Looking for ideas and advice to get you through one of the most difficult parts of the GRE and GMAT – the analytical writing section? Admittedly, this section poses to be quite challenging due to its artistic nature. The realm of writing cannot be restricted. This is one of the main reasons why people may feel intimidated especially by this section.
For GRE the analytical writing section is divided into two broad categories – “Analysis of an Issue” and “Analysis of an Argument”. Here, we will only be talking about the latter – Analysis of an Argument. GMAT writing section comprises of only the “Analysis of Argument” section.
What Does It Contain?
This section aims to test your contemplation, evaluation and analytical skills regarding a topic. You will be provided with a topic – a passage that deliberates on a general concern and creates an argument pertaining to it. In addition to this, you will be provided with instructions about what is expected of you while answering the problem.
You will be required to read the passage, understand what it says and does not say, evaluate its arguments according to your thoughts and come up with a critical answer that assesses its logic and validity. In other words, you will be required to judge the ideas put forth by another writer and justify whether you were convinced by the theory or not.
You will not be provided with any choices regarding the topic you would like to choose. Thus it is best to be prepared for all kinds of questions in this section.
How to Go About Answering This Question?
This first thing you need to do while trying to attempt this question is to understand what is provided to you. This means breaking down the passage into simple, comprehendible and clear sentences. Make sure you identify what is being explicitly stated, what is implied, what is assumed (if at all) and what evidence is used to support the argument. Once you have identified these specific parts, you will automatically understand the passage better and hence be in a better position to evaluate it critically.
Do keep in mind that you have only 30 minutes to attempt this question. So you cannot waste time on unnecessary tasks. You need to be apt at understanding the topic.
In your response, you may be expected to approach the situation from one of the following dimensions.
- How the evidence supports the argument? Whether it strengthens it or weakens it.
- What are the assumptions in the given passage and how these support or weaken the argument?
- Are the recommendations and/or suggestions viable in the light of the argument? You will be required to justify you answer through logical reasoning.
- Identify the areas where information is missing and that which would greatly help in making better decisions/recommendations. This may comprise of certain statistical data and/or other critical information regarding the subject.
- Predict the outcome of the proposed recommendations and identify whether these will be aligned with the goals or not.
- Propose alternative solutions and justify your propositions. Make sure you counter the proposed solutions intelligently.
- Identify informational deficiencies and justify how such information can alter the situation in favor of the objective or against it.
This will be explicitly mentioned with the instructions of the passage. Make sure you read these carefully and are absolutely sure of what the examiner is trying to ask before answering the question.
There is a list of possible questions given on the GRE & GMAT’s official website. Make sure you go through this list and also try to answer a few of these within the prescribed time limit. This will prepare you for the stress you will be facing while in the examination hall. You stand a better chance of coping with stress if you have been through it previously!