Sample Response to GMAT AWA Argument Questions
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 speaker concluded that department stores should replace some of
their products intended to attract the younger consumer with those
intended to attract the middle-aged consumer. The argument is based on
the following two facts: 1) the middle-age consumers devote more percent
of their retail expenditure to department store than do younger
consumers; and 2) the number of middle-aged people will increase
dramatically in the next decade. The above argument omits some paramount
items that must be involved in the reasoning process; therefore, it does
not constitute a logical argument in favor of the conclusion and it
certainly is not persuasive and sound.
First, it is questionable that middle-aged consumers will increase
greatly within the next decade. According to the above argument, one can
not get the conclusion that the middle-aged consumers will increase
during the next decade. The population of the present young people
should be presented. If now the number of younger people surpasses the
number of middle-aged people greatly, then one can get the above
conclusion. If not, the conclusion is wrong. The above article gives its
reader the impression that middle-aged customers will increase just
because the young people will become middle-aged patronages in ten
years. So, it is illogical.
Second, the author assumes that the average expenditure to department
store products and service of middle-aged customers is greater than
those of young ones. In fact, young people usually spend more money than
older ones. So, if the author wants to convince others that the opposite
is right, he must present related information or data collected in some
In summary, the article leaves out the paramount issues mentioned above.
Hence it is not thorough or convincing. If it had included persuasive
information that could eliminate its readers' doubts, it would have been
more sound and compelling.