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Argument practice

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Argument practice [#permalink] New post 29 Aug 2016, 11:28
I have just started practicing analytical writing. This is my first argument task that asked me to find another explanation. I found it a little bit hard with the topic given. Thanks in advance for any comment that help me strengthened my writing skill!!

The following appeared as part of a letter to the editor of a scientific journal.
"A recent study of eighteen rhesus monkeys provides clues as to the effects of birth order on an individual's levels of stimulation. The study showed that in stimulating situations (such as an encounter with an unfamiliar monkey), firstborn infant monkeys produce up to twice as much of the hormone cortisol, which primes the body for increased activity levels, as do their younger siblings. Firstborn humans also produce relatively high levels of cortisol in stimulating situations (such as the return of a parent after an absence). The study also found that during pregnancy, first-time mother monkeys had higher levels of cortisol than did those who had had several offspring."
Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.

The author argument that firstborn humans have different individual’s levels of stimulation is flawed. In the argument, the author only mention monkey studies in stimulating situations and one study about firstborn human and pregnancy period. In doing so, the author fails to consider research in other field psychology.

The underlying study of rhesus monkeys state that firstborn infant monkeys produce twice as much of the hormone cortisol as their siblings, when this evidence of eighteen monkey is unwarranted. Another explanation is that monkeys and humans react differently on an encounter with an unfamiliar monkey, because humans have a different rational thinking.

The second study is based on firstborn humans and women during pregnancy. In the first case, firstborn humans may have more experiences than their sibling. For example, the return of a parent after an absence might be different for both depending on how attach are with that relative. Psychology studies with twins found interesting results about individual levels of stimulation. In the second case, mothers who had had several offspring could have learn how to control hormone cortisol with their firstborn child.

The argument could be strengthened if the editor provided information regarding other field as psychology. As it stands, however, the argument is flawed for the reasons indicated.
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Re: Argument practice [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2016, 06:36
Your response is pretty good but you've got some problems with grammar. Not sure whether this is because you were typing fast or your English isn't really good, but when you are submitting any piece of writing, proofread it. You can use various tools for that (hemingway app, essay editing, grammarly, etc). Usually, even if your work is great, shows great insight into the topic, grammar mistakes will diminish all the efforts you put into writing the whole piece.
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Re: Argument practice [#permalink] New post 17 Oct 2016, 08:00
I agree here are some grammar mistakes but overall you did a good job and I think when you are writing this thing on the actual exam, you'll be paying more attention to such mistakes unless you will be running out of time which I hope you won't. Good luck!
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Re: Argument practice [#permalink] New post 13 Dec 2016, 04:09
You worked pretty good on this task. But try to extend a little bit with this info. It is also from Argument Practice and contains brainstar arguments. Agree with comments above...you have some grammar mistakes. Do you know any friend who might proofread it? Also you may find people who will help you with editing mistakes. And good luck!
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Re: Argument practice [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2016, 08:22
mnromero,

Lets review your response before I post my version of it.

I would say it is a good response which meets the requirements of the task at hand. So well done! There are however some grammatical errors and minor errors in your logic which can take away some value out of your response. Don't be demoralized by the number of changes suggested, just take it in your stride and as part of your learning curve. See below:
Key:
Underlined letters/words are additions,
Bold letters/words are deletions/modifications
Letters/words in Italics are my explanation/suggestion

The author's argument that firstborn humans have different individual’s levels of stimulation is flawed. In the argument, the author only mentions monkey studies in stimulating situations and one study about firstborn human and pregnancy period (It is nowhere mentioned in the passage that only one study was conducted so I recommend modifying that phrase to something like evidence for substantial studies of first born humans have not been shown thereby making the claim less convincing) . In doing so, the author fails to consider research in other fields of psychology.

The underlying study of rhesus monkeys states that firstborn infant monkeys produce twice as much of the hormone cortisol as their siblings, when this evidence of eighteen monkeys is unwarranted. Another explanation is that monkeys and humans react differently on an encounter with an unfamiliar monkey(situation would be a better word to use in place of monkey), because humans have a different (an evolved would be a better word to use) rational thinking.

The second study is based on firstborn humans and women during pregnancy. In the first case, firstborn humans may have more experiences than their sibling. For example, the return of a parent after an absence might be different for both depending on how attached they are with that relative. Psychology studies with twins found interesting results about individual levels of stimulation (This is a fact not presented in the argument. So it would be good to cite the source of the information and also the interesting result you are talking about). In the second case, mothers who had had several offspring could have learnt how to control hormone cortisol with their firstborn child.(you are not required to provide the rationale for a claim in the argument)

The argument could be strengthened if the editor provided information regarding other fields as psychology. As it stands, however, the argument is flawed for the reasons indicated.

My solution:

The author through the above argument is trying to establish a co-relation between birth order and the level of stimulation in monkeys and extending the concept to humans as well. In my opinion, the sample size of the monkeys (18 Rhesus) is not large enough to come to this conclusion. Moreover the study should be conducted with more variables such as other species of monkeys; other primates such as orangutans, gorillas etc; under many more stimulating situations to fully ascertain this conclusion. The claim that 1st born humans exhibit similar behavior must be substantiated by scientific evidence. And when it comes to humans, the variables to be taken into consideration are many more such as social conditioning of the child, the child's ability to think rationally etc. I would say that more evidence and scientific backing is needed to make the authors claim more plausible and convincing.
Re: Argument practice   [#permalink] 17 Dec 2016, 08:22
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Argument practice

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