Analytical Writing or AWA is the first section you’ll encounter in the GRE exam. AWA consists of two tasks — Analyze an Issue and Analyze an argument. In this article, we’ll take a look at the first task in the AWA section, i.e, GRE Analyze an Issue. This section tests your ability to analyse an argument, critique the prompt and write a well-founded response based on the various viewpoints

Most tend to neglect this section during preparation time thinking this score is not important. However, a great AWA score lets the admission committees know that you are good at expressing your thoughts in the English language, which is important for your masters or doctoral degree. Hence, it is essential that you perform well in the section. Let’s take a look at what the Analyze an Issue task is and how to score high in the section. 

GRE Analyze an Issue Task

The issue task measures how well you critically think about a given topic and express your viewpoints clearly in writing. The task requires you to present a compelling case based on the topic and support your arguments with evidence. The topics of the task could be discussed from various perspectives. Hence, you need to use your analytical and critical reasoning skills to develop a logical response. You’ll be given specific instructions on how to write your response. However, keep in mind that the evaluators are not looking for the right answer to the argument. Indeed there is no right answer for the issue. You are evaluated on your ability to clearly articulate your claim and prove its validity by presenting supporting evidence. 

As such, ETS, the administering body of GRE, hasn’t set any word limit for the essay. However, make sure to choose the word limit for the essay carefully as you get only 30 minutes to finish the task. 

Tips to Ace the Analyze an Issue Task

As you already know, the GRE issue essay asks your opinion on a given prompt wherein you need to convince the readers that your claim is true by presenting supporting evidence. The task will be based on any topic of general interest. However, you might need constant practice to construct your response with clarity and confidence. Given below are some GRE Analyze an Issue tips that’ll help you in the actual exam. 

  • Organize the essay – Before you start writing the response, create a rough outline for it. Note down what you think should come under the introduction, main body and conclusion. Remember, you only get 30 minutes to finish this task. Hence, come up with an idea to keep the sections balanced. For eg: The introduction need not be lengthy. Likewise, the conclusion should summarize the ideas. Organizing your writing helps the evaluator understand your writing with clarity. 
  • Use paragraphs effectively – While writing a response to the GRE Analyze an Issue task, divide your essay into several paragraphs — in a way that each has its own context and meaning. However, make sure that the transition from one paragraph to the next is smooth, so that the readers can easily follow what you want to convey. 
  • Be specific – In this task, the reviewers assess how persuasively you communicate your viewpoints and support your arguments. Hence, never try to convolute your ideas. Be specific and write your response with clarity. Acknowledge the given issue and state your position in a direct way. In other words,  stay on topic. 
  • Present strong statements – Create strong statements that either support or refute the issue presented in the task. The claim you make should reflect your confidence. Hence, avoid using maybe’s and if’s. Make bold, clear and direct statements. 
  • Use relevant examples – Once you choose your stance on the issue, write it down and read it again to check whether the given information supports your claim. If it does so, provide relevant, connectable evidence or examples to contribute to the validity of your claim regarding the issue. Relate your evidence to the claims you made, and explain how it supports your viewpoint. 

Once you understand these tips, the next step is to practice writing the essay. The more you practice, the more you get acquainted with the structure and tricks to ace it. To help you practice, ETS has published a pool of topics for the issue task, which is available on the official website of the GRE. You can refer to these GRE analyze an issue practice essay questions and write your own response. 

To sum up, dedicating ample time to practice the Issue task is essential if you want to perform well in the AWA section. The task requires you to present a well-written response with examples. This can only be achieved through proper practice. Hence, consider the above tips, refer to the GRE Analyze an Issue sample essays available on the GRE Official website, and improve your critical thinking and writing skills.  


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