Apr 12, 2010

How to write high scoring Issue essays in AWA

In spite of ETS pre-disclosing most of the essay questions, most of the students feel harried by the GRE writing task. It is true that composing an essay calls for more activity than answering a multiple choice question. But its certainly not beyond your reach. By navigating towards this page, you have taken the first step to overcoming your essay-phobia.

You will have Issue 1 and Issue 2 before you. Read the statements carefully with an eye for its possible pros and cons. Breakdown the claim into two or three parts, analyze it, and take a tentative position. Brainstorm for examples from present and past that will lend support to your claim. You will now have one of the issue topics to be more convincing to write than the other. Go for it!

The second step is to get hold of your scratch paper. Jot down any idea that comes to you. Don’t filter them, don’t worry about the order, just write them as they come to you. Even if it seems clich├ęd, far-fetched, or unconvincing at the moment, do not bother, jot them down. Next, classify your points as, ‘for’ and ‘against’ the statement’s position. My small piece of advice to you: take a neutral stand in the essay. Taking the neutral position will enable you to elaborate the pros and cons of the statement. Remember, ETS does not have any “correct” answer on an issue. In other words, what’s important to ETS is how you analytically structure your essay with relevant examples, and not whether you are for or against the issue.

Compose the essay in not more than five paragraphs, the first and last dealing with the introduction and conclusion respectively. The first sentence of every paragraph conveys to the reader the essence of the paragraph. Make sure you get them right. You can use anything like facts, quotes and general statements to catch the reader’s attention. Arrange your paragraphs such that your essay flows logically and persuasively from one point to the other. In the conclusion paragraph, phrases like “to conclude”, “in sum” can be used. Make sure your introductory and concluding paragraphs are consistent with each other.

You can find sample Issue essays here: http://www.ets.org/gre/general/scores/how/issue/index.html