GMAT – Analytical Writing Sample Questions 1

Question #1

1a. Identify an assumption made in the first four sentences of the following argument and briefly explain any flaws in that assumption: “Gas prices throughout the United States have been steadily increasing in recent years due solely to rising overseas oil costs. This can be seen because as the price of oil increases, the price of gas has been increasing proportionately. For example, the average cost for a barrel of crude oil in 2004 was $36.98 a barrel and the average cost of gasoline was $1.85 a gallon. However, during 2005, the average cost for a barrel of crude oil rose to $50.23 a barrel and the average cost for a gallon of gasoline rose to $2.27. Since our economy relies heavily on gasoline for a variety of purposes, we can expect the steady rise of gasoline costs to have an equally profound impact on every individual business within every industry.

1b. This particular argument makes two main assumptions, but the assumption made in the first several sentences of the paragraph is that the price of gasoline increases due solely to rising overseas oil costs. This assumption is actually well-founded for the most part as the argument offers evidence that proves that there has been an increase in the price of the average barrel of oil and the average price of gasoline has increased as well. However, the major flaw in this particular argument is that it states rising overseas oil costs as the only reason for the rise in the price of gasoline. However, this is simply not the case as there are in fact a number of other issues such as taxes, the demand for gas, environmental restrictions, and other similar concerns that can all have an effect on the price of gas. As a result, even though the price of oil could easily be defended as a major contributing factor to rising gasoline costs, it is not the only contributing factor.

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