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Getting to Know the GRE: What is Analytical Writing?

GRE Writing Scores and Fields of Study

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Issue Essay vs Argument Essay: 11 Key Differences

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So, those are the seven major factors that help you boost your essay score on the GRE. You should analyze your AWA essays whenever you take a practice test, and see if your essays have all of these. Here we discuss the step by step process you should implement, if you want to write powerful AWA essays in under 30 minutes and get a 6.

Each of these steps discusses what you should exactly do, so as to make things easier for you on test day. All you need to do is follow these steps during practice, and get these tips into your head without much effort. Though the Issue and Argument Essays are quite similar when it comes to answering, we have given you separate step by step process to ace them both. The specific directions for the issue essay task are given like this: Instead, you should consider various perspectives as you develop your own position on the issue.

Before you begin writing your response, you should take a couple of minutes to think about the issue and plan a proper response before you begin writing.

This helps you organize your ideas and develop them fully. Make sure to leave sufficient time to reread your response and make any revisions that you think necessary. Following are the six simple steps that you should follow in the same order, if you want to pen down a powerful AWA Issue essay. Obviously, this must be your first step. A smart read is where you read the prompt and figure out the central issue, and jot down this issue on your scratch paper, including some of the important concepts from the given topic.

Rather than juggling all your thoughts inside your mind, it is a lot easier to pen down whatever you have understood from reading the prompt in your own words. Your work on this first step gets you grounded for the essay ahead. After reading the given issue, and writing it down in a few concise words, you should be able to understand exactly what the issue is and also what some of the crucial concepts related to that issue are.

This is perhaps the most crucial step of all, and this step is also where most of the heavy lifting gets done. Once you know what points you want to prove and what examples you will use to prove that point, writing the essay will be very easy. Half of the duty lies in brainstorming efficient examples and supporting reasons to supplement your point of view.

So, make sure you spend adequate time on this step. If you start writing without thinking through the issue or planning the structure of your essay, you run the risk of wasting time on editing and re-editing your points.

So, it is important that you take the time to brainstorm some examples and then pick a side. Start thinking of reasons for both agreeing with and disagreeing with the given issue.

Once you have enough reasons to pick a side, you can move further. You should think about how your personal experiences relate to the issue at hand. Think about things you have observed or experienced in daily life, read about in magazines or newspapers, or even heard about from your family members and friends. Next, you should be coming up with some examples of your own, that support or illustrate your point of view.

Good supporting examples can be the difference between a score of 4. After you have some reasons and examples for side that you have chosen to go with, you will have to pick a proper thesis based on which you will write your opinion. So, you need to decide which thesis you are comfortable writing about. Just choose whichever thesis allows you to write the strongest essay.

You can find a lot of examples that way. And that is completely fine. Now your thesis needs to state why you believe this position is correct. Take a moment to think about this, and jot your thesis down on your scratch paper. Now you are ready to outline you essay.

Instead, outline your essay in the direction you want to take. Figure out what you want to write in the introduction, how you want to start off, and how you want to end the conclusion. Then, figure out what you want to write in the body paragraphs. More importantly, you will have to consider how to introduce the opposing side of the argument and how counter it with your point of view.

Mentioning the other side of the coin makes the graders think that you are mature enough to have considered the various perspectives on the issue, without going ahead blindly based on intuition. If you have finished all the previous steps properly and as planned, then this is by far the easiest step of all.

All you need to do is write your response in a proper order, something that looks like this:. This is the most basic essay outline, and the most famous out there. But you can also follow an unconventional structure and still write a great essay. Some of the other structures that you can follow are:. This structure allows you to take a neutral step, and hence interweave the arguments for both sides, just like in a debate. This structure is probably the hardest of all, but has the advantage of being new and uncommon.

Graders will definitely appreciate a new structure once in a while, and tend to reward essays that move beyond the norm. But, the point is, the writing part of the essay should really be the easiest part.

They think they cannot afford to waste one or two minutes proofreading the essay, while they can use the same time to write an additional sentence or two.

But as a matter of fact, a perfect word essay gets a higher score than an imperfect word essay. So, you should rather focus on improving what you have already written, and try to spend at least three to four minutes on proofreading what you have written. So, be sure to check every single word, and try to refine your essay as much as you can, before the time runs out. Make sure you have all the necessary parts of your essay and the examples you meant to use.

Doing these things will clean up the overall appearance of your essay and can only positively affect your score. Your job here is simply to evaluate and critique the argument presented, not offer your own position on the subject. If you do not answer the question appropriately, you can say goodbye to a good score.

The steps for the Analysis of an Argument essay are somewhat similar to the steps for Analysis of an Issue:. The Analysis of an Argument task presents you with a passage exactly like the passages found on Critical Reasoning questions. Your first task is to break the argument down into its conclusion and premises. Once you have the conclusion and the premises, the next step is to find the assumptions underlying the argument.

These arguments are usually full of holes, even more so than Critical Reasoning arguments. You should be able to find two or three major assumptions necessary to make the conclusion work. Look for the common argument patterns: Of course, there may be a lot of assumptions spread around the entire argument, but you only need two or three good assumptions to construct your essay. Now that you have the major assumptions, you can plan the general format of your essay.

Picking a thesis on the argument section is rather easy and involves just one step. Just assume that whatever assumptions that the author has made have no evidences, and go completely negative on that, and prepare a thesis in your mind in that direction.

Once you have laid out the assumptions of the argument, you need to evaluate the strength of these assumptions. Since your task is to evaluate and critique the logic of the argument, you must consider how viable these assumptions are.

Generally, the arguments on the GRE are poorly reasoned, so you should basically be looking for reasons the assumptions fail to lead to the conclusion. Think about ways you could weaken and strengthen the argument. A typical essay plan looks like this:. This is the most basic format for the argument essay, but feel free to make changes as and when you need.

You may also use one of the following structures that are less commonly used. The writing process on the argument essay is in some ways a little easier than that of the issue essay. Because the focus of this essay is the logic of the argument, there is no need for creative prose.

Instead, you are merely presenting the flaws of the given argument in an objective fashion. Your delivery on the argument essay can be straightforward and simple and you can still get a great score, provided your analysis is sound.

Following is what each paragraph needs to contain. Your introduction paragraph needs to lay out the basic parts of the argument and let the reader know what the purpose of the essay is.

Your introduction should have these elements:. The body paragraphs of an argument essay should describe the assumptions necessary to the argument and then critique them. A good critique should reveal the weaknesses of the assumptions and also show how the argument could be strengthened.

Argument essays do not require specific examples and in many cases, specific examples would be inappropriate. Focus instead on dissecting the logic of the given argument. A body paragraph should have the following components:. All you have to do is make a final evaluation of the soundness of the argument. Before you leave your essay, spend one or two minutes proofreading your essay. Make sure you have all the necessary parts of your essay and that your essay is free from grammatical and spelling errors.

Correct any typographical errors. Now that you know how exactly you should structure your AWA essays, it is time to understand what a perfect essay looks like. In this chapter, we will discuss a couple of examples for perfect 6. This will give you a basic idea of the various key aspects of the AWA essays that you should include while writing.

When individuals attain greatness, their achievements are more important than their personal faults. While historians should not whitewash the personal foibles of great individuals, the impact that these mortals have had in their fields should tower over any personality defects.

To focus on the personal weaknesses of great individuals is to miss the importance of their achievements. The course of human history is decorated with individuals able to rise above their peers and reach the zenith in their fields. These individuals are often the subject of intense scrutiny from contemporaneous skeptics and later historians. But no one can lead an exemplary private life all the time; no human being is able to withstand such surveillance and historical scrutiny without personal faults coming to light.

Great individuals are no exception. However, it is misguided to focus on their personal faults rather than their achievements. To do so is to miss the importance of their work, without which our culture would be worse off. For example, Abraham Lincoln was arguably one of the greatest Presidents the United States has ever had. He managed to bring the country through a substantial revolution and to end slavery despite powerful economic and social forces working against him day and night.

However, Lincoln was not a saint. He was moody and prone to depressive funks that disrupted his family life and slowly eroded his marriage. These personal faults did not reduce his success as a President. While we do not have to ignore questions about whether he was a depressive, we also should not consider them an important part of his political heritage. Criticisms of this sort are entirely relevant, whereas personal criticisms are not. Another example of a great individual dogged by criticism of his personal conduct is Albert Einstein.

Einstein developed a number of the most important theories in modern physics, including an explanation of the photoelectric effect, an explanation of Brownian motion, special and general relativity, and Bose-Einstein quantum statistics.

However, Einstein also had life-long problems with infidelity. The fact that he cheated on his wife is in no way relevant to his accomplishments in the field of physics, and indeed most references to Einstein properly ignore it.

To focus attention on the faults of his personal life is to obscure the impact he made on history. Great individuals have personal faults, as all human beings do. We are better able to appreciate the gravity of great accomplishments when we are not burying our heads in the sand, in search of personal failings.

The essay above deserves a perfect score, because it takes all the 7 major elements that graders look for, as we have already discussed in chapter 3: The thesis provided by the student is very clear and concise. There is no confusion about which side the student took. The issue essay tests how well we can present a position on an issue effectively and persuasively, and this essay passes both the tests.

The piece is also very well organized. While the response included only two examples as opposed to the suggested three, the two examples presented are extremely strong. President Lincoln is an ideal case study of a leader whose greatness should be not be obscured by his domestic problems. The same can be said with Einstein; his infidelities may have wounded his family emotionally, but his contribution to modern science and technology will be remembered throughout the history of mankind.

So, obviously, two of the most historic and the most apt examples were presented by the student here. Additionally, the conclusion is substantial and does an excellent job of summing up the essay.

The student uses a variety of sentences in order to make the conclusion unique, and not sounding too much like the introduction itself. The grammar and syntax are almost flawless, and it is hard to write a better essay response to this issue, in under 30 minutes.

This electronic game rating system is not working because it is self-regulated and the fines for violating the rating system are nominal. As a result an independent body should oversee the game industry and companies that knowingly violate the rating system should be prohibited from releasing a game for two years. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.

The argument claims that the electronic games rating system, although similar to the movie rating system, is not working because it is self-regulated and violation fines are nominal; Hence, the gaming rating system should be overseen by an independent body. Stated in this way the argument fails to mention several key factors, on the basis of which it could be evaluated. The conclusion relies on assumptions, for which there is no clear evidence. Therefore, the argument is rather weak, unconvincing, and has several flaws.

First, the argument readily assumes that because the electronic game rating system is self-regulated, it is not working well. This statement is a stretch and not substantiated in any way. There are numerous examples in other areas of business or commerce, where the entities are self-regulated and rather successful.

For instance, FIA, the Formula1 racing organization is self-regulated. Yet, the sport is very popular and successful, drawing millions of spectators around the world each year. Tickets are rather expensive, races are shown on pay-per-view, and nearly all drivers are paid very well. Another example is the paralleled movie rating system that the argument mentions. The author fails to clarify whether it is working well, but it is clear that the movie rating system is pretty well received by people, who often base their decisions to go see a movie with kids or not on the movie rating.

It has never been a case when someone would feel cheated by the movie rating and express disappointment afterwards. Since the movie rating system is also self-regulated, it follows that this regulatory method is working pretty well and it is not obvious how it can be the reason for the poor electronic game rating system. The argument would have been much clearer if it explicitly gave examples of how the self-regulatory system led to bad ratings and customer dissatisfaction.

Second, the argument claims that any violation fees for bad electronic game ratings are nominal. It thus suggests that this is yet another reason for the rating system not working. This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument does not demonstrate any correlation between the monetary amount of the fines and the quality of the electronic game rating system.

In fact, the argument does not even draw a parallel with the mentioned movie rating system and its violation fines. If any such correlation had been shown for the movie rating system, which supposedly works well, then the author would have sounded a bit more convincing.

In addition, if the argument provided evidence that low violation fines lead to electronic game manufacturers to ignore any regulations with respect to the game rating system, the argument could have been strengthened even further.

Finally, the argument concludes that an independent body should oversee the game industry and companies that violate the rating system, should be punished. From this statement again, it is not at all clear how an independent regulatory body can do a better job than a self-regulated one. Without supporting evidence and examples from other businesses where independent regulatory bodies have done a great job, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence.

As a result, this conclusion has no legs to stand on. In summary, the argument is flawed and therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentioned all the relevant facts. In order to assess the merits of a certain situation, it is essential to have full knowledge of all contributing factors.

The examples provided are also real-life in nature, as opposed to many hypothetical examples that students write. This gives this essay response quite an edge. In order to confuse test takers, the AWA essays will always contain some flawed reasoning or illogical statements.

In particular, some of the paragraphs on the AWA Argument essay will contain flawed reasoning, which can appear in many forms. While these forms can potentially be unlimited in number, most of them can be categorized into 6 groups. These are potentially the 6 types of false reasoning that you frequently see on the AWA Argument essays:.

Almost all of the argument essays contain more than one of the following flaws, so it is important that you are aware of each and every possible flawed reasoning.

We see this happen quite often in our everyday life. People resort to creating stereotypes of a particular person, or a group of people. However, common sense says that it is pretty unrealistic to describe a group and then expect that every single member fulfills the very same characteristics. While both the statements can seem to be true for the most part, we all know that in the real world, some girls are stronger than guys, and that some Asians fail their tests.

Which means, one cannot simply make a sweeping statement in either of the aforementioned cases. Now, you can easily remember this type of false reasoning on the AWA, by relating it to stereotypes. We generally think of stereotypes as harmful because they unfairly limit a certain group to a predefined characteristic that often has little to no evidence. Hence, in order to avoid falling trap to this stereotypical assumption fallacy, you should immediately consider any sentence that generalizes a particular group as plain wrong, and attack that assumption when you are writing your response.

This is a very frequent type of false reasoning that hides in plain sight. Most students simply cannot identify that this type of reasoning is wrong. The author of an argument usually assumes that a certain condition is necessary to achieve the desired result. This sounds reasonable, but the problem here is, the author simply says that it is necessary to do something to achieve something, and does not provide the necessary evidence which proves that there is no other means of achieving a similar result.

For example, the arguments says that, if students have to perform better in schools, it is necessary that the teachers be more active in the classroom. Now, this looks like a perfectly logical statement to anyone.

But the problem is, the author has not considered whether there are any other ways students can perform better in schools. The author makes a simple statement that outlines only one necessity — the teachers being active — and does not talk about the relevant evidences, or the possibility of other ways to achieve the same result. Of course, there are other factors involved: So, you should keep in mind to attack this necessity assumption, and also to include the alternative factors or possibilities.

Analogy is when someone comes to a conclusion about something on the basis of another thing. Now, on the first glance, this might seem like a logical argument. The demographics in their respective countries may respond to different incentives. And there are several other factors like industry, market size, product quality, support system, target audience, consumer trends, economic situation in the country, etc.

As confusing and bemusing as the title is, this is one of the more frequent fallacies that appear on the AWA argument essays. So it is very important that you master it. Many arguments try to confuse test takers by arguing that correlation and causation are one and the same.

There is actually a world of difference between them both. While correlation just means that two events have occurred simultaneously, causation means that one event is the result of another event.

Now you understand how different these two are. To illustrate further, let us take this as an example: In the year , Company X released their new computer called Series 5, and that same year, the US witnessed a huge economic recession.

Again in , the company released its second computer called Series 6, and the US had undergone another economic recession. So, whenever this company releases a new computer, the economy goes down. Do you see how illogical it sounds? That is the difference between correlation and causation. The above example shows correlation, and not causation. You will often find that the AWA arguments cite statistical evidence to support their claims.

For example, if a survey of people in New York City say that they really need a new park in the city, does it mean that the entire population of the city feel the same? In order to draw a conclusion about anything, a larger sample is required.

In order to really identify the voice of the people, the survey should at least include a majority of people in the city. If the population of New York City is 10 million, then the survey should try to include the opinions of at least half that number. Hence, test takers should keep an eye on statistics mentioned in the arguments made by the author, and try to validate the relevance or significance of the given statistical data.

Sometimes, even though surveys include a large number of people or a certainly large sample space, it is not enough to conclude that the results obtained from the survey are really true. Biased data is another reason why data can be manipulated with, or tainted easily. For any survey or data to be considered legitimate it has to be collected in an unbiased, fair, and scientific manner.

The survey clearly does not ask an open ended question, and is biased towards either Red, or Blue, or both. The survey is designed, consciously or unconsciously, to yield certain desired responses, and this definitely manipulates responses by providing narrow options. Hence, test takers should question the statistical legitimacy of a survey, and question the author whether the survey or data obtained is scientific and unbiased or not.

Here is a checklist you should use when you practice writing argument essays. Ask yourself these questions to identify the flaws in the given argument.

Is there anything missing in the argument? Maybe there is really something that should have been mentioned to make the argument more concrete. When it comes to acing any section on the GRE, it all boils down to mastering one key factor — time. But then, just as pretty much with everything related to the GRE, we at CrunchPrep have cracked the code in order to finish off a brilliantly written essay in under 20 minutes.

Just as with other sections on the GRE, there are a few time saving strategies that you can adopt on test day, if you want to finish off the AWA section quickly, and still score a perfect 6. Here are the 9 most effective time saving strategies that you should implement on test day. This is an amazing technique that not only saves time for you, but also relieves you of the pressure of writing something in reply. All you have to do is, as soon as you are ready to pen down your response, finish off writing the introduction and the conclusion paragraphs first.

Now you may wonder, how on earth one can write the conclusion part without ever concluding the essay in the first place. As we have already discussed in the previous chapters, you first outline your essay before you start writing it. So, by the time you are about to start penning down your response, you will have already figured out what you want to write in the introduction, how you want to start off, and how you want to end the conclusion.

So, it becomes rather easy for you to get started. Finish these two very important paragraphs as early as you can, preferably in the first 5 minutes. Now, if you can do this well, you only have three more paragraphs to write, and you have over 20 minutes of time left.

You can easily write each paragraph in 5 minutes, and the entire essay will be finished before you know it. Even though we asked you to pick a thesis in the previous chapters, you should know that if you want to save time, you will have to try and stay on the negative side. This applies to both the Issue and the Argument essays.

If you are wondering why, you should understand how the human brain works when analyzing a controversy. It takes no time for us to point out mistakes in others, while it takes a lot of thinking and courage to appreciate something that is controversial, because our brains are evolutionarily hardwired to stay away from something foreign, in order to protect us.

So, let us go with some prejudice here. Before you even start reading the essay question, you should be in a negative state of mind, and be ready to counter the given essay with lots of criticism.

You should believe that whatever the author has written is false, no matter how logical it may seem. This sort of thinking will help you brainstorm the relevant points quickly.

They are the verbal reasoning, quantitative, and analytical writing sections. Most students are familiar with the reading verbal reasoning and math quantitative sections of the test, but some students may be wondering: What is analytical writing? In this section of the test, students are required to craft an argument essay as well as an issue essay based on a written prompt.

At Veritas Prep, our team provides students with practical strategies on how to approach these essays, as well as what to include in them. In short, we give students the tools they need to tackle all sections of the GRE, including the analytical writing section. With help from Veritas Prep, any student can enjoy success on this section of the exam. A student who is skilled at analytical writing is able to clearly express an argument, as well as provide sufficient support for it.

In order to become skillful at writing issue essays, a student must be able to anticipate the arguments of someone who holds an opposing viewpoint. More importantly, the student must know how to refute those arguments. Organization, clarity, and logic are all elements of a successful analytical essay. The issue essay requires a student to take a side on a particular issue and offer evidence defending his or her point of view.

For schools with minimum required GRE Writing scores: The highest minimum score should be your cut-off. For schools who provide information about average GRE Writing scores: Average the scores from steps 3a.

If the cutoff GRE Writing score from 3a. Even a perfect 6. Wondering how exactly how your GRE Writing score is calculated? Learn how the GRE essays are scored in this article. Looking for a way to conquer GRE Writing, once and for all? We've written a eBook about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your GRE score. Download it for free now: She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel and fulfill their college and grad school dreams.

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Introduction to GRE Analytical Writing

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Although the GRE® Analytical Writing measure contains two discrete analytical writing tasks, a single combined score is reported because it is more reliable than a score for either task alone. The reported score ranges from 0 to 6, in half-point increments.

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Test-taking Strategies for the Analytical Writing Measure. Before taking the GRE ® General Test, review the strategies, sample topics, essay responses and rater commentary for each task contained in this section. Also review the scoring guides for each task.

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A good GRE Writing score is one that gets you into the program you want to get into. For the most part, graduate schools don’t even really care about applicants having a high GRE Analytical Writing score – it’s more a matter of applicants avoiding elimination because their GRE Writing score is significantly below that of the average applicant for their program. The GRE essay section, also known as the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), actually comprises two parts: the Issue essay and the Argument essay. You are allotted 30 minutes for each essay. Both test your ability to write a cogent thesis statement that you must defend over the course of several paragraphs.

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The Analytical Writing section of the GRE is designed to assess critical thinking and analytical writing skills, including the ability to express complex ideas clearly and effectively while sustaining a coherent and focused discussion. The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GRE asks you to complete two separate but complimentary writing tasks: The Issue Essay and the Argument Essay. Each task tests your analytical writing skills, including the assessment of your critical thinking skills.