Welcome to the final installment on writing your argument analysis essay. We covered the introduction and body paragraphs, and now we bring it to a close with conclusions. I’ll cover what to put in your conclusion and end with an example.
Keep it Pithy
As with the introduction to your essay, you should not dwell in the conclusion. The heart of your essay, what really matters toward your score, is in the body paragraphs. Theses should be bulky and in depth, but the conclusion should be short and to the point. Wrap things up in a timely manner so that you can get to business of editing and revising your essay.
Recap the Major Faults
To keep things manageable and short, don’t go into the details. You only need to recap the major problems in the argument. Sometimes it is enough to say that there are major problems in the argument. Ignore the desire to repeat all the main points that you covered in the body paragraphs. This will only take extra space and waste precious time.
Avoid sounding too generic. Many students will regurgitate a line about problems and flaws that sounds like it could be used in any essay. Although I’ve encouraged students to reuse phrases and sentences in the past, I think that this can be taken too far. Students become too generic and don’t even try to make the sentence fit with the essay. So at least take the time to mention aspects of the argument in the conclusion. If it came from a company memo or an editorial in a newspaper, mention that. If it involved a certain company or city, mention the name.
General Recommendations for Success
Finally, recommend a way to achieve the goal stated in the article. As I have said in previous posts, it is important to approach the analysis of the argument as an interested party. You don’t want to be wholly negative. For one, you will write a better analysis if you imagine yourself tied to the argument in some way, and two, the prompt asks you to strengthen the argument. The directions read:
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
I’ve recommended adding a strengthening point to each body paragraph, but now in the conclusion, broaden the suggestion. Find some general evidence that will make the argument more convincing or make it irrefutable. Suggest a change so that the logic stands on firmer ground.
Enough said. Let’s turn these recommendations into an actual paragraph. Below is an actual prompt that might appear on your GMAT. You will find all arguments that can appear on the GMAT on the MBA website.
The following appeared in a memorandum from the director of marketing for a pharmaceutical company:
“According to a survey of 5,000 urban residents, the prevalence of stress headaches increases with educational level, so that stress headaches occur most often among people with graduate-school degrees. It is well established that, nationally, higher educational levels usually correspond with higher levels of income. Therefore, in marketing our new pain remedy, Omnilixir, we should send free samples primarily to graduate students and to people with graduate degrees, and we should concentrate on advertising in professional journals rather than in general interest magazines.”
And here’s a sample conclusion. Although out of place without an essay leading into it, you should be able to get a sense of what was said in the essay and see the major recommendations from above.
After some analysis, the director of marketing has more work to do. Whether the memorandum was hastily drafted or merely meant for brainstorming, it’s clear that the rash assumptions and the confusion between causation and mere correlation will doom this marketing campaign for Omnilixir. Yet sending free samples to potential clients is not a bad idea; the marketing department needs to better identify their target market.
Now you are ready to write your own argument analysis essay. You should have a better sense of what to do in the conclusion, and that’s all. Just because you’ve read about what to do, doesn’t mean you can actually do it. To master the essay, you have to practice. Make writing a regular part of your studies. You don’t even have to write a complete essay. Grab a prompt and practice a body paragraph or an introduction. Set a timer and see if you can write a introduction and conclusion in four minutes or less. Ready. Set. Write!
Happy Studying! 🙂