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Decoding Excellence: A Guide to GRE Test Analytical Writing

Path to Proficiency: Exploring GRE Test Analytical Writing Strategies

What is the GRE, and why does it matter for your academic journey? If you're curious about the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and eager to master the Analytical Writing section, you're in the right place! In this blog, we'll dive into all things GRE test analytical writing, from understanding the test format to mastering effective strategies for scoring high.

Let's start this GRE journey together and unlock the secrets to acing the Analytical Writing section!

What is GRE Test Analytical Writing?

GRE Analytical Writing

GRE test analytical writing is a section of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) test that evaluates your ability to analyze complex issues, articulate ideas clearly and effectively, and provide logical arguments. In this section, test-takers are presented with an essay prompt and are required to write two essays: the Issue Task and the Argument Task.

  • Analyze an Issue task: You are presented with an opinion on a general topic and must analyze the issue by taking a position and providing reasons and examples to support your view, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the given opinion.
  • Analyze an Argument task: You are presented with an argument and must analyze the reasoning behind it, evaluating the strength and weaknesses of the argument rather than agreeing or disagreeing with the position.

Your essays are scored on a scale of 0 to 6 by two different readers, and the scores from both tasks are averaged to give you a final score for the GRE Analytical Writing section. This section is designed to assess your critical thinking, analytical writing, and communication skills, which are crucial for success in graduate-level academic programs.

Keep in mind that GRE essay graders prioritize logic over poetic language. Focus on crafting a logical essay rather than a creative one, as extraneous words won't earn you extra points. Save elaborate introductions for your creative writing projects and ensure that your thesis is clearly communicated within the first few sentences of your essay.

How Crucial is GRE Test Analytical Writing in Securing Graduate Program Admissions?

While your GRE Test Analytical Writing (AWA) score isn't as critical as your combined math and verbal scores, scoring a 5.0 or 6.0 won't necessarily guarantee or harm your admission to your preferred university. Admissions officers typically only focus on your AWA score if it significantly deviates from their class average.

A low AWA score could raise concerns, prompting the committee to review your statement of purpose (SOP) and letters of recommendation (LORs) more closely to ensure authenticity. Thus, while not determinative, your AWA score does hold some importance in the admissions process.

GRE Test Analytical Writing: Timing and Format

GRE Analytical Writing

Timing

You'll have 30 minutes for the GRE analytical writing assessment, encompassing brainstorming, outlining, and revising. Given this limited time frame, it's essential to have background knowledge of the tasks and practice writing essays.

The assessment comprises two tasks: "Analyse an Issue" and "Analyse an Argument," each with a 30-minute duration. The former evaluates your understanding and interpretation of an issue with reasons, while the latter analyzes given arguments using logical reasoning.

Template Format

First of all, we need to understand the essay format using AWA template GRE. The task is to time yourself properly so as to read, comprehend, compose and answer within 30 minutes. The basic GRE analytical writing template must comprise 5-paragraphs while some of you may prefer to have 4 or 6 paragraphs depending on how you divide the body of the essay. Here is what the basic 5-paragraph GRE AWA template must include:

GRE Analytical Writing

Introduction: Begin your essay by clearly stating the given issue or topic and providing a brief explanation in your own words. In the final sentences of your introduction, preview what will be discussed next to maintain the reader's interest. Keep the introduction concise and specific, demonstrating a clear understanding of the topic's central idea.

  • Body (Para 1): This is the section where you showcase your strongest argument or example. It should be relevant and well-aligned with your position in the essay. Examples can be drawn from various fields such as social, political, cultural, or historical contexts, as long as they support your stance effectively.
  • Body (Para 2): As you enter the third paragraph of your essay, ensure a seamless transition from the preceding section. Here, maintain the pattern of providing a well-explained example that reinforces your thesis. If you opt for a four-paragraph essay structure, this will serve as your final body paragraph before transitioning to the conclusion.
  • Final Body (Para 3): Transitioning to another example, consider a different perspective or scenario than those mentioned earlier. This example will help solidify your argument further. As you wrap up this discussion, subtly direct your focus toward the impending conclusion.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion of the GRE AWA essay is as significant as its other sections. Avoid rushing to meet the word limit by adding generic sentences at the end. Use this section to summarize the entire essay concisely, refute opposing viewpoints, and include analytical statements for added impact.

Cracking GRE Test Analytical Writing: Easy Steps to Success

GRE Analytical Writing

"Preparing for GRE Test Analytical Writing (AWA) requires strategic planning and effective techniques. In this section, we'll explore actionable tips and strategies to help you excel in the AWA section of the GRE. Whether you're aiming to improve your writing skills or boost your AWA score, these tips will provide you with the tools and insights you need for success.

Step Description
Make sure to practice a minimum of three essays
  • Practice writing issue essays within the 30-minute time frame to understand your writing capabilities and get comfortable with time constraints.
  • Familiarize yourself with diverse topics in the "analyze an issue" task, including education, arts, technology, government and power, intellectual endeavors, and philosophy.
  • Practice a sufficient number of sample essays to become acquainted with each topic and be better prepared for the AWA section on test day.

Brainstrom examples that are relevant and relatable
  • In the issue task, there's no definitive right or wrong answer; focus on making convincing points with sound reasoning.
  • Strengthen your arguments by incorporating specific examples from personal experience, history, sports, literature, mythology, or other relevant areas.
  • Ensure your examples are directly related to the topic and clearly explain how they support your viewpoint.
Time management
  • Candidates must complete two tasks within one hour, allocating 30 minutes per task, including all steps from brainstorming to editing.
  • Effective time management is crucial for success in the GRE AWA section due to the time constraints and pressure on candidates.
Be mindful of your conclusion as well
  • Avoid overemphasizing the introduction and main body, as neglecting the conclusion can detract from your essay's overall quality.
  • Conclude your essay by briefly acknowledging the opposing viewpoint, showcasing emotional and intellectual maturity.
  • Refute the opposing argument and reinforce the validity of your own viewpoint in a concise manner.

Resources for GRE Analytical Writing

When preparing for the GRE Test Analytical Writing (AWA) section, having access to the right resources is essential for success. From practice prompts and sample essays to expert tips and writing guides, there is a wide array of resources available to help you hone your analytical writing skills.

In this section, we'll explore various resources that can assist you in preparing effectively for the AWA section of the GRE, ensuring you are well-equipped to tackle the essay tasks with confidence.


The ETS Website: The ETS website serves as the primary and authoritative resource for GRE Analytical Writing preparation, offering:

  • Detailed explanations of the Analyze an Issue and Analyze an Argument tasks
  • Scoring guides and rubrics for assessment
  • Sample essays across various score levels accompanied by reader commentary
  • Access to the complete pool of potential essay prompts for both tasks

Scoreitnow!: ETS provides a paid service called "Scoreitnow!" where you can submit practice essays to receive computer-generated scores and feedback. This service aids in evaluating your performance and pinpointing areas for enhancement.

Dedicated GRE AWA Books: 

  • GRE Analytical Writing: Real Essay Topics - Book 1" from Vibrant Publications
  • Analytical Writing II: Relevant Issue Topics" by Monica Chang
  • Official GRE Super Power Pack" by ETS

MiM Essay GRE Test Prep: MiM Essay GRE Test Prep is an excellent tool for GRE preparation. With comprehensive guidance, practice prompts, and expert strategies, it equips you with the necessary skills to excel in the AWA section. Whether you're a first-time test-taker or aiming to improve your score, 'MiM Essay GRE Test Prep' is a valuable asset in your GRE journey

These resources offer sample essays, tactics, and practice prompts for the AWA section.

Conclusion

Mastering the GRE Analytical Writing section is an important step in your academic journey. It helps you develop the skills needed for success in graduate school. By improving your ability to analyze, explain, and argue your points clearly, you'll do well on the GRE and be better prepared for future challenges. Use the available resources, practice regularly, and stay focused. The GRE is not just a test. It's a way to open doors to your dreams and goals.

Is GRE AWA 4.5 good?

An excellent GRE score typically falls within the range of 158+ for Verbal, 159+ for Quantitative, and 4.5+ for Writing, resulting in an overall score of 318+ and positioning you in the 75th percentile or higher.

Is 307 a good GRE score?

It's crucial to note that GRE scores are just one aspect of your application. Concentrate on enhancing your overall profile to increase your chances of admission to a quality university, even with a GRE score ranging from 300 to 310.

Can I skip analytical writing on GRE?

A commonly asked question, especially among those applying to programs focusing on Quant, is whether it's acceptable to omit the GRE Analytical Writing section. For the majority of GRE test-takers, the answer to this question is usually no.

How many mistakes are allowed in GRE?

While achieving a perfect score by avoiding all mistakes is ideal, it's not mandatory. According to our findings, you can afford to make 1 mistake in the first Quant section and up to 2 in both Verbal sections and still achieve the maximum GRE score.

Know Your Author
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Abhyank Srinet
Study Abroad Expert
Abhyank Srinet, the founder of MiM-Essay.com, is a globally recognized expert in study abroad and admission consulting.His passion lies in helping students navigate the complex world of admissions and achieve their academic dreams. Having earned a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Europe, Abhyank's expertise in data-driven marketing strategies has driven growth for some of the most competitive industries. As the founder of MiM-Essay.com, he has helped thousands of students get into top business schools with a strong emphasis on research, shortlisting, and applying to schools from a single platform. His dedication to education has also led him to create MentR-Me, a free-to-use social platform that simplifies the study abroad process for students, while providing universities with a powerful recruitment tool. As a leader in the field of admission consulting, he is constantly researching and implementing the latest strategies to ensure that his clients receive the best possible guidance. He leads the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of both companies, and has grown both ventures to 7 figure revenue.His unique insights, experience, and dedication to his clients make him a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance their education or career.
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