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At 75 minutes, the analytical writing section of the GRE is the most lengthy portion of the exam. In contrast, the quantitative section lasts 45 minutes, and the verbal section, often quoted as the most difficult portion, is a mere 30 minutes long. That means it’s time to gear up for this writing challenge!
In terms of scoring, you’ll get a number between (and inclusive of) 0 and 6. The scores are given in half-point increments, so while you might obtain a 4.5, you cannot get a 3.25.
You’ll be asked to compose two essays: Perspective on an Issue and Analyze an Argument.
Perspective on an Issue
For the first, you’ll encounter two sentences or paragraphs, each expressing a point of view on an issue of general interest. You must choose which topic to address within the 45 minutes allotted. There is no need to have specialized knowledge about the essay topics in order to achieve a full mark.
Here are a couple example prompts:
1. Healthcare insurers should not cover alternative medical treatments such as acupuncture and homeopathy because there is limited research regarding their actual impact on health issues.
2. National governments should require their citizens to put aside portions of their incomes in retirement and medical insurance schemes.
Analyze an Argument
After completing your first essay, you’ll be presented with a short paragraph arguing a certain viewpoint. In the next 30 minutes, you’ll need to take apart that argument and use your critical reasoning skills to assess its logic. Pay particular attention to the validity of the evidence given to support claims and identify any assumptions, especially hidden ones, which are essential for the argument to hold.
Here is an example prompt:
In the most recent student poll, 80% of University of Blackrock students said they engaged in outdoor activities in the nearby Colorado Mountains during weekends. The location of the university promotes an active and healthy lifestyle in the majority of students. Therefore, the University of Blackrock should move funding for its health and wellness programs to other university departments that need the resources more.
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