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1 September 2023

9 minutes read

Nail the GRE Analytical Writing with Sample Issue Essays

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Introduction

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test required by many graduate schools in the United States and other English-speaking countries.

One of the most challenging sections of the GRE is the analytical writing section, which consists of two tasks: the issue task and the argument task.

This blog will focus on the issue task, providing GRE issue essay examples, tips, and strategies to help you nail the GRE analytical writing section.

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GRE Analytical Writing Section

The analytical writing section is the first part of the GRE and is designed to assess your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It consists of two 30-minute tasks: the ‘Analyze an Issue’ task and the ‘Analyze an Argument’ task.

In the issue task, you are given a statement on a general issue, and you are required to write a response in which you discuss your views on the issue. You will need to provide reasons and examples to support your position.

The quality of your essay, your ability to present a clear and well-reasoned response, and your writing skills will all contribute to your GRE analytical writing score.

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Preparing for the GRE Issue Essay

The issue essay requires you to take a position on an issue and to support your position with reasons and examples. It is important to practice writing essays on various topics to develop your writing skills and to understand the types of topics that may appear in the actual GRE exam.

Analyzing the Prompt

The first step in preparing for the issue essay is to analyze the prompt. The prompt will present a statement, and you will need to discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement.

It is important to carefully read and understand the prompt and to identify the key issues that need to be addressed in your essay.

Planning Your Response

Once you have analyzed the prompt, it is important to plan your response. Start by deciding on your position on the issue. Do you agree or disagree with the statement?

To what extent do you agree or disagree? Then, think about the reasons for your position and the examples that could be used to support your reasoning.

Writing the Essay

When writing the essay, start with an introduction that clearly states your position on the issue and provides a brief overview of the reasons for your position.

In the body of the essay, discuss your reasons and provide examples to support your position. Be sure to address the most compelling reasons and examples that could be used to challenge your position. Finally, in the conclusion, summarize your position and the reasons for your position.

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GRE Issue Essay Examples

Below are some sample issue essay topics and responses to help you prepare for the GRE analytical writing section.

Sample Issue Essay 1:

Prompt: “In today’s world, it is more important to work quickly and risk making mistakes than to work slowly and make sure that everything is perfect.”

Response:

Introduction: In today’s fast-paced world, there is often a trade-off between speed and accuracy. While it is important to work quickly to meet deadlines and stay competitive, it is also important to ensure that the work is of high quality and free of mistakes. I partially agree with the statement that it is more important to work quickly and risk making mistakes than to work slowly and make sure that everything is perfect. While speed is important in some situations, accuracy is also crucial, and it is important to strike a balance between the two.

Body: On one hand, working quickly is important in many situations. In today’s competitive business environment, companies often face tight deadlines and need to respond quickly to changes in the market. Being able to work quickly can lead to increased productivity, faster decision-making, and a competitive advantage. Additionally, in some situations, it is better to make a decision quickly, even if it is not perfect than to delay and miss out on an opportunity.

On the other hand, it is also important to ensure that the work is of high quality and free of mistakes. Making mistakes can lead to wasted time and resources, and can damage a company’s reputation. In some industries, such as healthcare or aviation, making mistakes can have serious consequences and can even be life-threatening.

Conclusion: In conclusion, while it is important to work quickly in some situations, it is also important to ensure that the work is of high quality and free of mistakes. It is important to strike a balance between speed and accuracy, and to consider the potential consequences of making mistakes. Ultimately, the best approach will depend on the situation and the potential consequences of making mistakes.

Sample Issue Essay 2:

Prompt: “The best way to solve environmental problems caused by consumer-generated waste is for towns and cities to impose strict limits on the amount of trash they will accept from each household.”

Response:

Introduction: Environmental problems caused by consumer-generated waste are a growing concern worldwide. Landfills are overflowing, and pollution from waste is impacting air and water quality. While imposing strict limits on the amount of trash accepted from each household may be part of the solution, I do not believe it is the best way to solve the problem. A more comprehensive approach that includes reducing, reusing, and recycling waste, as well as educating the public about the importance of reducing waste, is needed to effectively address the issue.

Body: Imposing strict limits on the amount of trash accepted from each household may encourage people to reduce their waste and recycle more. However, it may also lead to illegal dumping or to people finding other ways to dispose of their waste that may be even more harmful to the environment. Additionally, it does not address the root causes of the problem, which include overconsumption and the production of non-recyclable or non-biodegradable products.

A more comprehensive approach is needed to effectively address the issue. This could include implementing policies that encourage the production and use of recyclable or biodegradable products, promoting recycling and composting programs, and educating the public about the importance of reducing waste. Additionally, providing incentives for households and businesses to reduce their waste and recycle, as well as imposing penalties for illegal dumping, could also be part of the solution.

Conclusion: In conclusion, while imposing strict limits on the amount of trash accepted from each household may be part of the solution, it is not the best way to solve the problem. A more comprehensive approach that includes reducing, reusing, and recycling waste, as well as educating the public about the importance of reducing waste, is needed to effectively address the issue.

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Tips for Writing a High-Scoring GRE Issue Essay

  1. Analyze the Prompt: Make sure you understand the prompt and the issue it presents. Identify the key issues that need to be addressed in your essay.
  2. Plan Your Response: Decide on your position on the issue and think about the reasons for your position and the examples that could be used to support your reasoning.
  3. Write a Clear and Well-Reasoned Response: Start with an introduction that clearly states your position on the issue and provides a brief overview of the reasons for your position. In the body of the essay, discuss your reasons and provide examples to support your position. Be sure to address the most compelling reasons and examples that could be used to challenge your position. Finally, in the conclusion, summarize your position and the reasons for your position.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice: Practice writing essays on various topics to develop your writing skills and to understand the types of topics that may appear in the actual GRE exam.
  5. Revise Your Essay: After writing your essay, take some time to revise it. Check for any grammatical or spelling errors, and make sure that your ideas are clearly and logically presented.

Understanding the GRE Issue Task Scoring Criteria

Understanding the criteria on which your essay will be evaluated can help you write a high-scoring essay. ETS, the organization that administers the GRE, evaluates the issue essay on the following criteria:

  1. Articulation of Ideas: This criterion assesses the clarity and fluency with which you present your ideas. Your essay should be well-organized, with a clear and logical progression of ideas.
  2. Development and Support: This criterion assesses the reasons and examples you provide to support your position on the issue. Your reasons should be well-developed, and your examples should be relevant and compelling.
  3. Analytical Writing Skills: This criterion assesses your ability to analyze the issue, consider different perspectives, and present a well-reasoned and thoughtful response.
  4. Control of Language: This criterion assesses the quality of your writing, including your vocabulary, sentence structure, and grammatical correctness.

To score high on the GRE issue essay, make sure to address all of these criteria in your essay.

Developing a Strong Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement is one of the most important parts of your essay. It should clearly state your position on the issue and provide a brief overview of the reasons for your position.

Your thesis statement should be specific and debatable, and it should provide a roadmap for your reader. Here are some tips for developing a strong thesis statement:

  1. Take a Clear Position: Your thesis statement should clearly state your position on the issue. Avoid vague or neutral statements that do not take a clear position.
  2. Be Specific: Your thesis statement should be specific and focused. Avoid broad or general statements that do not clearly articulate your position.
  3. Provide a Roadmap: Your thesis statement should provide a brief overview of the main points that you will discuss in your essay. This will help your reader understand the structure of your essay and the main ideas that you will be discussing.

Addressing Opposing Views

It is important to address opposing views in your essay. This shows that you have considered different perspectives on the issue and helps to strengthen your argument. Here are some tips for addressing opposing views in your essay:

  1. Be Respectful: Acknowledge the validity of opposing views, even if you do not agree with them. Avoid dismissive or derogatory language.
  2. Be Fair: Present opposing views accurately and fairly. Do not misrepresent or distort opposing views to make your own argument seem stronger.
  3. Provide a Counterargument: After presenting an opposing view, provide a counterargument that explains why you do not agree with that view and why your position is more persuasive.

Using Evidence Effectively

Using evidence effectively is crucial for writing a persuasive essay. Your evidence should be relevant, compelling, and should directly support your thesis statement. Here are some tips for using evidence effectively in your essay:

  1. Be Specific: Provide specific examples and details to support your thesis statement. Avoid vague or general statements that do not directly support your argument.
  2. Be Relevant: Make sure that the evidence you provide is directly relevant to your thesis statement and the main points of your essay.
  3. Be Persuasive: Use compelling evidence that persuades your reader to accept your position on the issue. This could include facts, statistics, anecdotes, or expert opinions.

Crafting a Strong Conclusion

Your conclusion is the final opportunity to persuade your reader to accept your position on the issue. It should summarize your main points, restate your thesis in a new way, and provide a closing thought that leaves a lasting impression on your reader. Here are some tips for crafting a strong conclusion:

  1. Summarize Your Main Points: Briefly summarize the main points of your essay. This helps to reinforce your argument and reminds your reader of the key reasons for your position.
  2. Restate Your Thesis: Restate your thesis in a new way. This helps to reinforce your argument and provides a sense of closure to your essay.
  3. Provide a Closing Thought: End your essay with a closing thought that leaves a lasting impression on your reader. This could be a call to action, a prediction about the future, or a final insight about the issue.

Practice is Key

Practicing writing essays on various topics is crucial for developing your writing skills and for understanding the types of topics that may appear in the actual GRE exam.

Practice writing essays on different topics, and seek feedback from others to improve your writing. Additionally, you can find sample issue essay prompts on the ETS website or in official GRE prep books.

Practice writing essays on these prompts to familiarize yourself with the types of topics that may appear in the actual exam and to develop your ability to write a well-reasoned and thoughtful response.

Conclusion

The GRE issue essay is an important part of the GRE analytical writing section. By understanding the scoring criteria, developing a strong thesis statement, addressing opposing views, using evidence effectively, and crafting a strong conclusion, you can write a high-scoring GRE issue essay.

Remember to practice writing essays on various topics to develop your writing skills and to familiarize yourself with the types of topics that may appear in the actual GRE exam. With practice and preparation, you can nail the GRE analytical writing section and achieve a high score.

FAQs

What is the GRE analytical writing section?

The GRE analytical writing section is the first part of the GRE and is designed to assess your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It consists of two 30-minute tasks: the ‘Analyze an Issue’ task and the ‘Analyze an Argument’ task.

How is the GRE issue essay scored?

The GRE issue essay is scored on a scale of 0 to 6, with 0 being the lowest score and 6 being the highest score. ETS evaluates the issue essay on four criteria: articulation of ideas, development, and support, analytical writing skills, and control of language.

What are some tips for writing a high-scoring GRE issue essay?

Some tips for writing a high-scoring GRE issue essay include understanding the scoring criteria, developing a strong thesis statement, addressing opposing views, using evidence effectively, and crafting a strong conclusion.

How can I practice for the GRE issue essay?

Practice writing essays on various topics to develop your writing skills and to understand the types of topics that may appear in the actual GRE exam. Additionally, you can find sample issue essay prompts on the ETS website or in official GRE prep books. Practice writing essays on these prompts to familiarize yourself with the types of topics that may appear in the actual exam and to develop your ability to write a well-reasoned and thoughtful response.

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