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GRE Analytical Writing Tips

Here are some Quick Tips that apply to both Analytical Writing sections :

Be sure to include brief introductory and concluding paragraphs, which are consistent with each other and with the paragraphs in the body of your essay.Your essay must at least appear to be well organized. Use transition words and phrases to help the reader follow the flow of your discussion. Unless you're submitting handwritten essays, compose your introductory paragraph last—after you've completed the rest of your essay. Why? Because you essay might evolve somewhat from your initial plan; if you've composed your introduction first, you might need to rewrite it.


For every point you make in a GRE essay, always provide a reason and/or an example to support that point!

Pay close attention to writing mechanics—grammar, sentence construction, word usage and diction (whether you've used the right word for the right job). It doesn't matter if your essay contains brilliant ideas if you can't express them.It's okay to refer to yourself in your essays—at your option. Just don't overdo it. Phrases such as "I think," "it is my opinion that" and "in my view" are superfluous and a waste of your typing time.

Don't try to impress the reader with your vocabulary. There's nothing wrong with demonstrating a strong vocabulary. Just don't overdo it; otherwise the readers will suspect that you're using big words as a smokescreen for poor content.

Here are some Quick Tips for tackling the Issue-Perspective Writing Task :

Spend at least 3-4 minutes jotting down some points both for and against the statement. In support of every point try to think of at least one reason or example.

Go for breadth, not depth. Try to cover both polar sides of the issue, and various arguments on both sides. Don't dwell on one point! (This is the #1 essay blunder committed by GRE test-takers.) But don't try to cover everything either; otherwise, you might not have time to develop each of your ideas--with reasons and examples.

Begin your Issue essay by acknowledging the complexity of the issue and by adopting a position on it.

Do NOT begin your Issue essay by restating or paraphrasing the statement. (This blunder will wave a "red flag" to the GRE readers who will assume from the outset that you lack ideas of your own.)

Don't waste time thinking about what position on the issue you should adopt—or what position a GRE reader would want you to adopt. The readers don't care about your opinions; what they do care about is how persuasively you support your position with relevant reasons and examples, and how effectively you communicate your ideas.

Your final paragraph should contain no more than two sentences, and should recapitulate (sum up) your argument—reiterating where you stand on the issue "in the final analysis," and why. Don't introduce any new examples, reasons, or ideas in your summary paragraph.

Here are some Quick Tips for tackling the Issue-Perspective Writing Task :
Spend 4-5 minutes brainstorming and jotting down the logical problems you intend to identify and discuss in your essay. Then number these problems—from most serious to least serious. Present them in that order in your essay.

Each argument in the official test bank contains 3-5 major logical fallacies or other logical problems. (That's how the test-makers design them.) To score high you must identify and discuss each major logical problem. Here are a few of the types that appear frequently among the arguments in the official test bank: Drawing an unfair analogy (ignoring relevant dissimilarities between two things when comparing them)

Generalizing from particulars (relying on a small number of particular cases—too small to reach a reliable general conclusion)

Confusing chronology with causation (because one event occurs after another, the earlier event caused the later event)

Go for breadth, not depth. Try to cover every major logical problem with the argument. Don't dwell on one point! (This is the #1 essay blunder committed by GRE test-takers.) As a rule of thumb you shouldn't devote more than 3 or 4 sentences to discussing any one point of your critique.

Avoid Intro-itis. Do NOT begin your essay by rehashing the argument that you intend to critique. A brief introduction—in which you indicate the thrust of the argument and that it is problematic for several reasons—will suffice. Your time is far better spent delving directly into your critique of the argument. (Just as with the Issue essay, intro-itis will wave a "red flag" to the GRE readers who will assume from the outset that you lack ideas of your own.)

In addition to identifying each major logical problem with the argument, always discuss what additional information is needed to better evaluate the argument, and/or what additional evidence (facts) would serve to strengthen the argument.
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