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AWA Section GRE – We know this part of the test can feel a bit daunting but hear us out. In this blog post, we’re going to break down how to tackle the GRE An

alyse an Issue task, and we’ll share tips on how you can excel and outperform it. Plus, we’ll help you demystify the art of structuring your GRE Analytical Writing Assessment, making it all seem less like a challenge and more like self-expression. So, let’s get started!

In this blog:

  1. GRE Analyse an Issue Task
  2. How to approach GRE Analyse an Issue Task?
  3. How can you outperform your GRE Analyse an Issue Task?
  4. How to structure the GRE Analytical Writing Task?

Analyse an Issue Task

The “Analyse an Issue” task on the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment, evaluates your ability to think critically about a widely interesting topic and express your thoughts clearly in writing. Each Issue topic takes a stance that can be looked at from various angles and applied to many different situations. Your job is to make a strong case for your own standpoint on the issue.

Before you start writing your response, read the issue and follow the provided instructions. Consider the issue from multiple perspectives, taking into account the various ideas associated with these viewpoints. Jot down your thoughts on the position you want to take and list the primary reasons and examples you can use to back up your stance.

Quirky Tidbit!

You can write as much as you can in your response – without being repetitive, obviously! We suggest aiming for a sweet spot in the range of 500 to 600 words.

How to approach GRE Analyse an Issue Task?

It’s crucial to tackle the main topic as per the provided instructions. Each task comes with one of these sets of instructions:

  1. Share your opinion on the statement, explaining your reasoning and considering factors that support or challenge it.
  2. Express your stance on the recommendation, providing examples where it’s beneficial or not, and clarify how these examples influence your view.
  3. Discuss your agreement or disagreement with a claim, addressing compelling reasons and examples that may counter your position.
  4. Explain which viewpoint aligns more with your own, covering both presented views.
  5. Discuss your position on a claim and its underlying reason.
  6. Share your perspective on a policy, considering its potential consequences and how they shape your position.
  7. Remember, GRE raters don’t seek a “right” answer; they’re assessing how well you follow the instructions and construct an argument to support your evaluation of the issue.

How can you outperform your GRE Analyse an Issue Task?

The Issue task is a test of your critical thinking and persuasive writing abilities. Its purpose is to assess how well you can craft a convincing argument that supports your perspective on an issue and convey that argument effectively in writing, aimed at an academic audience. This audience comprises GRE raters who have received thorough training and use the scoring guide for the “Analyse an Issue” task.

Suggested Read: Writing a Winning GRE AWA Essay: Tips, Samples, and Scoring Criteria

Raters employ the Issue scoring criteria when evaluating real responses. It’s a good idea to review scored sample Issue essays and the accompanying rater feedback. You’ll find a range of successful strategies for structuring, developing, and articulating a persuasive argument, especially in samples that scored 5 or 6. The rater feedback delves into specific aspects of evaluation and writing, such as the use of examples, argument development, organisation, language fluency, and word choice. For each response, the feedback highlights particularly convincing elements and any factors that may hinder the overall effectiveness of the essay.

GRE Analytical writing test - Infographic

Suggested Read: 10 New GRE Practice Questions with Answers

How to structure the GRE Analytical Writing Task?

The Issue task aims to evaluate your ability to write persuasively, drawing upon the writing skills you’ve developed during your education. Importantly, it doesn’t favour any particular field of study or type of training.

While many college composition textbooks provide advice on persuasive writing and argumentation, you may find some of this guidance more technical and specialised than what’s needed for the Issue task. You won’t be expected to master specific critical thinking or writing terminology or strategies. Instead, your focus should be on following the given instructions and using reasons, evidence, and examples to support your stance on an issue.

Published Issue topic pools:

A great way to prepare for the GRE Issue task is to practise writing about some of the published topics. Even if you don’t complete a full response, it’s beneficial to work on a few of the Issue topics and outline your potential responses. Some people like to start practising without worrying about the 30-minute time limit, while others prefer a “timed test” approach to mimic the actual conditions.

Planning your response:

Regardless of your chosen approach, consider these steps:

  1. Carefully read the claim and specific instructions and ensure you comprehend them. If anything seems unclear, discuss it with a friend or teacher.
  2. Relate the claim and instructions to your own ideas, experiences, events you’ve encountered, and people you’ve known. This is the knowledge base from which you’ll build strong reasons and examples in your argument, whether supporting, refuting, or qualifying the claim.
  3. Decide on your position and how you’ll defend it.
  4. Identify compelling evidence (reasons and examples) to back up your position.

Remember, this task requires critical thinking and persuasive writing. Successful responses dig into the complexity of the claim and adhere to the task instructions. As you prepare, ask yourself:

  1. What is the central issue exactly?
  2. What is the task asking me to do?
  3. Do I agree or disagree with the claim, in whole or in part? Why or why not?
  4. Does the claim make certain assumptions? If so, are they reasonable?
  5. Is the claim valid only under specific conditions? If so, what are they?
  6. Do I need to clarify how I interpret specific terms or concepts in the claim?
  7. If I take a particular position on the issue, what reasons support it?
  8. What real or hypothetical examples can I use to illustrate these reasons and advance my viewpoint? Which examples are most convincing?

Additionally, consider the perspectives of those who might not agree with your position. What reasons might others use to challenge my stance? How should I address or defend against those opposing views in my essay? As you plan your response, it might be helpful to:

  1. Summarise your position and make notes about how you’ll support it.
  2. Review your notes and decide on the organisation of your response.
  3. Once you’ve practised with some topics, attempt to write responses to others within the 30-minute time limit to familiarise yourself with how to manage your time during the actual test.

Evaluating your response:

After writing your practice response, consider seeking feedback:

  1. Consult an instructor skilled in critical thinking or writing.
  2. Exchange essays on the same topic with peers and discuss each other’s responses, considering the scoring guide.
  3. Examine the scoring guide for the Issue topic to assess how your essay aligns with the criteria for each score point. This comparison will guide your improvements.

Looking for the best online resources for GRE analytical writing? We’ve got you covered, give us a call!

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