Last Updated: March 14, 2021
GRE Analytical Writing-Issue Essay vs 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. The major errors that students commit in this section are due to the confusion that exists between the two Essays.
The primary difference between the two essays is in the approach both of these essays have. GRE Issue Essay requires the candidate to state their opinions about the given prompt whereas the Argument Essay requires them to validate the authenticity of the given argument without letting opinions interfere with the task.
When the essays seem to be opposites of each other, it is to be understood that the essays complement each other than oppose one another. When the Issue essay requires the candidate to provide their own argument, the Argument essay requires them to evaluate the text provided. The task then tries to not focus on the content provided by the candidate but the skill they have in presenting their viewpoint and in providing evidences for the same. The evidence they provide must be substantiated through proper logical reasoning than be based on whims and hearsays. Presenting this in excellent language can earn them extra points even if the content is lacking in places.
How is the GRE Issue Essay different from the Argument Essay?
|Issue Essay||Argument Essay|
|Deals with the candidateâ€™s ability to present an argument with their own views||Deals with the candidateâ€™s ability to critically analyse the authorâ€™s argument|
|Candidate has to convince the reader of their perspective||Candidates have to effectively prove what the author lacks |
|Candidate should provide proof from their own experiences||Candidate should provide proofs from the text provided|
|It is based on the statement provided which often has two or more perspectives given ||It is based on the text written by another author|
|Candidate should choose a side and stick to it||Candidate should examine the side chosen by the author and check its soundness|
Similarities in the GRE Issue Essay and Argument Essay
The two tasks provided in the AWA section of GRE cannot entirely be stated to be opposites since the characteristics of the essays remain similar despite the difference in their approach. The pointers that help to prepare for both the essays start with their similarities which can be focused upon before preparing separately for each task.
- Both the essays are given 30 minutes each.
- They should be written in the same format with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. There should at least be 2 body paragraphs with 2 different ideas mentioned and explained.
- They do not require any specific content knowledge.
- Candidates have to create their own arguments and state substantial evidence for their evidence in both essays.
- Do not attempt both the essays in either first or second person. Always use the third person for both essays.
Directions for Answering Issue Essay and Argument Essay
|Issue Essay||Argument Essay|
|Keep a standard format of introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion|| Keep a standard format of introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion |
|Use different paragraphs for different points|| Use different paragraphs for different points |
|Introduce issue at hand briefly||Introduce the topic dealt by the author|
|State the perspective that has been chosen||Present the authorâ€™s point of view |
|Provide reasoning for choosing this particular perspective ||State the flaws in the argument made by the author|
|Give real-world examples that support the chosen claim||Provide examples and reasons clarifying the presence of the flaws |
|Agree with the opposing view in a statement or two to show emotional maturity||Critically analysing the text should include merits of the text|
|Reassert why the chosen perspective is better||State how the valid points lack merit due to lack of logical reasoning provided|
What is Expected for the Issue and Argument Essay?
- All about expressing opinions and views that has been created from the prompts or statements provided
- Anything from real-life experiences, books that have been read, news articles, etc. can be used as proof to validate the claim that is being made.
- Evidence must almost always be availed from outside the text provided.
- The text provided will always have two or more perspectives to it. The candidate will have to pick one rather than create an entirely new perspective during the exam.
- Choose the side that can be argued for better even if it is not what the candidate innately believes in.
- The Argument Essay requires a critical analysis of the presented claim rather than the candidateâ€™s take on the text provided.
- In an Argument Essay, the candidate should only prove that the evidence supporting the conclusion is inadequate, not that the conclusion is wrong. The critical analysis that is done neednâ€™t always be about the inadequacies. Ensure that positive feedback is also provided for the text.
- Provide only facts that have been mentioned in the text. External evidence relating to the candidateâ€™s real-life experience is irrelevant.
- 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.
- Candidates can choose to analyze the writing style of the author along with the content than just focusing on the latter. They can find evidence of how the language used has contributed to downplaying the content that is being conveyed.
In the GRE, AWA Section is crucial as it shows off communication skills and writing abilities. Looking out for these common mistakes and preventing them through a better understanding and practice will help one score high in this section.
THE 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.
The tasks have been explained in detail in the link provided. For better ideas regarding individual tasks, there are separate pages provided for Issue Topic Samples
and Argument Topic Samples