Gre essay practice prompts

The GRE Analytical Writing section requires you to write two essays—one will be an analysis of an issue and the other will be an analysis of an argument. Try your hand at these GRE essay prompts, and read our explanations for what makes a great GRE essay. We pulled these sample.
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The GRE analytical writing is a small but important component of the test that troubles many international test takers. Well, there are a few paid options offered by some test prep companies. So we created this free essay grader for GRE essays. There is no software to download.

How to Write the GRE Essays

You can use our free online GRE essay immediately. These two essays will always come first on your GRE test, no matter what. You cannot simply skip off AWA, move on to the other sections, and come back later. AWA itself is a separate section, and only after you finish writing the two essays can you move on further.

Despite what most students say, you should remember that the AWA only tests how well you can write an essay, and hence measures only your writing abilities. Contrary to popular opinion, the AWA does not analyze your thought process. As long as your essay sounds logical, writing ability is all it measures. We will be discussing more about this in the upcoming sections. It is a widely known fact that your AWA essay score is not as important as your composite math and verbal score on the GRE, and getting a 5.

Graduate school admissions officers only bother about your AWA score, if it is too low, or significantly lower than their usual class average. Yes, a poor score on the AWA can definitely send up a red flag, and the admissions committee will certainly think twice before letting you in. Sometimes, they even go to the extent of rereading your SOP and LORs, to find out if they were actually written by you or someone else.

So, it is rather safe to say that the AWA score is an important enough factor when it comes to admissions. The AWA score ranges between 0 and 6. But what exactly does it mean to get a 6. Well, the scoring system is designed in a way that your responses to each of these essay questions are scored on a 6-point scale, with 6 being the highest score and 1, the lowest.


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A well-developed critique of the argument, demonstrating good control of writing, and displaying the following characteristics:. A satisfactory critique of the given argument, demonstrating decent control of writing, and displaying the following characteristics:. A satisfactory essay with clearly flawed critique of the argument, demonstrating little control of the elements of writing, and displaying the following characteristics:.

An unsatisfactory essay with serious weakness in analytical writing skills, and displaying the following characteristics:. An essay full of fundamental deficiencies in analytical writing skills, and displaying the following characteristics:. A paper that is totally illegible or obviously not written on the assigned topic.

Writing the GRE Issue Essay - Step-by-step Guide

A score of zero is given to responses that come under one of the following cases:. So, it is safe to say that if you write at least a few sentences in English, you will get a score of 1. But rest assured, no university under the sun will accept a score that low. Each of your AWA essays is scored on a scale of 0 to 6.

Two readers will read your Issue essay and assign it a deserving score and two different readers will read your Argument essay and assign it a score. Each grader will award a 6. The graders spend about 30 seconds to 2 minutes on each essay, and give it a score based on pre-defined evaluation metrics such as the overall quality of your critical thinking and writing, as mentioned previously. The graders who evaluate the responses are college and university faculty members from various subject matter areas, including higher education.

Once the readers finish grading your essay, the two scores will be averaged to arrive at a final AWA score. If the grades given by the two readers differ by more than a point, a third, highly experienced grader is brought in to resolve the discrepancy i. For each essay, your final score is the average of the scores assigned by the two readers or the adjusted score assigned by the third reader.

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If you earned scores of 6 and 5 on the Analysis of an Issue, then your final score for the Issue essay would be the average of these two i. It should be noted that though your AWA scores range from 0 — 6, about 90 percent of all scores fall between 2 and 5. The average score for the AWA section for all the test takers so far is around 4. Your Analytical Writing Assessment scores are computed and reported separately from the multiple-choice sections of the test and have no effect on your Verbal, Quantitative, or Total scores.

Your score report however will not include copies of your responses; only scores are sent. You will receive your essay scores approximately days after your test date.


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Most students think that essay length the only important factor when it comes to AWA scoring. But, in reality, it is not. You will have to take many other factors into consideration, if you are looking to get anywhere near the perfect score. We have complied a list of all the factors that affect your overall AWA score, so you can be well prepared, while improving your writing skills on those lines. This is the most important, and also the most fundamental of all factors that the graders judge your essays on. The grader should understand what you are trying to say, by reading once.

This makes their job easier, and they will understand that if it can be understood with just a single reading, then your essay has clarity. As we discussed earlier, the grader can spend a maximum of only two minutes per essay, and it is your duty to make sure your essays have clearly composed ideas, because more often than not, graders do not bother to reread your essay and waste another couple of minutes. Consequently, you will end up with a score much lower than what you actually deserve. Ask yourselves these two questions when you are writing the essays.

What are you trying to say? These two questions must have solid answers by the time the grader finishes reading the essay. If you think about it, these are the exact same questions you will have to answer, during Reading Comprehension. Just like how you can easily solve a Reading Comprehension question if you have answers to those two questions, graders assessing your essay will also need to find answers to these exact same questions, if you need a perfect score. Substance matters more than any other factor when it comes to your essays.

So, make sure you have solid points, and clear logical reasoning that can be easily understood. You should have seen it coming; structure is the second most important factor on your essays. The way an article is formatted, has a massive impact upon its readability. Your essays should read like a story; something that can be easily understood, and something that has a proper structure and organization.

So, it is important that you break up your essay into distinct paragraphs, each with its own meaning and context, while maintaining a smooth transition between one paragraph and the next. This way, every paragraph reads like a separate story, and the essay graders can easily scan through your entire response easily. So, ideally, you should have a structure in mind before you begin writing the essay.

The general structure is to start with an introductory paragraph followed by body paragraphs and finish off with a conclusion paragraph. So, you should make sure that there are at least paragraphs in your essay, if you want a solid score on the AWA.


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Even though you are writing several paragraphs on the same topic, you should ideally avoid writing similar or same sentences. If you are an avid reader of news, you get the point.

Help! I'm overwhelmed by the number of possible Issue task prompts! – Magoosh Student Help

No good writer under the sun writes two exactly same sentences in a single essay or article. Consecutive sentences with the same structure and length can sound monotonous and lifeless, and will obviously bore the reader. Instead of sounding repetitive and boring, use sentence style skillfully. It simply means that you should use a different variety of words to mean the same thing. In this way, you should keep varying the sentence structures, flow and rhythm by switching between short and long sentences. You should also make use of transitional and signal words to vary sentence openings and endings.

There has been a longstanding myth among test takers that the GRE really loves heavy vocabulary, and using it on your AWA essays will boost your score. We have seen students with exceptional vocabulary but poor coherence get paltry AWA scores in the past. And we have seen students with great essay scores without using heavy vocabulary.