Tips To Prepare For GRE Analytical Writing Tasks?

analytical writing

Students who wish to pursue a master’s degree program in the USA, the first and foremost choice of test is the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations). The GRE has three sections, out of which one is the Writing section. The GRE Writing task is an important section to crack. This section of GRE gauges the candidate’s critical thinking capabilities and writing skills.

The GRE Analytical Writing section is 60 minutes long and comprises of two tasks- “Analyze an Issue” task of 30 minutes and “Analyze an Argument” of 30 minutes. The ‘Analyze an Issue’ requires you to analyze the issue and form a viewpoint around it; and the ‘Analyze an Argument’ requires you  to analyze an argument and put forth your perspective on it.

This section is a bit intimidating for many.  So to help you prepare the GRE Analytical Writing task and get high score in this section, we have listed a few ways and means, take a look-

Tips for GRE Analytical Writing

Read copiously

Reading helps to develop skills in forming a viewpoint as well as improves grammar and vocabulary. Read magazines, newspapers, journals, novels, etc. Few publications and websites that provide GRE level reading include The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, etc.

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Expand vocabulary

You can expand your vocabulary by reading magazines, papers, journals, books, literary works, etc. Make it a point to circle the words you are not familiar with. Try to derive their meaning from the context of the phrase/sentence as well as look up for its meaning in the dictionary. Learn a word daily and maintain a journal of new words so that it becomes easy for you to refer back to the list and know the definition of the word.

There are a few websites and apps from where you can learn new words– Marriam-Webster, OALD (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary), etc.  Other sources include GRE Vocabulary flashcards by Kaplan, Manhattan Prep 500 Essential Words: GRE Vocabulary Flash Cards, etc. Also, try to use the new word you have learned in conversation or while writing a journal or an assignment.

Practice Writing

Write, Write, Write! Take any random topic that is based on an argument and start writing about it. Follow a writing style/approach as it will help you state your argument with clarity. The writing should include whether you are for or against the issue. Divide your argument into parts for clarity of your opinion, address and analyze the argument from every angle. Constant writing will improve your command and fluency in English. Moreover, you will learn to write within the time limit.

Brush up on writing style and grammar

To fetch good score on the GRE Writing tasks, brush up on spellings, style and grammar.  Few books to refer to improve writing style and grammar are “On Writing Wall” by William Zinsser, “Painless Grammar” by Rebecca Elliott, “The Elements of Style” by E.B. White and William Strunk Jr., and “The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need” by Susan Thurman.

Review and Practice past GRE Writing samples

Read the writing samples that have received high scores in the previous GRE tests. By reading and reviewing past samples, you can get an idea of the pattern and the kind of questions in this section. Practice as many sample essays as possible as it will help you to improve your writing skills, you will become familiar with how to analyze arguments and express your opinion in writing with a strong support.

As you have only 30 minutes to answer each essay question, practicing the GRE writing sample papers will also help in sharpening your time management skills and speed. With practice, you can figure out how much time is required to think, analyze and craft your argument. Take advantage of the official materials available on the Education Testing Service (ETS) website www.ets.org.

Seek expert help

If you are not strong in writing, go for online GRE tutoring service or online courses.

The above mentioned tips will not only get you a perfect score on the GRE Writing tasks, but will additionally help you to turn into a good writer!

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