DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ISSUE AND ARGUMENT ESSAY
The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Section of the GRE contains two writing tasks namely the Issue Essay and the Argument Essay. Both of them are allotted 30 minutes each and are scored on a scale of 6 which is where the similarity between them comes to an end. The major errors that students commit in this section are due to the confusions that exist between the two Essays. GRE Issue Essay and GRE Argument Essay are as different as night and day starting with the primary contrariety that GRE Issue Essay requires your opinions about the given prompt whereas the Argument Essay requires you to validate the authenticity of the given argument without letting your opinions interfere with the task.
ISSUE VS ARGUMENT ESSAY - FIRST GLANCE:
- Issue Essay deals with your ability to present an argument with your views, your ability to convince the reader to agree with your point of view. On the other hand, the Argument Essay tests your ability to pick apart an argument written by another author, your ability to effectively critique the argument by providing proof.
- In an Issue Essay, the debatable topic ( is general in nature and can be from any field, does not require complete knowledge to write about) is given as a statement, your job is to choose a side, stick to it and present it suitably. In an Argument essay, the author presents a case with his supporting evidence in the form of a paragraph, and your task is to check the soundness of this argument, to effectively critique it.
- The directions for answering these essays are also different
- In an Issue Essay, you must introduce the issue at hand in your words briefly whereas, in an Argument essay, the given argument must be introduced from the author's point of view using his conclusion.
- The second paragraph in the Issue Essay involves stating your chosen side and your reasons for standing by it whereas in an Argument Essay, the flaws in the author's presented argument must be identified and how his conclusion overlooks these flaws must be discussed.
- In an Issue Essay, the body paragraphs involve relevant real world examples that support your chosen claim whereas, in an Argument essay, the identified flaws must be stated with explanations and solid proof.
- Conclusion in an Issue Essay involves agreeing with the opposing viewpoint in one or two statements to show your emotional maturity level, whereas an Argument essay is concluded on a note of doubt which claims that the argument may have one or more valid points but is deprived of more plausible explanation, requires more proof to be valid.
ADDITIONAL IN-DEPTH DIFFERENCES:
- The Argument Essay requires a critical analysis of the presented claim rather than your perception as is the case of an Issue Essay where your opinions and views form the core of the
- In an Argument Essay, you should only prove that the evidence supporting the conclusion is inadequate, not that the conclusion is wrong, unlike an Issue essay where you could use anything and everything to support your claim.
- While the Issue Essay depends on outside, credible facts, the Argument Essay focuses on the evidence provided in the paragraphs
- The Issue Essay is always presented as a contestable topic like a coin with two sides where you opt for the side you can present best. The Argument Essay does not have two sides from which you could choose a side, but a single claim which must be analyzed and discussed upon.
In the GRE, AWA Section is crucial as it shows off your communication skills and writing abilities. Looking out for these common mistakes and preventing them through a better understanding and practice will help you score high in this section.
Average AWA score is 3.6. a score of 4.0 is safe for most programs and < 3.0 may not be acceptable in some cases. Read the issue and argument tasks carefully. Go through ETS website they have several examples ETS - AWA Preparation
. AWA score is important for majors like Humanities & Arts / Social Sciences.