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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding GRE Writing Section:
1. What is the difference between Issue and Argument Section?
Present Your Perspective on an Issue
This is a 45 minute task. You are presented with an issue of general interest and asked to address it from any perspective, providing reasons and examples to support your views. Your task is to construct an argument and support it.
Analyze an Argument
A 30 minute task in which you are presented with an argument. Your task is to critique the argument and discuss whether it is a reasoned argument by assessing its claims.
2. How is the writing section scored?
Two trained readers assess each essay on a 6-point scale. They use holistic scoring, which means that they assign scores on the basis of the overall quality of your essay in response to the assigned task. If the two scores differ by more than one point, then a third reader is called in. Final scores on the two essays are averaged and rounded up to the nearest half-point to provide a single score for the section. The emphasis is on examining your critical thinking and analytical writing skills rather than grammar.
• Content: your ability to present cogent, persuasive, and relevant ideas and arguments through sound reasoning and supporting examples
• Organization: your ability to present your ideas in an organized and cohesive fashion
• Language: your control of the English language, including your vocabulary and diction (word choice)
• Mechanics: your facility with the conventions of Standard Written English
3. How to ace the GRE writing section? Is there any definite strategy?
The GRE writing section is not the same as creative writing. It is not a measure of your literary skills. It measures your analytical ability and logical reasoning. To ace the writing section, it becomes imperative to familiarize yourself with logic. You should be familiar with the following ideas: b valid argument; (ii) invalid argument; (iii) sound argument; (iv) unsound argument; (v) inductive reasoning; (vi) deductive reasoning.
Strategy for Issue Task
Two issues are presented as statements. You’ll choose one and have 45 minutes to write an essay.
Step 1. Choose the topic you are comfortable with, select that topic where you are more knowledgeable and can think of more examples.
Step 2. Understand the issue and the underlying assumption
Step 3. Make up your mind whether to agree or disagree with the issue.
Step 4. Jot down all your thoughts and ideas on scratch paper. Neatness and spelling do not matter at this point.
Step 5. Organize your thoughts. Use the process of elimination (POE) to get rid of the ideas that do not contribute much to the essay.
Step 6. Structure your essay on the scratch paper and start writing.
Strategy for Argument Task
Only one topic is presented for the 30-minute argument task. In the argument task, you’re presented with an opinion then asked to analyze and critique that opinion.
Step1. Read the argument carefully to separate the assumptions and evidence(s).
Step2. Jot down the explicit and implicit statements in the argument. An implicit argument is not stated, but follows logically from statements given.
Step 3. Organize your thoughts. Think of the ways the argument can be strengthened, where is the logic built more on assumption and opinion, rather than on evidence and fact? What additional information might be useful to know in order to make the argument stronger?
Step 4. Structure your essay on the scratch paper and start writing.