Last Updated: March 08, 2021
HOW TO ACE THE GRE ISSUE ESSAY
Good communication is a sign of a highly organized mind. The GRE Issue Essay tests the ability of the student to think on the spot and organize thoughts in a manner that could be communicated effectively through words. It also examines sentence forming capabilities, grammatical competency, and the command over the English language.
Being able to communicate information and being able to communicate content in an organized fashion are two different skillsets out of which the Issue essay focuses on the latter. Unlike the Argument Task, this task focuses on the student’s take on the subject provided. But it is to be noted that the student must provide opinions only on the questions that have been asked instead of writing about everything they know related to the topic. Wandering away from the topic at hand gives the impression that the student cannot focus on what is important or follow direct instructions.
The student is allowed to agree or disagree with the topic as long as they provide an explanation regarding their standpoint. Providing proofs and pieces of evidence to assert the opinion will guarantee a higher score than just mentioning the opinion. These proofs and pieces of evidence can be taken from personal experiences that the student might have learned from books or other media as long as it is relevant to the information they are trying to convey. Understand that there is no perfect or right answer to this question. The grades will entirely depend on the reasoning skill and the level of articulation the student has in delivering an instruction-specific answer.
What is a GRE Issue Essay?
- The GRE Issue Essay is put forth as a statement or a pair of statements that require no specific knowledge and are based on the student’s perception, views, and opinions about the given topic.
- The topic is always controversial with different sides to it, one for, one against, and other perspectives relating to it.
- The student will be required to write an essay stating arguments either for or against the statements provided.
- The essay can also deal with the degree to which the student agrees or disagrees with the topic.
- Each argument should be presented with enough logical reasoning and other pieces of evidence or examples that the student can write.
- Note that there is no "correct side". The student can opt for the side to which they feel they could do justice.
- Responses must include explanations for agreeing or disagreeing with the topic.
- Address only what has been asked. Do not write an essay that is all over the place.
- The student has the option of relating their viewpoint with their personal experiences which can be ideas they have received from books or observed from their surroundings.
- The time allotted for this section is 30 minutes, and it is scored on a scale of 6.
Tips to Ace the GRE Issue Essay
The GRE Issue Essay requires a lot of practice and preparation based on published topics before taking the test. Apart from managing time to write the entire essay within 30 minutes, one should also focus on providing a well-structured answer for a high score.
- Understand the given issue topic along with the different perspectives that are mentioned both implicitly and explicitly.
- Create a list of pros and cons for each argument that is made. Then choose the side that has the greatest number of points so that the essay gets stronger with each relevant point.
- Use the scratch paper to note down the central issue and the instructions so that one doesn’t stray away from the topic.
- Brainstorm examples supporting the claim that is made.
- Provide real or hypothetical examples to support the perspective that has been chosen.
- Develop an outline according to a standard format such as a paragraph each for the introduction and conclusion along with 3-4 body paragraphs.
- Write the essay by briefly summarizing the side that is chosen and the reason behind that choice. Then announce the main points supporting the claim with the relevant examples checking for the logical connectivity.
- Proof-read it to minimize errors and grammatical mistakes.
GRE Issue Essay Time Management
Time Management for the Issue Essay is nearly the same as managing time for the Argument Essay in GRE. Given that there is only a 30-minute window to read the content provided to figure out the different perspectives, gather evidence and information, and create an essay from scratch, time is the biggest variant students will have to prepare according to.
Ideally, one should follow the mnemonic RITE
which can be expanded into Read, Ideate, Type, and Edit.
In this method, there are clear time divisions that one can follow to create the perfect essay and still have time to edit.
It is recommended that the test-taker spends only 2 minutes reading the content provided, 5 minutes for brainstorming ideas and perspectives, 20 minutes for typing out the notes from the scratch paper in the form of an essay, and a final 3 minutes to edit the work and remove all grammatical inaccuracies and other inconsistencies in the language.
DO’S in GRE Issue Essay
- Introduction is always one of the most important sections in an essay. Provide a captivating introduction that acquaints the reader with the side that is chosen.
- Provide explanations and reasons for every claim that is made.
- Construct the essay in a clear and concise manner with logical connectivity among the paragraphs.
- Use strong points that establish opinions and specific, relevant examples which reinforce that opinion.
- Always keep an eye open for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
- In the conclusion write a line or two in support of the other opposing view; this shows emotional and intellectual maturity and will result in a better grade. But reinforce the initial viewpoint at the end.
- Practice, practice, and more practice is the only key to success. A minimum of three practice essays is required to just get the feel of this section. More practice would help in perfecting writing and timing skills.
DONT'S in the GRE Issue Essay
- Never waiver from the points that are being made. This will give an impression that the student is confused and unsure of what they are talking about.
- Choose the side that will be supported carefully and stick to it. Do not keep jumping from side to side or try having it both ways as it will lead to a lack of clarity and time.
- Never give generalized examples or use first-person pronouns unless quoting a personal experience as an example.
These tips hand in hand with continuous practice and dedication will help the student score a perfect six in this section.
The GRE exam focuses on a certain nuanced way of thinking the student may possess. It is for this reason that the question/ prompt will often contain instructions requiring the examinee to look at both sides of the claim they have made. In such an instance, it is imperative that the student focuses on their own perspective while giving equal weightage to the opposing viewpoint. Asserting that one point is right does not essentially make the opposing view wrong. It is essential that the student reaches a concession point where they mention the opposing viewpoint also. But at the same time, their essay should not appear to be a confusing mess between the opposing views. The student should take extra care to conclude by emphasizing whatever they were focusing on throughout the essay.