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Put your writing skills to the test

Thinking of going back to college for an MBA? You might want to practice your writing skills. A new version of the Graduate Management Admission Test asks for two samples of analytical writing _ the first big change in the structure of the test in 30 years.

The grueling, 4{-hour GMAT is required for admission by more than 800 graduate management programs. More than 250,000 people register for it every year. Test takers got their first look at the new test this month.

The writing samples will be graded on effectiveness, logic and use of language that is correct, concise and persuasive. A typical question might ask for an explanation and defense of a position on an issue or ask for alternative hypotheses about the causes of an event. Most of the test will continue to be multiple-choice questions.

The test's sponsor, the Graduate Management Admission Council, says the change reflects the importance businesses now place on effective communication skills.

_ HELEN HUNTLEY

No. 26: Develops young trigger finger

In the ongoing battle over war toys, Strombecker Corp., founded in 1876 and one of the leading toy gun makers in the country, has listed 25 reasons to let the kids get down and dirty with their war toys.

Among them:

To allay anxiety about violence.

To gain a sense of mastery.

To learn to control and resolve conflict and aggression.

To wield power.

Some argue that toy guns promote violence. That's one reason for the removal of realistic-looking guns from Toys 'R Us and other stores.

Some toymakers disagree.

"Research on this question finds no evidence that these toys have any enduring effects on children's aggression or their attitudes towards violence and war," said Daniel B. Shure, president and CEO of Strombecker.

_ LARA WOZNIAK

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