Published Issue Essay Prompts for the GREدوره: GRE Test- Practice & Study Guide / فصل: GRE Analytical Writing- About the Analytical Writing Measure / درس 4
Published Issue Essay Prompts for the GRE
In this lesson, you'll get a preview and a discussion of some GRE Issue Essay prompts. Looking over these prompts in advance can help you write a high-scoring essay when the time comes.
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The Issue Essay
One of the two tasks on the GRE Analytical Writing measure is the Analyze an Issue task. You’ll have to read a prompt and take a position on an issue in response to the prompt. To score high on this essay, you’ll have to:
Respond to the prompt, instead of just discussing the topic in general
Take a position on the issue and support it with convincing arguments and evidence
Be basically competent with spelling and grammar
All of that is nice to know in the abstract, but it doesn’t actually help you conceptualize what you’re doing on the task. So, in this lesson, you’ll get a look at some published issue essay prompts. The GRE publishes the entire pool of potential issue tasks for students to study and practice with, so it’s very easy to get a preview of exactly what’s coming.
Before you ask, there are way too many issue prompts to pre-write an essay for each prompt and remember it for the test. Don’t even try it! You’ll drive yourself crazy! But looking at a few randomly chosen tasks gives you a good sampling of potential topics and a nice preview of what you’ll see on the test. Once you’ve seen a couple of these tasks, you’ve seen them all, and it’s easy to apply what you practiced on the actual test.
To start you off, here’s your first sample GRE topic, taken directly from the GRE website:
‘Scandals are useful because they focus our attention on problems in ways that no speaker or reformer ever could.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.’
Okay, let’s break this down. First, you read a claim about scandals. Your task is to take a position in response to the claim. Notice that you don’t need a lot of specialized information about anything - this is a general-interest topic, and anyone can have an opinion on it. You could pick one of several different positions:
Maybe you agree completely with the claim.
Maybe you agree in some ways but disagree in other ways.
Maybe you disagree completely with the claim.
In any case, the task specifically asks you to address counterpoints, so you might quickly make up a list of points and counterpoints, something like this. You could also have other reasons to agree or disagree - these are just some ideas. But, in any case, a solid essay will present your position clearly, support it with reasons, and address potential counterarguments. Remember that your main job here is to respond to the task; if you don’t address the counterarguments, you haven’t responded to the task, and you won’t get a high score.
Ready to see another?
‘Governments should not fund any scientific research whose consequences are unclear.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.’
Notice that this time the task is different. Instead of asking you to address counterarguments, this task asks you to focus on specific situations in which this recommendation would or would not be useful. So, let’s brainstorm some circumstances! You could address these specific situations in various ways, and you could also argue that they don’t necessarily apply the way they appear to. For example, if you’re arguing against the statement, you could say that while there may be a very well-defined need for research in one area, even research with no clear consequences could very well end up helping with that problem.
Ready for one more? Here’s a third task to look at:
‘Claim: When planning courses, educators should take into account the interests and suggestions of their students.
Reason: Students are more motivated to learn when they are interested in what they are studying.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.’
This one’s a little different: you get both a claim and a reason, and the task asks you to address them in relation to each other. You could:
Disagree with the reason, but still agree with the claim. Maybe you support the claim on other grounds.
Agree with the reason, but disagree with the claim. Maybe you think that the claim ignores other important considerations.
Agree with both the reason and the claim.
Disagree with both the reason and the claim.
You would then support your position about the reason, the claim, and the relationship between them with examples and evidence. Again, make sure you respond to the specific task; don’t just give an opinion on the issue in general!
In this lesson, you got a preview of some of the issue essay prompts on the GRE. These are all published online for you to look at, but there are way too many of them for you to go through and prepare an essay for every possible prompt. Instead, it makes a lot more sense to look through the prompts and practice responding to the given tasks. Maybe you can write a couple practice essays and see how well your brainstorming techniques translate into paragraphs. It’ll help you a lot on the test, and if you get really lucky, you might even get one of the questions you practiced with!
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