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GRE Writing Exam

The assessment consists of two analytical writing tasks: a 30-minute "Present


Your Perspective on an Issue" task and a 30-minute "Analyze an Argument" task.
The "Issue" task states an opinion on an issue of general interest and asks test
takers to address the issue from any perspective(s) they wish, as long as they
provide relevant reasons and examples to explain and support their views. The
"Argument" task presents a different challenge: it requires test takers to critique an
argument by discussing how well reasoned they find it. You will receive a grade
from 0 to 6, which will be sent with your GRE scores.

The most common topics relate to general business and public policy issues.
Business issues generally relate to business ethics, marketing and labor.
Government issues will generally relate to regulatory issues and social welfare
issues.

Here is an example of an Analysis of Issue question:

Following the Colorado massacre of schoolchildren, many lawmakers have


proposed that an international body regulate the internet so that sites which
provide information to terrorists should be eliminated.

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the above opinion. Support
your opinion with reasons and examples.

The people who grade the Analysis of Issue expect the following:

i) A well-developed essay that is logical and coherent;

ii) An essay that demonstrates critical thinking skills;

iii) An essay which uses varied sentence structure and vocabulary;

iv) An essay that uses the language of standard written English;

v) An essay that is free of mechanical errors in spelling, punctuation,


capitalization; and

vi) An essay that follows the conventions of standard written English.

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Writing an AWA essay on the Analysis of Issue is walking a tight rope. You
have to be persuasive about your argument, yet you cannot be excessively one-
sided. The Analysis of Issue questions do not have a clear-cut "answer" to the
essay topic, so do not overstate your case.

To express that you are reasonable, sporadically use qualifiers such


as fairly, rather, somewhat, relatively, and such expressions as seems to be, a little,
and a certain amount of. However, excessive use of qualification will dilute your
argument and weaken the essay.

 Introduction/Conclusion- These elements will provide the structure for


your essay and keep you on track.
 Number of Paragraphs. To satisfy the E-rater, your essay should be 4 to 5
paragraphs: an introduction, a conclusion, and three "body" paragraphs.
Each paragraph should have 2 to 5 sentences (total essay about 300-400
words).

a) Whether ________________________ depends on _____________________.

b) (insert your opinion), __________________________.

2) First Body Paragraph (3-5 sentences)

Begin to develop your position with your most important reason. Use one or two
examples to back up your main point:

a) The chief reason for my view is ___________________________________.

b) For example, ____________________________________.

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c) Moreover, ______________________________.

________________________.

) Second Body Paragraph

Expand your position with a "secondary" reason. Support your rationale further
with at least one example.

 State your second reason (one only).


 Provide rationale and/or evidence to support it.

Here's a sample template for the second body paragraph that accomplishes these
objectives:

a) Another reason for my view is_____________________________.

b) Specifically,________________.

c) The result is,__________________.

4) Optional Third Body Paragraph

In this paragraph (optional) you acknowledge a competing viewpoint or counter-


argument (and rationale and/or examples that support it), and then provide
rebuttals to further support your position. In this paragraph you walk a tightrope,
you must acknowledge the counter-argument, but yet deny it immediately in the
next sentence and use that denial to strengthen your own argument.

 Acknowledge a different viewpoint or a counter-argument.


 Provide rationale and/or examples that support it.
 Provide a rebuttal.

Here's a sample template for the third body paragraph that accomplishes the
objectives indicated above:

a) Some might argue,_____________________________.

b) Yet,____________________

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c) Others might cite, __________________.

d) However,_____________________.

5) Conclusion Paragraph

In this paragraph you write a summary of your position in 1 to 3 sentences:

 State the thrust of your position.


 Restate the main points from the body of your essay.

The concluding paragraph is not the place for new information or reasons. It is not
a place to draw new conclusions.

a) In sum, I concur that ________________________.

b) However,_________________; on the whole______________.

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"As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability
of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate."

It is human nature to look for shortcuts. When we have an easier way of


doing something, we do not take the longer path in order to avoid trouble. As the
world is advancing, it is making our lives easier. Many problems faced in the olden
times which required a lot of physical as well as mental effort are now only a matter
of a few clicks. Since technology has entered every home, office and school, there is
an increased tendency to depend on it to get our jobs done. I agree with the fact that
human dependence on technology has increased. This points at the suggestion
made in the statement that the ability of humans to think for themselves will
deteriorate in time. However, if this is realized at the correct time, such a situation
can be avoided. Moreover, this may not be the case with every individual. The
advancement of technology itself is a wonder of the human mind. It is only when
great thinkers and learned people think on an individual level that development
becomes possible.

Due to the advancement of technology we have now forgotten the pains taken to
accomplish a task as was done before any development in that particular field was
made. It is only when we are faced with problems that we make efforts to find a
solution to it. We can find examples of this in history where it was only when people
faced the problem of traveling long distances on foot and carrying heavy loads that
made them think of a solution. This resulted in the invention of the wheel that made
their work easier and less burdening. On the other hand, when there is no problem
faced by us, we don't find the need to look for solutions and advancements.

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The power of a human brain is unfathomable. However, it is important to
keep the brain working by performing mental exercises. There were times when
people relied on their mental abilities to perform calculations. This kept them
mentally active and alert. However, as calculators came into existence, people
started performing even simple calculations on the calculator. This is the reason why
we are not able to solve a mathematical problem orally while our fathers, who did
not use calculators, are still quick to solve the same. This indicates that we started
depending upon calculators for every calculation, which made our brains dull and
irresponsive to mental calculations. As the computer came into the world, it reduced
our mental work even further.

If a machine were not used for a long time it would start creaking and
eventually stop working. Our brain, like any machinery, needs to be exercised in
order to keep it working. Therefore, it is on us to exercise our thinking abilities and
keep ourselves active. If we depend too much upon technology and avoid mental
exercise, it would definitely deteriorate our thinking abilities. Therefore, along with
taking the benefits of technology, we should develop a habit of thinking and solving
problems at our own. Students should be encouraged to develop a problem-solving
attitude by giving them tasks related to finding solutions. Similarly, we must calculate
our monthly budget without any help. Instead of turning to the interiors of our homes
and offices in the hot weather, we should think about the possible solutions to
reduce global warming. Likewise, it is only when we give a personal thought on how
to save fuel that practical solutions like sharing vehicles to schools and offices can
be sought.

As I have discussed earlier, technology is a creation of the human mind. This


development is possible only because of the advancement of human thinking
abilities. However, we must make it a point that we do not become a slave to the
advancement of technology and retain our thinking abilities, which would keep the
development going.

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Educational institutions have a responsibility to dissuade students from
pursuing fields of study in which they are unlikely to succeed.

Education is the most important factor behind the success and over
all development of a person. Many countries have a high illiteracy rate
making them incompetent in full development. Educational institutes are
the driving force behind providing quality education and also housing the
various skills of an individual. In a country like India where there are a
number of educational institutes with a vast variety of professional
courses ,educational industry has become one of the major industries.
I believe that educational institutes have a major responsibility towards
the overall success and development of a student in a particular field.
They are responsible to provide quality education to nurture the growth
of the student and make them an outstanding professionals in their field
of choice. They have the resources and the knowledge to help the student
in the correct path of success and achievement. But I disagree with the
argument that educational institutes have a responsibility to dissuade
students from pursuing field of study in which they are unlikely to
succeed.
No matter how learned or knowledgeable a person is ,they do not
have a right to judge anyone. They may be poor critiques in finding the
true potential of an individual. Take the instance of Michael Jordan. He
was kicked out of his high school basketball team because his sports
coach thought he is a poor performer but later on he became to be
known as the brightest basketball player of the country. It may so happen
that a person recognize their potential later in the stage of life and hence
if de- motivated in the crucial years of College , they may grow to
develop low self esteem.

The meaning of success is very vast and different from person to


person. For some, success may mean being rich and monetarily sound,
for some it may mean reaching the heights of their creative potential and

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for some success may mean being socially sound and understanding
one’s own potential. In India , for example, due to the high poverty rate
there are many students who are told from a young age that they are to
be the bread earners for the family. This burden to achieve financial
stability for the family causes many to take up professional courses like
engineering and MBBS without much interest so as to be placed good and
help to support their family. They may not be brilliant in their field or the
brightest mind in their college class but their hunger for money may
make them good engineers/ doctors, so to dissuade them from entering
a professional life in this field may be a judgmental decision on the part
of the educational institute.

If a student is dissuaded they may never make an effort to ever try


doing something they are not good at and this will lead to deep impact in
their all round development. The fear of being discouraged is such that
the student may stop even applying their brains to a problem to solve on
their own. It is said that a person only learns from their mistakes. No
successful human being would have reached to that peak of success
without committing a mistake, accepting it, learning from it and making
it right the next time. Thus till the time a student is not given an
opportunity to explore their potentials they may never be able t achieve
success and happiness.

Thus, educational institutes should not dissuade a student from


continuing in the field in which they are likely to not succeed but provide
various opportunities and platform of growth so that they realize their
potential themselves and learn to become better individuals and citizens.

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Analyzing An Argument

Remember, you need to be persuasive, so do not simply list your assumptions


without pointing out why they are assumptions and how they weaken the
argument.

 You are expected to analyze the logic of the given argument. You must not start giving your opinion of
the subject matter of the argument.
(For example, if the argument claims that a certain newspaper is not selling well because it has recently
increased its price, you are not expected to give views on what makes a good newspaper, or on
marketing strategies. You simply have to discuss whether the evidence provided warrants that
conclusion.)
 All the arguments will be seriously flawed. In your initial reading try to find the main conclusion, identify
the underlying logic of the argument and identify the major faults. The main categories of logical error
that you should be able to spot are:
 Generalizations
 Problems with surveys and statistics
 False causes
 False analogies
 Hidden assumptions
 Inadequate authority

Introduction:
The argument makes a number of unwarranted assumptions
regarding………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………..Taken as a whole, these unstated assumptions render
the argument highly suspect. Indeed, if these unstated assumptions do not hold true, then
the argument totally falls apart.

End your paragraph with a statement such as:


However, this conclusion seems unwarranted, or
However, the information provided does not justify this conclusion or
This conclusion is not well supported / fails to convince/ is flawed etc.

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Paragraph #1:
The argument assumes that the-------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Body Paragraph #2
Another unstated assumption the argument makes --------------------------
that _____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________

Body Paragraph #3
for this body paragraph, I would focus on the survey……………………………..

Unless the survey is fully representative, valid, and reliable, it can not be
used to effectively back the author's argument.

Conclusion
The argument makes a number of unstated assumptions that seriously undermine its
validity. Unless these assumptions are addressed the argument falls apart, and the
This argument is too weak to be convincing.

relying on……………………………………….

Here, the implication is that…………………………………………………………………………………

It assumes that……………………………………………………………………………………………………

First, it claims that……………………………………………………………………………………………This says


nothing about the……………………………………………………………………………………..

The argument also ignores the fact that…………………………………………………………………………


While the ………………………………………………………………………,the ……………………………………………………………

Lastly,………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The use of statistics is a shaky way of bolstering an already decent argument. There are too
many implications derived from the data the way it is presented. As such,… ……………..……………………The
argument could be improved by providing more …………………………………………….

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1- Formal and Informal Fallacies

the classic example of a deductively valid argument is:


(1) All men are mortal.
(2) Socrates is a man.
Therefore:
(3) Socrates is mortal.
t is simply not possible that both (1) and (2) are true and (3) is false, so this
argument is deductively valid.

The argument relies upon the assumption that ….causes …but there is no
evidence to prove the causality .In fact ,too many factors may affect the
reasoning as well for example they didn’t mention ……They should have
mentioned /stated how …when ….where ………….(you start here mentioning
the examples what could make this a true statement ).

2-False Analogy

Definition:

In an analogy, two objects (or events), A and B are shown to be similar.


Then it is argued that since A has property P, so also B must have
property P. An analogy fails when the two objects, A and B, are different
in a way which affects whether they both have property P.

The argument relies upon what may amount to a weak analogy between -------and -------.In order for this
reasoning to work ,the author must assume that all relevant variables must be comparable
.Nevertheless ,the assumption is not justified. The author fails to consider possible differences between
----------and -----------that might prevent the replication of the same result .

3-Fallacy of Limited Choice (False Dichotomy)

Forcing a conclusion by artificially limiting the available options. Most commonly


it involves an “either/or” statement. Examples:

“If you're against the war, you're not supporting our sons and daughters in
uniform.”
“If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?”
“We must either support animal testing, or give up in the war against cancer.”
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The reasoning relies upon the assumption that no alternative means of ---------------
------are available .However ,without providing solid evidence to substantiate this
claim ,the assumption is unwarranted .

4/5-Fallacies of Numbers & Statistics

Appeal to Popularity (Appeal to Numbers)


This is the “everybody does it” fallacy so often used by school children, to which
the wise parent invariably replies, “and if everybody jumped off a cliff, would you
do that too?” Examples:

“We have the best selling (fill in the blank) in America. (So you should buy one
too.)”
“So many people have seen the Loch Ness Monster—there must be something
down there.”

The argument unfairly assume that -------(part)reflects …….(the whole ).however


,no evidence is offered to substantiate this assumption .

OR

The quality of this statistical results might be problematic in two respects .First
,we are not informed who conducted the survey .If the studywas instituted by the
organization or company which gained benefit from the poll .The results might be
distorted and unreliable .Second ,we are not informed whether the survey
responses were confidential .If not ,the respondents might provide false
information that they believed questioners would approve of .In either case the
results would be unreliable and provide little support to the argument .

6- Always the Same fallacy

X constructed sth a year ago and sth wrong happened to it it cracked as an


example so we simply assign the job to Y

The argument unfairly assumes that during …..(period)all other conditions that
might negatively affect the condition of the place possibly remain unchanged .

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7-Aginst the man fallacy

Bill is a bad president bec he has been unfaithful to his wife

The argument assumes that ……(personal trait )affects the overall performance of
the person .If the argument at issue X’s personal character ,this statement might
be acceptable but for this to work ,there must be evidence provided that
performance and such personal trait are necessarily related .

8- Straw man fallacy


You misrepresented someone's argument to make it easier to attack. By exaggerating, misrepresenting,
or just completely fabricating someone's argument, it's much easier to present your own position as
being reasonable, but this kind of dishonesty serves to undermine honest rational debate. Example:
After Will said that we should put more money into health and education, Warren responded by saying
that he was surprised that Will hates our country so much that he wants to leave it defenseless by
cutting military spending

This argument falls under a logical fallacy because it tries to mis present a point of view by distorting it
to ridiculous extremes .for example …………………..

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