Gre Argument Essay Sample Solution

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GRE Analytical Writing Argument Essay Topic - 141

The following appeared in the health section of Glenntown's local newspaper.

"Several national medical studies suggest that older people who have pets tend to enjoy better health than those who do not have pets: those who have pets have lower rates of high blood pressure and arthritis. It seems clear that having to care for an animal promotes good health for the older person. Therefore, Glenntown should establish a program to give a small pet such as a dog or cat to all of its citizens who are over the age of 65. This will help to insure that our senior citizens enjoy good health and have fewer medical bills."

GRE AWA Analytical Writing Argument Essay Sample Solution - 141

The given argument arrives at the conclusion that a program should be established in Glenntown wherein all citizens above the age of 65 should be given a small pet. The arguer claims that such a program would lead to good health for all the senior citizens of Glenntown and they will have lesser medical bills. The argument is supported by the results of several national medical studies that have indicated that older people who keep pets report lower rates of high blood pressure and arthritis. However, the results of the national medical studies are questionable as they fail to sound convincing enough. Therefore, a close study of the argument reveals several flaws that render the argument unconvincing.

It is true to an extent that keeping pets may indeed be beneficial for health as a pet would demand physical movement which would eventually promote good health. However, physical exercise is not the only pre-requisite for good health. Elderly citizens may have to undergo dietary restrictions like avoiding junk food with high fat content and increasing their intake of nutritious meals in order to keep themselves healthy. Moreover, there are various other aspects of health other than blood pressure and arthritis that have to be considered before one can be termed as a healthy person. For instance, an elderly citizen needs to have his cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control if he has to maintain his good health. Therefore, assuming that lower rates of high blood pressure and arthritis means that the older people are healthy is highly unconvincing. The arguer needs to present other health related data of the older people who keep pets in order to prove that they are indeed healthy.

A major lacuna in the argument is that it does not provide the statistics related to the age of the people who were a part of the national medical studies. Unless it is specifically mentioned that the older people being referred to in the results are more than 65 years of age, the recommendation being made by the arguer is not justified. This is because the recommendation has been specifically made for the citizens who are more than 65 years of age. Moreover, there is no mention of the types of pets that were kept by the healthy people who were a part of the national medical studies. It is likely that those people kept pets other than cats and dogs.

Additionally, the argument does not specifically state the proportion of people from Glenntown who had participated in the medical studies. As the medical studies have been carried out across the nation, it is necessary to know the number of people above 65 years of age from Glenntown who participated in the survey. Unless these statistics are available, it would be unfair to assume that the elder people of Glennville would show similar results as those indicated by the national medical studies if they are provided with pets. Therefore, it can be seen that the argument lacks crucial evidence that can support the recommendation made.

The arguer completely ignores the fact that people may get unduly stressed with pets in the house. There may be a requirement of training the pet so that it does not litter in the house and does not bring diseases into the home. There may be people who have never kept pets in their lives and suddenly entrusting them with pets at this old age may aggravate their health further due to undue stress. Moreover, the arguer fails to provide sufficient evidence that can establish a direct link between reduction of medical bills and good health. It is likely that maintaining one's health by going for regular checkups, treatments and having vitamin supplements may actually raise the medical bills.

In conclusion, the argument is flawed in several respects. It could have been strengthened by providing more details of the medical studies. These details should have proved that the overall health of the elderly people of Glenntown would be benefited by keeping pets as blood pressure and arthritis are not the only criteria for determining the state of one's health.

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Now that we’ve identified the assumption it is time to write the essay. However, there are a few preliminaries. One thing of note: you do not need to come up with as many assumptions as possible. Three or four is enough to build a solid essay on. And remember, you need to be persuasive, so do not simply list your assumptions without pointing out why they are assumptions and how they weaken the argument.

Also, do not at any point suggest that the argument has any merits. ETS has provided an argument that is full of unstated assumptions. You are to identify these logical gaps and, per the instructions, elaborate on how these unwarranted assumptions affect the argument.

Speaking of the insructions, I think it is important to reproduce them here, before we go on with the essay:

SuperCorp recently moved its headquarters to Corporateville. The recent surge in the number of homeowners in Corporateville prove that Corporateville is a superior place to live then Middlesburg, the home of SuperCorp’s current headquarters. Moreover, Middleburg is a predominately urban area and according to an employee survey, SuperCorp has determined that its workers prefer to live in an area that is not urban. Finally, Corporateville has lower taxes than Middlesburg, making it not only a safer place to work but also a cheaper one. Therefore, Supercorp clearly made the best decision.

“Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.”

With that out of the way, let’s start with the Intro. The Intro should be short and sweet. In fact, the intro for the Argument should really not contain any novel ideas. You simply want to say that the argument is unwarranted for a number of reasons. If you find yourself hung up on the intro, write it at the end. The key to the essay is the body, in which you identify the unwarranted assumptions. You do not want to waste precious minutes fiddling about with the Intro.



The argument makes a number of unwarranted assumptions regarding the corporation’s proposed move from Middleburg to Corporateville . Taken as a whole, these unstated assumptions render the argument highly suspect. Indeed, if these unstated assumptions do not hold true, then the argument totally falls apart.

Next we have the body paragraphs, in which you will point out the unstated assumptions that render the argument invalid. You can lump all into one massive paragraph or you can—as I do here—spread them into three paragraphs, one for each unstated assumption.


Paragraph #1:

The argument assumes that the increase in homeowners is directly correlated with improved living, or, as the argument states, “a superior place to live.” Housing could simply be cheaper, causing an influx of people. That is the increase of population does not mean that everybody wants to live in Corporateville because it is such a great place. Indeed low-priced housing and overcrowding clearly would make Corporatville a less superior place to live.

Notice how I ended the argument by referring back to what the instructions asked us to do: “Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.”


Body Paragraph #2

Another unstated assumption the argument makes is that what is superior for residents is the same as what is superior for corporations. Thus, even if everybody wants to move to Corporateville because it is a superior place to live, that doesn’t mean it is a superior place for a company to move its headquarters. For instance, perhaps Corporateville has an excellent public school system and/or natural parks. Neither of these would make Corporateville a superior place for a corporation. Unless the argument can show that there is clear reason that Corporateville is superior to Middletown for a corporation, then the corporation could be making the wrong decision in moving to Corporateville.


Body Paragraph #3

For this body paragraph, I would focus on the survey. This is probably the strongest unstated assumption remaining (the survey is a valid measure). However, you can choose to focus on taxes or urban vs. non-urban. Do not, however, try to jam all the assumptions. Your focus is to show that the essay makes many unproven assumptions and is thus invalid. Pointing out several assumptions is enough. Unless you have time, do not be exhaustive.



Like the intro, the conclusion should be short and sweet. Do not add new information; simply give a brief summary of what you’ve already said. Something along the lines of:

The argument makes a number of unstated assumptions that seriously undermine its validity. Unless these assumptions are addressed the argument falls apart, and the corporation could very well make a major mistake shifting operations from Middleburg to Corporateville.


The above provides a rough template to help you create a compelling essay for the Argument portion of the Revised GRE Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA).


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