The second half of the GRE Analytical Writing section is known as the Analyze an Argument essay. This is a slightly shorter assignment than the Present Your Perspective essay, and so you will only have thirty minutes in which to complete it. Since you are required to do less original thinking in this section, the composition period is shorter. Indeed, it is important to remember that your task in this section is to evaluate the given argument rather than to express your own views on the subject. Regardless of whether you agree with the argument presented, it is your responsibility to critique it in terms of coherence and logic. To prepare for this assignment, you should take a look at the potential prompts listed on the Educational Testing Service website. While you do not need to read and consider every possible prompt, it is a good idea to get a sense of the complexity and structure of the prompts. Even better, you should practice for the exam by selecting an argument and writing a sample response within the thirty-minute time limit. This is the best way to figure out how long you can take for brainstorming, planning your response, and writing.
In general, essays in this section are between 300 and 650 words. If you find your planning process does not leave you enough time to write the minimum number of words, you will know that you need to spend less time on planning and more on composition. For the most part though, it is better to spend time making your writing as strong as possible rather than worrying about the length of your essay.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013
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