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GRE Analytical Writing Section

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On October 1, 2002, a revised version of the Graduate Record Exam made its debut. The new GRE exam contains the multiple choice verbal and quantitative sections as before, but eliminates the multiple choice analytical reasoning section in favor of a new test of analytical writing. Let's take a look at the GRE Analytical Writing Section, the newest required component of the Graduate Record Exam.

What Does the GRE Analytical Writing Section Assess?
The writing section examines your ability to communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively, support your ideas, examine claims and supporting evidence,  sustain a focused and coherent discussion, and effectively use the elements of standard written English.

Subsections

  • Present Your Perspective on an Issue
    This is a 45 minute task. You are presented with an issue of general interest and asked to address it from any perspective, providing reasons and examples to support your views. Your task is to construct an argument and support it.
  • Analyze an Argument
    A 30 minute task in which you are presented with an argument. Your task is to critique the argument and discuss whether it is a reasoned argument by assessing its claims.

How is the Writing Section Scored?
Two trained readers assess each essay on a 6-point scale. They use holistic scoring, which means that they assign scores on the basis of the overall quality of your essay in response to the assigned task. If the two scores differ by more an one point, then a third reader is called in. Final scores on the two essays are averaged and rounded up to the nearest half-point to provide a single score for the section. The emphasis is on examining your critical thinking and analytical writing skills rather than grammar.

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