.
e. How does the argument use its evidence?

Step 2: Select the points you will make (5 minutes)
a. Does the argument make any assumptions? Are there any gaps between evidence and conclusions?
b. Under what circumstances would these assumptions be valid?

Step 3: Organize (1 minute)
write out the outline:
a. State a clear thesis for the essay.
b. Make each heading correspond to a paragraph.
c. Make sure that there are at least five paragraphs.
d. Make sure that each heading corresponds to a topic sentence.
e. Be sure that there is a beginning and ending paragraph, which tie the essay together.

Step 4: Type your essay (20 minutes)
Write your paragraphs in the essay with great care.
a. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence, which relates to the central idea of the entire
essay.
b. Everything in each paragraph should support the idea in the topic sentence of the paragraph in
(4a) above. For each paragraph, state an idea then give examples to support the idea or explain the
idea completely.

Step 5: Proofread the essay (2 minutes)
What are methods to use in order to get the maximum grade from the electronic grader?
1.Make your essay highly rigid in structure. Make it look, in its organization, like other 5 and
6 essays.
2.Clearly demarcate sections using phrases such as "for example", "therefore", etc..
3.Use qualifiers judiciously. The E-rater will associate careful use of qualifiers with high
scorers.
4.Read 20 Real Essays essays to get a flavor for how "6" score writing is done.
5.Use the exact terminology in identify logical reasoning
flaws in the Argument Section.
What are things to avoid that will ruin your score with the electronic grader?
1. Write an essay in a unique and creative fashion. The E-rater will be evaluating you relative to
other writers, so a unique argument structure will always backfire.
2. Misspell key phrases, such as "for example" and "therefore". The E-rater will not pick this up
and assume that you did not use transition phrases.
3. Throw in jokes and other unneeded commentary. The E-rater will not detect the meaning under
your writing, only its structure, so making clever comments will not raise your score.
4. Use unusual references that no other business school student would use. The E-rater uses other
scorers as a template based on how well you resemble other scorers. On the Analysis of Issue
question, if you do use unusual examples, try to use concept keywords and a tight structure.
5. Avoid or overuse qualifiers such as "likely", "should", etc.. (link to qualifiers). Smart people use
qualifiers, which means the high scorers in the E-rater's database will be filled with essays
saturated with qualifiers. However, do not overuse qualifiers or it will dilute your essay.
6. Use a unique and clever rhetorical device that spices up your essay.
7. Follow Steve Jobs' clever advertising campaign for Apple "Think Different". For the AWA it is
"Think the Same". You want to write as "6" scorers write. The Analysis of Issue section, in
particular, is an exercise in conformity. Write opinions in the mainstream of intellectual thought.
What are some points on writing style?
a. avoid fill sentences
b. be concise
c. use qualifications but don't weaken your argument. balance!
d. Start strong. try not to begin a sentence with "There are", "There is", or "it is".
d. Use the active voice
e. avoid self references
f. avoid redundancy
g. avoid vague writing, don't just ramble on. Each sentence should have a point and not force the reader to guess what you mean.
h. Avoid cliches
i. Avoid jargon: avoid specialized vocabulary of a group, such as doctors, lawyers, coaches, etc.. Also avoid overly inflated and complex language. Do not use big words if they don't fit the tone or context of your essay. Also avoid corporate or business school jargon.
Keep these phrases inside of big glass buildings (replace them with the words in parenthesis):
􀁺 optimize
􀁺 time frame
􀁺 utilize (use)
􀁺 finalize (end, complete)
􀁺 conceptualize (imagine, think)
􀁺 maximize
􀁺 originate (start, begin)
􀁺 facilitate (help, speed up)
􀁺 bottom line
􀁺 parameter (boundary, limit)
􀁺 user-friendly (responsive, flexible, easy-to-understand)
􀁺 input/output
􀁺 blindside
􀁺 downside
􀁺 ongoing (continuing)
j:
what can you use in place of a semicolon?
you could use a comma and a conjunction in place of the semicolon
/ 30
Term:
Definition:
Definition:

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