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10 Great Essay Writing Tips
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.
Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable
You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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GRE Analytical Writing Sample Essays
The GRE ® essay section is also referred to as the AWA or the GRE ® Analytical Writing Assessment which experts believe is one of the most neglected sections of the GRE ® test. Most test-takers believe that they can master the section in a few days at the most. A couple of GRE ® sample essays should be sufficient. The outcome is not desirable with an average global score of 4.0 with the Indian score even lower.
GRE ® Essay Sections
This Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) portion is made up of two parts:
- Issue essays
- Argument essays
It is aimed at measuring the following:
- Communicate intricate thoughts distinctly and effectually
- Back notions with appropriate explanations and illustrations
- Scrutinize claims and supplementary proof
- Maintain a well-focused, articulate argument
- Command the components of standard written English
The structure of the GRE ® essay has been designed to test your ability to write a cogent thesis statement that you must defend over the course of several paragraphs.
- You are allocated a time limit of 30 minutes to complete each section. The is the first section and the structure of the test does not allow you to skip it and come back to it later.
- The GRE ® Essay expects you to analyze your critical thinking abilities.
- This allocated topic is usually a statement that is rather broad in nature.
- You will be evaluated for your capabilities to reason analytically and to debate the given topic from your perspective.
- You will need to support your viewpoint with appropriate instances and substantiation and structure your answer according to the precise guidelines that will be associated with the task.
- It is difficult to understand the requirements of this task without first going through relevant GRE ® sample essays.
How to use this Guide for AWA Passage Writing?
- There are two ways by which you can make use of this guide not just to improve your essay but also to master essay grading.
- Begin by taking a look at some of these perfectly scored sample essays.
- Remember that these samples that you go through will help you understand sentence structures, body paragraphs, etc. You should never ever think of copy-pasting direct sentences when you are writing your test as that will be considered as plagiarism.
- Use the guide in a manner that helps to incorporate features that help to highlight your position on the issue.
- The secondary objective of using this guide is to overcome your writing weaknesses in conjunction with essay grading.
- To ensure that you score high, begin the process with the rubrics for the Issue and Argument Tasks and subsequently zero in on the section that you find most difficult to meet.
- The idea is for you to identify the areas that you have trouble with the most. By taking adequate GRE ® prep, and going through samples and essay responses from experts, you will be able to overcome these difficulties.
Knowing how to get that perfect score is important. Find out more about GRE ® Score and the grading system.
How does the GRE ® essay work?
- With two parts to the GRE ® Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), you are allotted 30 minutes for each essay.
- This is aimed to test your ability to write a thesis statement that is cogent, which you should be able to support with adequate evidence over the course of the essay.
What is the difference between the Issue and Argument essays?
- A sample topic reads like – “It could be argued that the most important technological breakthroughs have happened by chance and through surprise discoveries. However, others argue that deliberate, well-planned research with specific goals is the only way to ensure technological advancement.
- 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.”
- You are expected to respond by analyzing this general statement by taking a stance over a matter that is understandably complex.
- You may get similar topics encompassing several different areas such as politics, education, or culture.
- A sample topic reads – “SuperCorp recently moved its headquarters to Corporateville. The recent surge in the number of homeowners in Corporateville proves that Corporateville is a superior place to live then Middleburg, the home of SuperCorp’s current headquarters. Moreover, Middleburg is a predominantly urban area and according to an employee survey, SuperCorp has determined that its workers prefer to live in an area that is not urban. Finally, Corporateville has lower taxes than Middleburg, making it not only a safer place to work but also a cheaper one. Therefore, Supercorp clearly made the best decision.
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.”
- In contrast to the Issue essay, the Argument essay will ask the author to dissect the logic behind the stance or position taken by him or her.
Where can I find sample topics?
- You can log on to the ETS website where they publish pools of Issue and Argument essay topics.
- These topics have been taken from previous tests.
How are the essays scored?
- There is an initial human grader of the essay who has received rigorous training to qualify to be a grader.
- He or she is typically a university literature/writing professor.
- Additionally, there is an ‘E-rater’ which is an automated essay grader.
- This system ensures that the human grader has justifiably scored the essays without bias or prejudice.
- The final score is an average of the two scores and the result rounded off to fit the half point scale.
How does the GRE ® AWA scoring range work?
- Take a look at the scoring guidelines that will help you understand where you stand with the score that you have received.Compare the essays that you have written with sample essays in order for you to get a sense of what score you might receive for them.
- Compare the essays that you have written with sample essays in order for you to get a sense of what score you might receive for them.
Is there anywhere I can get my essays graded?
- You can have someone that you trust give you their honest feedback.
- Alternatively, ETS offers a service to grade your sample GRE ® AWA essays but that does not give you any feedback, only the score.
- You can also access forums where you can upload your sample essays to get insights and analysis.
What do the graders look for?
- When your essays are graded, the three key pillars that graders look for that determine your score are clarity, coherency, and cogency.
- You must communicate your ideas as clearly as you can which should be logically connected to one another as you transition between sentences and paragraphs.
- Whatever be your claims, it should be supported by sufficient evidence and examples that are sustainable.
- Style of writing is important which means you should avoid essay with choppy sentences, bad grammar, misspellings and unsophisticated vocabulary.
- A typical grader takes 30 seconds to score your essay if he or she is satisfied with clear organization of your information, check if your paragraphs start with a topic sentence and flow into specific examples that support your analysis.
How long does my essay have to be?
- The substance in your essay is of paramount importance as long as it has been clearly bifurcated into a five-paragraph format including an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
- Keep a lookout for your paragraph lengths as long paragraphs minus logical matter will not grab you better scores.
How do I practice for GRE ® Analytical Writing?
- Practice makes it perfect and it is no different for the GRE ® Analytical Writing Assessment.
- Get a better command and facility on the language by writing more.
- Create an outline and brainstorm on your position and think of a relevant example to support your claim.
- Set aside time to edit your practice essays.
- Look through tons of approved sample essays and correlate it with the grades that they have received.
- While grammar is not of top priority as clarity of thought, it still holds weight and must be given its due importance in the scheme of things.
How do I improve my grammar and style?
- You can improve your grammar by going through books such as William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.
- To improve on your writing style, a book that comes highly recommended is Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.
- You may consult other resources to complement these books and help in an overall improvement of grammar and style.
Are there any sample essays I can read?
- Sample Issue Essays from ETS
- Sample Argument Essays from ETS
- The essays on the ETS website have been written by students.
- You can use these essays as benchmarks to assess your own levels of writing.
GRE ® Sample Essays for the Issue Task
ETS provides brief information about an issue of common interest and tells the test taker to evaluate and analyze it. The candidate is required to essentially develop a sound argument for the issue and support it with examples.
ETS Essay Pool for Issue Essays (1 to 10):
The GRE ® Issue essay is similar in structure to the classic 5-paragraph short essay. You can go through the following links for familiarizing yourself with GRE ® sample essays pertaining to the Issue task.
- GRE ® Issue Essay-1: "We learn through direct experience; to accept a theory without experiencing it is to learn nothing at all."
- GRE ® Issue Essay-2: "Laws should not be rigid or fixed. Instead, they should be flexible enough to take account of various circumstances, times, and places."
- GRE ® Issue Essay-3: "People are too quick to take action; instead, they should stop to think of the possible consequences of what they might do."
- GRE ® Issue Essay-4: "It is possible to pass laws that control or place limits on people's behavior, but legislation cannot reform human nature. Laws cannot change what is in people's hearts and minds."
- GRE ® Issue Essay-5: "Success in any realm of life comes more often from taking chances or risks than from careful and cautious planning."
- GRE ® Issue Essay-6: "Originality does not mean thinking something that was never thought before; it means putting old ideas together in new ways."
- GRE ® Issue Essay-7: "It is always an individual who is the impetus for innovation; the details may be worked out by a team, but true innovation results from the enterprise and unique perception of an individual."
- GRE ® Issue Essay-8: "The study of an academic discipline alters the way we perceive the world. After studying the discipline, we see the same world as before, but with different eyes."
- GRE ® Issue Essay-9: "If people disregard the great works of the past, it is because these works no longer answer the needs of the present."
- GRE ® Issue Essay-10: "As we acquire more knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible, but more complex and more mysterious."
GRE ® Sample Essays for the Argument Task
The GRE ® Argument Essay asks you to change perspective from the one you had for the Issue Essay. Your essay should be about 5-6 paragraphs in which you will criticize an argument, describe how it could be improved, and reiterate that it is overall weak and unconvincing.
ETS Essay Pool for Argument Essays (1 to 10):
Take a look at the following sample argument essay topics:
- GRE ® Argument Essay-1: "Seven years ago, homeowners in nearby Brookville community adopted a set of restrictions on how the community's yards should be landscaped and what colors the exteriors of homes should be painted. Since then, average property values have tripled in Brookville. In order to raise property values in Deerhaven Acres, we should adopt our own set of restrictions on landscaping and house painting."
- GRE ® Argument Essay-2: "Of the two leading real estate firms in our town, Adams Realty, and Fitch Realty, Adams is clearly superior. Adams has 40 real estate agents. In contrast, Fitch has 25, many of whom work only part-time. Moreover, Adams' revenue last year was twice as high as that of Fitch and included home sales that averaged $168,000, compared to Fitch's $144,000. Homes listed with Adams sell faster as well: ten years ago, I listed my home with Fitch and it took more than four months to sell; last year when I sold another home, I listed it with Adams, and it took only one month. Thus, if you want to sell your home quickly and at a good price, you should use Adams."
- GRE ® Argument Essay-3: "A jazz music club in Monroe would be a tremendously profitable enterprise. Currently, the nearest jazz club is 65 miles away; thus, our proposed club, the C Note, would have the local market all to itself. Plus, jazz is extremely popular in Monroe: over 100,000 people attended Monroe's jazz festival last summer, several well-known jazz musicians live in Monroe, and the highest-rated radio program in Monroe is 'Jazz Nightly,' which airs every weeknight. Finally, a nationwide study indicates that the typical jazz fan spends close to $1,000 per year on jazz entertainment. It is clear that the C Note cannot help but make money."
- GRE ® Argument Essay-4: "Mesa Foods, a manufacturer of snack foods that currently markets its products within a relatively small region of the country, has strong growth potential. Mesa enjoyed a 20 percent increase in profits last year, and its best-selling product, Diabolique Salsa, has had increased sales over each of the past three years. Since Omni Inc. is interested in reaching 14-to-25-year-olds, the age group that consumes the most snack food, we should buy Mesa Foods, and concentrate in particular on marketing Diabolique Salsa throughout the country."
- GRE ® Argument Essay-5: "During the past year, Alta Manufacturing had thirty percent more on-the-job accidents than nearby Panoply Industries, where the work shifts are one hour shorter than ours. Experts believe that a significant contributing factor in many on-the-job accidents is fatigue and sleep deprivation among workers. Therefore, to reduce the number of on-the-job accidents at Alta and thereby increase productivity, we should shorten each of our three work shifts by one hour so that our employees will get adequate amounts of sleep."
- GRE ® Argument Essay-6: "Previous experience has shown that our stores are most profitable in areas where residents are highly concerned with leading healthy lives. We should, therefore, build our next new store in Plainsville, which has many such residents. Plainsville merchants report that sales of running shoes and exercise clothing are at all-time highs. The local health club, which nearly closed five years ago due to lack of business, has more members than ever, and the weight training and aerobics classes are always full. We can even anticipate a new generation of customers: Plainsville's schoolchildren are required to participate in a 'fitness for life' program, which emphasizes the benefits of regular exercise at an early age."
- GRE ® Argument Essay-7: “In Megalopolis, the number of law school graduates who went to work for large, corporate firms declined by 15 percent over the last three years, whereas an increasing number of graduates took jobs at small, general practice firms. Even though large firms usually offer much higher salaries, law school graduates are choosing to work for smaller firms most likely because they experience greater job satisfaction at smaller firms. In a survey of first-year students at a leading law school, most agreed with the statement that earning a high salary was less important to them than job satisfaction. This finding suggests that the large, corporate firms of Megalopolis will need to offer graduates more benefits and incentives and reduce the number of hours they must work.”
- GRE ® Argument Essay-8: "Given that the number of people in our country with some form of arthritis is expected to rise from 40 million to 60 million over the next twenty years, pharmaceutical companies that produce drugs for the treatment of arthritis should be very profitable. Many analysts believe that in ten years Becton Pharmaceuticals, which makes Xenon, the best-selling drug treatment for arthritis, will be the most profitable pharmaceutical company. But the patent on Xenon expires in three years, and other companies will then be able to produce a cheaper version of the drug. Thus, it is more likely that in ten years the most profitable pharmaceutical company will be Perkins Pharmaceuticals, the maker of a new drug called Xylan, which clinical studies show is preferred over Xenon by seven out of ten patients suffering from the most extreme cases of arthritis."
- GRE ® Argument Essay-9: "In the next mayoral election, residents of Clearview should vote for Ann Green, who is a member of the Good Earth Coalition, rather than for Frank Braun, a member of the Clearview town council, because the current members are not protecting our environment. For example, during the past year, the number of factories in Clearview has doubled, air pollution levels have increased, and the local hospital has treated 25 percent more patients with respiratory illnesses. If we elect Ann Green, the environmental problems in Clearview will certainly be solved."
- GRE ® Argument Essay-10: "Two years ago, our consultants predicted that West Egg's landfill, which is used for garbage disposal, would be completely filled within five years. During the past two years, however, town residents have been recycling twice as much aluminum and paper as they did in previous years. Next month the amount of material recycled should further increase since charges for garbage pickup will double. Furthermore, over ninety percent of the respondents to a recent survey said that they would do more recycling in the future. Because of our residents' strong commitment to recycling, the available space in our landfill should last for considerably longer than predicted."
Issue Essay 1: Technology and Human Ingenuity
The topic assigned here is: “As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.
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.”
- The essay on this specific issue prompts the author to take a position instead of deterring their ability to reason about how technology will stimulate the human race to reach greater goals in life.
- The sample essay looks at a number of possible avenues by which it strikes the right chord with the GRE ® essay rubric criteria to attain that perfect score.
- The primary rubric criteria are the way in which the author adopts an insightful and clear stance on the given issue in the essay.
- Over the entire course of the essay, the author articulates his or her position about the possibilities of embracing new technology as opposed to being fearful of it.
- Paragraph 1: The author recognizes the fact that “technology has revolutionized the world.”
- Paragraph 2: The author elucidates the thinking behind the declaration in the prompt - “The assumption is that an increased reliance on technology negates the need for people to think creatively to solve previous quandaries”.
- Paragraph 3: The author refutes the rationale that was deliberated in paragraph 2, writing that “reliance on technology does not necessarily preclude the creativity that marks the human species.”
- Paragraph 4: The author progresses with her counterclaim one step further, stating that “technology frees the human imagination.”
- Paragraph 5: The author additionally cultivates the notion from Paragraph 4, stating “By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals can now be achieved.”
- Paragraph 6: This final paragraph successfully ends the essay with a fully expressed thesis that also computes to what went before: “There is no need to retreat to a Luddite attitude to new things, but rather embrace a hopeful posture to the possibilities that technology provides for new avenues of human imagination.”
- The author’s clear-cut rationalizations of her opinion and logic augment the lucidity of her position, while the nuanced content of the position itself establishes perception into the issue.
Issue Essay 2: Cooperation Vs. Competition
The topic assigned here is: “The best way for a society to prepare its young people for leadership in government, industry, or other fields is by instilling in them a sense of cooperation, not competition.”
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons or examples that could be used to challenge your position.
- The author of this sample Issue essay has decided on a position on the issue by siding with the cooperation and not competition which is the preferred value to inculcate in young adults in preparation for government
- The last line of the first paragraph “I would have to agree that the best way to prepare young people for leadership roles is to instill in them a sense of cooperation,” makes a clear declaration that absolutely fulfills the first part of the criteria.
- The conclusion, particularly the last two sentences reiterates this stance.
- Just being clear on your stance alone will not help you achieve that perfect score as you need to complement it with demonstrable insights into the core issue.
- In the second part, the author takes on a two-pronged approach in order to answer the essay question as opposed to just clarifying how cooperativeness spearheads optimistic results in government, industry, and other fields and competitiveness results in negative consequences.
- In the opening and closing paragraphs, the author makes this position even more categorical.
- The following rubric criteria deal with how successfully the author fosters his standpoint with examples and reasoning, for example, by reviewing the downsides of competition.
- Opening with general perceptions of human behaviors at school and the office to present his argument, the author then deftly segues into precise instances of competitiveness gone bad.
- Each illustration is used by the author to drive his point down deeper with a final round off that competitiveness can help people only up to a certain point, but the price is that it is also “damaging and in due course quite disparaging.”
- The logical interlinking of notions through paragraphs is the third parameter that makes this a perfectly scoring essay.
- The manner in which the paragraphs are connected, the core focus still remains on the issue.
- The author’s skill of using accurate language to communicate precise meaning epitomizes the author’s grasp of the language.
Argument Essay 1: Mason City Riverside Recreation
The topic assigned here is: “In surveys, Mason City residents rank water sports (swimming, boating, and fishing) among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river’s water and the river’s smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River. The use of the river for water sports is therefore sure to increase. The city government should for that reason devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities.
- The outcome of the survey is binding and demonstrative.
- The explanation of why Mason River is not being used is by reason of its smell and contamination.
- Getting rid of the contamination in the river will help free you from the smell thus leading to more residents using it.
- The author recognizes the supposition that complaints point to countless people wanting to use the river and scrutinizes it by interpretation across potential situations other than the one exhibited in the prompt.
- The understanding comes from the information that the exact opportunities deliberated by the author are exceedingly believable alternative clarifications for the facts that would transform the validity of the prompt’s assumption.
- The outcome of her assessment concludes that there are unsatisfactory data to back the theory that Mason River is not used due to its smell and contamination.
- The author of this sample GRE ® essay accomplishes the prerequisites of a textbook scoring Argument essay is by delivering wide-ranging support for each of her key points.
- All through the essay, the author is able to illuminate accurately why every single assumption made is challenging by sourcing instances that exactly validate her argument.
- What makes this sample Argument essay achieve a perfect score is how it has been organized logically, with clear transitions between ideas.
- The author of this GRE ® essay sample is able to meet the first part of this requirement with a simple five-paragraph organizational structure: an introduction, one paragraph for each assumption discussed, and a conclusion.
- Additionally, an Argument essay must be detailed and actual in its argument of notions, with minimum errors that the author successfully met with using purposeful language to efficiently and clearly get her point across.
Argument Essay 2: Super Screen Movie Advertising
The topic assigned here is: “According to a recent report from our marketing department, during the past year, fewer people attended Super Screen-produced movies than in any other year. And yet the percentage of positive reviews by movie reviewers about specific Super Screen movies actually increased during the past year. Clearly, the contents of these reviews are not reaching enough of our prospective viewers. Thus, the problem lies not with the quality of our movies but with the public’s lack of awareness that movies of good quality are available. Super Screen should, therefore, allocate a greater share of its budget next year to reaching the public through advertising.”
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.”
- The first aspect of the essay examines how it successfully the content recognizes and assesses the portions of the argument that bears a close resemblance to the demands of the task.
- As part of the conclusion, there are many queries that Super Screen is answerable to prior to making use of this advertising director’s plan.
- There is a need to closely look into the actual numbers for viewership and positive reviews and ascertain the relationship that their target audience has with movie reviewers and establish how their target audience feels about their movies.
- The author strikes on the three key points that should be taking into consideration prior to reaching an agreement with the advertising director’s plan: viewer and review numbers, audience reactions to reviews, and whether or not reviews are a useful metric by which to measure movie success.
- An example that the author puts forward in relation to a particular argument can be found in the third paragraph of this GRE ® essay sample.
- The paragraph begins by asserting the question that requires an answer – “What the number of positive reviews was and how it compared to pass reviews?”
- Subsequently, post this preliminary recognition of the question, the author also justifies how responding this question would have an influence on the effectiveness of the recommendation: “If the increase in positive reviews was from 1% to 2%, allocating more money to advertising to emphasize this fact is likely to have less impact than if the money were instead budgeted towards improving film quality.”
- The author of the GRE ® essay sample fulfills the requirement of sustaining every question she elevates the argument in the prompt by presenting how its reaction would shape the recommendation.
- The author has also developed and connected notions in a clear and logical fashion.
- The organization of this GRE ® argument essay sample facilitates in accomplishing this by steering the author’s views into an introduction, four body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
- A perfect-scoring Argument essay must make use of complex and precise language, with few errors that the author of this essay has achieved.
Introduction – GRE ® Analytical Writing Sample Essays
Just like your verbal and Quant sections, you need tons of practice to master the essay section too. Go through these GRE ® sample AWA and response essays that will help test your ability.
Essay Response Score 6
The statement linking technology negatively with free thinking plays on the recent human experience over the past century. Surely there has been no time in history where the lived lives of people have changed more dramatically. A quick reflection on a typical day reveals how technology has revolutionized the world. Most people commute to work in an automobile that runs on an internal combustion engine. During the workday, chances are high that the employee will interact with a computer that processes the information on silicon bridges that are .09 microns wide. Upon leaving home, family members will be reached through wireless networks that utilize satellites orbiting the earth. Each of these common occurrences could have been inconceivable at the turn of the 19th century.
The statement attempts to bridge these dramatic changes to a reduction in the ability for humans to think for themselves. The assumption is that increased reliance on technology negates the need for people to think creatively to solve previous quandaries. Looking back at the introduction, one could argue that without a car, computer, or mobile phone, the hypothetical worker would need to find alternate methods of transport, information processing, and communication. Technology short circuits this thinking by making the problems obsolete.
However, this reliance on technology does not necessarily preclude the creativity that marks the human species. The prior examples reveal that technology allows for convenience. The car, computer, and phone all release additional time for people to live more efficiently. This efficiency does not preclude the need for humans to think for themselves. In fact, technology frees humanity to not only tackle new problems but may itself create new issues that did not exist without technology. For example, the proliferation of automobiles has introduced a need for fuel conservation on a global scale. With increasing energy demands from emerging markets, global warming becomes a concern inconceivable to the horse-and-buggy generation. Likewise, dependence on oil has created nation-states that are not dependent on taxation, allowing ruling parties to oppress minority groups such as women. Solutions to these complex problems require the unfettered imaginations of maverick scientists and politicians.
In contrast to the statement, we can even see how technology frees the human imagination. Consider how the digital revolution and the advent of the internet have allowed for an unprecedented exchange of ideas. WebMD, a popular internet portal for medical information, permits patients to self-research symptoms for a more informed doctor visit. This exercise opens pathways of thinking that were previously closed off to the medical layman. With increased interdisciplinary interactions, inspiration can arrive from the most surprising corners. Jeffrey Sachs, one of the architects of the UN Millenium Development Goals, based his ideas on emergency care triage techniques. The unlikely marriage of economics and medicine has healed tense, hyperinflation environments from South America to Eastern Europe.
This last example provides the most hope in how technology actually provides hope for the future of humanity. By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals can now be achieved. Consider how the late 20th century witnessed the complete elimination of smallpox. This disease had ravaged the human race since prehistorical days, and yet with the technology of vaccines, free-thinking humans dared to imagine a world free of smallpox. Using technology, battle plans were drawn out, and smallpox was systematically targeted and eradicated.
Technology will always mark the human experience, from the discovery of fire to the implementation of nanotechnology. Given the history of the human race, there will be no limit to the number of problems, both new and old, for us to tackle. There is no need to retreat to a Luddite attitude to new things, but rather embrace a hopeful posture to the possibilities that technology provides for new avenues of human imagination.
- Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 6
- The instances are convincing, have been developed with careful thought are logically aligned and well supported.
- The transitions within ideas and paragraphs are smooth.
- With a complex and varied sentence structure, the essay adheres to all standard norms of written English, i.e., grammar, usage, and mechanics.
- Even though there are periodic errors visible, the essay still meets all the requirements thus attaining 6 which is the top GRE ® score for analytical writing.
Essay response score 5
Surely many of us have expressed the following sentiment, or some variation on it, during our daily commutes to work: "People are getting so stupid these days!" Surrounded as we are by striding and strident automatons with cell phones glued to their ears, PDA's gripped in their palms, and omniscient, omnipresent CNN gleaming in their eyeballs, it's tempting to believe that technology has isolated and infantilized us, essentially transforming us into dependent, conformist morons best equipped to sideswipe one another in our SUV's.
Furthermore, hanging around with the younger, pre-commute generation, whom tech-savviness seems to have rendered lethal, is even less reassuring. With "Teen People" style trends shooting through the air from tiger-striped PDA to zebra-striped PDA, and with the latest starlet gossip zipping from juicy Blackberry to teeny, turbo-charged cell phone, technology seems to support young people's worst tendencies to follow the crowd. Indeed, they have seemingly evolved into intergalactic conformity police. After all, today's tech-aided teens are, courtesy of authentic, hands-on video games, literally trained to kill; courtesy of chat and instant text messaging, they have their own language; they even have tiny cameras to efficiently photo-document your fashion blunders! Is this adolescence, or paparazzi terrorist training camp?
With all this evidence, it's easy to believe that tech trends and the incorporation of technological wizardry into our everyday lives have served mostly to enforce conformity, promote dependence, heighten consumerism and materialism, and generally create a culture that values self-absorption and personal entitlement over cooperation and collaboration. However, I argue that we are merely in the inchoate stages of learning to live with technology while still loving one another. After all, even given the examples provided earlier in this essay, it seems clear that technology hasn't impaired our thinking and problem-solving capacities. Certainly it has incapacitated our behavior and manners; certainly, our values have taken a severe blow. However, we are inarguably more efficient in our badness these days. We're effective worker bees of ineffectiveness!
If technology has so increased our sense of self-efficacy that we can become veritable agents of the awful, virtual CEO's of selfishness, certainly it can be beneficial. Harnessed correctly, technology can improve our ability to think and act for ourselves. The first challenge is to figure out how to provide technology users with some direly-needed direction.
- Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 5
- The strengths and weaknesses of this essay are clearly evident in the language used.
- While some of the flowery representations do have a powerful impact, at times the descriptions are awkwardly placed, with the comparisons often being stressed.
- The author has used complex vocabulary and syntax consistently – “Surrounded as we are by striding and strident automatons with cell phones glued to their ears, PDA's gripped in their palms, and omniscient, omnipresent CNN gleaming in their eyeballs, it's tempting to believe..."
- Too much reliance on abstractions in the essay has not borne the desired effect as it lacks appropriate reasoning.
- On the whole, the essay demonstrates credible ideas with examples with thoughtful analysis, taking an overall complex approach to the issue, thus earning a score 5.
Essay Response Score 4
In all actuality, I think it is more probable that our bodies will surely deteriorate long before our minds do in any significant amount. Who can't say that technology has made us lazier, but that's the keyword, lazy, not stupid? The ever-increasing amount of technology that we incorporate into our daily lives makes people think and learn every day, possibly more than ever before. Our abilities to think, learn, philosophize, etc. may even reach limits never dreamed of before by average people. Using technology to solve problems will continue to help us realize our potential as a human race.
If you think about it, using technology to solve more complicating problems gives humans a chance to expand their thinking and learning, opening up whole new worlds for many people. Many of these people are glad for the chance to expand their horizons by learning more, going to new places, and trying new things. If it wasn't for the invention of new technological devices, I wouldn't be sitting at this computer trying to philosophize about technology. It would be extremely hard for children in many poorer countries to learn and think for themselves without the invention of the internet. Think what an impact the printing press, a technologically superior machines at the time, had on the ability of the human race to learn and think.
Right now we are seeing a golden age of technology, using it all the time during our everyday lives. When we get up there's instant coffee and the microwave and all these great things that help us get ready for our day. But we aren't allowing our minds to deteriorate by using them, we are only making things easier for ourselves and saving time for other important things in our days. Going off to school or work in our cars instead of a horse and buggy. Think of the brainpower and genius that was used to come up with that single invention that has changed the way we move across this globe.Using technology to solve our continually more complicated problems as a human race is definitely a good thing. Our ability to think for ourselves isn't deteriorating, it's continuing to grow, moving on to higher though functions and more ingenious ideas. The ability to use what technology we have is an example.
- Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 4
- Developing a clear position, the author presents appropriate reasons to hold true and explain in support of the issue.
- The point on technology usage is supported with relevant concepts that show how it enables users to access data and information and their potential that users would not normally have access to.
- The ‘golden age’ point has also been appropriately supported by the basic description of our technologically saturated social condition.
- Paragraph 3 on coffee pots to the benefits of technology to cars does showcase that the overall development and organization of this essay does live through the rare bouts of misdirection.
- The essay seamless flows from one idea to another but often only scratching the surface level of the core issue rather than probing in-depth.
- Taking the analysis further, the author creates a marked distinction between the essay and the level 3 response that supports the idea of technology advancing to help progress human thinking abilities, drawing an intelligent parallel between the promise of the modern sophisticated technology (computer) and the actual "impact" of equally "promising" and pervasive technologies of the past (printing press).
- The reason why this essay has received a score of 4 as the language meets the expectations and the author has demonstrated a satisfactory control over it.
- Overall, the mistakes are minor in nature and do not really hinder with the clarity of the notions being presented.
Essay Response Score 3
There is no current proof that advancing technology will deteriorate the ability of humans to think. On the contrary, advancements in technology had advanced our vast knowledge in many fields, opening opportunities for further understanding and achievement. For example, the problem of debilitating illnesses and diseases such as Alzheimer's disease is slowing being solved by the technological advancements in stem cell research. The future ability to grow new brain cells and the possibility to reverse the onset of Alzheimer's is now becoming a reality. This shows our initiative as humans to better our health demonstrates the greater ability of humans to think.
One aspect where the ability of humans may initially be seen as an example of deteriorating minds is the use of the internet and cell phones. In the past humans had to seek out information in many different environments and aspects of life. Now humans can sit in a chair and type anything into a computer and get an answer. Our reliance on this type of technology can be detrimental if not regulated and regularly substituted for other information sources such as human interactions and hands-on learning. I think if humans understand that we should not have such a reliance on computer technology, that we as a species will advance further by utilizing the opportunity of computer technology as well as the other sources of information outside of a computer. Supplementing our knowledge with internet access is surely a way for technology to solve problems while continually advancing the human race.
- Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 3
- The author has been able to transcend beyond the superficial strata of the core issue.
- How technology has advanced overall human know-how in multiple domains and the way forward is to supplement the usage to “surely a way for technology to solve problems while continually advancing the human race."
- However, the author has failed to offer sufficient evidence to support this point.
- Point two is where the author has created an outline by citing the need for regulation/supplementation and cautions of the flipside of depending on technology heavily which is vague and restrictive - "Our reliance ... can be detrimental. If humans understand that we should not have such a reliance ... we will advance further."
- Much of the second paragraph is filled with loosely connected generalizations which need more groundwork.
- Some minor language errors are also present in this essay. However, the author’s meaning and implications are clear, thus earning this essay a score of 3.
Essay Response Score 2
In recent centuries, humans have developed the technology very rapidly, and you may accept some merit of it, and you may see a distortion in society that occurred by it. To be lazy for humans in some meaning is one of the fashion issues in these days. There are many symptoms and reasons for it. However, I can not agree with the statement that technology makes humans be reluctant to think thoroughly.
Of course, you can see the phenomena of human laziness along with developed technology in some places. However, they would happen in specific conditions, not general. What makes human to be laze of thinking is not merely technology, but the tendency of humans that they treat them as a magic stick and a black box. Not understanding the aims and theory of them courses the disapproval problems.
The most important thing to use thechnology, regardless of the new or old, is to comprehend the fundamental idea of them and to adapt suit tech to tasks in need. Even if you recognize a method as an all-mighty and it is extremely over-spec to your needs, you can not see the result you want. In this procedure, humans have to consider as long as possible to acquire adequate functions. Therefore, humans can not escape from using their brains.
In addition, the technology as it does not vain automatically is created by humans. Thus, the more developed tech and the more you want a convenient life, the more you think and emit your creativity to breakthrough some banal method sarcastically.
Consequently, if you are not passive to the new tech, but offensive to it, you would not lose your ability to think deeply. Furthermore, you may improve your ability by adopting it.
- Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 2
- This essay is no better than a score 2 simply because of the language used.
- Serious errors in grammar, only specific moments of clarity, sentence mechanics and usage of terms minus meanings contribute to this.
- If one were to overlook the obvious flaws, the author has made an effort to respond to the prompt - "I can not agree with the statement that the technology makes humans be reluctant to thinking thoroughly."
- However, the author has not been successful in his assertion of - "Not understanding the aims and theory of them [technology] courses the disapproval problems" and "The most important thing to use the technology ... is to comprehend the fundamental idea of them."
- Overall, the essay presents a badly inconsistent but not essentially lacking in an endeavor to produce and sustain its statements.
Essay Response Score 1
Humans have invented machines but they have forgotten it and have started everything technically so clearly their thinking process is deteriorating.
- Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 1
- The author’s manner of using significant terms from the prompt "technically" (technologically), "humans," "thinking" (think) and "deteriorating" (deteriorate) clearly demonstrates that the essay is topic and offers evidence of understanding.
- It also shows the author’s inability to create an appropriate response that is in adherence to the instructions and guidelines provided - ("Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement above and explain your reasoning for the position you take."
- The language used also demonstrates that the essay is no better than a level 1 as the sentences formed are not coherent.
6 Tips for a Perfect-Scoring GRE ® Essay
Go over these fundamental pointers that should help you get that perfect score on your four GRE ® essays.
- The common factor in all perfect-scoring GRE ® sample essays is an introduction and a conclusion.
- Ideally, you need to introduce the core ideas in the first few lines, not necessarily a paragraph and ensure that you wrap them up at the end of the essay.
- It is imperative that the author states their position on the issue clearly.
- While you may scrape through a vague standpoint in an Argument essay and still score a 4.0, the same approach will not work in an Issue essay where you may just get a 3.0.
- Regardless of the essay type or prompt, in order to get that perfect score, you will need to include a statement that clarifies your position and the extent to which you agree or disagree with it.
- From the sample essays and their analysis, one aspect that is clearly identifiable is the need for the author to concentrate on relevant support for any claims or statements being made.
- It is always more persuasive if the essay demonstrates claims that have been backed up by sufficient evidence than just making general points.
- Therefore, going backward, if you are unable to find sufficient support for your arguments, then in all probability, that is a sign that you need to rethink your position or draw inspiration from another part of the argument that will withstand critique.
- The communication of your notions and ideas and the support that you provide transcends polished writing, perfectly worded or spelt essays.
- Issues that have been clearly-explained with compelling examples, evaluations and assessments by cutting through the heart of the argument is bound to get a higher score in comparison to imprecise essays that have been skillfully crafted.
- A key factor in any of the essays getting a high score is a seamless and smooth transition of ideas between paragraphs that have been linked at multiple levels.
- Even ideas within paragraphs should have linguistic transition levels.
- All of the GRE ® essay samples adhere to the basic standard five paragraph routine that includes an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion.
- The ETS website states, “You are free to organize and develop your response in any way you think will enable you to effectively communicate your ideas about the issue.”
- But having your essay organized across these five paragraph formats it will save you the time of having to figure out a new organizational strategy for every essay you write.
- And the more consistently you stick to a simple (but clear) organizational structure, the faster you’ll get at it until organizing your thoughts logically comes as second-nature.
Download your FREE eBook on AWA essay writing, now!
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Gre prep online guides and tips, 4 top-scoring gre sample essays, analyzed (issue + argument).
The best way to figure out how to get a high Analytical Writing score is to look at a GRE essay sample, but doing so without any guidance can be overwhelming. How do you show insight? Do typos affect your score? What’s a good way to keep your essay organized?
We’ll answer all these questions for you (and more!) in this article by analyzing four real GRE essay examples and highlighting the key features you’ll want to include in your own essays.
How to Use This Guide
Before we get to the GRE sample essays and their analyses, I’ll highlight two best ways to use this guide to improve your essay and get a great scoring essay yourself.
First, use the perfect-scoring sample GRE essays in this guide as models of possible ways to accomplish the essay tasks . By this, I don’t mean you should plagiarize entire sentences, paragraphs, or essays – that’s both wrong and against GRE code of conduct (it will disqualify your entire test if discovered). Plus, there are so many prompts (152 Issue prompts and 176 Argument ones) that it’s unlikely you’d be able to use any of these exact essays anyway.
What you can and should do is incorporate the features highlighted in the analyses below in your own essays. For instance, if you’ve been struggling with how to logically connect ideas within paragraphs in your own essays, take a look of some of the examples of logical connection I point out in this article and see how they fit within the context of the full essay. You can then practice replicating successful connections between ideas in your own practice essays.
The other main way to use this guide is in conjunction with the essay grading rubrics to help ferret out your writing weaknesses and work on them. Start with the rubrics for the Issue and Argument tasks and identify which criteria are most difficult for you to meet. Even if you can’t articulate precisely what your weakest spot is (e.g. failing to logically connect your ideas within paragraphs), you can at least narrow down the general rubric area you most struggle with (e.g. organization in general).
Once you’ve identified the general area you have the most trouble with, read the GRE essay examples and our analyses in this article to find concrete instances (rather than the abstract descriptions) of the rubric criteria. For more information about the different rubrics for the different essay tasks, read our articles on how to write perfect-scoring GRE Issue and Argument essays .
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Because this article is on the longer side, we’ve created a table of contents to enable you to jump to a specific essay example or task type:
Table of Contents: GRE Essay Examples
Issue essay 1: technology and human ingenuity, issue essay 2: cooperation vs. competition, argument essay 1: mason city riverside recreation, argument essay 2: super screen movie advertising.
The first of the GRE sample essays we’ll be looking at is written in response to the following “Analyze an Issue” prompt:
As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.
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.
The essay written on this Issue prompt takes the position that rather than hindering our abilities to think for themselves, technology will spur humanity on to achieve ever-greater things. The full text of this GRE essay sample can be found on the ETS website .
In this analysis, I’ll go over the different ways in which this essay meets the GRE essay rubric criteria for a perfect scoring Issue essay . The first of these rubric criteria I’ll be discussing is the way the author takes a clear and insightful stance on the issue in the essay.
The author’s position that instead of fearing new technology, we should embrace its possibilities is methodically articulated over the course of the entire essay, culminating in the essay’s conclusion with a full thesis statement (“There is no need to retreat to a Luddite attitude to new things, but rather embrace a hopeful posture to the possibilities that technology provides for new avenues of human imagination.”). Below is an outline of how the author expresses her thesis throughout the essay:
- Paragraph 1 : The author acknowledges “technology has revolutionized the world.”
- Paragraph 2 : The author explains the reasoning behind the statement in the prompt (“The assumption is that an increased reliance on technology negates the need for people to think creatively to solve previous quandaries”).
- Paragraph 3 : The author counters the reasoning she discussed in paragraph 2, writing that “reliance on technology does not necessarily preclude the creativity that marks the human species.”
- Paragraph 4 : The author advances her counterclaim one step further, stating that “technology frees the human imagination.”
- Paragraph 5 : The author further develops the idea from Paragraph 4, stating “By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals can now be achieved.”
- Paragraph 6 : This final paragraph concludes the essay with a fully articulated thesis that also sums up what went before: “There is no need to retreat to a Luddite attitude to new things, but rather embrace a hopeful posture to the possibilities that technology provides for new avenues of human imagination.”
The author’s straightforward explanations of her thinking and logic enhance the clarity of her position, while the nuanced content of the position itself demonstrates insight into the issue.
The next area a perfect-scoring Issue essay must demonstrate mastery of is the development of its position through compelling and persuasive examples and reasoning . The author of this essay accomplishes this task by providing examples to support each idea she discusses and, furthermore, explaining not only the content of the examples but also why the examples support her position.
Here’s an example from paragraph 5:
By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals can now be achieved. Consider how the late 20th century witnessed the complete elimination of smallpox. This disease had ravaged the human race since prehistorical days, and yet with the technology of vaccines, free thinking humans dared to imagine a world free of smallpox. Using technology, battle plans were drawn out, and smallpox was systematically targeted and eradicated.
In this example, the author begins by laying out the main idea to be discussed (impossible things can be achieved by relying more on technology). She then supports this idea with the example of the impossible problem of smallpox and the steps taken that led to its eradication.
The great thing about the way the author explains her reasoning and examples is the concision and precision with which she gets her information across. Rather than going off into a discussion about the damage caused by smallpox, or staying too vague by mentioning how “diseases” had been solved by the use of vaccines, the author chooses a specific example (smallpox) and mentions only the details relevant to proving her point . This kind of precise writing takes practice, but being able to effectively sum up an example and why it supports your position in just a couple of sentences is essential if you want to get a high score on the GRE Issue essay.
Focus, organization, and logical connections are the third criterion that a perfect-scoring essay needs to fulfill. In the case of this GRE essay sample, the author achieves this organization and focus by linking ideas both within paragraphs (as seen in the previous example) as well as between paragraphs . Let’s look at the way the author transitions between the end of paragraph four and the beginning of paragraph five:
The unlikely marriage of economics and medicine has healed tense, hyperinflation environments from South America to Eastern Europe.
This last example provides the most hope in how technology actually provides hope to the future of humanity. By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals can now be achieved.
The author connects the two paragraphs by continuing paragraph four’s discussion of ways human imagination has been pushed by technology (technology combining economics and medicine has solved a problem) with paragraph five’s exploration of how this example has led to achieving things previously considered impossible. The smoothness of the transition between the two paragraphs is effected both by presenting the content of the next paragraph as a logical progression from what was just discussed as well as by using language (“this last example”) that connects the two on a more superficial level.
By keeping paragraphs tightly linked on both the surface level of sentence structures as well as on the deeper level of content being discussed , the author of this essay also keeps her writing focused and cohesive.
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The last quality a perfect-scoring essay must demonstrate is precision of language and flow in writing . The author of this GRE Analytical Writing sample fulfills this requirement by using language to precisely and economically convey meaning throughout her essay. Here’s one example of precise and effective use of language in the essay:
This disease had ravaged the human race since prehistorical days, and yet with the technology of vaccines, free thinking humans dared to imagine a world free of smallpox.
In this excerpt, the author uses the evocative word “ravaged” to show the dire extent of the problem solved by technology, reinforcing that the issue was previously considered impossible to cope with. She also uses the phrase “humans dared to imagine” in this sentence, which ties the example being discussed back to the previous paragraph’s discussion of human imagination.
While there are a couple of minor errors in this excerpt (“prehistorical” should be “prehistoric,” “free thinking” should be “free-thinking”), they do not significantly change the meaning of the author’s words and so do not detract from the overall effectiveness of the author’s language.
Return to Table of Contents
The second of the GRE Issue essay samples I’ll be analyzing is written in response to the following prompt about the values of cooperation vs. competition:
“The best way for a society to prepare its young people for leadership in government, industry, or other fields is by instilling in them a sense of cooperation, not competition.”
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons or examples that could be used to challenge your position.
The sample Issue essay written in response to this topic takes the stance that cooperation, not competition, is a preferable value to instill in young people in preparation for government. You can read the full essay on page 108 of this PDF . Read on for a discussion of the different ways in which this essay meets the requirements for a perfect score.
As with the previous GRE essay sample, we’ll start by looking at how this essay meets the perfect-scoring essay criteria of stating a clear and insightful position (as required by the essay task). The author fulfills the first part of the criteria with his clear statement of his thesis in the last line of the very first paragraph:
I would have to agree that the best way to prepare young people for leadership roles is to instill in them a sense of cooperation.
He reiterates this clear position with the last two sentences of his conclusion:
Getting to be President of the United States or the managing director of a corporation might require you to win some battles, but once you are there you will need diplomacy and people-skills. Those can be difficult to learn, but if you do not have them, you are likely to be a short-lived leader.
To achieve a perfect Issue essay score, however, it’s not just enough to be clear in your position; your position must also demonstrate insight into the issue . The author of this essay accomplishes this second part by choosing a two-pronged approach to answering the essay question. Rather than merely explaining how cooperativeness leads to positive outcomes in government, industry, and other fields, the author also explains how competitiveness leads to negative outcomes.
Thus, the author makes his position clear by stating it in the opening and closing paragraphs of the essay and shows insight by taking the more complex position that not only is cooperation good, but competition is bad.
The next of the rubric criteria we’ll discuss has to do with how well the author develops his position with examples and reasoning . A great example of this development can be found in the second paragraph of this essay, which discusses the drawbacks of competition.
The author begins his discussion of competitiveness by arguing that it’s a quality that doesn’t need to be “instilled” because it’s already present. Beginning with general reasoning about human behaviors at school and the office to introduce his point, the author then neatly segues into specific examples of competitiveness gone amok (Hitler in Germany and the recent economic meltdown in America).
With each example presented in the essay, the author pushes his position along a little further. He moves from discussing the most extreme historical cases (genocide) to more recent events (economic recession), concluding by focusing in on one person’s life and career (Tiger Woods). This final example allows the author to reach his final destination in his discussion of competitiveness: yes, competition can serve people well up to a certain point, but the price is that it is also “detrimental and ultimately quite destructive.”
The third way this essay meets the requirements of a perfect-scoring essay is through the logical connection of ideas within and between paragraphs . The transition between the end of paragraph two and the beginning of paragraph three provides a stellar example of this skillful connecting of ideas:
It [competitiveness] served him well in some respects, but it also proved to be detrimental and ultimately quite destructive.
Leaders who value cooperation, on the other ahnd, have historically been less prone to these overreaching, destructive tendencies.
On the face of it, the author only connects the two paragraphs by using a transition phrase (“on the other hand”) that sets up the next paragraph as contrasting with what came before. While this kind of transition would be good enough for a lower-scoring essay, though, the author does not just leave the connection between the two paragraphs at that. Instead, he also connects the two paragraphs by keeping the focus on the same issue from the end of one paragraph to the beginning of the next.
The content-level transition between paragraphs occurs when the author transitions from discussing the “detrimental and ultimately quite destructive” competitiveness of Tiger Woods directly into claiming that cooperation-valuing leaders are “less prone to these overreaching, destructive tendencies.” This twofold linkage of content (deeper level) and transition phrase (more surface level) makes it clear to the reader that the discussion of leaders valuing cooperation follows logically the discussion of negative outcomes for competition-valuing leaders.
The final 6-level quality demonstrated by this GRE Writing sample is its use of skillful and precise language to convey specific meaning . Overall, the language in this essay is formal and academic , despite the profligate use of first person point of view by the author (which can make writing seem less formal). The following sentence exemplifies the author’s command of language:
The recent economic meltdown was caused in no large part by the leaders of American banks and financial institutions who were obsessed with competing for the almighty dollar.
Despite the minor error in this sentence (it should read “in no small part,” rather than “in no large part,”), the author’s meaning is absolutely clear: competition led to the meltdown. Strong vocabulary choices like “economic meltdown,” “obsessed,” “almighty dollar” are what make this an effective statement of the author’s position. Compare the above excerpt to a more milquetoast version of the same statement:
The recent economic downturn was mostly caused by financial leaders who wanted to earn lots of money.
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This second sentence has the same basic meaning as the real excerpt from the essay. Because it doesn’t use particularly precise or compelling language, however, this watered-down version ends up minimizing the magnitude of problems caused by competitiveness (which undercuts the author’s point). This vaguer version of the essay excerpt also lacks the word “competing,” which makes it useless as an instance of competition among leaders leading to negative consequences.
The original excerpt from the essay, and indeed the entire GRE essay example, is so strong precisely because it manages to pack in specific relevant language that adds to, rather than detracts from, the author’s meaning.
The next essay I’ll be analyzing is written in response to the following “Analyze an Argument” prompt:
In surveys Mason City residents rank water sports (swimming, boating and fishing) among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river’s water and the river’s smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River. Use of the river for water sports is therefore sure to increase. The city government should for that reason devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities.
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
The GRE Argument essay sample I’ll be analyzing critiques the numerous assumptions made and ultimately concludes that the argument for spending more money on Mason City’s riverside recreational facilities rests on faulty assumptions.
The full text of this essay can be found on the ETS website . Be sure to read through the essay first before coming back to read my analysis of it. We’ll start by looking at the ways in which this GRE essay sample identifies and examines the argument given in the prompt in an insightful way:
There are three key assumptions made by the argument that are identified in the essay:
#1 : The survey results are valid and representative
#2 : The reason Mason River isn’t used is because of odor and pollution
#3 : Cleaning the pollution in the river will get rid of the odor and then lead to more usage by residents
The Argument essay example we’re looking at examines each of the assumptions by considering the implications if the assumptions made by the article turn out not to be true . Here’s part of the essay’s investigation of the second assumption listed above:
Though there have been complaints, we do not know if there have been numerous complaints from a wide range of people, or perhaps from one or two individuals who made numerous complaints.
The author identifies the assumption that complaints indicate many people want to use the river and examines it by reasoning through possible scenarios other than the one presented in the prompt. The insight comes from the fact that the specific possibilities discussed by the author are highly plausible alternative explanations for the facts that would change the validity of the prompt’s assumption. It’s very possible that the complaints were not made by every single resident, or even a majority of residents, as the prompt seems to assume, but were in fact only made by a few people.
As a result of her analysis, the author ultimately concludes that there is insufficient information to support the assumption that Mason River isn’t used due to its odor and pollution.
The next way the author of this sample GRE essay fulfills the requirements of a perfect-scoring Argument essay is by providing comprehensive support for each of her main points . Throughout the essay, the author is able to explain exactly why each assumption made is problematic by using examples that precisely illustrate her argument.
Consider how this is approached in the second paragraph of the essay. The author starts the paragraph by presenting the assumption made in the essay argument that the survey results can be relied upon. She then proceeds to decimate that assumption with multiple examples of ways in which the survey could be flawed and not be an accurate representation of the residents’ opinions, as can be seen in the following excerpt:
For example, the survey could have asked residents if they prefer using the river for water sports or would like to see a hydroelectric dam built, which may have swayed residents toward river sports. The sample may not have been representative of city residents, asking only those residents who live upon the river. The survey may have been 10 pages long, with 2 questions dedicated to river sports. We just do not know.
The thoroughness of the author’s support for her point is magnified by the specificity of the scenarios she proposes . Stating “the survey might not have been representative of the city residents” would have been far less compelling a point than stating “[t]he sample may not have been representative of city residents, asking only those residents who live upon the river.”
Another important ideal a perfect-scoring Argument essay must live up to is being organized logically, with clear transitions between ideas . The author of this GRE essay sample is able to meet the first part of this requirement with a simple five-paragraph organizational structure : an introduction, one paragraph for each assumption discussed, and a conclusion.
Accomplishing the logical connection and development of ideas throughout the essay requires a little bit more finesse, but the author still manages it. Here’s an example from the beginning of the third paragraph of a skillful transition:
Additionally, the author implies that residents do not use the river for swimming, boating, and fishing, despite their professed interest, because the water is polluted and smelly.
In the above example, the author uses the transition word “additionally” to connect the ideas that will follow with what went before. The example also references the previous paragraph’s discussion of the unreliability of the survey of residents (“their professed interest”) and links it to the current discussion of pollution and smell being the cause of low participation in riverside recreational activities. The combination of these two methods of connecting the two paragraphs results in a smooth logical flow from one idea to the next.
Lastly, a perfect-scoring Argument essay must be precise and effective in its discussion of ideas, with few if any errors . The author of this essay successfully meets this standard by using purposeful language to efficiently and clearly get her point across, as can be seen in this example from paragraph three:
While a polluted, smelly river would likely cut down on river sports, a concrete connection between the resident’s lack of river use and the river’s current state is not effectively made.
The author contrasts the prompt’s assumption (“a polluted, smelly river would likely cut down on river sports”) with the “concrete connection” that is not present. The essay as a whole is not completely devoid of errors (for example, the author writes “afffected” instead of “affected”), but the errors are few and do not have a negative impact on the clarity of the writing.
The last of the GRE essay examples I’ll be analyzing at is written in response to this “Analyze an Argument” prompt:
The following is taken from a memo from the advertising director of the Super Screen Movie Production Company.
“According to a recent report from our marketing department, during the past year, fewer people attended Super Screen-produced movies than in any other year. And yet the percentage of positive reviews by movie reviewers about specific Super Screen movies actually increased during the past year. Clearly, the contents of these reviews are not reaching enough of our prospective viewers. Thus, the problem lies not with the quality of our movies but with the public’s lack of awareness that movies of good quality are available. Super Screen should therefore allocate a greater share of its budget next year to reaching the public through advertising.”
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
The essay written in response to this “Analyze an Argument” prompt raises and evaluates questions about how many viewers and reviews of Super Screen productions there actually were, if there is a strong relationship between how movie reviewers and general audiences react to movies, and whether or not the percentage of positive reviews about a movie reflects how much of an impact reviews have on audiences.
The full text of this GRE essay sample can be found on p. 112 of this PDF . Read through the essay first, then check below for an analysis of its positive (and negative) qualities.
The first aspect of the essay we’ll analyze is how it succeeds in identifying and examining the parts of the argument that are relevant to the task . In the essay’s introduction, the author mentions that there are questions that need to be asked (“Before this plan is implemented, however, Super Screen needs to address some questions about its possible flaws”), but he really hammers it home in the conclusion by specifying which questions need to be answered:
In conclusion, there are many questions Super Screen needs to answer before using this advertising director’s plan. They need to look carefully at actual numbers, both of viewership and of positive reviews. The also need to identify the relationship that their target audience has with movie reviewers and determine how their target audience feels about their movies. Fianlly they need to take a nuanced look at the movie reviews that they use in their advertising.
With this conclusion, the author hits the three main points that need to be considered before agreeing to the advertising director’s plan : viewer and review numbers, audience reactions to reviews, and whether or not reviews are a useful metric by which to measure movie success.
An instance of the author identifying a particular argument can be found in the third paragraph of this GRE essay sample. The paragraph starts by clearly stating the question that needs to be answered (what the number of positive reviews was and how it compared to past reviews). After this initial identification of the question, the author also explains how answering this question would have an impact on the usefulness of the recommendation: if the increase in positive reviews was from 1% to 2%, allocating more money to advertising to emphasize this fact is likely to have less impact than if the money were instead budgeted towards improving film quality.
Another quality all perfect-scoring Argument essays must contain is strong and thorough support for each point discussed . The author of the GRE essay sample we’re analyzing fulfills this requirement, supporting every question she raises about the argument in the prompt by showing how its answer would affect the recommendation.
A good example of this all coming together happens in paragraph five of the essay:
Finally the studio must ask whether the percentage of positive reviews is really a relevant way to measure the potential impact of movie reviews. There are dozens of movie reviewers but when deciding whether to not to go to a movie, the general public will usually pick from among the 10 most popular movie reviews. These are the reviews that will impress the public if they are included in advertising. If the most popular movie reviewers disliked Super Screen movies that a larger number of small time film bloggers reviewed positively, Super Screen needs to think of a new advertising strategy.
In this paragraph, the author opens by identifying the element of argument to be discussed (are positive reviews a useful way to measure the impact of movie reviews in general?). She then develops this point through reasoning about why the answer to this question might contradict the assumption made in the argument (people mostly use popular reviews to decide on what movies to see, rather than the ratio of popular to negative reviews).
The author ends this paragraph by conclusively showing that the answer to the question raised in this paragraph is crucial for determining whether or not Super Screen should follow the advertising director’s plan: if the percent of positive reviews isn’t a good way to measure movie impact and the real issue is that relatively few popular movie reviewers liked Super Screen movies, then the recommendation of the advertising department is unreasonable.
The third requirement for a perfect-scoring Argument essay is that it must develop and connect ideas in a clear and logical fashion. The organization of this GRE argument essay sample helps accomplish this by routing the author’s thoughts into an introduction, four body paragraphs, and a conclusion . Each body paragraph of the essay is centered around one or two related questions. A good example of this can be found in paragraph four, which contains two related questions about the relationship between audiences and movie reviewers:
Finally, Super Screen needs to ask what the relationship is between its viewers and the movie reviewers cited in the memo. Using a survey distributed to its target audience, Super Screen could determine if movie reviews have an effect on their audience’s decision to go see a movie, whether movie reviewers tended to have the same taste as the target audience and exactly whether or not movie reviews are reaching the audience. Super Screen also needs to consider how its movie choices have affected the separate movie reviewer and audience populations. If the studio has switched from making mega- blockbuster action movies to more nuanced dramas, the general public may be less willing to go see their movies even though movie critics prefer the dramas to the action movies.
The above paragraph starts out by discussing if Super Screen’s target audiences are affected by reviews and whether their audiences and movie reviewers have the same taste, then segues into discussing if the studio’s film-making choices have affected audiences and movie reviews. The transition between the two different questions being discussed is effected by the simple use of the word “also” in the third sentence of the paragraph:
Super Screen also needs to consider how its movie choices have affected the separate movie reviewer and audience populations. [bolded for emphasis]
The last sentence of the paragraph again links back to the discussion of audience taste vs. reviewer taste, reinforcing the close and logical connection between the two questions discussed in the paragraph.
Finally, a perfect-scoring Argument essay must employ varied and precise language, with few errors . Earlier, we discussed paragraph four as a particularly strong example of the author’s effective development of ideas. The last sentence of this paragraph contributes to this efficacy through the use of specific language :
“If the studio has switched from making mega-blockbuster action movies to more nuanced dramas, the general public may be less willing to go see their movies even though movie critics prefer the dramas to the action movies.”
The use of the descriptor “mega-blockbuster” to describe the action movies preferred by the masses effectively conjures up something that is the diametric opposite of a “nuanced drama.” In addition, the author’s contrasting of the “mega-blockbuster action movies” with “more nuanced dramas” parallels the second half of the sentence’s contrasting of the preferences of the general public vs. those of the (possibly) more refined movie reviewer.
There are a few minor spelling errors (e.g. in “attendence” instead of “attendance”), and the last two body paragraphs both start with “finally” (which is a little repetitive), but in general, this is a skillfully written essay. It’s not perfectly polished like an essay you’d turn in for school, but that’s absolutely OK. In the grand scheme of the GRE essay scoring rubric, writing flourishes matter much less than clarity of thought and precision of language.
6 Tips for a Perfect-Scoring GRE Essay
To wrap up this article, I’ll go over some of the key points you should take from the four GRE sample essays I analyzed in this article.
#1: Include an Introduction and a Conclusion
One thing that all these perfect-scoring GRE sample essays had in common was an introduction and a conclusion . It doesn’t have to be a full paragraph, but you need to at the very least introduce your ideas at the beginning of your essay and wrap up your conclusions at the end of it.
#2: State Your Position Clearly
In my notes to myself on one of the GRE Issue essay examples I analyzed above, I observed that the author “states her thesis early and often” because of the way her position was made clear throughout the essay. While obviously you don’t want to just repeat the same sentence over and over again, it is imperative that you include at least one clear statement of your position in your essay , preferably in your introduction paragraph.
The importance of clearly stating your position varies between the two GRE essay tasks somewhat. For the Argument essay, you might be able to get away with a vague summary of the points you’ll cover and still get a 4.0 or above on the essay; by contrast, it’s nearly impossible to get above a 3.0 on the Issue essay if you do not clearly state your position on the issue, as that is integral to the essay task itself.
Whatever the prompt or essay type, if you want to get a perfect score on your essay, you’ll need to include a clear statement of your position on the issue or what points you’ll be analyzing in regards to the argument in the prompt.
#3: Be Specific in Your Support
All of the perfect-scoring GRE essay examples analyzed in this article contained specific and relevant support for the claims made by the authors. In the Issue essay examples, the authors drew upon well-defined examples and concise examples that directly supported the author’s position on the issue. In the Argument essay samples, the authors focused in on several specific parts of the arguments and debated their validity using specific hypothetical scenarios and questions.
The takeaway of this for your own writing is that the specific is always more persuasive than the general when it comes to supporting a point. And if you can’t find specific support for your position or for the flaw you’ve found in an argument, then that’s a good sign that you need to consider changing your position or finding another part of the argument to critique.
#4: Explain Your Support Clearly
As I discussed in my analyses of the four GRE Writing samples, whether or not your writing is polished and perfectly worded and spelled is not nearly as important as your successful communication of your ideas and how they are supported . In the GRE essay, all is precision, and analyses of issues that use clearly-explained compelling examples or analyses of arguments that cut to the very heart of why an argument is flawed with supporting explanations will ultimately score higher than beautifully crafted but logically imprecise essays.
#5: Use Transitions
All of the authors of the GRE essay examples analyzed in this article are able to maintain focus and organization in their essays by employing multi-level transitions that link ideas between and within paragraphs on both content and linguistic levels. In your own writing, be conscious of when you are changing from discussing one idea to another and make sure the transition is smooth. Even just adding transition words like “additionally” or “in contrast” to the beginning of new ideas can help your writing flow better.
#6: Stay Organized
While all of the GRE essay examples used in this article were written in response to different prompts, they all adhered to basically the standard five-paragraph , introduction-body paragraphs-conclusion format.
There’s no reason to take extra time away from your analysis of the questions to figure out a unique organizational structure for each essay when the five paragraph essay will get it done just as well (if not better). This is not because other forms are not possible; as the ETS website says, “You are free to organize and develop your response in any way you think will enable you to effectively communicate your ideas about the issue.”
But the utility of the five paragraph form is that it’s a tried-and-true way to keep your essay organized . Using it will save you the time of having to figure out a new organizational strategy for every essay you write. And the more consistently you stick to a simple (but clear) organizational structure, the faster you’ll get at it, until organizing your thoughts logically comes as second-nature (especially important in a timed essay environment when every second counts).
Now you know what it takes to get a perfect essay score. But do you actually need to get a perfect 6.0 on GRE Writing? Find out with our discussion of what a good GRE Writing score is .
Curious about how the criteria mentioned in this article translate into numerical scores? Read our article on how the GRE essay is scored to learn more!
Need to boost your essay score quickly? We have 15 great tips and strategies that help you improve your Analytical Writing score .
Ready to dive into practice essays with some practice topics? Use our guide to the 328 official GRE essay topics to get started.
Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?
Author: Laura Staffaroni
Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. 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. View all posts by Laura Staffaroni
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GRE sample essays to nail the GRE Analytical writing section!
Worried about your performance in the gre analytical writing section follow the instructions, tips, and methods in this blog, and learn from these 8 gre sample essays to nail your exam, table of contents, gre sample essays | an overview, gre analytical writing section, issue essay, sample topics, gre sample essay response with the highest score (6):, gre sample essays response with a medium score (3):, argument essay, what do graders look for, how is the gre analytical writing section scored, how to practice for the gre analytical writing section, as for tips to nail the gre analytical writing section-.
A lot of students find the Quants and the Verbal sections of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) exam fairly easy to deal with. It’s the GRE Analytical Writing section that gives almost everybody a run for the woods. To reduce your nervousness and help you prepare for the GRE Analytical Writing section, I have included in-depth details about each question type and shared tips on how to nail it. Along with that, you will also find some GRE sample essays to help you. So, what are you waiting for? Dive in!
Before we begin, it’s important to understand what the GRE Analytical Writing section is all about and why it’s so important.
The GRE Analytical Writing section tests a student’s critical thinking and analytical writing skills.
In simpler words – universities want to make sure that their students know how to construct complex ideas, analyze them, and express their thoughts on paper.
So the Analytical Writing score helps them see if a student will perform well while giving presentations, doing projects, or writing papers and assignments for a class.
Consequently, the Analytical Writing section in GRE consists of two tasks-
- The “Analyze an Issue” task – 30 minutes
- The “Analyze an Argument” task – 30 minutes
Below, we talk about each of these tasks, what they test, and look at a few sample essays.
The “Analyze an Issue” task will present an opinion to you. This opinion can be about any general topic, like technology, economics, health, etc.
But don’t worry about not knowing too much about these topics. If you usually keep up with the news, it will be straightforward to come up with a response.
Now, after reading the opinion, you will go through a set of instructions on how to respond to that issue.
All you have to do is evaluate the issue, come up with an opinion, and use clear arguments and examples to support your opinion.
Give it a whirl and see how you’re performing-
- A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college. Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how these consequences shape your position.
- 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 and explain how these considerations shape your position.
- In any field of inquiry, the beginner is more likely than the expert to make important contributions. 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 and explain how these considerations shape your position.
GRE sample essays with analysis
Now that you have practiced writing a couple of essays, take some time to look at this GRE sample essay for the “Analyze an Issue” task.
Not only will it help you see which areas you can improve on, but it will also help you look at the same topic from a different perspective.
As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.
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 and explain how these considerations shape your position.
The statement linking technology negatively with free thinking plays on the recent human experience over the past century. Surely there has been no time in history when the lived lives of people have changed more dramatically. A quick reflection on a typical day reveals how technology has revolutionized the world. Most people commute to work in an automobile that runs on an internal combustion engine. During the workday, chances are high that the employee will interact with a computer that processes information on silicon bridges that are .09 microns wide. Upon leaving home, family members will reach through wireless networks that utilize satellites orbiting the earth. Each of these common occurrences could have been inconceivable at the turn of the 19th century.
The statement attempts to bridge these dramatic changes to a reduction in the ability of humans to think for themselves. The assumption is that increased reliance on technology negates the need for people to think creatively to solve previous quandaries. Looking back at the introduction, one could argue that without a car, computer, or mobile phone, the hypothetical worker would need to find alternate methods of transport, information processing, and communication. Technology shortcircuits this thinking by making the problems obsolete.
However, this reliance on technology does not necessarily preclude the creativity that marks the human species. The prior examples reveal that technology allows for convenience. The car, computer, and phone all release additional time for people to live more efficiently. This efficiency does not preclude the need for humans to think for themselves. In fact, technology frees humanity not only to tackle new problems but may itself create new issues that did not exist without technology. For example, the proliferation of automobiles has introduced a need for fuel conservation on a global scale. With increasing energy demands from emerging markets, global warming becomes a concern inconceivable to the horse-and-buggy generation. Likewise, dependence on oil has created nation-states that are not dependent on taxation, allowing ruling parties to oppress minority groups such as women. Solutions to these complex problems require the unfettered imaginations of maverick scientists and politicians.
In contrast to the statement, we can even see how technology frees the human imagination. Consider how the digital revolution and the advent of the internet have allowed for an unprecedented exchange of ideas. WebMD, a popular internet portal for medical information, permits patients to self-research symptoms for a more informed doctor visit. With increased interdisciplinary interactions, inspiration can arrive from the most surprising corners. Jeffrey Sachs, one of the architects of the UN Millenium Development Goals, based his ideas on emergency care triage techniques. The unlikely marriage of economics and medicine has healed tense, hyperinflation environments from South America to Eastern Europe.
This last example provides the most hope in how technology actually provides hope for the future of humanity. By increasing our reliance on technology, we can now achieve impossible goals. Consider how the late 20th century witnessed the complete elimination of smallpox. This disease had ravaged the human race since prehistorical days, and yet with the technology of vaccines, free-thinking humans dared to imagine a world free of smallpox. Using technology, battle plans were drawn out, and smallpox was systematically targeted and eradicated.
Technology will always mark the human experience, from the discovery of fire to the implementation of nanotechnology. Given the history of the human race, there will be no limit to the number of problems, both new and old, for us to tackle. There is no need to retreat to a Luddite attitude to new things but rather embrace a hopeful posture to the possibilities that technology provides for new avenues of human imagination.
There is no current proof that advancing technology will deteriorate the ability of humans to think. On the contrary, advancements in technology have advanced our vast knowledge in many fields, opening opportunities for further understanding and achievement. For example, the problem of debilitating illnesses and diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease is slowly being solved by technological advancements in stem cell research. The future ability to grow new brain cells and the possibility of reversing the onset of Alzheimer’s is now becoming a reality. This shows our initiative as humans to better our health and demonstrates the greater ability of humans to think.
One aspect where the ability of humans may initially be seen as an example of deteriorating minds is the use of the internet and cell phones. In the past, humans had to seek out information in many different environments and aspects of life. Now humans can sit in a chair, type anything into a computer, and get an answer.
Our reliance on this type of technology can be detrimental if not regulated and regularly substituted for other information sources, such as human interactions and hands-on learning. I think if humans understand that we should not have such a reliance on computer technology, we as a species will advance further by utilizing the opportunity of computer technology as well as other sources of information outside of a computer. Supplementing our knowledge with internet access is surely a way for technology to solve problems while continually advancing the human race.
The “Analyze an Argument” task, on the other hand, will ask you to analyze both sides of an argument about an issue according to specific instructions.
So rather than agreeing or disagreeing with a given issue, you will have to consider the logical strength of an argument.
Again, the argument can be on any general topic of interest, like technology, economics, health, etc. But if you usually keep up with the news, it will be effortless to come up with a response.
Now that you know what this task expects of you, you can get to writing-
1. “To reverse a decline in listener numbers, our owners have decided that WWAC must change from its current rock-music format. The decline has occurred despite population growth in our listening area, but that growth has resulted mainly from people moving here after their retirement. We must make listeners of these new residents. We could switch to a music format tailored to their tastes, but a continuing decline in local sales of recorded music suggests limited interest in music. Instead, we should change to a news and talk format, a form of radio that is increasingly popular in our area.”
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
2. “A jazz music club in Monroe would be a tremendously profitable enterprise. Currently, the nearest jazz club is 65 miles away; thus, the proposed new jazz club in Monroe, the C-Note, would have the local market all to itself. Plus, jazz is extremely popular in Monroe: over 100,000 people attended Monroe’s annual jazz festival last summer; several well-known jazz musicians live in Monroe; and the highest-rated radio program in Monroe is ‘Jazz Nightly,’ which airs every weeknight at 7 P.M. Finally, a nationwide study indicates that the typical jazz fan spends close to $1,000 per year on jazz entertainment.”
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence can evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
3. “In an effort to improve our employees’ productivity, we should implement electronic monitoring of employees’ Internet use from their workstations. Employees who use the internet from their workstations need to be identified and punished if we are to reduce the number of work hours spent on personal or recreational activities, such as shopping or playing games. By installing software to detect employees’ Internet use on company computers, we can prevent employees from wasting time, foster a better work ethic at Climpson, and improve our overall profits.”
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
Now that you have practiced writing a couple of essays, take some time to look at this GRE sample essay for the “Analyze an Argument” task.
In surveys, Mason City residents rank water sports (swimming, boating, and fishing) among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river’s water and the river’s smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River. The use of the river for water sports is therefore sure to increase. The city government should, for that reason, devote more money to this year’s budget for riverside recreational facilities.
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
While it may be true that the Mason City government ought to devote more money to riverside recreational facilities, this author’s argument does not make a cogent case for increased resources based on river use. It is easy to understand why city residents would want a cleaner river, but this argument is rife with holes and assumptions and, thus, not strong enough to lead to increased funding.
Citing surveys of city residents, the author reports city residents’ love of water sports. It is not clear, however, the scope and validity of that survey. For example, the survey could have asked residents if they preferred using the river for water sports or would like to see a hydroelectric dam built, which may have swayed residents toward river sports. The sample may not have been representative of city residents, asking only those residents who live on the river. The survey may have been 10 pages long, with 2 questions dedicated to river sports. We just do not know. Unless the survey is fully representative, valid, and reliable, it can not be used to back the author’s argument effectively.
Additionally, the author implies that residents do not use the river for swimming, boating, and fishing, despite their professed interest, because the water is polluted and smelly. While a polluted, smelly river would likely cut down on river sports, a concrete connection between the resident’s lack of river use and the river’s current state is not effective. Though there have been complaints, we do not know if there have been numerous complaints from a wide range of people or perhaps from one or two individuals who made numerous complaints. To strengthen his/her argument, the author would benefit from implementing a normed survey asking a wide range of residents why they do not currently use the river.
Building upon the implication that residents do not use the river due to the quality of the river’s water and the smell, the author suggests that a river clean-up will result in increased river usage.
If the river’s water quality and smell result from problems that can be cleaned, this may be true. For example, if pollution causes decreased water quality and aroma by factories along the river, there is certainly a solution for this. But if the quality and aroma result from the natural mineral deposits in the water or surrounding rock, this may not be true. There are some bodies of water that emit a strong smell of sulfur due to the geography of the area. This is not something that a clean-up can resolve. Consequently, a river clean-up may have no impact on river usage. Regardless of whether the river’s quality is able to improve or not, the author does not effectively show a connection between water quality and river usage.
A clean, beautiful, safe river often adds to a city’s property values, leads to increased tourism and revenue from those who come to take advantage of the river, and a better overall quality of life for residents. For these reasons, the city government may decide to invest in improving riverside recreational facilities. However, this author’s argument is not likely significantly persuade the city government to allocate increased funding.
Surveys speak for the people; however, surveys do not always speak for the whole community. A survey completed by Mason City residents concluded that the residents enjoy water sports as a form of recreation.
If that is so evident, why has the river not been used? The blame can not solely be placed on the city park department. The city park department can only do as much as they observe. The real issue is not the resident’s use of the river but their desire for a more pleasant smell and more pleasant sight.
If the city government cleans the river, it might take years for the smell to go away. If the budget is changed to accommodate the clean-up of the Mason River, other problems will arise. The residents will then begin to complain about other issues in their city that will be ignored because of the great emphasis being placed on the Mason River.
If more money is taken out of the budget to clean the river, an assumption can be made. This assumption is that the budget for another part of city maintenance or building will be tapped into. In addition, to the budget being used to clean up Mason River, it will also be allocated to increase riverside recreational facilities.
The government is trying to appease its residents, and one can warrant that the role of the government is to please the people. There are many assumptions being made; however, the government can not make the assumption that people want the river to be cleaned so that they can use it for recreational water activities. The government has to realize the long-term effects that its decision will have on the monetary value of its budget.
While both the Issue and the Argument essays seem similar, graders look at both these tasks differently.
When it comes to the “Analyze an Issue” task, they see if a student-
- Forms a clear and thoughtful opinion on the issue
- Comes up with cogent arguments and examples to support the opinion
- Is able to sustain a well-focused, well-organized analysis, connecting ideas coherently
- Conveys ideas using effective vocabulary and sentence variety
For the “Analyze an Argument” task, they see if a student-
- Forms a clear understanding of the argument
- Develops ideas cogently , organizes them logically, and connects them well
- Comes up with coherent arguments and examples to support the opinion
However, as you can see, the main idea stands out clearly – the graders are looking for students with good vocabulary, clear decision-making ability, cogent (you might want to Google that :P) thought processes and coherent expression.
Although the GRE Analytical Writing section consists of two essays, they are not scored separately.
You will be scored anywhere between 0 and 6, in 5-point increments, for both the essays you write.
Almost nobody gets a score below 2-2.5 because most students are able to write down something sensible.
However, a score of 4 or greater is considered to be a good score for this section (go through the GRE sample essays on the ETS website and read graders’ comments on essays that have been scored 4 and above).
Moreover, your GRE Analytical Writing Score will be separate from your GRE overall score, which comprises the Quantitative and Verbal section reports.
Here’s a step-by-step process (with tips) on how to prepare for the GRE Analytical Writing section-
- Pick up a random essay question and write about it
- Read the GRE sample essays for that question and gauge what your score might be
- Go through graders’ comments on these GRE sample essays and find out where you went wrong
- Take up another essay and write
Keep on doing this on a loop until you feel you have reached the score you are aiming for.
- Keep a standard essay structure in mind – Introduction, Problem Statement, Solution, Benefits of the solution, Drawbacks of the solution, and Conclusion.
- Dedicate each para to one heading, and understand that they do not necessarily have to be in this order.
- Make sure you use examples to support your argument – you can either use an extended example or multiple ones. But without them, your argument will seem flimsy.
- Write the entire essay first. Don’t listen to the critical side of your brain just now. Once you’ve finished your first draft, you can always come back and edit.
- If there is one writing tip one could never give enough of, it’s this – practice, practice, practice!
There you have it! Everything you need to know about the GRE Analytical Writing section is here – pattern, scoring, GRE sample essays, sample answers, and GRE Analytical Writing question tips.
If you feel like we missed out on something or have any doubts, feel free to drop a comment or reach out to us !
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GRE AWA sample essays to help you score high!
Table of Contents
Gre writing tasks, sample essay 1: analysing an issue, sample essay 2: analyzing an issue, sample essay 1: analysing an argument, sample essay 2: analysing an argument, frequently asked questions.
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The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GRE is designed to test your ability to analyse and evaluate complex arguments and communicate your ideas effectively in writing
To score high on the AWA section, it's important to have a good understanding of what the graders are looking for and to practice writing sample essays.
In this article, we will explore some GRE AWA sample essays to help you score high on this challenging section of the test.
The writing tasks on the GRE are essential components of the test that assess your analytical and writing skills. The two writing tasks are the Analyse an Issue essay and the Analyse an Argument essay. Both tasks require you to think critically and write persuasively, with the goal of demonstrating your ability to analyse complex topics, develop a clear and compelling thesis, and support your arguments with evidence and examples.
Also read: Differences between the GRE and GMAT
GRE issue essay
The GRE Issue Essay requires you to write an essay that takes a position on a given issue and supports it with evidence and reasoning.
You are provided with a brief quotation or statement on a social, political, or cultural topic and are asked to develop a response that presents a clear and compelling position on the issue.
The goal of this essay is to assess your ability to analyse complex topics, develop a position, and support it with clear and compelling evidence.
Also read: GRE results and score chart 2023?
Governments should focus on solving the immediate problems of today rather than on trying to solve the anticipated problems of the future.
While it is certainly important for governments to address the immediate problems facing their citizens, it is equally important to plan for the future. Anticipating and preparing for future problems is the hallmark of effective leadership, and it is essential for governments to consider the long-term implications of their policies and actions.
To be sure, there are many pressing issues that require immediate attention, from healthcare and education to environmental protection and economic development. However, if governments focus solely on these issues without considering the long-term consequences of their decisions, they risk creating even more problems in the future.
For example, if a government invests heavily in fossil fuels to meet immediate energy needs without considering the long-term impact on the environment, it may exacerbate the problem of climate change and create even greater challenges for future generations. Similarly, if a government neglects investing in education and workforce development in favor of short-term economic gains, it may find itself facing a shrinking and unskilled workforce in the future.
In short, governments must balance the need to address immediate problems with the need to plan for the future. By doing so, they can ensure that they are making decisions that benefit their citizens both now and in the years to come.
Also read: How to prepare for the online GRE exam
The best way to teach is to praise positive actions and ignore negative ones.
While positive reinforcement can certainly be a valuable teaching tool, it is not always the most effective approach. Ignoring negative actions may give students the impression that such behaviour is acceptable or even desirable, leading to further problems down the line.
Furthermore, negative actions often require immediate intervention and correction. If a student is engaging in disruptive behaviour, for example, ignoring it may only serve to undermine the learning environment and make it more difficult for other students to concentrate and engage with the material. In such cases, it may be necessary to provide clear and direct feedback in order to correct the behaviour and ensure that everyone in the classroom can benefit from a positive learning experience.
Positive reinforcement can be effective in certain contexts, but it is important to use it in combination with other teaching tools, such as clear expectations, consistent feedback, and appropriate consequences for negative behavior. By taking a comprehensive approach to teaching, instructors can create an environment in which positive actions are encouraged and negative actions are addressed in a constructive and effective manner.
Also Read: GRE Exam Dates and Fees in India
GRE argument essay
The GRE argument essay requires you to analyse and evaluate a given argument and then develop a response that critiques the argument and presents a more compelling alternative.
You are provided with a brief argument that presents a conclusion based on premises, and are asked to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the argument, provide evidence to support their critique, and propose an alternative conclusion that is more logically sound.
The goal of this essay is to assess your ability to critically evaluate arguments and develop your own reasoned response
The following memorandum was sent by the principal of a high school to the school's teachers: 'Research has shown that the best way to improve student performance is to praise them for their effort, not their intelligence. Therefore, in all future assignments, please praise students for their effort rather than their intelligence.'
While praising students for their effort can certainly be a valuable motivational tool, it is not the only factor that contributes to academic success. The principal's memo oversimplifies the complex interplay between effort, intelligence, and achievement, and it may lead teachers to overlook other important factors that can influence student performance.
First and foremost, intelligence is a critical factor in academic success. While hard work and perseverance are certainly important, some students may simply have greater intellectual capacity than others. Praising students for their effort rather than their intelligence may inadvertently discourage those who are truly gifted from pursuing more challenging work and achieving their full potential.
Moreover, the principal's memo overlooks the fact that different students may respond differently to different types of praise. For some students, praise for their intelligence may be more effective in motivating them to continue working hard and striving for excellence. By imposing a one-size-fits-all approach to praise, the principal risks ignoring the individual needs and preferences of his or her students.
In conclusion, while praising students for their effort can be an effective motivational tool, it is not a panacea for improving academic performance. Teachers and principals must consider a range of factors, including intelligence, individual needs and preferences, and the specific demands of different assignments and assessments, in order to help their students achieve their full potential.
Also Read: How to Register for GRE Exam
The following article claims that technological advancements are making traditional skills and knowledge obsolete: 'As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, many traditional skills and forms of knowledge are becoming obsolete. For example, the rise of artificial intelligence means that many jobs that once required human expertise can now be performed by machines. In light of these developments, it is essential for individuals and organisations to prioritise technological skills and education in order to remain competitive in the job market.'
While it is certainly true that technological advancements are transforming the job market, it is a mistake to assume that traditional skills and knowledge are becoming obsolete. Rather, these skills and forms of knowledge are evolving alongside technological change, and they continue to play a vital role in many sectors of the economy.
For example, while artificial intelligence may be able to perform certain tasks more efficiently than humans, it cannot replicate the creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills that are essential in many fields. Similarly, while automation may be able to streamline certain production processes, it cannot replace the craftsmanship, attention to detail, and quality control that are required in many areas of manufacturing.
Moreover, it is important to recognise that technological skills and knowledge are not the only factors that determine success in the job market. Soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and adaptability, are also essential in today's workplace, and they cannot be easily replaced by machines. In order to remain competitive, individuals and organizations must cultivate a diverse range of skills and knowledge, including both technical and soft skills.
In conclusion, while technological advancements are certainly transforming the job market, they are not making traditional skills and knowledge obsolete. Rather, these skills and forms of knowledge are evolving alongside technological change, and they continue to play a vital role in many sectors of the economy. By recognising the importance of a diverse range of skills and knowledge, individuals and organisations can position themselves for success in the 21st century job market.
The Analyse an issue and Analyse an argument writing tasks on the GRE can seem daunting, but with practice, preparation, and a solid understanding of the task requirements, you can score high on the exam. The sample essays provided here can serve as a valuable resource for understanding how to approach the writing tasks effectively. By analysing the structure, argumentation, and writing techniques of these essays, you can gain a better understanding of what makes a strong essay and develop your own skills accordingly.
How can I use the sample essays to improve my writing skills?
By analysing the structure, argumentation, and writing techniques of the sample essays, you can gain a better understanding of what makes a strong essay. They can then apply these techniques to your own writing practice.
Are the sample essays indicative of the types of prompts that will be on the actual GRE?
The sample essays provide a good idea of the type of prompts that you can expect to encounter on the GRE. However, it is important to note that the actual prompts may differ in content and tone.
How long should I spend analysing the sample essays?
The amount of time spent analysing the sample essays will depend on your needs and goals. However, it is recommended to spend enough time to thoroughly understand the structure, argumentation, and writing techniques used in the essays.
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GRE Analytical Writing : The full form of GRE is Graduate Record Examinations and the GRE Analytical Writing section in the GRE Exam is designed to assess critical thinking and analytical writing skills, which is reflected by the candidate’s ability to express complex ideas clearly and effectively while maintaining a coherent and focused discussion. Many students lose sight of the fact that the test does not evaluate your content knowledge. So what opinion you provide has no right or wrong answer. In this article, we are going to be covering GRE Analytical Writing, GRE AWA topics, GRE issue pool, and GRE essay samples for the benefit of GRE test takers.
The GRE Analytical Writing section has two different question types:
- Analyze an Issue (Analytical Writing Assessment - AWA)
- Analyze an Argument
Candidates are given 30 minutes to address each question.
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GRE Analytical Writing - GRE AWA Topics (Analyze an Issue)
As mentioned above the GRE essay is made up of GRE AWA topics and Analyze an Argument - topics. The following topics are on Analyzing an Issue. Candidates are required to write an essay in which they are required to respond to a brief statement on an issue of general interest. This task assesses the candidates’ ability to think critically about a general interest topic and express their thoughts in writing.
Candidates appearing for the exam will be given an issue statement that can be viewed from several different angles. They would be directed to adopt a position on the issue and to develop and support that position. Candidates should note that GRE Analytical Writing examples have been provided with each GRE AWA topic for the test taker to understand the format of the essay.
GRE AWA Topic: 1
Some people believe that the most important qualities of an effective teacher are understanding and empathy. Others believe that it is more important for teachers to be rigorous and demanding in their expectations for students.
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. For a Response, Click Here
GRE AWA Topic: 2
Claim: Though often considered an objective pursuit, learning about the historical past requires creativity.
Reason: Because we can never know the past directly, we must reconstruct it by imaginatively interpreting historical accounts, documents, and artifacts.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which the claim is based. For a Response, Click Here
GRE AWA Topic: 3
We learn our most valuable lessons in life from struggling with our limitations rather than from enjoying our successes.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position. For a Response, Click Here
GRE AWA Topic: 4
In any field — business, politics, education, government — those in power should be required to step down after five years.
Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how these consequences shape your position. For a Response, Click Here
GRE AWA Topic: 5
The effectiveness of a country's leaders is best measured by examining the well-being of that country's citizens.
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. For a Response, Click Here
GRE AWA Topic: 6
The general welfare of a nation's people is a better indication of that nation's greatness than the achievements of its rulers, artists, or scientists.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position. For a Response, Click Here
GRE AWA Topic: 7
The best test of an argument is the argument's ability to convince someone with an opposing viewpoint.
GRE AWA Topic: 8
It is more harmful to compromise one's own beliefs than to adhere to them.
GRE AWA Topic: 9
Claim: Major policy decisions should always be left to politicians and other government experts.
Reason: Politicians and other government experts are more informed and thus have better judgment and perspective than do members of the general public.
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. For a Response, Click Here
GRE AWA Topic: 10
Educational institutions should actively encourage their students to choose fields of study that will prepare them for lucrative careers.
GRE Essay Topics to Analyze an Argument
The second part of the GRE Analytical Writing or the GRE essay topic belongs to the Analyze an Argument. The following pool of issue topics is to Analyze an Argument. Candidates are required to write on any one of the given GRE essay topics in which they are required to analyze a paragraph-length argument from the pool of issue topics provided to them. However, they are not required to present their own views on the argument's topic.
This task assesses the student’s ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate arguments from the pool of issue topics. The arguments will be presented in a brief paragraph that puts forth the author’s opinion or case. Candidates are required to determine if it is logically sound and evaluate the same. The GRE essay topics have been provided below along with GRE argument essay samples for the benefit of the test taker.
GRE Essay Topic: 11
The following appeared as a letter to the editor from the owner of a skate shop in Central Plaza.
"Two years ago the city council voted to prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza. They claimed that skateboard users were responsible for litter and vandalism that were keeping other visitors from coming to the plaza. In the past two years, however, there has been only a small increase in the number of visitors to Central Plaza, and litter and vandalism are still problematic. Skateboarding is permitted in Monroe Park, however, and there is no problem with litter or vandalism there. In order to restore Central Plaza to its former glory, then, we recommend that the city lift its prohibition on skateboarding in the plaza."
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation. GRE Argument Essay Response.
GRE Essay Topic: 12
The following appeared as part of an article in a Dillton newspaper.
"In an effort to bring new jobs to Dillton and stimulate the city's flagging economy, Dillton's city council voted last year to lower the city's corporate tax rate by 15 percent; at the same time, the city began offering generous relocation grants to any company that would move to Dillion. Since these changes went into effect, two new factories have opened in Dillion. Although the two factories employ more than 1,000 people, the unemployment rate in Dillton remains unchanged. The only clear explanation for this is that the new factories are staffed with out-of-town workers rather than Dillton residents."
Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument. GRE Argument Essay Response.
GRE Essay Topic: 13
The following appeared in a memo from New Ventures Consulting to the president of HobCo, Inc., a chain of hobby shops.
"Our team has completed its research on suitable building sites for a new HobCo hobby Shop in the city of Grilldon. We discovered that there are currently no hobby shops in southeastern Grilldon. When our researchers conducted a poll of area residents, 88 percent of those who responded indicated that they would welcome the opening of a hobby shop in southeastern Grilldon. Grilldon is in a region of the nation in which the hobby business has increased by 300 percent during the past decade. In addition, Grilldon has a very large population of retirees, a demographic with ample time to devote to hobbies. We, therefore, recommend that you choose southeastern Grilldon as the site for your next HobCo Hobby Shop. We predict that a shop in this area will draw a steady stream of enthusiastic new HobCo customers."
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation. GRE Argument Essay Response.
GRE Essay Topic: 14
The following appeared in a newsletter published by the Appleton school district.
"In a recent study, more than 5,000 adolescents were asked how often they ate meals with their families. Almost 30 percent of the teens said they ate at least seven meals per week with their families. Furthermore, according to the same survey, teens who reported having the most family meals per week were also the ones least likely to have tried illegal drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. Family meals were also associated with lower rates of problems such as low grades in school, low self-esteem, and depression. We, therefore, recommend that families have as many meals together as possible. We predict that doing so will greatly benefit adolescents and turn troubled teens away from bad behaviors."
Write a response in which you discuss which questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation. GRE Argument Essay Response.
GRE Essay Topic: 15
The following appeared in a health newsletter.
"Nosinia is a herb that many users report to be as effective as prescription medications at fighting allergy symptoms. Researchers recently compared Nosinia to a placebo in 95 men and women with seasonal allergies to ragweed pollen. Participants in the study reported that neither Nosinia nor the placebo offered significant relief. However, for the most severe allergy symptoms, the researchers reported that Nosinia was more effective than the placebo in providing relief. Furthermore, at the end of the study, participants given Nosinia were more likely than participants given a placebo to report feeling healthier. We, therefore, recommend using Nosinia to help with your severe allergy symptoms.
READ: GRE Score and Result
GRE Essay Topic: 16
The following appeared on the Website Science News Today.
"In a recent survey of more than 5,000 adolescents, the teens who reported eating the most meals with their families were the least likely to use illegal drugs, tobacco, or alcohol. Family meals were also associated with higher grades, better self-esteem, and lower rates of depression. Almost 30 percent of the teens said they ate at least seven meals per week with their families. Clearly, having a high number of family meals keeps teens from engaging in bad behaviors."
Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument. GRE Argument Essay Response.
GRE Essay Topic: 17
According to an independent poll of 200 charitable organizations, overall donations of money to nonprofit groups increased last year, but educational institutions did not fare as well as other organizations. Donations to international aid groups increased the most (30 percent), followed by donations to environmental groups (23 percent), whereas donations to educational institutions actually decreased slightly (3 percent). Meanwhile, all of the major economic indicators suggest that consumer spending is higher than average this year, showing that potential donors have ample disposable income. Therefore, the clearest explanation for the decline in donations to educational institutions is that people actually value education less than they did in the past.
GRE Essay Topic: 18
The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a Relannian newspaper.
Industry analysts report that the number of dairy farms in Relanna has increased by 25 percent over the last decade. Also, recent innovations in milking technology make it possible for farmers to significantly increase the efficiency of the milking process, allowing them to collect more milk in less time with minimal human intervention. In fact, data from the Relannian Department of Agriculture indicate that labor costs at the majority of Relannian dairy farms are actually lower now than they were ten years ago. Despite increased efficiency and lower labor costs, a carton of cream — a dairy product made from milk — at the local food market costs twice as much as it did two years ago. The only explanation for this dramatic price increase is that farmers are inflating the price of cream to increase their profits.
GRE Essay Topic: 19
Archaeologists have long thought that an artifact called the pemchint was used by Dodecan people solely as a musical instrument. Pemchints consist of hollowed pieces of bone, shell, or wood that are tied together with long straps. When whirled in the air, the pemchints create pleasant tones. Until recently, pemchints were found only at locations known to be used for Dodecan rituals and celebrations. Additionally, they were always excavated in proximity to other musical artifacts. Recently, however, a pemchint was found along with Dodecan hunters' tools located miles from the nearest known Dodecan settlement, while no other music-related objects were found in the area. Clearly, then, the pemchint was used by Dodecan hunters, who most probably used the sounds to repel dangerous wildlife.
GRE Essay Topic: 20
Several recent studies have shown a link between health and stair usage. One recently completed study shows that people who live in stairs-only apartment buildings (that is, buildings without elevators) live an average of three years longer than people who live in buildings with both elevators and stairs. A second study shows that elderly residents of buildings with elevators make, on average, twice as many visits to doctors each year as residents of buildings without elevators. Furthermore, several doctor's offices are reporting that residents of stairs-only buildings scored higher than average on questionnaires administered to new patients, in which the patients were asked to rate several aspects of their own health (e.g., fitness, sleep quality, susceptibility to injury, etc.). The clearest explanation for these findings is that the moderate daily exercise required of residents who must use the stairs instead of elevators increases people's health and longevity.
The 7 Categories of GRE Essay Topics
- Technology and Society
- Government and Power
- Intellectual Endeavors
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Table of Content
What are types of GRE AWA Essays?
Gre issue essay samples, gre argument essay samples, tips to use gre awa sample essays, prepare for gre with yocket prep, frequently asked questions about gre awa sample essays, gre awa sample essays: analytical writing examples.
The GRE analytical writing sample essays serve as a guide to tackle different topics asked in the GRE exam. You will find GRE AWA sample essays along with topics, scoring guides and preparation tips for both issue and argument essays on the official GRE website. But how to use them wisely and score high in this section?
The first step is to have an in-depth understanding of the GRE AWA essays, and everything related to them. This is what this blog is all about. Here we have discussed the meaning and importance of AWA GRE samples and their nitty-gritty to kickstart your preparation.
As it has been mentioned earlier, the AWA essays of the GRE are divided into two parts: Issue and Argument essays. Both these GRE essay examples are complementary to each other. While one needs a personal argument with evidence, the other expects you to evaluate someone else's argument by assessing its claims and evaluating the evidence it provides.
You will be given 30 minutes for each of the essays. The GRE analytical writing samples for each essay need to be approved differently. Hence it is important to have a clear understanding and solve several AWA GRE samples before appearing for your actual test. Moreover, rigorous practice is a crucial part of GRE preparation .
Suggested: What is GRE Syllabus 2023?
Now let us dive deeper into the types of GRE AWA essays and some GRE analytical writing sample essays:
The GRE issue essay evaluates your ability to think critically about a given topic of general interest and clearly express your views about it in writing. Each issue statement provides a claim that can be seen and analyzed from different perspectives and is applicable to multiple situations or conditions.
GRE issue sample essays from the official GRE website is mentioned below:
- As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.
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.
- The luxuries and conveniences of contemporary life prevent people from developing into truly strong and independent individuals.
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.
- Society should make efforts to save endangered species only if the potential extinction of those species is the result of human activities.
Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how
these consequences shape your position.
In such GRE AWA sample essays, you must discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement. Your responses may either be strong agreement or strong disagreement, a qualified agreement or even a qualified disagreement. Whatever your opinion is, it must be supported by valid reasons.
Suggested: GRE Issue Essay Preparation Tips
The GRE argument essay tests your ability to understand, analyze and evaluate arguments. Your task here is to depict your thoughts in writing vividly. You will be given a short passage that demands a definite course of action and interpretation backed by reasons and evidence. You must be keen enough to
critically examine the line of reasoning and present logical and convincing evidence.
There are several GRE argument essay samples on the GRE website. Some of them is mentioned below:
- The following is part of a memorandum from the president of Humana University.
"Last year the number of students who enrolled in online degree programs offered by nearby Omni University increased by 50 percent. During the same year, Omni showed a significant decrease from prior years in expenditures for dormitory and
classroom space, most likely because online instruction takes place via the Internet. In contrast, over the past three years, enrollment at Humana University has failed to grow and the cost of maintaining buildings has increased. Thus, to increase
enrollment and solve the problem of budget deficits at Humana University, we should initiate and actively promote online degree programs like those at Omni."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the
argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and
what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted
- The vice president of human resources at Climpson Industries sent the following recommendation to the company's president.
"In an effort to improve our employees' productivity, we should implement electronic monitoring of employees' Internet use from their workstations. Employees who use the Internet from their workstations need to be identified and punished if we are to reduce the number of work hours spent on personal or recreational activities, such as shopping or playing games. By installing software to
detect employees' Internet use on company computers, we can prevent employees from wasting time, foster a better work ethic at Climpson, and improve our overall profits."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
- The following is a letter to the head of the tourism bureau on the island of Tria.
"Erosion of beach sand along the shores of Tria Island is a serious threat to our island and our tourist industry. In order to stop the erosion, we should charge people for using the beaches. Although this solution may annoy a few tourists in the short term, it will raise money for replenishing the sand. Replenishing the sand, as was done to protect buildings on the nearby island of Batia, will help protect buildings along our shores, thereby reducing these buildings' risk of additional
damage from severe storms. And since beaches and buildings in the area will be preserved, Tria's tourist industry will improve over the long term."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the
argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
Here you are required to examine the argument's stated and/or unstated assumptions and analyze if the assumptions prove unwarranted. Your response must discuss both the argument's assumptions as well as the implications of the assumptions for the argument.
The GRE AWA sample essays with answers available on the GRE official website are beneficial in polishing your preparation and tracking your overall progress to determine your GRE scores later. But you must equally be keen enough to use those GRE essay examples to your maximum advantage. Let us see how:
- Always start by skimming through the well-scored GRE analytical writing sample essays.
- Try to observe the body of the essay, the flow of sentences, etc., to get an idea of how to structure your essay.
- Carefully go through the GRE AWA sample answers to understand how to put forward your viewpoints.
- Emphasize the areas with which you struggle the most. With extra effort in going through GRE AWA sample essays, you will gain the much-needed expertise to tackle GRE AWA topics .
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So, that was all about GRE AWA sample essays and the ways to use them in polishing your GRE essay writing skills. For better performance and score in this section, it is advisable to start your preparation in advance. For any guidance and assistance, do get in touch with our counselors at Yocket .
What is the analytical writing section of the GRE general test?
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GRE Sample Issue Essays: Introduction to the Types of Topics Covered
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The Analytical Writing section of GRE measures your ability to think critically and assesses how well you can support and articulate complex ideas arguments and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. Since the Verbal and Quantitative sections are objective-based, the Analytical Writing Section gives you a chance to prove your analytical and critical thinking. AWA consists of two areas which are as follows:
a) An "Analyze an Issue" task for 30 minutes
b) An "Analyze an Argument" task for 30 minutes
An issue essay is a section of the Analytical Writing Measure of GRE. Each question claims a topic of general interest that can be discussed from different perspectives and applied in different scenarios. A GRE sample issue essay will help you develop reasoning for the stance you take for a given condition.
The Analytical Writing section of GRE measures your ability to think critically. It assesses how well you can support and articulate complex arguments and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. Since the Verbal and Quantitative sections are objective-based, the Analytical Writing Section gives you a chance to prove your analytical and critical thinking.
Table of Contents
Types of topics included in gre issue essays, dos and don'ts during gre issue essay preparation, structure of gre issue essays and tips to frame a strong one, tips to write an impressive gre issue essay, download these useful guides to ace your gre preparation, frequently asked questions, important resources for pte/sat/act exam.
Usually, the ideas and topics on which a student will be probed in the GRE issue essay are drawn from everyday life and requires you to rely on your experiences to answer them. The topics for issue essays are taken from various domains such as business, politics, technology, art, education, and more etc. The GRE issue essay consists of a statement or statements, along with specific task instructions which require you to respond to the task in a certain way.
The better you organize your essay, the clearer it becomes to the examiner as they want to assess how you develop an argument to support your evaluation of the issue. You can structure your essay into five paragraphs which are as follows:
Develop your points so that the analysis guides the examiner through the argument you are trying to make.
b) Body Paragraph 1
Use your most specific and most important reason at first and support it with logical analysis and examples.
c) Body Paragraph 2
Launch into your second reason by using a transition phase and supporting example.
d) Final Body Paragraph
Transition into your third stance along with an example and explain how it supports your thesis. You can also bring a solid counterargument for the view and explain why it is incorrect.
Summarizing the points you made in brief, your conclusion should reflect your introductory paragraph.
Here are a few tips on writing a good GRE issue essay.
i) Choose a side and stick to it
ii) Keep your examples specific and relevant to the real world
iii) Use strong, declarative sentences as they add distinction and confidence
iv) Refute the other position by introducing an opposite point of view
iii) Use strong, declarative sentences as they add distinction and confidence to your writing
GRE Sample Issue Essay
Now that you have understood the structure and got the tips to write a good one, here's a GRE sample essay that would help you improve and enable you to see the topic from a different perspective.
As people become more reliant on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.
The statement linking technology negatively with people's ability to think freely reflects the recent human experience over the past century. A glance at a typical day of a human being shows how technology has revolutionized the world. From commuting to work in an automobile that runs on an internal combustion engine, interacting with a computer that processes information on silicon bridges that are 0.09 micrometers wide, to reaching out to family members on leaving home through wireless networks, technology is involved with almost everything. In the 19th century, each of these common occurrences was unimaginable.
The statement attempts to bridge these dramatic changes that were considered inconceivable once to a reduction in the ability of humans to think for themselves. It assumes that increased reliance on technology has reduced the need for people to think creatively. Looking back in time, without a mobile phone, computer, or car, humans would need to find alternate methods of communication, information processing, and transport. Still, the developments in technology made these problems outdated.
However, this dependence on technology does not necessarily debar humans from being creative. While technological development has made things convenient, it has also made people live more efficiently. This efficiency did not preclude the need for humans to think for themselves. Though it has freed the human species from tackling new problems, it has created issues that did not exist without technology. For example, the need for fuel conservation has increased globally with the proliferation of automobiles, making global warming a significant concern with growing energy demands from emerging markets. In the same way, increased demand for oil has created nation-states that do not pay taxes, and the ruling parties oppress minority groups such as women. Only maverick scientists and politicians' unfettered imaginations can solve these complex problems.
Let's consider the digital revolution and the advent of the internet, which contradicts the statement. We can witness how technology frees the human imagination, allowing for an unprecedented exchange of ideas. WebMD, a popular internet portal for medical information, has opened pathways of thinking for a layman by permitting patients to self-research symptoms for a more informed doctor visit. As Jeffrey Sachs developed the UN Millenium Development Goals, the unlikely union between economics and medicine has healed hyperinflation and tension from South America to Eastern Europe. The latter example provides a ray of hope for how technology will enlighten the future of humanity. Though too much dependence on technology is harmful, at the same time, it helps us to achieve impossible goals. Consider how the technology of vaccines created a world free from smallpox in the late 20th century. Using technology, a disease that ravaged the human race since prehistoric days were systematically targeted and eradicated.
From the discovery of fire to the implementation of nanotechnology, technology will permanently mark the human experience. There will be no limit to the number of old and new problems we can tackle. Therefore, it is better to embrace a hopeful attitude to technology's possibilities for new avenues of human imagination.
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Passion is necessary for a truly great idea to take hold among a people—passion either
on the part of the original thinker, the audience, or ideally both. The claim that the most lucrative subject matter for inspiring great ideas is “commonplace things” may seem initially to be counterintuitive. After all, aren’t great ideas usually marked by their extraordinary character? While this is true, their extraordinary character is as often as not directly derived from their insight into things that had theretofore gone unquestioned. While great ideas certainly can arise through seemingly pure innovation... say, for
example, Big Bang cosmology, which developed nearly all of its own scientific and philosophical
precepts through its own process of formation, it is nevertheless equally true that such groundbreaking thought was, and is, still largely a reevaluation of previous assumptions to a radical degree... after all, the question of the ultimate nature of the universe, and man’s place in it, has been central to human thought since the dawn of time. Commonplace things are, additionally, necessary as material for the generation of “the best ideas” since certainly the success among an audience must be considered in evaluating the
significance and quality of an idea.
The advent of Big Bang cosmology, which occurred in rudimentary form almost immediately upon Edwin Hubble’s first observations at the Hooker telescope in California during the early 20th century, was the most significant advance in mankind’s understanding of the universe in over 400 years. The seemingly simple fact that everything in the universe, on a very large scale, is moving away from everything else betrays nearly all of our scientific knowledge of the origins and mechanics of the universe. This
slight, one might even say commonplace, distortion of tint on a handful of photographic plates carried with it the greatest challenge to Man’s general, often religiously reinforced, conception of the nature of the world to an extent not seen since the days of Galileo. Not even Charles Darwin’s theory, though it created more of a stir than Big Bang cosmology, had such shattering implications for our conceptions of the nature of our reality. Yet it is not significant because it introduced the question of the nature of what lies beyond Man’s grasp. Many megalithic ruins, including the Pyramids of Mexico and Egypt, Stonehenge, and others, indicate that this question has been foremost on humankind’s mind since immemorial. Big Bang cosmology is incredibly significant in this line of reasoning because it changed the direction of this generally held, constantly pondered, and very ancient train of thought.
Additionally, there is a diachronic significance to the advent of Big Bang cosmology, which is that disregarding limitations such as the quality of optical devices available and the state of theoretical math, it could have happened at any point in time. That is to say; all evidence points to roughly the same raw intellectual capacity for homo sapiens throughout our history; our progress has merely depended upon the degree of it that a person happens to inherit, a pace that has been increasing rapidly since the industrial revolution. Yet this discovery had to happen at a certain point in time or another—it cannot have been happening constantly or have never happened yet still be present—and this point in time does have its own significance. That significance is precisely the fact that the aforementioned advent must have occurred at precisely the point in time at which it truly could have occurred—that is to say, it marks the point in our history when we had progressed sufficiently to begin examining, with remarkable substantiated acuity, the workings of the universe across distances that would take millions of human lifetimes to reach or to traverse. The point for the success of this advent must necessarily have been the point at which the audience concerned was capable and prepared to accept such a radical line of reasoning.
Both factors, a radical, passionate interpretation of the commonplace and the preparedness to accept such an interpretation, are necessary for the formulation of a truly great idea. If the passion is absent from an inquiry by the thinker or by the bulk of an audience, the idea will die out if it comes to fruition at all. If the material is not sufficiently commonplace to be considered by an informed audience of sufficient size, the same two hazards exist. Given these two factors, the idea must still be found palatable and interesting by the audience if it is to hope to gain a foothold and eventually establish itself in a significant fashion.
How can I prepare for the issue essay on the GRE exam?
To ace the GRE exam, aspirants should opt for practice tests. Aspirants can practice with ScoreItNow!™. It is one of the most essential GRE issue essay tips. It is an impeccable web-based tool that helps aspirants enhance their writing skills.
What kind of topics can I expect for the issue essay on the GRE exam?
You can expect a topic from these categories: Technology and Society, Education, Cities, Government and Power, and Philosophical & Intellectual Endeavors.
What is the format of the issue essay on the GRE exam?
The structure of the GRE Issue Essay is comparable to the conventional 5-paragraph short essay. It will include an introduction, body paragraph (2), final body, and conclusion.
How many sample issue essays should I practice before taking the GRE exam?
Make sure to practice with at least three essays. You can also study by looking up the AWA prompts and increasing your speed while writing a multitude of them within 30-minute guidelines. So, if you want to ace the exam, ensure to practice.
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PTE exam fees in India are INR 14,700, including taxes. You can choose your slot with this fee two days in advance.
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Registration of the ACT examination is done through the official website online. Applicants need to register for the test at least two months before the test date.
The American College Testing– ACT score is a part of the college applications in the United States of America (USA), depending on the institution students apply to. There are no fixed passing marks for this examination.
Let's take a close look at the ABCs of the ACT exam and help you prepare with some essential ACT study tips.
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