The Analytical Writing section of the GRE increases your score by 6.0 and most universities require a cut off range of 4.5 and above in this section. Therefore, it is vital that you obtain a good score to increase your chances of gaining admissions to the university of your preference.

Aspirants for the GRE exam will have to write two GRE essays under the Analytical Writing section. This section mainly focuses on the writing skills and critical thinking abilities of the individual. It evaluates the candidate’s ability to form and assess arguments, express, support any complex ideas and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. The Analytical section does not test the subject knowledge of the candidate. It is merely to check the writing prowess of the individual. 
This article delves into the following information which will assist you in preparing for the Analytical Writing section –

  1. Categorization
  2. Sample Topics
  3. Basics of Writing
  4. Essay Writing tips

This section is mainly categorized into two divisions : 

The Issue essay – You will be provided with a general statement and you would be asked to analyze and respond to the same. The topics could range from culture to education or politics. You would essentially be asked to take a stand on the given topic. 
The Argument essay – This particular essay, requires you to scrutinize and review the logic behind the author’s position. The same is provided in the paragraph and will therefore require you to do a little bit more reading in comparison to the Issue task. 
The time allotted is 30 minutes for each essay. The writing is scored on a scale of 0 to 6 with 0.5 increments in the score. 

Sample Topics 

ETS has exclusively published an entire section of topics for both the Issue essay and the Argument essay. Unlike the essays which appear in books that would be written and perfected over a period of time, the essays on the ETS website are actual student essays. You can make use of these essays to evaluate yourself and your level of writing.
There is also an option on the ETS where they offer to grade your essays so you will be able to gauge what score you would eventually end up with on your actual exam.
The candidates need to be very well prepared for this particular section of the exam. The topics for this section could be anything and are very diverse. It is recommended that you are more socially informed and aware of current events across the world. This enhances your analytical skills as well. 

Get the Basics right

In the actual exam students who take the exam online are given basic software to type in their essays. This does not support spell check or grammar mistakes, therefore it is essential that you are not dependent on the same while writing the essay. This is done to ensure that there is no disadvantage to the candidates who take the offline version of the exam. Your grammatical skills are also equally important and it is recommended that you are well versed with the basic 8 parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections).

Some of the books which will assist you to obtain a perfect score in the Analytical Writing section are :

  1. Solutions to the Real Essay Topics – Vibrant Publishers: This book contains over 25 samples for both analyse an issue and analyse an argument topic. There are also pre-writing activities, which would assist you with why the writers opted for a particular point of view and used evidence to support their responses. Expert strategies and scoring guides for both the Issue and Argument tasks, make this a must-buy for any GRE aspirant.
  2. Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis: Your ability to draft an exceptional essay depends a lot on your vocabulary. A good essay is highly dependent on your correct usage of words. This book helps you to learn many new words. It also assists you to understand the etymology of the words. Thus playing with words will become easier and more fun as you would know the parent words.

GRE AWA Essay Tips: Things to Remember

There are several factors that the graders look for while evaluating the GRE AWA essay. Some of them are: 

Clarity – This determines your ability to be able to form simple clear sentences to get your point across. You are not expected to use very complicated words or any fancy sentences. You just have to use the words you do know very well to express yourself in the clearest way possible. 

The next most important point is: Content – You will need to present your ideas with relevant reasoning, arguments and also give supporting examples. You should be able to elaborate on the given topic and support your point of view with valid logic.

Finally, the structure of your GRE AWA essay is equally important. There needs to be a certain flow to the essay which allows the reader to go from one point to the next and finally to the conclusion without any confusion. It is also necessary to use grammatically correct sentences since the evaluator pays utmost attention to this. Don’t make use of choppy sentences or incorrect vocabulary which may negatively impact your score. Having said that, it is essential that your essays are not too lengthy and that they don’t digress from the actual topic too much. Keep in mind that the content is extremely important. 
Efficient time management, outlining your essay, editing on practice essays and constantly reading GRE AWA essays examples are some of the strategies that will help you in achieving the coveted 6 scores on your essay.


  1. How is the GRE AWA section scored? 

       The GRE AWA section is evaluated by a human scorer and an e-rater. 

  1. What is the GRE AWA score range? 

       The GRE AWA scores range between 0 to 6.   

  1. What does the AWA section consist of?

       The AWA section consists of two writing tasks — Analyse an Issue and Analyse an Argument.


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