Analytical writing in GRE

 

The Analytical Writing Assessment requires candidates to respond to two essay questions within 45 + 30 minutes:
1) Analysis of an Issue, which asks candidates to discuss the complexities of an issue and take a position on the subject (45 minutes)
2) Analysis of an Argument, which asks candidates to evaluate an argument or critique a line of reasoning (30 minutes)

Do your best to show that you have:
a) excellent reasoning skills
b) good writing skills
c) the ability to quickly organzie your thoughts
d) the ability to produce a coherent essay in the required timeframe
Grading Scale

Each of your essays will be graded by a reader and assigned a score between 0 and 6. The score is assigned based on the general impact of the writing on the reader. The following criteria define each score:
Outstanding (6): a cohesive, well-articulated discussion of the issue/argument with demonstrated mastery of the elements of effective writing. Contains insightful reasoning and/or persuasive examples. Varies sentence structure and vocabulary appropriate to the subject. Superior use of grammar and mechanics.
Adequate (4): presents a competent discussion of the issue/argument. Expresses ideas clearly with adequate organization. May lack sentence variety and show some flaws in grammar and/or mechanics.
Poor (1 -2): Weak or deficient in basic writing skills. Provides little evidence of the ability to understand or analyze the argument/issue. Unfocused and disorganized. Severe and persistent errors in language and sentence structure.

Writing Tips for Issues

1) Take 2 minutes to understand the topic. Do a brainstorming about the pros and cons and make a decision.
2) See, whenever you take a decision to support a point or oppose a point, you would necessarily have some example to support your standpoint. Otherwise your mind wouldn’t conclude that you are supporting or opposing a point.
3) There is nothing like “right” or “wrong” choice. You will be evaluated strictly by how well you support your choice with reasoning and evidence.
4) Get to the point immediately. Your first sentence should offer a solid endorsement of one choice over the other.
5) Use a simple format. I recommend a 5-paragraph approach:
a) The first paragraph begins by stating your choice and then discusses why that option is he superior.
b) The second, third paragraphs would be your 3 points about your viewpoint. Use the PREP formula – Point, Reason, Example, Point (again, but in different way or different words) (here, use starters like – FIRSTLY, SECONDLY, THIRDLY)
c) The fourth paragraph would be about the side that you hadn’t taken. By that I mean, recognize the OTHER SIDE too; discussing both sides of the issue shows that you see the full picture. Recognizing and dealing with possible objections makes your viewpoint stronger.
c) The fifth paragraph with a concluding sentence reaffirming your decision. (here, use starters like – In Sum, To sum up, …etc.)
The more organized your essay, the more persuasive it will be.
6) Don’t restate the situation, alternatives, and criteria in your introduction. State your choice and the reasons behind it. Offer an interpretation in light of the stated criteria. It’s up to you to indicate why certain facts are positive or negative factors.
7) Write in a calm, rational, objective tone. Don’t take an extreme position.
8) Make your writing flawless, with correct spelling, grammar and writing mechanics. Choose simple, everyday vocabulary and syntax with which you’re comfortable. Don’t use the words from the wordlist!..that will surely discombobulate the evaluator!… you surely don’t want to discomfit him ..right???
9) I recommend spending 10 minutes reading the issue, making a decision and planning the essay. Use scrap paper to jot down a quick outline of the points you intend to make. Then spend about 25 minutes writing the essay. This leaves about five minutes at the end to proofread for spelling and grammar.
10) make sure you finish your essay, as it demonstrates your organization and time- management skills.

Writing Tips for Arguments

 
1) Take the argument apart, identifying the conclusion and evidence. Restate it in your own words.
2) Evaluate the argument’s persuasiveness. Does it use evidence effectively to reach a conclusion? Are their gaps or flaws in the logic? Unwarranted assumptions?
3) Determine what additional evidence or information would increase the validity of the argument.
4) Use a simple format. I recommend a 5-paragraph approach:
a) Get to the point immediately. Your first paragraph should offer your assessment of the argument and its reasoning.
b) The second, third and fourth paragraphs would be your 3 points about your viewpoint. Attack the gaps, flaws, unwarranted assumptions.
c) Finally, give additional evidence required for the argument to be more persuasive. Show that you see the full picture
7) Write in a calm, rational, objective tone.
8) Make your writing flawless, with correct spelling, grammar and writing mechanics. Write legibly. Choose simple, everyday vocabulary and syntax with which you’re comfortable.
9) use your time wisely. I recommend spending five minutes reading the argument, developing your strategy and planning the essay. Then spend about 20 minutes writing the essay. This leaves about five minutes at the end to proofread for spelling and grammar.
10) Make sure you finish your essay, as it demonstrates your organization and time-management skills.

List of topics for ISSUE writing  (from the official GRE website):

http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/issue/pool

List of topics for ARGUMENT writing (from the official GRE Website) :

http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/argument/pool

all the best…