Table of Contents
- GRE analytical writing: An overview
- Issue essay in GRE analytical writing section
- Argument essay in GRE analytical writing section
- Evaluation of GRE analytical writing essays
- How is the GRE analytical writing section scored?
- What is considered a good GRE analytical writing score?
- How to prepare for the GRE analytical writing section?
- Key takeaways
GRE analytical writing: An overview
Also known as the GRE essay section, GRE Analytical Writing Assessment (GRE AWA) is the first of the three sections included in Graduate Record Examinations or GRE. It is a 1-hour test that is administered at the beginning of the exam.
The GRE analytical writing section is designed to test your analytical and critical thinking skills. It evaluates your ability to clearly and effectively express complex ideas while taking part in a coherent discussion. It consists of two tasks, including analyzing an issue and analyzing an argument.
Candidates are given 30 minutes to complete each essay, in which they are required to write and defend a thesis statement. Let’s learn more about each of these tasks.
Issue essay in GRE analytical writing section
In this task, those taking the GRE test are required to write an essay in response to a brief statement regarding an issue of general interest. You need to analyze the given general statement, establish your position on a complex matter, and support that position over several paragraphs. This task of the GRE analytical writing section evaluates your ability to analyze and think critically about a topic and clearly express your opinions in writing.
An example of issue essay topics –
“A country should require all of its students to study the same curriculum until they enter college.”
Write a response where you discuss your opinions about the policy and support the position you take. While developing and supporting your position, consider the potential consequences of this policy and discuss how these affect your views.
Argument essay in GRE analytical writing section
In this task of the GRE analytical writing section, candidates are required to compose an essay revolving around their analysis of a paragraph-length argument given in the question. However, in this task, you are not required to present your own views related to the argument’s topic. This task evaluates your ability to deeply understand, assess and analyze arguments. You’ll be required to dissect the argument presented to you in a brief paragraph and determine whether or not it is logically sound.
An example of argument essay topics –
“A decade ago, Alpha University introduced a new procedure for conducting the evaluation of the teaching effectiveness of all the professors from the students’ perspective. Since the inception of this process, the university’s professors have started giving higher grades in their classes. This has led to a rise of 30%in the overall student grade averages. Due to this dramatic increase in grades, potential employers think that the grading system at the university is not accurate. Consequently, the graduates of Alpha University haven’t been as successful at securing jobs as the graduates of the nearby Omega University. In order to ensure better chances of securing jobs for its graduates, Omega University should end this student-conducted evaluation of professors.”
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.
Evaluation of GRE analytical writing essays
During the evaluation of your GRE analytical writing essays, evaluators take into account four skills. These are:
- Content: The content of your essay is the first thing that the tester will evaluate. This involves your ability to present persuasive and relevant ideas and arguments supported by sound reasoning and logical examples. It is essential to make sure that each of the points you make in your essay is supported by logic. If you make a claim, then support it with evidence or examples. If you make a statement saying that gaining a college education is important, then don’t just let the statement hang by itself. Support it with strong reasons that explain why you feel so strongly about the importance of a college education.
- Organization: The next important thing that a tester evaluates in your GRE analytical writing essays is organization. A cohesive and organized structure is vital. Not only is it essential to have logical examples and solid reasoning in place, but you also need to structure your ideas and statements in a way that offers a smooth transition. You should ensure that the flow of your essay is such that a reader is taken from the beginning to end as naturally as possible.
- Language: It is an obvious parameter that affects the evaluation of your GRE analytical writing essays. In your essays, the evaluator looks closely for your fluency in the language, specifically your syntax and diction. Your choice of words, their usage, and sentence structure are the major things that indicate your grasp of the language.
- Grammar: Last but not the least of these skills is grammar. Evaluators look closely at your grammar. They’ll focus on how many grammatical errors you make and whether or not you repeat the same kinds of mistakes throughout.
How is the GRE analytical writing section scored?
The GRE analytical writing section is scored from 0 to 6 in increments of 0.5 points. A score of 6.0 represents a “cogent, well-articulated critique of the argument conveys meaning skillfully,” while a score of 0.0 represents “off-topic, merely copies the topic, in a foreign language, is illegible or nonverbal or consists of only keystroke characters.” The evaluator assesses the strength of your argument, your grammar, the syntax and diction of your language, and the relevance of your examples to assign a score to each of your essays.
Once the essays have been assessed and scored by a human tester, it is also evaluated by software known as e-rater. The software helps in overseeing the human evaluator. E-rater also gives each essay a score, and if the score matches the one given by the human tester, then it is finalized. If these scores do not match, then another human evaluator scores the essay to finalize the score. The average of the scores of the two essays is rounded off, making the final score of your GRE analytical writing section.
What is considered a good GRE analytical writing score?
Your performance can be determined by your score as follows:
|5.5 – 6||Excellent|
|4.5 – 5.0||High|
|3.5 – 4.0||Average|
|0.0 – 3.0||Low|
How to prepare for the GRE analytical writing section?
Essay writing is a tough task. However, practice makes perfect! While practicing for your GRE analytical writing essays, follow the tips given below:
- Write as much as you can
If you write as often as possible, you will be able to gain a greater command over the written form of the language. With practice, it will become significantly easier for you to transform your thoughts and ideas into words.
- Brainstorm first
Before you start writing, it is vital to think carefully about what exactly you wish to write. In many cases, it so happens that the words automatically start flowing when you start writing. However, when preparing for GRE, avoid getting in the habit of starting to write before thinking it through. Make sure to spend a few minutes preparing a roadmap. Once you have a proper outline, create your essay around it.
- Don’t cut back on editing
Spend plenty of time editing your practice essays. While you may not get enough time to edit your essays when you attempt the GRE analytical writing section, editing during practice makes you aware of your mistakes. It helps you catch errors in your grammar as well as logic. Correcting these mistakes during practice will help you be more careful on the test day.
- Read GRE analytical writing sample essays
Reading the sample essays will help you gain a deep understanding of what you should add to your essays. It will make judging your own essays easier. Refer to the sample essays with a high score. Go through as many of these as you can get your hands on.
- Improve grammar
While the evaluator is more concerned with the clarity and quality of your thoughts and ideas, it is also important to ensure good grammar, as grammatical mistakes, even the minor ones, will adversely affect the overall quality of your essays.
Following are the major key takeaways of this blog:
- GRE is a standardized exam that is required to be taken by those looking to seek admission to graduate schools in Canada, the United States, and various other countries.
- Serving as one of the three sections included in this exam, the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment (GRE AWA) is a one-hour test that takes place at the beginning of the exam.
- The GRE analytical writing section consists of two tasks, namely, analyzing an issue and analyzing an argument. Each of these tasks has to be completed in 30 minutes.
- During the evaluation of your GRE analytical writing essays, testers take into account everything from their content and language to structure and grammar.
- The GRE analytical writing section is scored from 0 to 6 in increments of 0.5 points. The final score is the rounded-off average of the scores of both essays.
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! We’d be very happy to help.
Liked this blog? Read: GRE sample test | Everything you need to know about this exam!
Q1. What is GRE?
Answer – Graduate Record Examinations or GRE is a standardized test that serves as an admission requirement for numerous graduate schools in Canada, the United States, and various other countries. Admission offices and fellowship panels use GRE scores to supplement your undergraduate score, recommendation letters, and other qualifications to enroll in a master’s program. GRE serves as a common measure for comparison for schools.
Q2. What skills are tested in the GRE analytical writing section?
Answer – The GRE analytical writing section is designed to test your:
- Ability to develop, articulate, and support complex ideas and thoughts
- Ability to maintain a cohesive, coherent, and focused discussion
- Ability to evaluate and formulate arguments
- Control over grammar and sentence structure
- Control over word choice and usage
Q3. What is the best way of practicing for GRE analytical writing essays?
Answer – The most effective way to practice for the test is by reading sample essays and writing your own pieces on the sample questions.