The AWA issue task evaluates a test taker’s ability to think critically about an issue of general interest and express his or her thoughts in a cogent manner.
So, on a typical AWA Issue task, you are given a debatable claim, which is followed by a set of specific instructions. You are required to evaluate the claim, take a stand on the given claim, give persuasive reasons and examples for your stance, and write an essay that presents a compelling case for the position that you take.
You are allotted a total of 30 minutes to complete this task and you must use this time in a prudent and productive manner.
Below, I will help you with a simple 6 step approach that will help you write an effective GRE Issue essay.
The first and, perhaps, the most important step to writing an effective GRE AWA issue essay is to read the given topic thoroughly. Understanding the central idea, nuances, complexities, and the implications of the given claim.
Only when you have a deep understanding of the task will you be able to write a well-articulated essay.
Also, remember to read the accompanying instructions meticulously. The given instructions can vary to a great extent. Here are three examples of the GRE AWA Issue task and the type of instructions that you can be provided with. Be sure to read both, the issue and the instructions carefully.
1. “The best way to teach is to praise positive actions and ignore negative ones.”
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.
2. “Some people believe that in order to be effective, political leaders must yield to public opinion and abandon principle for the sake of compromise. Others believe that the most essential quality of an effective leader is the ability to remain consistently committed to particular principles and objectives.”
Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views presented.
3. Claim: When planning courses, educators should take into account the interests and suggestions of their students.
Reason: Students are more motivated to learn when they are interested in what they are studying.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.
Take some time to notice how different these three sets of instructions are.
In the first task, the instructions ask you to analyze how much you agree or disagree with the given claim and state the reasoning for your belief. The instructions also explicitly ask you to examine cases in which the claim might or might not hold true. Further, they require you to explain how those examinations have helped you reach your stance on the issue.
In the second task, you are required to express your position on the issue along with your reasoning for the same. However, you are asked to discuss both of the views presented in the task.
In the third, you are simply asked to express whether you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason for that claim.
Your essay, then, must be written in accordance with the specified instructions.
When attempting the issue task in the exam, I would recommend that you spend 1 to 2 minutes on this step.
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