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5 October 2023

6 minutes read

A Comprehensive Guide to GRE AWA Essays: Tips and Sample Essays

When it comes to the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), many test-takers understandably focus on the quantitative and verbal sections, which contribute to the overall score. However, it’s crucial not to underestimate the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section. Though it doesn’t impact your composite GRE score, the AWA section evaluates your essay writing abilities – a skill that’s invaluable in graduate studies and beyond.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the GRE AWA section, providing you with expert tips, sample essays, and valuable insights to help you excel. Whether you’re preparing for the GRE exam or looking to enhance your essay writing skills, this guide has you covered.

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Understanding the GRE AWA Section

Before we dive into the tips and sample essays, let’s understand the structure of the GRE AWA section.

AWA Section Overview

The GRE AWA section consists of two tasks:

1. The Argument Essay

In the Argument Essay, you are presented with an argument, and your task is to critically evaluate it. You need to assess the reasoning behind the argument, identify its strengths and weaknesses, and provide a well-reasoned response. This task assesses your ability to analyze and critique complex arguments effectively.

2. The Issue Essay

The Issue Essay presents you with a general statement or claim, and your objective is to develop your perspective on the given issue. You must present a clear, well-structured essay that articulates your position, supports it with evidence and examples, and addresses potential counterarguments. This task evaluates your ability to express your thoughts coherently and persuasively.

Now, let’s move on to essential tips for acing these AWA tasks.

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Tips for Excelling in GRE AWA Essays

1. Understand the Task

Before you start writing, carefully read the instructions for each essay task. Understand what is expected of you in terms of analysis and argumentation for the Argument Essay and presenting your viewpoint for the Issue Essay.

2. Structure Your Essays

Both essays should follow a clear structure:

Introduction

  • Start with a concise introduction that introduces the topic and provides a clear thesis statement for your essay.

Body Paragraphs

  • In the body paragraphs, present your arguments and supporting evidence.
  • For the Argument Essay, discuss the argument’s flaws and strengths.
  • In the Issue Essay, provide reasons and examples to support your perspective.

Counterarguments

  • Acknowledge potential counterarguments and address them logically and persuasively.

Conclusion

  • Summarize your main points and restate your thesis in the conclusion.

3. Use Concrete Examples

In both essays, use real-world examples and evidence to bolster your arguments. Provide specific instances that illustrate your points, making your essay more convincing.

4. Proofread and Edit

Allocate time to review and edit your essays. Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. A well-edited essay is more likely to convey your ideas effectively.

5. Manage Your Time

During the GRE exam, time management is crucial. Practice writing essays within the allocated time frame to ensure you can complete both tasks.

6. Practice Regularly

To improve your essay writing skills, practice regularly. Write essays on various topics to become comfortable with different subject matter.

Now, let’s explore some sample essays for both the Argument and Issue tasks to gain a better understanding of effective essay writing.

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Sample Argument Essay

Prompt: The following appeared in a memo from the marketing director of Orion Books.

“The Grand Tour, a travel guidebook series on European cities, has sold fewer copies this year than ever before. Perhaps it’s time to discontinue this series. After all, we have several other travel guidebook series that are selling well. It seems that The Grand Tour is no longer of interest to our readers.”

Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion.

Sample Response:

In the memo from the marketing director of Orion Books, the argument is made that The Grand Tour, a travel guidebook series on European cities, should be discontinued due to declining sales. While the argument has some merit, it suffers from several critical flaws that undermine its validity.

Firstly, the marketing director assumes that declining sales of The Grand Tour are solely due to a lack of interest from readers. This assumption fails to consider other factors that may have contributed to the decline in sales, such as changes in marketing strategies, competition from other guidebook series, or external economic factors like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the argument overlooks the possibility that The Grand Tour could be revamped or marketed differently to rekindle reader interest. Instead of immediately discontinuing the series, a more prudent approach would be to explore ways to address the issues that have led to declining sales.

Furthermore, the argument relies on the sales performance of other travel guidebook series as evidence for discontinuing The Grand Tour. However, the marketing director provides no data or analysis to demonstrate a direct correlation between the success of other series and the need to discontinue The Grand Tour. It’s entirely possible that different guidebook series cater to distinct audiences with varying preferences.

In conclusion, the argument to discontinue The Grand Tour is not well-reasoned. It makes unsupported assumptions about the reasons behind declining sales and fails to explore alternative solutions to address the issue. To make a more informed decision, a comprehensive analysis of sales data and reader preferences should be conducted.

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Sample Issue Essay

Prompt: The widespread use of the internet has given people access to more information than ever before. Some people argue that this access has had a positive impact on society, while others believe it has created new problems and exacerbated existing ones. In your opinion, has the widespread use of the internet on balance had a positive or negative impact on society? Use reasons and examples to support your position.”

Sample Response:

The widespread use of the internet has undeniably had a profound impact on society, and assessing whether this impact is positive or negative requires a nuanced examination of its various aspects.

On the positive side, the internet has democratized access to information. People now have the ability to educate themselves on a wide range of topics, from academic subjects to practical skills, with a few clicks. This democratization of knowledge has empowered individuals and facilitated lifelong learning.

Moreover, the internet has revolutionized communication. It enables people to connect with others globally, fostering cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. Social media platforms, for instance, have played a role in raising awareness about social issues and facilitating movements for positive change.

However, the internet’s influence is not without its drawbacks. One major concern is the proliferation of misinformation and fake news. The ease with which false information can spread online can lead to societal divisions and misunderstandings.

Privacy is another pressing issue. The internet has made it increasingly challenging to protect personal data, leading to concerns about surveillance and the misuse of information.

In conclusion, the impact of the internet on society is multifaceted. While it has undoubtedly brought about positive changes in terms of information accessibility and global connectivity, it also poses challenges related to misinformation and privacy. Whether the overall impact is positive or negative depends on how society addresses these challenges and harnesses the benefits of the digital age.

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Conclusion

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the GRE AWA section, including its structure and essential tips for success. We’ve also provided sample essays for both the Argument and Issue tasks to illustrate effective essay-writing techniques.

Remember that practice, critical thinking, and effective communication are key to excelling in the GRE AWA section. As you prepare for the GRE exam, use this guide as a valuable resource to enhance your essay writing skills and perform your best on test day. Good luck!

FAQs about GRE AWA Essays

What is the GRE AWA section?

The GRE AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) section is a component of the GRE exam that evaluates your essay writing skills. It consists of two tasks: the Argument Essay and the Issue Essay.

How important is the GRE AWA section in the GRE exam?

While the AWA section doesn’t contribute to your overall GRE score, it’s still important as some graduate programs consider it during admissions. A strong AWA score can strengthen your application.

What is the format of the GRE AWA essays?

The AWA section includes an Argument Essay and an Issue Essay. In the Argument Essay, you analyze an argument’s reasoning, while in the Issue Essay, you present your perspective on a given issue.

What are some key tips for GRE AWA success?

1) Practice writing essays regularly to improve your skills.
2) Focus on structure: Have a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
3) Use evidence and examples to support your arguments.
4) Proofread and edit your essays for clarity and grammar.

Can you provide GRE AWA sample essays?

Yes, in the blog, we’ve included sample essays to help you understand the essay structure and content better.

How can I prepare for the GRE AWA section?

To prepare effectively, practice writing essays on various topics. Review sample essays and seek feedback from peers or mentors.

Are there specific GRE essay topics I should be prepared for?

The topics for GRE essays vary, but our blog covers common themes and provides guidance on how to approach them.

Is critical thinking important in GRE AWA essays?

Yes, critical thinking plays a significant role in AWA essays. You need to analyze arguments, identify flaws, and present logical and well-reasoned responses.

Can you explain the difference between the Argument Essay and the Issue Essay?

Certainly! The Argument Essay assesses your ability to critique an argument, while the Issue Essay evaluates your capacity to express and support your own viewpoint on an issue.

How can I improve my GRE AWA score?

Consistent practice, attention to essay structure, and using relevant examples can significantly improve your GRE AWA score.

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