Saturday, May 30, 2009

AWA - Argument 2

"Professor Taylor of Jones University is promoting a model of foreign language instrucion in which students receive 10 weeks of intensive training,then go abroad to live with families for 10 weeks.The superiority of the model,Profesor Taylor contends,is proved by the results of a study in which foreign language tests given to students of 25 other colleges show that first-year foreign language students at Jones speak more fluently after only 10 to 20 weeks in the program than do nine out of 10 foreign language majore elsewhere at the time of their graduation."


The argument regarding the effectiveness of the foreign language instruction model followed at Jones University is weak owing to the kind of evidence used, the assumptions involved and weak reasoning. But by providing the details of the intensive training model and proper use of evidence the argument can be strengthened.

When we take a look at the reasoning presented in the argument we can see that Prof. Taylor contentds that a 10 week training program followed by a 10 week stay abroad will definitely improve the foreign language hold of the students. He misleadingly tries to convine us that a mere stay in abroad will improve langauge. In stating that he assumes that a student staying abroad will only be talking in the language of that country and not English or any other universal language.

In addition,the argument assumes that the students entering Jones Universty and other colleges are all at the same linguistic intellectual level. This may not be the case always. For ex. Jones University might have a difficult entry level lingustic test for the students of the course. The students who clear this test are sure to be equipped with prior forein language learning skills. It would be wrong to compare their learning curves with those of the normal students in other universities. Another assumption is that Prof Taylor thinks that same resources , like teachers or library books which enhance learning, are available to students of Jones as well as other colleges.

When it comes to using the evidence to prove his argument,Prof Taylor says that Jones University students who just finished 10 weeks of first year course are much better than graduates of other colleges.But this point doesn't prove that the particular model's 10 week intensive program or the 10 week stay abraod was carried out in the initial 10 weeks of Jones course.

Inspite of the above fallacies, the argument can be made strong by including details about the contents of the course followed in the 10 week intensive program.To name a few details of the pratice tests, guest lectures, foreign-language phonetic classes etc. Another means of evidence would be if the prof can prove that the same model followed taught to students picked from other universities shows improvement in their foreign language skills.

As can be seen from the above points we can conclude that the argument is inherently weak but can be strengthened by providing appropriate evidence and reasoning.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Useful GMAT sites

Apart from the well-known GMAT sites like,, hellaslist,totalgadha etc etc I came across a couple of sites that I've not heard of before. These turned out to be really good , esepcially the site This site has a huge inventory of podcasts , mostly interviews of experts. This is promisingly useful to both beginners as well as post-MBA folks.

Also useful was

AWA - Issue 2

"All companies should invest heavilyin advertising because high-quality advertising can sell almost any product or service".
Today's competitive market demands massive advertising on the part of every business that intends to attract customers and stay alive.But it is wrong to assume that adverrtising alone helps the sales of a product or service.

On the positive side a lot of advertising can help companies newly launching a product.But in the case of an old product,its quality and the extent it meets the expectations of the customers are what determine the prodcut sales.For ex. when the Snuggie was launched last winter we heard about its cheap price and free offers on Tv,radio and everywhere.The omnipresent advertisements of Snuggie helped its sales in the beginning. But when people discovered the extra chanrges that came under the head of 'shipping' a wrong review of the product passed in the market and hence resulted in drastic reduction of its sales.

Another effect of concentrated investment in advertising alone is that it will raise the expectations of the customers. When accompanied by a lack of investment in product development such expectations will see failure. Thus,inspite of huge advertising,a company will see diminishing sales.

In addition to the above,excessive advertising can have negative effects as well.A recent survey showed that repeated advertising about a product propogates a neagative vibe about the product.The consumers interviewed in the survey expressed that repeated advertising of a product makes them feel insecure about its durability and quality. Hence they don't considering buying it at all.

As can be seen by the detailed analysis of the issue, carried above,advertising alone will not help sales of a product or service and in fact might turn out bad for business.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

AWA - Argument 1

I tok 31 and not 30 minutes to finish this.
I feel this could have been improved in terms of organization.
I wish I Could write 4 paras and not 3
I wanted to bring out the flaw in saying 25 yrs wasn't enough to gain experienc.
Din't do that, lost time.

Following are the points that the test asked and I followed
Analyse the reasoning and use of evidence - I did by citing the wrong comparision of diff. industries
Assumptions - I discussed
Alternative explanation to improve the argument - Last para

Couldn't do
Couldn't evaluate its conclusion clearly

The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods , a processer 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 3X5 print fell from 50 cents for 5 day service in 1970 to 20 cents for 1 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 the costs and thus maximizing profits."

The argument "over time, with experience, the processing costs will come down owing to a company's learning of better techniques and thus increase profits" is limited by its failure to consider various factors,other than experience, contributing in improving the company's profits. In addition it misleads the audience by trying to convince them that the same business rules and markets prevail in film processing and food processing industires;which is as good as comparing apples with oranges.

Our argument is further falwed by the assumptions it makes when citing the above mentioned points.First it assumes that profits can be maximized by reducing processing costs. It fails to consider other ways of achieving good profits. Profits can be improved not just be reducing processing costs but also by minimizing other costs, to name a few ,associated with inventory and labour management. Second it assumes that the cost reduction in film processing can be replicated in food processing. It fails to understand that these are two different industries. In addition it fails to understand that there might have been technological advances in the film processing area that would have enabled this cited cost reduction and wrongly assumes that experience of the film processing industries reduced their costs.

The argument can become more sound if it provides more information or evidence that can refute the above mentioned flaws.For instance , if it can provide company expenditure details and prove that the major costs associated with the company are those in the area of processing alone, it can justify it's concentration on those costs alone. Also, if it can show the improvement in the company's profits with each 10 year or 5 year period, it would make sense in saying that experience tends to improve the profitability of the company.

AWA - Issue 1

Anal of Issue

In some countries TV and radio are carefully censored for offensive language and behaviour.In other countries, there is little or no censroship.

In your view, to what extent should govt. or any other group be able to censor TV or radio programs? Explain , giving relevant reasons and/or examples to support your position.

In the current day Tv , radio and other media have become integral part of our lives.
We watch TV at our dinner tables. We listen to radio on our drive to work. We look at them to know what is happening around us.With such a considerable period of a day spent with the media , it is impossible not to have their mark left on us. As a result any idea repeated or removed from the media may in turn will root into or erase out of our minds and morals. With this understood I believe that excessive presence or absolute absence of censorship should be avoided and an ideal balance of censorship should be followed.

Let's take an example. Suppose the Iranian censor board decided to cut the scenes,that hail the feminist ideas, from the movie 'The Color Purple'. The whole point of the movie would then be lost. Without its feminist ideas this particular movie is very less meaningful. And by censoring the movie this way the Iranina Censor Board is stopping the florishment of feminism in Iran. Does that sound right to you? It doesn't to me.

If that doesn't convince you, let's take another example. If the govt. of India decides to air national Telivison programs promoting Conservative Christianity and criticizing Protestants , isn't it equivalent to controlling the religious beliefs of its citizens? Yes it is and it should not be allowed in a democracy.

Inspite of the criticism of the censor board I've carried so far, I still understand its importance in today's world. After all I can't go to a War movie like 'Behind Enemy Lines' with my kids without being informed that it was censored for the violent content. Neither can I let my children watch True TV without the removal of swearing from the various every day incidents shown in its programs.

We have just seen a couple of examples each telling us that censorship by government or any authority is wrong at times and right at others. Hence I feel that just as any other resource, it should be subject to limited use driven by a need for it.