Tips to score well in the Analytical Writing section of the GRE
Posted on May 20, 2020
The three main components of the GRE test are: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and QR.
The GRE begins with the section on Analytical Writing. In this segment, under timed conditions, the student must write two essays on the computer. The first essay is ‘The Analysis of an Issue’ and the second essay is ‘The Analysis of an Argument.’
The ‘Analysis of an Issue’ task tests your skills in critical thinking and analytical writing. It tests the ability to express and endorse complex concepts, construct arguments, and focuses on a coherent discussion. It doesn’t assess knowledge of the content.
The ‘Analysis of an Argument’ requires that you test a given argument as per clear instructions. Rather than agree or disagree with the viewpoint it poses; you will need to consider the logical soundness of the statement.
In fact, the two tasks complement each other.
How to prepare for the Analytical Writing section
Comprehension of the skills assessed and how the tasks are graded is critical. The scoring guides, sample subjects, scored sample essay responses and rater comments for each assignment are also helpful.
The tasks in the Analytical Writing section apply to a wide variety of subjects — from the fine arts and humanities to the social and physical sciences — but no task requires subject matter expertise. Each task has been checked by actual GRE test takers to ensure that it passes the following standards:
Regardless of their field of study or special interests, GRE test takers knew the question and could easily answer it.
The task elicited the kinds of abstract thinking and compelling writing that the faculty deemed necessary for graduate school success.
Review the tactics, sample subjects, essay answers and rater feedback for each of the tasks found in this section before taking the GRE General Exam. Study also the guides to scoring for every task. This will give you a more in-depth understanding of how raters evaluate essays and the elements they seek in an essay.
You will need to allow sufficient time to consider the argument and the specific instructions, plan a response and compose your essay within the 30-minute time limit for the Argument task. Although the GRE raters who score your essays understand the time constraints you write under and will accept your answer as a first draft, You also want it to be the best possible example of your writing you can create under the conditions of testing.
Save some minutes to test for apparent errors at the end of every timed task. Although your score will not be affected by an occasional spelling or grammatical error, severe and recurring errors will distract from the overall quality of your writing and decrease your score accordingly.
Although you won’t get much of an opportunity to edit your essay on test day, editing your practice essays will make you more aware of your grammatical and logical errors. Correcting such errors will not only help you anticipate them in the actual test but will also make your writing and reasoning simpler in your future papers.
By reading sample essays you’ll gain a sense of what the GRE test looks for. You’ll be able to judge your own essays better too. You will keep revising your essays during practice sessions so that they get closer to the next score levels.
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