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Home » GRE Revised Test » GRE Analytical Revised Test

GRE Analytical Revised Test




Introduction to the Analytical Writing Measure

The Analytical Writing measure tests your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, construct and evaluate arguments, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It does not assess specific content knowledge.

The Analytical Writing measure consists of two separately timed analytical writing tasks:

  1. Introduction to the Issue Task

    The "Analyze an Issue" task assesses your ability to think critically about a topic of general interest and to clearly express your thoughts about it in writing. Each Issue topic makes a claim that can be discussed from various perspectives and applied to many different situations or conditions. Your task is to present a compelling case for your own position on the issue. Before beginning your written response, be sure to read the issue and the instructions that follow the Issue statement. Think about the issue from several points of view, considering the complexity of ideas associated with those views. Then, make notes about the position you want to develop and list the main reasons and examples you could use to support that position.

    It is important that you address the central issue according to the specific instructions. Each task is accompanied by one of the following sets of instructions:

    • Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.
    • Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.
    • Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.
    • Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views presented.
    • Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.
    • Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how these consequences shape your position.

    The GRE readers scoring your response are not looking for a "right" answer in fact, as far as they are concerned, there is no correct position to take. Instead, the readers are evaluating the skill with which you address the specific instructions and articulate and develop an argument to support your evaluation of the issue.

  2. Introduction to the Argument Task

    The "Analyze an Argument" task assesses your ability to understand, analyze and evaluate arguments according to specific instructions and to convey your evaluation clearly in your writing. The task consists of a brief passage in which the author makes a case for some course of action or interpretation of events by presenting claims backed by reasons and evidence.

    Your task is to discuss the logical soundness of the author's case by critically examining the line of reasoning and the use of evidence. This task requires you to read the argument and instructions carefully. You might want to read the argument more than once and make brief notes about points you want to develop more fully in your response. In reading the argument, you should pay special attention to:

    • what is offered as evidence, support or proof
    • what is explicitly stated, claimed or concluded
    • what is assumed or supposed, perhaps without justification or proof
    • what is not stated, but necessarily follows from what is stated

In addition, you should consider the structure of the argument the way in which these elements are linked together to form a line of reasoning; i.e., you should recognize the separate, sometimes implicit steps in the thinking process and consider whether the movement from each step to the next is logically sound. In tracing this line, look for transition words and phrases that suggest the author is attempting to make a logical connection (e.g., however, thus, therefore, evidently, hence, in conclusion).

An important part of performing well on the Argument task is remembering what you are not being asked to do:

  • You are not being asked to discuss whether the statements in the argument are true or accurate.
  • You are not being asked to agree or disagree with the position stated.
  • You are not being asked to express your own views on the subject being discussed (as you were in the Issue task).

Instead, you are being asked to evaluate the logical soundness of an argument of another writer and, in doing so, to demonstrate the critical thinking, perceptive reading and analytical writing skills that university faculty consider important for success in graduate school.

It is important that you address the argument according to the specific instructions. Each task is accompanied by one of the following sets of instructions:

  • Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
  • Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions, and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the advice and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the advice.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction.
  • Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be addressed in order to decide whether the conclusion and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to the questions would help to evaluate the conclusion.

"Analyze an Argument" is a critical thinking task requiring a written response. Consequently, the analytical skills displayed in your evaluation carry great weight in determining your score; however, the clarity with which you convey ideas is also important to your overall score.

The Issue task presents an opinion on an issue of general interest followed by specific instructions on how to respond to that issue. You are required to evaluate the issue, consider its complexities and develop an argument with reasons and examples to support your views.

The Argument task requires you to evaluate a given argument according to specific instructions. You will need to consider the logical soundness of the argument rather than agree or disagree with the position it presents.

The two tasks are complementary in that one requires you to construct your own argument by taking a position and providing evidence supporting your views on an issue, and the other requires you to evaluate someone else's argument by assessing its claims and evaluating the evidence it provides.

Individuals taking the computer-based test will use a basic word processor developed by ETS. The basic word processor contains the following functionalities: insert text, delete text, cut-and-paste and undo the previous action. Tools such as a spell checker and grammar checker are not available in the ETS software, largely to maintain fairness with those examinees who must handwrite their essays at paper-based administrations.

GRE Analytical Writing & Sample Questions

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