Analytical Writing in GRE

GRE Analytical Section Explained

GRE is taken by students from different educational backgrounds. Hence, it is an open-ended examination designed to test your analytical and critical skills, two necessary qualities that you need to develop if you want to fare well in the test. The analytical writing section in GRE will test your capacity in developing an argument as well as critically analyzing the given argument.

This section is also a test of your knowledge of English, as you will basically have to write 2 coherent essays in grammatically correct English. It is also a test of your command over the language and how well you can use the English language to convey your thoughts. To help you understand this section better, the various features of the section are discussed in the following section.





Know Your GRE Analytical Section

This section requires you to understand the topics thoroughly and then write 2 essays that reflect your critical analysis skill. The types of essays that you will have to write are as follows:

  • Issue Task: You will get 30 minutes to analyze the topic given and write a coherent essay explaining your stance. Specific instructions will be provided along with the topic which will act as pointers to help you understand the topic. Based on all this you will have to create an argument for or against the motion of the topic of the essay. The arguments that you place must be substantiated with proper examples. If you are placing a personal perspective, that too should be supported by logic and examples. The essay should form a coherent whole and should comprise a well developed argument. Try to give one argument and develop it step by step to reach a logically supported conclusion.
  • Argument Task: Here, too, you will get 30 minutes to understand and analyze the argument provided and then write the essay. Here, too, you will be provided a topic and specific instructions as to how you should interpret it. These specifications are important as they will help you understand the argument provided in the essay topic in a better manner. The essay that you will have to write here should display your analytical skills. You will have to analyze the topic and write an essay supporting the motion and logically arguing for it.

The 2 topics of the writing section are so created that they test your skill in arguing for or against a topic as well as analyzing a given prompt. While in one of the topics you are allowed to develop your own argument, in the other you will have to analyze the soundness of the author's argument.

This section is scored by 2 separate raters. You will receive a score on a 6 point scale. If the difference between the scores provided by the raters exceeds 1 point then a third rater will analyze your essays. Moreover, they will rate the essays on organization and development of ideas throughout the essays, coherence and soundness of the arguments as well as how well you respond to the prompt. Minor grammatical errors might be overlooked but major errors that might alter the meaning of statements will not be overlooked by the examiners. So be very careful while writing the essays. Some tips to help you prepare well for the analytical writing are discussed in the following section.

Tips to Write Well

Remember, the analytical section is not merely an essay writing test; it is a test of how well you can analyze and write about a given topic in a limited period of time. Since your time to write the 2 essays is limited, you will have to learn time management if you wish to ace this section of GRE.

While analyzing the topics provided, look for words that provide pointers as to how you should interpret the topic. This will make the process for analyzing the topics easier. It is a good idea to take notes while reading the topics as they will prove to be invaluable when you start writing the essays.

Finally, you should prepare very well for this section. It requires you to think fast but think clearly. These qualities can only be achieved with practice. If you require more information about the test and some sample topics then click on the following link: http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/GRE/pdf/awintro.pdf

So prepare well for this section and don't forget to revise what you have written. Proper preparation and careful writing are the two most important qualities that you need to develop if you want to succeed in the analytical writing section . So start preparing for it as early as you can.




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