The other essay is Analysis of an Argument, where you'll be asked
to critique the reasoning of an argument presented in the topic
paragraph, pointing out its weaknesses and suggesting ways to
improve it and/or information that would help you better
evaluate it. Here's a typical example:
The following appeared
as part of the quarterly financial report of a major
multinational manufacturing company.
"Despite the unexpected $100 million loss we posted for
the quarter and the resulting price slump in company stock,
shareholders should be bullish about the company's immediate
future and use the slump as an opportunity to buy additional
shares. The market as a whole, as shown by the recent
performance of both the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq indexes,
continues to climb and inflation is projected to stay low.
Furthermore, our planned $250 million factory investment scheme
will give us a manufacturing capacity greater than what our
competitors currently have. Finally, the new management team has
a great track record in their prior work consulting for the
financial services industry. The Board expects them to return us
to profitability very quickly."
Explain how logically convincing you find this argument.
In your explanation, analyze the argument's line of reasoning
and its use of evidence. You should consider explaining what, if
anything, would make the argument more valid or convincing, or
would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
Ask yourself, What's the author's claim/point? - "Buy our
stock even though it isn't performing well now". Then ask, What
does the author provide as evidence to try and convince me? -
"markets are going up. Inflation is supposed to stay low. Our
investment will give us greater capacity. The author's argument.
You must therefore identify and dismantle each to earn your
score - the more completely you do so, the higher your score.
Note: Either essay could be the first you'll see on the test
day, so read the instructions carefully and write accordingly.
The test makers understand 30 minutes is a very brief time to
compose and write, so the essays don't need to be very long. Aim
for 300 words each. Note that you must finish the first essay
before the computer will allow you to move on to the second.
When you've completed both (or run out of time), you'll be given
a five minute break and can leave the test room to stretch your