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Top GRE analytical writing topics & tips to boost your score

By Edvoy• Last updated: Oct 19, 2023
Top GRE analytical writing topics & tips to boost your score
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The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) analytical writing section is an integral part of the GRE test that evaluates your ability to express complex ideas, construct arguments, and analyse multiple perspectives effectively. To maximise your score in the GRE analytical writing section, it is crucial to be well-versed in a variety of topics and employ effective strategies.

In this article, we will introduce some of the top GRE analytical writing topics and provide essential tips to enhance your performance.

Understanding the GRE analytical writing section

The GRE analytical writing section is a crucial component of the GRE test that evaluates your aptitude for critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and persuasive writing. It provides a platform for you to showcase your ability to analyse and evaluate complex ideas, develop logical arguments, and effectively communicate your thoughts in a structured and coherent manner.

The section comprises two distinct tasks: the "Issue" task and the "Argument" task. Both tasks in the GRE analytical writing section demand a high level of analytical thinking, organisational skills, and clarity of expression. By understanding the specific requirements of the Issue and Argument tasks and honing your analytical and writing skills, you can excel in this section and enhance your overall GRE score.

Also read: Top apps for GRE preparation

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GRE issue essay

The GRE issue essay is a task that requires you to critically analyse and respond to a general statement or claim on a specific topic. In the issue task, you will be presented with a thought-provoking statement or claim related to a particular topic.

Your objective is to construct a well-reasoned response, articulating your position on the issue and providing supporting evidence, examples, and logical reasoning to bolster your stance. This task assesses your ability to analyse a given issue, consider multiple perspectives, and present a compelling argument in favour of your viewpoint.

GRE argument essay

The GRE argument essay requires you to critically evaluate a provided argument. You are presented with a passage that outlines a specific claim or position, along with supporting evidence. Your task is to scrutinise the logical soundness of the argument by identifying any flaws, assumptions, or weaknesses.

To effectively address this task, you must deconstruct the argument, highlight any logical fallacies, and offer counter arguments or alternative explanations that undermine the validity of the original assertion.

Also read: How to prepare for the online GRE exam

Top GRE analytical writing topics

The GRE analytical writing section covers a wide range of topics that require you to analyse complex issues, construct arguments, and communicate your ideas effectively. While the specific prompts may vary, here are some common themes that have appeared as top GRE analytical writing topics:

1. Education

Prompts related to education often focus on topics such as the role of standardised testing, the effectiveness of various teaching methods, the impact of technology in education, or the value of a liberal arts education versus a specialised one. These prompts require you to critically evaluate different aspects of education and present well-supported arguments.

2. Science and technology

Science and technology topics may involve debates about the ethical implications of scientific advancements, the impact of technology on society, or the role of scientific research in addressing societal challenges. You may be asked to analyse the benefits and drawbacks of specific scientific innovations or discuss the responsibilities of scientists in today's world.

3. Social issues

Social issue prompts cover a wide range of topics including gender equality, racial discrimination, income inequality, environmental conservation, and healthcare access. These prompts require you to evaluate the complexities of social issues, examine the underlying causes, and propose possible solutions or policy changes.

4. Politics and government

Prompts related to politics and government often centre around topics such as the role of government in society, the impact of political decisions on the economy, the effectiveness of specific policies, or debates on individual rights versus societal interests. These prompts require you to critically analyse political systems, evaluate policy proposals, and present reasoned arguments.

5. Arts and culture

Art and culture prompts may involve discussions on the value of art in society, the impact of cultural diversity, the role of art in challenging social norms, or the preservation of cultural heritage. These prompts require you to analyse the significance of art and culture and explore their societal, historical, and personal dimensions.

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6. Ethics and morality

Ethics and morality topics may involve dilemmas related to personal and professional ethics, the role of ethics in decision-making, or debates on ethical standards in specific industries or professions. These prompts require you to examine ethical principles, evaluate competing values, and present well-reasoned arguments.

Also Read: GRE data interpretation

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15 Sample GRE analytical writing topics

The GRE analytical writing topics cover a wide range of subjects, inviting candidates to explore and analyse various societal, environmental, ethical, and intellectual issues. Each topic demands an examination of both sides of the argument, requiring you to consider multiple perspectives and provide well-reasoned responses.

From addressing the balance between individual and societal needs to evaluating the impact of technology on human connection, these GRE writing topics prompt deep reflection and analysis.

Here are the 15 sample GRE analytical writing topics that will help you prepare for this section:

  1. Public figures, such as politicians and celebrities, have a responsibility to be good role models. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Support your position with reasons and examples.
  2. The increasing use of technology in education is beneficial to students. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this statement, providing relevant examples and evidence.
  3. The government should provide funding and support for scientific research. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this idea, presenting relevant examples and reasoning.
  4. It is more important to have an adventurous life than a stable one. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this perspective? Support your position with reasoning and examples.
  5. The best way to reduce crime is through stricter punishments. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this statement, providing relevant examples and evidence.
  6. Social media has had a positive impact on society. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this idea, presenting relevant examples and reasoning.
  7. Education should focus on developing practical skills rather than academic knowledge. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this perspective? Support your position with reasoning and examples.
  8. The government should increase regulations on the food industry to promote healthier eating habits. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this statement, providing relevant examples and evidence.
  9. Artificial intelligence will have a positive impact on society. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this idea, presenting relevant examples and reasoning.
  10. Students should be required to participate in community service activities. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Support your position with reasons and examples.
  11. The pursuit of knowledge is more important than the pursuit of wealth. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this perspective, providing relevant examples and evidence.
  12. Advertising creates false needs and encourages consumerism. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this statement, presenting relevant examples and reasoning.
  13. The use of animals for scientific research is justified. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this idea, providing relevant examples and evidence.
  14. Technology has made people more connected, yet more isolated. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Support your position with reasons and examples.
  15. The best way to predict the future is to create it. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this perspective, presenting relevant examples and reasoning.

10 Tips to Prepare for GRE analytical writing topics

Preparing for the GRE analytical writing topics can greatly enhance your performance on the exam and boost your score. Here are the 10 expert tips to prepare for GRE analytical writing topics:

1. Familiarise yourself with the GRE scoring criteria

Understanding how your writing will be evaluated is crucial for effective preparation. Familiarise yourself with the GRE scoring criteria for the analytical writing section. This will give you insights into the key areas evaluators focus on, such as clarity of expression, coherence of ideas, development of arguments, and use of evidence.

2. Study a range of topics

The GRE analytical writing section covers a wide range of topics, including social issues, politics, science, education, and more. To prepare effectively, read articles, essays, and opinion pieces on various topics. This will expand your knowledge base, expose you to different perspectives, and enhance your ability to engage with diverse subject matters during the exam.

3. Practice time management

The analytical writing section of the GRE is time-constrained. You have 30 minutes for each essay task. Develop effective time management skills by practising timed writing sessions. Set a timer and simulate the test conditions to improve your ability to plan, organise, and write within the allocated time frame.

4. Review sample prompts and essays

Familiarise yourself with the types of prompts and essay tasks that may appear on the GRE. Reviewing sample prompts and essays allows you to understand the expectations and requirements of each task. Analyse the structure, argumentation, and use of evidence in high-scoring essays to gain insights into effective writing strategies.

5. Develop a strong thesis statement

A well-crafted thesis statement is crucial for a successful essay. Practice formulating clear and concise thesis statements that present your main argument or position. Your thesis should provide a roadmap for your essay and guide the development of your arguments throughout the piece.

6. Improve analytical skills

The analytical writing section assesses your ability to critically analyse and evaluate complex ideas. Enhance your analytical skills by engaging with thought-provoking materials, such as opinion pieces, research articles, and academic papers. Practice identifying strengths and weaknesses in arguments, evaluating evidence, and spotting logical fallacies.

7. Practice outlining and organising ideas

Before you start writing, spend a few minutes outlining your essay. A well-structured outline helps you organise your thoughts, ensure logical flow, and maintain coherence in your writing. Clearly define the main points you will address in each paragraph, ensuring they align with your thesis statement.

8. Use concrete examples and evidence

To strengthen your arguments and demonstrate your understanding of the topic, incorporate relevant examples and evidence in your essays. This could include real-world examples, research findings, statistics, or anecdotes. Concrete evidence lends credibility to your arguments and showcases your ability to support your claims.

9. Seek feedback

Practice writing essays and seek feedback from knowledgeable individuals, such as teachers, professors, or writing tutors. Their input can help you identify areas for improvement, provide insights into your writing style, and suggest strategies to enhance your analytical writing skills.

10. Revise and edit

Allocate time for revising and editing your essays. After completing a draft, review it for clarity, coherence, grammar, and punctuation errors. Ensure that your arguments are well-supported, your ideas are presented logically, and your writing is concise and precise.

Conclusion

Understanding the GRE analytical writing section is crucial for success on the exam. By familiarising yourself with the structure and requirements of each essay task, you can better prepare for the exam. Additionally, following the tips provided, such as practising time management, studying a range of topics, developing strong thesis statements, and seeking feedback, will significantly enhance your performance.

Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of the GRE analytical writing section?

The GRE analytical writing section evaluates your ability to analyse complex ideas, construct coherent arguments, and communicate effectively in writing. It assesses your critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and writing skills.

How is the GRE analytical writing section structured?

The GRE analytical writing section consists of two tasks: the "Issue" task and the "Argument" task. In the Issue task, you are presented with a statement or claim and asked to present your perspective on the issue. In the Argument task, you are given a passage and required to analyse the logical soundness of the argument presented.

How can I improve my time management during the GRE analytical writing section?

To improve time management, practice writing essays within the allocated time limit. Set a timer and simulate test conditions. Additionally, develop an outline before writing and prioritise the most crucial points to focus on, ensuring a coherent and well-structured essay within the given time frame.

Is 3.5 good for analytical writing on GRE?

A score of 3.5 on the analytical writing section of the GRE is considered a decent score. It demonstrates a satisfactory level of writing skills and the ability to express ideas coherently. However, it's essential to note that the interpretation of a "good" score may vary depending on the specific program or university you are applying to.

What is the highest score on the GRE analytical writing section?

The highest score on the GRE analytical writing section is 6. This score reflects exceptional writing skills, strong critical thinking abilities, and the ability to present well-developed arguments and ideas effectively.

Is 3.0 analytical writing good for GRE?

A score of 3.0 on the analytical writing GRE is considered average. While it meets the minimum requirement for many graduate programs, scoring higher, such as 4.0 or above, is generally preferred to demonstrate stronger writing skills and a more compelling ability to analyse and articulate complex ideas.

Is a 4 on the GRE analytical writing good?

Yes, a score of 4 on the analytical writing GRE is considered good. It reflects above-average writing skills and the ability to develop and support arguments effectively. Achieving a score of 4 indicates a solid command of the English language and the capacity to express ideas clearly and logically.

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