The Analyzing an Argument Task is the second task of the writing section, which is the first part of the GRE General Test.
The Analyzing an Argument Task is a 30-minute task. There is no required length.
「Question No. 41」
The following appeared in a health newsletter.
“A ten-year nationwide study of the effectiveness of wearing a helmet while bicycling indicates that ten years ago, approximately 35 percent of all bicyclists reported wearing helmets, whereas today that number is nearly 80 percent. Another study, however, suggests that during the same ten-year period, the number of bicycle-related accidents has increased 200 percent. These results demonstrate that bicyclists feel safer because they are wearing helmets, and they take more risks as a result. Thus, to reduce the number of serious injuries from bicycle accidents, the government should concentrate more on educating people about bicycle safety and less on encouraging or requiring bicyclists to wear helmets.”
A writer should read the argument and find out logical flaws – where the logic does not add up or make sense.
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
A writer should write an analytical essay in response to the specific requirement of the instructions – assumptions.
First of all, the 35 percent and the 80 percent are dubious, and the author cannot safely assume that the two percentages respectively indicate the true situations. As a matter of fact, bicyclists may not tell the truth about whether they wear helmets: bicyclists who wear helmets may not report wearing helmets, and those who do not wear helmets may just say that they do. In this case, bicyclists wearing helmets might have been more than 35 percent ten years ago, and at present, the actual figure may be below 80 percent. In fact, the past figure may be higher than the present one, in which case, there may be no growth in wearing helmets.
Second, although there have been twice the accidents, the author cannot assume that the bicycling safety has decreased. If the total traffic volume has increased and when it increases to more than twice of the previous level, the doubled number of accidents may however represent decreased likelihood of accidents, which indicates improved safety of bicycling. 注意：必要的时候可以举例去 解释： For example, ten accidents out of a total traffic volume of 100 vehicles represent a greater chance of accidents than twenty accidents out of a total of 300 vehicles. This math also applies to the likely situation that there have been more than twice of the total journeys.
It is not a fair assumption that an accident will necessarily result in a serious injury. The reduction in the number of accidents does not guarantee the decrease in the number of serious injuries. 干脆就用举例的方法去解释：For example, there may be 100 accidents, and none of them cause serious injuries, and, meanwhile, there may be 20 accidents and all of them cause serious injuries. 没有用概念性的语言去陈述，而是用白话把逻辑解释清楚就好。