The Analytical Writing section of the GRE is divided into two parts. The first part is called the Present Your Perspective on an Issue essay. You will be given two prompts, each of which will outline in brief a controversial subject. You will be allowed to choose which prompt you wish to consider. A typical prompt will consist of a short, opinionated argument. For example, a prompt might begin with the statement, "Summer vacation is no longer necessary. In order to stay competitive in the world economy, the United States should implement year-round schooling." This prompt might be followed by a couple of relevant questions to initiate your thought process: "Do you agree with this statement? Or do you think it is still beneficial for children to have a summer vacation from school?" Your assignment will be to develop an argument on this subject. Your argument must be logical and supported by evidence. You can use personal, anecdotal, or statistical evidence, though you are not required to have any technical knowledge of the issue.
You should always write from the perspective you can support the best, even if it means making an argument with which you actually disagree. If you feel you can better support a viewpoint other than your own, you should absolutely write from that perspective. The best way to prepare for this assignment is to look over the possible prompts poster on the Educational Testing Service website and to practice writing an essay within the 45-minute time constraints. Another good way to prepare is to choose a prompt and make a brief outline. In general, Present Your Perspective essays run between 400 and 750 words. However, you should focus on making your argument as strong as possible, rather than worrying about achieving any particular length.
Last Updated: 03/01/2012
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