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GRE AWA: Need Feedback on Argument Practice Essay, Please!


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Hi! I just started practicing. This took roughly 35 minutes so I'm hoping to get it down to 30 soon. Any feedback is much appreciated! Here is my practice argument essay from today: 


In an attempt to improve highway safety, Prunty County last year lowered its speed limit from 55 to 45 miles per hour on all county highways. But this effort has failed: the number of accidents has not decreased, and, based on reports by the highway patrol, many drivers are exceeding the speed limit. Prunty County should instead undertake the same kind of road improvement project that Butler County completed five years ago: increasing lane widths, resurfacing rough highways, and improving visibility at dangerous intersections. Today, major Butler County roads still have a 55 mph speed limit, yet there were 25 percent fewer reported accidents in Butler County this past year than there were five years ago.

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.


The argument above discusses how Prunty County’s attempt to improve highway safety failed. It attempts to compare the efforts of Prunty County with Butler County in order to show reasoning for contrasting results. However, the argument is flawed as it makes numerous assumptions without solid evidence to support its claims.

In the first two sentences, the writer claims that Prunty County lowered the speed limit but this failed to decrease the number of accidents. To support this claim, we learn that highway patrol reports that drivers are exceeding the speed limit. The assumption being made is that speedy drivers increase accidents. However, this is a weak connection as many factors can contribute to accidents, such as weather and road conditions. In order to improve this claim, stronger evidence is needed to support why speedy drivers are solely responsible for the increase of accidents.

Another large assumption made in the author’s argument is that Prunty County and Butler County are comparable. No details regarding similarities in types of roads, drivers, or traffic flow are provided for either county. The author assumes the reader is familiar with these two places. It would be helpful to the argument if the author described why Prunty and Butler are similar case studies.

Lastly, the author assumes Butler’s decrease in accidents is a result of changes made five years ago. A lot can happen in five years. Many factors could have contributed to the decreased number of accidents between now and five years ago. The improvements made initially may not be the main reasons for a decrease in accidents. Perhaps the population of drivers changed in Butler County so there are fewer drivers on the road. All things change with time.

The author’s attempt to argue that accidents will decrease in Prunty County if the same improvements are made as Butler County are too weak and vague.  Many assumptions are made to compare the two without revealing why they are comparable to begin with. More detail and stronger connecting evidence are needed to improve the argument.

Edited by dogz9
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