It’s not always easy to recognise an ambiguity within an argument. Check out this common flaw in GMAT AWA section and find out how to attack it!
In this video, Kevin from Magoosh presents a common flaw within an argument from the AWA writing section of the GMAT test.
What to look for
The words you should be looking for are defined as big terminology. When you are analysing an argument, keep an eye out for big words such as “some”, “more”, “less”, “many” and “few”. The reason they are called “big” is simply because they don’t give a precise meaning of the statement. They could be interpreted in many ways, if there is no clear explanation of the exact meaning. This means that there’s potentially a flaw in the argument.
What to do
In order to prevent confusion, you should talk about the range of meaning. As there are lots of ways to interpret these big words, give information about what you are referring to exactly. Make a statement about the imprecision of the words and say that you can’t draw conclusions if you aren’t sure what the words mean exactly.
To make it clearer, Kevin gives an example argument from an IT department memo. The argument states that by making people more efficient, you’ll generate more profit. Respectively, if you improve IT, you’ll have more efficiency. The conclusion is that you should invest in IT in order to maximise efficiency and increase profit margin.
Obviously, the big word in this case is “more”. You need to indicate exactly how much efficiency you need in order to have more profit. You need actual numbers. If you suggest that IT can complete a certain task in two hours, instead of two and a half hours, you’re increasing the efficiency by only 30 minutes. Would this be enough to generate a greater deal of profit? And more importantly, how much more profit is this change going to lead to exactly? Without knowing these facts, it is very hard to know if it’s really worth investing in this field and, therefore, it’s hard to draw a precise conclusion. To make that argument stronger, you have to know how much more efficiency you need to really achieve meaningful profit.
Check out: The Most Challenging GMAT Questions