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5 October 2023

5 minutes read

Mastering GRE Analytical Writing: Tips and Tricks for a High Score

Are you preparing to take the GRE General Test and facing the challenge of the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section? Worry not; this comprehensive guide will provide you with expert tips and tricks to help you master this crucial part of the GRE. Whether you’re aiming for a top score or simply want to improve your writing skills, we’ve got you covered.

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Understanding the GRE Analytical Writing Section

Before we dive into the tips and tricks, let’s understand what the GRE AWA section entails. This section consists of two essays: the Issue Essay and the Argument Essay. Each essay assesses your ability to analyze arguments, think critically, and express your thoughts coherently within a limited time frame.

The Importance of AWA in Your GRE Journey

While the AWA section doesn’t directly contribute to your GRE score (which ranges from 130 to 170 for each of the Verbal and Quantitative sections), it plays a significant role in your graduate school application.

Admissions committees use your AWA essays to evaluate your writing skills, analytical thinking, and your ability to communicate effectively – all essential qualities for success in graduate studies.

Structuring Your AWA Essays

Let’s start with the basics of structuring your AWA essays. Both the Issue and Argument Essays should follow a clear structure:

Introduction: Begin with a concise introduction that introduces the topic and your stance.

Body Paragraphs: Use multiple paragraphs to develop your argument, providing evidence and examples to support your points. Address counterarguments to strengthen your position.

Conclusion: Summarize your key points and restate your thesis in the conclusion.

Now that we have a fundamental understanding of the GRE AWA section, let’s explore the tips and tricks to excel in each aspect.

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Tips for the Issue Essay

The Issue Essay requires you to respond to a statement or claim, expressing your perspective and supporting it with relevant examples. Here’s how you can ace it:

Tip 1: Take a Clear Stance

In the Issue Essay, it’s crucial to take a clear stance – either agree, disagree, or qualify your response. Avoid sitting on the fence; admissions committees want to see your ability to make a strong argument.

Tip 2: Provide Examples

Support your stance with concrete examples. Real-world examples, personal experiences, or historical events can make your argument more persuasive.

Tip 3: Address Counterarguments

Acknowledge and address potential counterarguments to show that you’ve considered multiple perspectives. This demonstrates your critical thinking skills.

Tip 4: Organize Your Thoughts

Plan your essay before you start writing. Create an outline with your key points and examples. This will help you maintain a logical flow throughout the essay.

Now, let’s shift our focus to the Argument Essay and discover how to tackle it effectively.

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Tips for the Argument Essay

The Argument Essay presents you with a written argument and asks you to evaluate it critically. Here are some tips to excel in this task:

Tip 1: Identify Assumptions

Carefully read the provided argument and identify its underlying assumptions. Most arguments contain unstated assumptions that you can critique.

Tip 2: Evaluate Evidence and Reasoning

Examine the evidence and reasoning presented in the argument. Are they sound and convincing? Be prepared to point out flaws and weaknesses.

Tip 3: Provide Alternative Explanations

Consider alternative explanations or evidence that could weaken the argument’s conclusion. Providing alternative perspectives showcases your analytical thinking.

Tip 4: Stay Objective

Maintain an objective and analytical tone throughout your response. Avoid emotional language and focus on logical critique.

With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to mastering the GRE AWA section. However, there are additional strategies and resources that can further enhance your performance.

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Utilizing Resources for GRE AWA Preparation

Preparing for the GRE AWA section involves more than just knowing the tips and tricks. Here’s how you can make the most of available resources:

Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the most effective ways to improve your AWA skills is through practice. ETS, the organization that administers the GRE, provides a pool of official AWA topics and sample essay responses on their website. Practice writing essays under timed conditions to simulate the test environment.

Review Sample Essays with Rater Commentary

ETS also offers sample essays with rater commentary, which can provide valuable insights into what makes a strong AWA essay. Pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of these essays to refine your writing.

GRE Prep Books and Online Resources

Consider using GRE preparation books and online resources that offer AWA practice tests and essay prompts. Many of these resources provide valuable strategies for approaching AWA tasks.

GRE Preparation Courses

If you’re seeking comprehensive preparation, consider enrolling in GRE preparation courses. These courses often include AWA-focused lessons and guidance from experienced instructors.

Word Processor Practice

Since you’ll be typing your essays on a computer using a word processor developed by ETS, it’s essential to practice using this tool. Familiarity with the word processor can save you valuable time on test day.

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Excelling in the GRE AWA Section: Final Thoughts

The GRE AWA section is an opportunity to showcase your writing and analytical skills to graduate admissions committees. By following these tips and utilizing available resources, you can improve your AWA performance and strengthen your graduate school application.

Remember, preparation is key. Dedicate time to practice, seek feedback on your essays, and focus on honing your critical thinking and writing abilities. With determination and effective strategies, you can master the GRE AWA section and take a significant step toward your academic and career goals.

So, start your GRE AWA preparation journey today and pave the way for success in this important aspect of the GRE General Test.

FAQs

What is the GRE Analytical Writing (AWA) section?

The GRE AWA section is part of the GRE General Test, where you are required to write two essays: an Issue Essay and an Argument Essay. It assesses your ability to think critically, analyze arguments, and express your thoughts effectively.

What is the importance of the AWA section in the GRE?

While the AWA section doesn’t contribute to your overall GRE score, it’s still a crucial part of your application to graduate programs. Admissions committees use it to evaluate your writing skills and critical thinking abilities.

How should I structure my AWA essays?

Your AWA essays should have a clear structure: an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Make sure to provide evidence and examples to support your points and address counterarguments.

How can I prepare for the GRE AWA section effectively?

Start by familiarizing yourself with the types of prompts you might encounter. Practice writing essays under timed conditions, and review sample essays with rater commentary. Focus on improving your critical thinking and analytical writing skills.

Are there any specific tips for the Issue Essay and Argument Essay?

For the Issue Essay, take a clear stance and support it with relevant examples. In the Argument Essay, identify and critique the assumptions made in the argument, and provide alternative explanations or evidence when necessary.

Is using a word processor necessary for the GRE AWA section?

Yes, you will write your AWA essays on a computer using a word processor developed by ETS. It’s important to practice typing your essays and using the provided tools before the actual test.

How can I manage my time effectively during the AWA section?

Allocate about 30 minutes for each essay. Use the first few minutes to plan your response and outline your essay. Focus on writing a well-structured, coherent essay within the time limit.

Can you suggest any resources for GRE AWA practice?

ETS provides official GRE AWA topics and sample essay responses on their website. Additionally, consider using GRE prep books and online resources that offer AWA practice tests and essay prompts.

Should I use complex vocabulary in my AWA essays?

While it’s important to convey your ideas clearly, avoid using overly complex vocabulary if it doesn’t enhance your writing. Focus on precise and effective language to communicate your points.

How can I improve my analytical writing skills for the GRE AWA section?

Reading extensively, practicing writing, and seeking feedback on your essays are essential for improvement. Consider taking GRE preparation courses that offer guidance on AWA.

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