English Proficiency Test Solutions

GMAT ANALYTICAL WRITING EXAM TIPS WITH TEST SAMPLE QUESTIONS AND SAMPLE ANSWERS

Analytical Writing Assessment in GMAT

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) consists of one 30-minute writing task called the Analysis

of an Argument. In this section, you must read a brief argument, analyze the reasoning behind it, and

then write a critique of the argument. You are not asked to state your opinion but rather to analyze

the one given. For example, you may, consider what questionable assumptions underlie the author’s

thinking, what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion, or what sort of evidence could help strengthen or refute the argument.

For this task, you will use the computer keyboard to type your response. You will be able to use typical word-processing functions-that is, you can cut, copy, paste, undo, and redo. These functions can be accessed either by using the keyboard or by using the mouse to click on icons on the screen. You will be able to take notes when planning your response. It is important that you plan carefully before you begin writing. Read the specific analytical writing task several times to make sure you understand exactly what is expected. Think about how you might present your analysis. You may want to sketch an outline to help you plan and organize. Keep in mind the 30-minute time limit as you plan your response-keep your analysis brief enough to allow for plenty of time to write a first draft, read it over carefully, and make any necessary corrections or revisions before you run out of time. As you write, try to keep your language clear, your sentences concise, and the flow of your ideas logical. State your premise clearly at the beginning, and make sure you present a strong conclusion at the end.

1. What Is ASSESSED

The Analytical Writing Assessment is designed as a direct measure of your ability to think critically

and communicate your ideas. More specifically, the Analysis of an Argument task tests your ability to

formulate an appropriate and constructive critique of a prescribed conclusion based upon a specific line of thinking The argument that you will analyze may concern a topic of general interest, possibly related to business, or to a variety of other subjects. It is important to note, however, that no Analysis of an Argument question presupposes any specific knowledge of business or other specific content areas. Only your capacity to write analytically is assessed.

Professional essay raters, including college and university faculty members from various subject-matter areas, including but not limited to management education, will evaluate your essay. For information on how readers are qualified. Readers are trained to be sensitive and fair in evaluating the responses of nonnative speakers of English. A computer scoring program will also evaluate your essays.

Your responses will be scored on the basis of:

• the overall quality of your ideas

• your ability to organize, develop, and express those ideas

• how well you provide relevant supporting reasons and examples

• your ability to control the elements of standard written English

2. Test-Taking Strategies

1. Read the question carefully.

Make sure you have taken all parts of a question into account before you begin to respond to it.

2. Do not start to write immediately.

Take a few minutes to think about the question and plan a response before you begin writing. You

may find it helpful to write a brief outline or jot down some ideas on the erasable notepad provided.

Take care to organize your ideas and develop them fully, but leave time to reread your response and

make any revisions that you think would improve it.

3. Focus on the task of analyzing and critiquing a line of thinking or reasoning.

Get used to asking yourself questions such as the following: What questionable assumptions might

underlie the thinking? What alternative explanations might be given? What counterexamples might be raised? What additional evidence might prove useful in fully and fairly evaluating the reasoning?

4. Develop fully any examples you use.

Do not simply list your examples-explain how they illustrate your point.

5. Discuss alternative explanations or counter examples.

These techniques allow you to introduce illustrations and examples drawn from your observations,

experiences, and reading.

6. Make sure your response reads like a narrative.

Your response should not read like an outline. It should use full sentences, a coherent organizational

scheme, logical transitions between points, and appropriately introduced and developed examples.

3. The Directions

These are the directions that you will see for the Analysis of an Argument essay. If you read them

carefully and understand them clearly before going to sit for the test, you will not need to spend too

much time reviewing them when you take the GMAT® exam. They read as follows:

ANALYSIS OF AN ARGUMENT

In this section, you will be asked to write a critique of the argument presented. You are not asked to

present your own views on the subject.

Writing Your Response: Take a few minutes to evaluate the argument and plan a response before you begin writing. Be sure to leave enough time to reread your response and make any revisions that you think are necessary.

Evaluation of Your Response: Scores will reflect how well you:

• organize, develop, and express your ideas about the argument presented

• provide relevant supporting reasons and examples

• control the elements of standard written English

4 GMAT® Scoring Guide: Analysis of an Argument

Outstanding

A 6 paper presents a cogent, well-articulated critique of the argument and demonstrates mastery of the elements of effective writing.

A typical paper in this category exhibits the following characteristics:

• clearly identifies important features of the argument and analyzes them insightfully

• develops ideas cogently, organizes them logically, and connects them with clear transitions

• effectively supports the main points of the critique

• demonstrates control of language, including diction and syntactic variety

• demonstrates facility with the conventions of standard written English but may have minor flaws

Strong

A 5 paper presents a well-developed critique of the argument and demonstrates good control of the

elements of effective writing.

A typical paper in this category exhibits the following characteristics:

• clearly identifies important features of the argument and analyzes them in a generally thoughtful

way

• develops ideas clearly, organizes them logically, and connects them with appropriate transitions

• sensibly supports the main points of the critique

• demonstrates control of language, including diction and syntactic variety

• demonstrates facility with the conventions of standard written English but may have occasional

flaws

4 Adequate

A 4 paper presents a competent critique of the argument and demonstrates adequate control of the

elements of writing.

A typical paper in this category exhibits the following characteristics:

• identifies and analyzes important features of the argument

• develops and organizes ideas satisfactorily but may not connect them with transitions

• supports the main points of the critique

• demonstrates sufficient control of language to convey ideas with reasonable clarity

• generally follows the conventions of standard written English but may have some flaws

3 Limited

A 3 paper demonstrates some competence in analytical writing skills and in its control of the elements of writing but is plainly flawed.

A typical paper in this category exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:

• does not identify or analyze most of the important features of the argument, although some analysis of the argument is present

• mainly analyzes tangential or irrelevant matters, or reasons poorly

• is limited in the logical development and organization of ideas

• offers support oflittle relevance and value for points of the critique

• does not convey meaning clearly

• contains occasional major errors or frequent minor errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics

2 Seriously Flawed

A 2 paper demonstrates serious weaknesses in analytical writing skills.

A typical paper in this category exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:

• does not present a critique based on logical analysis, but may instead present the writer’s own

views on the subject

• does not develop ideas, or is disorganized and illogical

• provides little, if any, relevant or reasonable support

• has serious and frequent problems in the use of language and in sentence structure

• contains numerous errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics that interfere with meaning

1 Fundamentally Deficient

A 1 paper demonstrates fundamental deficiencies in analytical writing skills.

A typical paper in this category exhibits more than one of the following characteristics:

• provides little evidence of the ability to understand and analyze the argument

• provides little evidence of the ability to develop an organized response

• has severe and persistent errors in language and sentence structure

• contains a pervasive pattern of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics that results in incoherence

0 No Score

A paper in this category is off topic, not written in English, is merely attempting to copy the topic, or

consists only of keystroke characters.

NR Blank

5. Sample: Analysis of an Argument

Read the statement and the instructions that follow it, and then make any notes that will help you plan your response.

The following appeared as part of an article in a daily newspaper:

“The computerized on-board warning system that will be installed in commercial airliners will virtually

solve the problem of midair plane collisions. One plane’s warning system can receive signals from

another’s transponder-a radio set that signals a plane’s course-in order to determine the likelihood of

a collision and recommend evasive action.” 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.

Sample Paper

The argument that this warning system will virtually solve the problem of midair plane collisions

omits some important concerns that must be addressed to substantiate the argument. The statement

that follows the description of what this warning system will do simply describes the system and how

it operates. This alone does not constitute a logical argument in favor of the warning system, and it

certainly does not provide support or proof of the main argument. Most conspicuously, the argument does not address the cause of the problem of midair plane collisions, the use of the system by pilots and flight specialists, or who is involved in the midair plane collisions.

First, the argument assumes that the cause of the problem is that the planes’ courses, the likelihood

of collisions, and actions to avoid collisions are unknown or inaccurate. In a weak attempt to support

its claim, the argument describes a system that makes all of these things accurately known. But if the cause of the problem of midair plane collisions is that pilots are not paying attention to their computer systems or flight operations, the warning system will not solve the collision problem. Second, the argument never addresses the interface between individuals and the system and how this will affect the warning system’s objective of obliterating the problem of collisions. If the pilot or flight specialist does not conform to what the warning system suggests, midair collisions will not be avoided.

Finally, if planes other than commercial airliners are involved in the collisions, the problem of these collisions cannot be solved by a warning system that will not be installed on non-commercial airliners. The argument also does not address what would happen in the event that the warning system collapses, fails, or does not work properly. Because the argument leaves out several key issues, it is not sound or persuasive. If it included the items discussed above instead of solely explaining what the system supposedly does, the argument would have been more thorough and convincing.

Explanation of Score 6

This response is, as the scoring guide requires of a 6, “cogent” and “well-articulated “: all the points made not only bear directly on the argument to be analyzed, but also contribute to a single, integrated development of the writer’s critique. The writer begins by making the controlling point that a mere description of the warning system’s mode of operation cannot serve as a true argument proving the system’s effectiveness, since the description overlooks several major considerations. The writer then identifies these considerations-what causes midair collisions, how pilots will actually use the commercial airline warning system, what kinds of airplanes are typically involved in midair collisions and, citing appropriate counterexamples (e.g., what if pilots do not pay attention to their instruments?), explains fully how each oversight undermines the conclusion that the warning system will virtually eliminate midair plane collisions.

Throughout, the writer complements the logically organized development of this critique with good, clear prose that demonstrates the ability not only to control language and vary sentence structure but also to express ideas forcibly (e.g., “the argument never addresses the interface between individuals and the system”). Of course, as in any response written under time constraints, occasional minor flaws can be found. For example, “the argument assumes that the cause of the problem is that the planes’ courses, the likelihood of collisions, and actions to avoid collisions are unknown or inaccurate” is wordy and imprecise: how can a course, a likelihood, or actions be inaccurate? But flaws such as these, minor and infrequent, do not interfere with the overall clarity and forcefulness of this outstanding response.

Sample Paper 4

The argument is not logically convincing. It does not state whether all planes can receive signals from each other. It does not state whether planes constantly receive signals. If they only receive signals once every certain time interval, collisions will not definitely be prevented. Further if they receive a signal right before they are about to crash, they cannot avoid each other.

The main flaw in the argument is that it assumes that the two planes, upon receiving each other’s

signals, will know which evasive action to take. For example, the two planes could be going towards each other and then receive the signals. If one turns at an angle to the left and the other turns at an angle to the right, the two planes will still crash. Even if they receive an updated signal, they will not have time to avoid each other.

The following argument would be more sound and persuasive. The new warning system will solve the problem of midair plane collisions. Each plane will receive constant, continual signals from each other. If the two planes are headed in a direction where they will crash, the system will coordinate the signals, and tell one plane to go one way, and the other plane to go another way. The new system will ensure that the two planes will turn in different directions so they don’t crash by trying to prevent the original crash. In addition, the two planes will be able to see themselves and the other on a computer screen, to aid in the evasive action.

Explanation of Score 4

This response competently cites a number of deficiencies in the argument presented: the information

given about the nature of the signals sent and received and the evasive action recommended does not warrant the conclusion that the onboard warning system “will virtually solve the problem of midair

plane collisions.” However, in discussing these insufficiencies in the argument, the response reveals an unevenness in the quality of its reasoning. For example, while it is perfectly legitimate to point out that the argument assumes too much and says too little about the evasive action that will be recommended by the warning system, it is farfetched to suggest that the system might be so poorly designed as to route two approaching airplanes to the same spot. Likewise, while it is fair to question the effectiveness of a warning signal about which the argument says so little, it is not reasonable to assume that the system would be designed to space signals so far apart that they would prove useless. Rather than invent implausibly bad versions of the warning system to prove that it might be ineffective, a stronger response would analyze unexplored possibilities inherent in the information that is given-for example, the possibility that pilots might not be able to respond quickly and effectively to the radio signals the argument says they will receive when the new system is installed. The “more sound and persuasive argument” in the last paragraph, while an improvement on the original, continues to overlook this possibility and also assumes that other types of aircraft without transponders will pose no problems.

The organization of ideas, while generally sound, is sometimes weakened by needless repetition of the same points, as in sentences 4 and 5 of the last paragraph. The writing contains minor instances of awkwardness (e.g., “Each plane will receive constant, continual signals from each other” in paragraph 3), but is free of flaws that make understanding difficult. However, though the writing is generally clean and clear, the syntax does not show much variety. A few sentences begin with “if ” clauses, but almost all the rest, even those that begin with a transitional phrase such as “for example” or “in addition,” conform to a “subject, verb, complement” pattern. The first paragraph, in which the second and third sentences begin the same way (“It does not state”), is particularly repetitious.

Sample Paper 2

This argument has no information about air collisions. I think most cases happen in new airports

because the air traffic I heavy. In this case sound airport control could solve the problem.

I think this argument is logically reasonable. Its assumption is that plane collisions are caused by planes that don’t know each other’s positions. So pilots can do nothing, if they know each other’s position through the system it will solve the problem. If it can provide evidence the problem is lack of knowledge of each other’s positions, it will be more sound and persuasive. More information about air collisions is helpful, (the reason for air collisions).

Explanation of Score 2

This response is seriously flawed in several ways. First of all, it has very little substance. The writer

appears to make only one point-that while it seems reasonable to assume that midair collisions

would be less likely if pilots were sure of each other’s positions, readers cannot adequately judge this

assumption without more information about where, why, and how such collisions occur. This point,

furthermore, is neither explained by a single reason beyond what is given in the topic nor supported by a single example. Legitimate though it is, it cannot, alone and undeveloped, serve as an adequate response to the argument. Aside from being undeveloped, the response is confusing. At the outset, it seems to be critical of the argument. The writer begins by pointing to the inadequacy of the information given; then speculates, without evidence, that “most cases happen in new airports”; and then suggests that the problem should be addressed by improving “airport control,” not (it is implied) by installing onboard warning systems.

After criticizing the argument in the first paragraph, the writer confusingly seems to endorse it in the

second. Then, in the remainder of the response, the writer returns to a critical stance.

The general lack of coherence is reflected in the serious and frequent writing problems that make

meaning hard to determine-for example, the elliptical and ungrammatical “So pilots can do nothing,

if they know each other’s position through the system it will solve the problem” (paragraph 2) or “If it

can provide evidence the problem is lack of knowledge of each other’s positions, it will be more sound and persuasive” (paragraph 3). The prose suffers from a variety of basic errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics.

6 Analysis of an Argument Sample Topics

The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen foods: “Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day service in 1970 to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and thus maximize profits.”

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.

The following appeared in a memorandum from the business department of the Apogee Company:

“When the Apogee Company had all its operations in one location, it was more profitable than it is today. Therefore, the Apogee Company should close down its field offices and conduct all its operations from a single location. Such centralization would improve profitability by cutting costs and helping the company maintain better supervision of all employees.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts:

“In a recent citywide poll, 15 percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago. During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city’s art museums has increased by a similar percentage. Since the corporate funding that supports public television, where most of the visual arts programs appear, is now being threatened with severe cuts, we can expect that attendance at our city’s art museums will also start to decrease. Thus some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in a report presented for discussion at a meeting of the directors of a company that manufactures parts for heavy machinery: “The falling revenues that the company is experiencing coincide with delays in manufacturing. These delays, in turn, are due in large part to poor planning in purchasing metals. Consider further that the manager of the department that handles purchasing of raw materials has an excellent background in general business, psychology, and sociology, but knows little about the properties of metals. The company should, therefore, move the purchasing manager to the sales department and bring in a scientist from the research division to be manager

of the purchasing department.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in an announcement issued by the publisher of The Mercury, a weekly newspaper:

“Since a competing lower-priced newspaper, The Bugle, was started five years ago, The Mercury’s circulation has declined by 10,000 readers. The best way to get more people to read The Mercury is to reduce its price below that of The Bugle, at least until circulation increases to former levels. The increased circulation of The Mercury will attract more businesses to buy advertising space in the paper.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared as part of an article in a magazine devoted to regional life:

“Corporations should look to the city of Helios when seeking new business opportunities or a new location. Even in the recent recession, Helios’s unemployment rate was lower than the regional average. It is the industrial center of the region, and historically it has provided more than its share of the region’s manufacturing jobs. In addition, Helios is attempting to expand its economic base by attracting companies that focus on research and development of innovative technologies.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in the health section of a magazine on trends and lifestyles:

“People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame are better off consuming sugar, since aspartame can actually contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss. For example, high levels of aspartame have been shown to trigger a craving for food by depleting the brain of a chemical that registers satiety, or the sense of being full.

Furthermore, studies suggest that sugars, if consumed after at least 45 minutes of continuous exercise, actually enhance the body’s ability to burn fat. Consequently, those who drink aspartame-sweetened juices after exercise will also lose this calorie-burning benefit. Thus it appears that people consuming aspartame rather than sugar are unlikely to achieve their dietary goals.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in the editorial section of a corporate newsletter: “The common notion that workers are generally apathetic about management issues is false, or at least outdated: a recently published survey indicates that 79 percent of the nearly 1,200 workers who responded to survey

questionnaires expressed a high level of interest in the topics of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in the opinion column of a financial magazine:

“On average, middle-aged consumers devote 39 percent of their retail expenditure to department store products and services, while for younger consumers the average is only 25 percent. Since the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically within the next decade, department stores can expect retail sales to increase significantly during that period. Furthermore, to take advantage of the trend, these stores should begin to replace some of those products intended to attract the younger consumer with products intended to attract the middle aged consumer.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper:

“This past winter, 200 students from Waymarsh State College traveled to the state capitol building to protest against proposed cuts in funding for various state college programs. The other 12,000 Waymarsh students evidently weren’t so concerned about their education: they either stayed on campus or left for winter break. Since the group who did not protest is far more numerous, it is more representative of the state’s college students than are the protesters. Therefore the state legislature need not heed the appeals of the protesting students.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper: “In the first four years that Montoya has served as mayor of the city of San Perdito, the population has decreased and the unemployment rate has increased. Two businesses have closed for each new business that has opened. Under Varro, who served as mayor for four years before Montoya, the unemployment rate decreased and the population increased. Clearly, the residents of San Perdito would be best served if they voted Montoya out of office

and reelected Varro.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared as part of a promotional campaign to sell advertising space in the Daily Gazette to grocery stores in the Marston area: “Advertising the reduced price of selected grocery items in the Daily Gazette will help you increase your sales.

Consider the results of a study conducted last month. Thirty sale items from a store in downtown Marston

were advertised in The Gazette for four days. Each time one or more of the 30 items was purchased, clerks asked whether the shopper had read the ad. Two-thirds of the 200 shoppers asked answered in the affirmative. Furthermore, more than half the customers who answered in the affirmative spent over $100 at the store.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared as part of a campaign to sell advertising time on a local radio station to local businesses:

“The Cumquat Cafe began advertising on our local radio station this year and was delighted to see its business

increase by 10 percent over last year’s totals. Their success shows you how you can use radio advertising to

make your business more profitable.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared as part of a newspaper editorial:

“Two years ago Nova High School began to use interactive computer instruction in three academic subjects. The

school dropout rate declined immediately, and last year’s graduates have reported some impressive achievements

in college. In future budgets the school board should use a greater portion of the available funds to buy more

computers, and all schools in the district should adopt interactive computer instruction throughout the curriculum.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared as a part of an advertisement for Adams, who is seeking re-election as governor:

“Re-elect Adams, and you will be voting for proven leadership in improving the state’s economy. Over the past year

alone, 70 percent of the state’s workers have had increases in their wages, 5,000 new jobs have been created,

and six corporations have located their headquarters here. Most of the respondents in a recent poll said they

believed that the economy is likely to continue to improve if Adams is re-elected. Adams’s opponent, Zebulon,

would lead our state in the wrong direction, because Zebulon disagrees with many of Adams’s economic policies.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared as part of an article in the education section of a Waymarsh city newspaper:

“Throughout the last two decades, those who earned graduate degrees found it very difficult to get jobs teaching

their academic specialties at the college level. Those with graduate degrees from Waymar sh University had

an especially hard time finding such jobs. But better times are coming in the next decade for all academic job

seekers, including those from Waymarsh. Demographic trends indicate that an increasing number of people will

be reaching college age over the next 10 years; consequently, we can expect that the job market will improve

dramatically for people seeking college-level teaching positions in their fields.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in an article in a consumer-products magazine:

“Two of today’s best-selling brands of full-strength prescription medication for the relief of excess stomach acid,

Acid-Ease and Pepticaid, are now available in milder nonprescription forms. Doctors have written 76 million more

prescriptions for full-strength Acid-Ease than for full-strength Pepticaid. So people who need an effective but milder

nonprescription medication for the relief of excess stomach acid should choose Acid-Ease.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following is an excerpt from a memo written by the head of a governmental department:

“Neither stronger ethics regulations nor stronger enforcement mechanisms are necessary to ensure ethical

behavior by companies doing business with this department. We already have a code of ethics that companies

doing business with this department are urged to abide by, and virtually all of these companies have agreed to

follow it. We also know that the code is relevant to the current business environment because it was approved

within the last year, and in direct response to specific violations committed by companies with which we were then

working-not in abstract anticipation of potential violations, as so many such codes are.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared as part of an article in the travel section of a newspaper:

“Over the past decade, the restaurant industry in the country of Spiessa has experienced unprecedented growth.

This surge can be expected to continue in the coming years, fueled by recent social changes: personal incomes

are rising, more leisure time is available, single-person households are more common, and people have a greater

interest in gourmet food, as evidenced by a proliferation of publications on the subject.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in an article in a health and fitness magazine:

“Laboratory studies show that Saluda Natural Spring Water contains several of the minerals necessary for good

health and that it is completely free of bacteria. Residents of Saluda, the small town where the water is bottled,

are hospitalized less frequently than the national average. Even though Saluda Natural Spring Water may seem

expensive, drinking it instead of tap water is a wise investment in good health.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared as part of an editorial in an industry newsletter:

“While trucking companies that deliver goods pay only a portion of highway maintenance costs and no property

tax on the highways they use, railways spend billions per year maintaining and upgrading their facilities. The

government should lower the railroad companies’ property taxes, since sending goods by rail is clearly a more

appropriate mode of ground transportation than highway shipping. For one thing, trains consume only a third of the fuel a truck would use to carry the same load, making them a more cost-effective and environmentally sound mode of transport. Furthermore, since rail lines already exist, increases in rail traffic would not require building new lines at the expense of taxpaying citizens.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in the editorial section of a newspaper:

“As public concern over drug abuse has increased, authorities have become more vigilant in their efforts to

prevent illegal drugs from entering the country. Many drug traffickers have consequently switched from marijuana, which is bulky, or heroin, which has a market too small to justify the risk of severe punishment, to cocaine. Thus enforcement efforts have ironically resulted in an observed increase in the illegal use of cocaine.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in a speech delivered by a member of the city council:

“Twenty years ago, only half of the students who graduated from Einstein High School went on to attend a college

or university. Today, two-thirds of the students who graduate from Einstein do so. Clearly, Einstein has improved

its educational effectiveness over the past two decades. This improvement has occurred despite the fact that the

school’s funding, when adjusted for inflation, is about the same as it was 20 years ago. Therefore, we do not need

to make any substantial increase in the school’s funding at this time.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in a memo from the customer service division to the manager of Mammon Savings and

Loan: “We believe that improved customer service is the best way for us to differentiate ourselves from competitors and attract new customers. We can offer our customers better service by reducing waiting time in teller lines from an average of six minutes to an average of three. By opening for business at 8:30 instead of 9:00, and by remaining open for an additional hour beyond our current closing time, we will be better able to accommodate the busy schedules of our customers. These changes will enhance our bank’s image as the most customer-friendly bank in town and give us the edge over our competition.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

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

“Two years ago, City L was listed fourteenth 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 … etc.

The following appeared in a memorandum from a member of a financial management and consulting firm:

“We have learned from an employee of Windfall, Ltd., that its accounting department, by checking about 10

percent of the last month’s purchasing invoices for errors and inconsistencies, saved the company some $10,000

in overpayments. In order to help our clients increase their net gains, we should advise each of them to institute a

policy of checking all purchasing invoices for errors. Such a recommendation could also help us get the Windfall

account by demonstrating to Windfall the rigorousness of our methods.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in a newspaper editorial:

“As violence in movies increases, so do crime rates in our cities. To combat this problem we must establish a

board to censor certain movies, or we must limit admission to persons over 21 years of age. Apparently our

legislators are not concerned about this issue since a bill calling for such actions recently failed to receive a

majority vote.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper:

“Commuter use of the new subway train is exceeding the transit company’s projections. However, commuter

use of the shuttle buses that transport people to the subway stations is below the projected volume. If the transit

company expects commuters to ride the shuttle buses to the subway rather than drive there, it must either reduce

the shuttle bus fares or increase the price of parking at the subway stations.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following was excerpted from the speech of a spokesperson for Synthetic Farm Products, Inc.:

“Many farmers who invested in the equipment needed to make the switch from synthetic to organic fertilizers and

pesticides feel that it would be too expensive to resume synthetic farming at this point. But studies of farmers who

switched to organic farming last year indicate that their current crop yields are lower. Hence their purchase of organic farming equipment, a relatively minor investment compared to the losses that would result from continued lower crop yields, cannot justify persisting on an unwise course. And the choice to farm organically is financially unwise, given that it was motivated by environmental rather than economic concerns.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in a newspaper story giving advice about investments:

“As overall life expectancy continues to rise, the population of our country is growing increasingly older. For

example, more than 20 percent of the residents of one of our more populated regions are now at least 65 years

old, and occupancy rates at resort hotels in that region declined significantly during the past six months. Because

of these two related trends, a prudent investor would be well advised to sell interest in hotels and invest in

hospitals and nursing homes instead.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared as part of the business plan of an investment and financial consulting firm:

“Studies suggest that an average coffee drinker’s consumption of coffee increases with age, from age 10 through

age 60. Even after age 60, coffee consumption remains high. The average cola drinker’s consumption of cola,

however, declines with increasing age. Both of these trends have remained stable for the past 40 years. Given that

the number of older adults will significantly increase as the population ages over the next 20 years, it follows that

the demand for coffee will increase and the demand for cola will decrease during this period. We should, therefore, consider transferring our investments from Cola Loca to Early Bird Coffee.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following appeared in the editorial section of a West Cambria newspaper:

“A recent review of the West Cambria volunteer ambulance service revealed a longer average response time to

accidents than was reported by a commercial ambulance squad located in East Cambria. In order to provide better

patient care for accident victims and to raise revenue for our town by collecting service fees for ambulance use,

we should disband our volunteer service and hire a commercial ambulance service.”

Discuss how well reasoned … etc.

The following is part of a business plan being discussed at a board meeting of the Perks Company:

“It is no longer cost-effective for the Perks Company to continue offering its employees a g enerous package of

benefits and incentives year after year. In periods when national unemployment rates are low, Perks may need to

offer such a package in order to attract and keep good employees, but since national unemployment rates are

now high, Perks does not need to offer the same benefits and incentives. The money thus saved could be better

used to replace the existing plant machinery with more technologically sophisticated equipment, or even to build

an additional plant.”

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