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GRE Analytical Argument Task: Memo to WWAC station

jackketch 1 / 1  
Oct 19, 2012   #1
I was practicing this section of the GRE exam under simulated GRE conditions and was wondering what score it might have received and if anyone had any advice on getting a higher score. thank you!

The following appeared in a memorandum from the manager of WWAC radio station.
"To reverse a decline in listener numbers, our owners have decided that WWAC must change from its current rock-music format. The decline has occurred despite population growth in our listening area, but that growth has resulted mainly from people moving here after their retirement. We must make listeners of these new residents. We could switch to a music format tailored to their tastes, but a continuing decline in local sales of recorded music suggests limited interest in music. Instead we should change to a news and talk format, a form of radio that is increasingly popular in our area."

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

Adapting to a changing environment is the key to surviving in any domain. This is especially true in the radio business, where the waning interest of your listeners can cause your station to be shut down. While the author proposes changing their format, he or she neglects to provide evidence of their efficacy, and makes several assumptions that prove false.

First, a decline in local sales of recorded music does not necessarily mean that interest in music is limited. The author makes the assumption that local music stores are the only places where recorded music is available. This is not the case. Declining music sales may be due to the local population purchasing their music over the Internet, where if prices were lower, will account for the decline in sales independent from waning musical interests. Furthermore, the new residents of this area are from the retired community, who may already own the recorded music that they enjoy. In order to determine if a decline in local music sales is indicative of limited interest in music, the author must provide data that enumerates the number of music purchase made via alternative methods such as the Internet. If music sales remained the same or increased, then a decline in listeners is not the result of limited interest.

Second, the author suggests that a news and talk format will increase the number of listeners. However, he provides no evidence to support that this form is actually increasingly popular in the area. He also provides no proof that retirees will enjoy a news and talk format. A survey that specifically asks new residents if they would listen to, and not merely if they would be interested in listening to, their radio broadcast is needed in order to determine its popularity in the area. If it is indeed popular, whether the new residents enjoy news and talk via radio or some other means, such as the television needs to be determined. Also, by focusing on the new residents, the author alienates existing residents.

While it may be possible that there is a limited music interest in the area or that a news and talk format is increasing popular, evidence of that possibility is required before the author can implement such changes. If it is determined that music interest in not limited, then it is not the cause of declining listeners. A news and talk format may indeed be popular, but it is not known how popular and many residents would actually listen to the station is yet to be determined. While change may increase or at least halt the decline in listeners, its feasibility has yet to be determined.

westway50 1 / 8  
Oct 21, 2012   #2
I feel like the first prompt was better than the second one. i would have given it a 4 to 4.5 for the radio one and a 3.5 - 4 for the late night tv one. Specifically in the second one, i noticed alot of what if scenarios. i think you have to be more concise with the points you are trying to make. A good way is to go back now and condense each paragraph into 3 or 4 sentences. I would also try making some of your sentences shorter too.

just keep on practicing. you are touching on the problems, which will give you around a 4 on the grading scale. try to go back and analyze it a bit further and shorten it.

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