Introduction to Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) in GRE

As a graduate applicant to US universities students are expected to have certain attributes which require independent thinking, critical reasoning and convincing writing. As a student pursuing graduation, you are supposed to write an original thesis which should reflect all of the capabilities mentioned in previous statement. Analytical Writing section on Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a litmus test of the same.

The Analytical Writing section assesses your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, construct and evaluate arguments, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It does not assess specific content knowledge.

Types of tasks

The Analytical Writing measure consists of two separately timed analytical writing tasks:

1.      a 30-minute “Analyze an Issue” task

The Issue task presents an opinion on an issue of broad interest followed by specific instructions on how to respond to that issue. You are required to evaluate the issue, considering its complexities, and develop an argument with reasons and examples to support your views.

Example:

As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

The instructions may change on case to case basis. There are 6 cases in total which we are going to analyze later.

2.      a 30-minute “Analyze an Argument” task

The Argument task presents a different challenge from that of the Issue task: it requires you to evaluate a given argument according to specific instructions. You will need to consider the logical soundness of the argument rather than to agree or disagree with the position it presents.

Example:

In surveys Mason City residents rank water sports (swimming, boating, and fishing) among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river’s water and the river’s smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River. Use of the river for water sports is, therefore, sure to increase. The city government should for that reason devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities.

Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

The instructions may change on case to case basis.

How is the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) graded?

Each of AWA essays is scored on a scale of 0 to 6. According to ETS two readers, selected randomly, assess your Issue essay. Similarly, another set of two different readers examine your Argument essay. Each grader will award a 6.0 to the top essays and scores of 0 to essays written on topics other than the one assigned or written in a foreign language.

Generally, it is observed that the graders spend about 30 seconds to 2 minutes on each essay, and give it a score based on pre-defined evaluation criteria such as the overall quality of your critical thinking and writing, as mentioned previously. The graders who evaluate the responses are college and university faculty members who are well aware requirements of academic writing.

The two scores assigned by a set of readers are averaged to note final score of an essay. If the grades given by the two readers differ by more than a point, a third, highly experienced grader is brought in to resolve the discrepancy (i.e., determine your final score for that essay).

Scores awarded in such a fashion is again averaged to reach final score on the scale of 6 for the whole section. You receive your essay scores approximately 10-15 days after your test date.

Why is Analytical Writing Section important?

It is an open secret that your AWA score is not as important as your quantitative and verbal score on the GRE, and getting a 5.0 or 6.0 won’t make or break your chances of getting admitted to the university of your choice. Graduate school admissions officers only bother about your AWA score, if it is too low, or significantly lower than their usual class average. In such cases admission committee may re-read your SOP and LORs, to find out if they were written by you or someone else. Our advice is, it is rather safe to say that the AWA score is an important enough factor when it comes to admissions.

IELTS Essay 14

Many professionals from India appear for IELTS – General Training each year in order to apply for permanent residency in Canada and Australia. One of the main challenges these professional face is IELTS writing section which consists of two tasks. Task 1 is Letter Writing and Task 2 is Essay Writing. We have already published few samples of writing task 2.

The task of essay writing expects you to write an essay in minimum 250 words. Reader judges your essay on factors such as Task Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resources, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. Here, we have decided to publish samples by our students which can guide students preparing for IELTS online.

Child labour is problem in many developing countries.

What are results of working at such an early age?

In which circumstances, an exceptions can be allowed?

Various forms of issues related to children are rising all over the world these days. One of those crucial issues is children labour. Children are made to work in all sorts of industries like shops, mining, factories, hotels etc. I am personally against children labour for many obvious reasons.

Ideally, Children’s age is the age of exploring multiple ideas, having education, playing and having fun; not working at some workplace against their will. Their future is damaged if they earn money but do not have appropriate education. Moreover, these oppressed children may also lose their self-confidence, resulting into aimless lives. Children may get sucked into bad habits like drug, alcohol addiction and many of them even may turn out to be delinquents and ruin their lives because of lack of conscience. While working with Ankur an NGO in India, we adopted 13 child labours working in Mumbai. These were poorly nourished, weak and un-educated children who had embraced tobacco in their lives. Thanks to NGO, we could help them re-orient their lives.

On the flip side, it must be considered that many times these youngsters have to financially support family, but in such cases, the employer must take care of providing higher secondary education to these teenagers. They should not be forced into physically heavy tasks as well as nutritious meals must be ensured. Apart from these cases, one can also argue that in artistic expressions such as films or dramas child artists must be promoted to show-case their talents with due care.

In the end, I would like to emphasize that children should not be compelled to work as the compulsion may lead them towards darks of self-loathe and addictions. They can be allowed to work unless and until there is an absolute financial necessity or they are good artists.

Student who wrote this essay received a score of 7.5 overall in writing section.

IELTS Essay 13

Many professionals from India appear for IELTS – General Training each year in order to apply for permanent residency in Canada and Australia. Students appear for Academic module. Task 1 is Letter Writing and Task 2 is Essay Writing.

Essay writing expects you to write a letter in minimum 250 words. Reader judges your essay on factors such as Task Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resources, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. Here, we have decided to publish samples by our students which can guide students preparing for IELTS online.

Developed nations must help under-developed or developing countries.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Write valid reasons and relevant examples to support your position using at least 250 words.

Answer:

In today’s world, there are many countries which are either developing or underdeveloped. They lack in progress of important aspects like health, education and trade. Due to many social, economical and other kinds of reasons, they are not capable of doing this progress on their own. Therefore, I certainly think that it is essential to get this assistance from governments of developed nations.

If developed nations take responsibility to help poorer nations, it will bring balance to the overall progress of whole world and our planet will become a better place to live. This help can be given in many aspects such as technology, economics, agriculture, health, education and trade. Specifically for health, aids can be given in holding health campaign; training doctors from poor countries with advanced medical care and technology and so on World Health Organisation and various NGOs can be used for such help. Education systems in poorer countries can be improved by teacher training in developed countries and providing with better facilities. Trade can also be increased by increasing collaboration between developed and poor countries. United Nations can also help to a great extent.

On the other side, the developed nations should not take disadvantage of the help that they are giving to poor nations are struggling themselves then their help to poorer nations can reduce.

In the end, I would like to emphasize that more and more responsibility taken by the governments of rich nations is essential for development of poorer nations. Obviously, this help should be given without taking any disadvantage.

This student received 7.5 on actual writing test.

IELTS Essay 12

Many professionals from India appear for IELTS – General Training each year in order to apply for permanent residency in Canada and Australia. Students appear for Academic module. Task 1 is Letter Writing and Task 2 is Essay Writing.

Essay writing expects you to write a letter in minimum 250 words. Reader judges your essay on factors such as Task Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resources, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. Here, we have decided to publish samples by our students which can guide students preparing for IELTS online.

In some countries, children have very strict rules of behavior, in other countries they are allowed to do almost anything they want. To what extent should children have to follow rules?

Write at least 250 words.

Include valid reasons and relevant examples from your knowledge and experience to back your position.

Answer:

Children are future of any society. Well nurtured and well behaved children turn into useful adults who ultimately contribute to a healthy community. Now, some countries set very strict rules for children and some provide unnecessary flexibility which may result in imbalanced thinking amongst children. In my opinion, children’s upbringing must be balanced which means they must be encouraged to see dreams and chase them along with respecting the rules.

There are disadvantages of both the extremes. To begin, if children are grown in very strict environment, curiosity rises among them for the hidden treasure when some information is not disclosed. This may deviate them from their goals. Strict rules or limitations to every act of children can build frustrations and they start disrespecting parents and the society. Prolonged restrictions result into anger and they start losing ability to think rationally because they think, every said rule is against them. These negativities lead to an angry and biased human being.

However, if children are never questioned and they are allowed to behave as they want then it may give access to unnecessary information at inappropriate age. This will lead them to make wrong decisions. For example, a teenager who decides to work in a restaurant as a waiter may deviate from his/her studies. Since they never opposed for anything, it becomes very difficult to control them at later stage. So, finally the result is imbalance in the society.

In retrospection, I think, children must be grown by revealing information at suitable stage and at the same time, they must be taught to respect the rules. Balanced attributes will ensure a child to become a useful adult for the country.

The student received 8 bands in her actual IELTS examination.

IELTS Writing Task 1 | General Training | Sample 1

Many professionals from India appear for IELTS – General Training each year in order to apply for permanent residency in Canada and Australia. One of the main challenges these professional face is IELTS writing section which consists of two tasks. Task 1 is Letter Writing and Task 2 is Essay Writing. We have already published few samples of writing task 2.

Letter writing expects you to write a letter in minimum 150 words. Reader judges your letter on factors such as Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resources, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. Here, we have decided to publish samples by our students which can guide students preparing for IELTS online.

You and your family are moving to another country and you are looking for a rented accommodation there.

Write a letter to a property  agent. In your letter…

  • Introduce yourself and family
  • Describe the type of accommodation that you hope to find
  • Give your preference for the location of the accommodation

Write at least 150 words.

Begin your letter as follows

Dear Sir or Madam,

Answer:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am Saurbah Tiwari, an IT professional from Pune, India. I am writing this letter to enquire for rented accommodation in the city of Sydney for my family of 5 members.

My wife works for an IT firm, and will continue to work for the same company in Sydney as well. We have a daughter who is six years old and looking forward to join primary school over there. Also, my parents also live with me who are retired, but fit enough.

Looking at our family, a three bedroom apartment is preferable. I expect a well-equipped kitchen as my wife is an excellent chef and likes to give a try to variety of cuisines on weekends. Additionally, at least one reserved car park is essential as my company is offering me a car.

As far as transportation of other family members is concerned, we will be very happy nearby metro station and market as my wife can travel without hassle. Keeping my young one and parents in mind an accommodation in quiet suburban area nearby a primary school will be a great idea, as we need not worry about their safety.

In the context, may I request you to search for suitable accommodation? I would appreciate an early response.

Yours sincerely,

Saurabh Tiwari

IELTS Speaking Test 2 – Sample Answers

Here are next set of answers to typical IELTS speaking questions.

Part 1

Is your hometown a good place to live?

It’s the best place to live in India according to me as it’s famously known for its weather and job opportunities. It’s Bangalore. We are growing and known as Silicon Valley of India.

What sort of jobs do people do in your hometown?

Since it’s a cosmopolitan city and popularly called as the silicon valley of India most people do jobs related to computers and many are young entrepreneurs. Having said that, many people are also engaged in the manufacturing industry. Apart from these, there are small business owners and bureaucrats.

In which part of your hometown do most people live?

Since Bengaluru is one of the rapidly changing cities of  Asia people live everywhere in the city. There is no special zone for most people to live, there’s no seclusion. There are people everywhere.

Where did you play in your hometown when you were a child?

I mostly played in the nearby park as a child. Other children my age and I used to play cricket, hockey, and football there. Also, in summers, I used to visit my village where I played the most and enjoyed a lot.

How often do you go to the cinema?

Since I am not a movie buff I don’t watch movies often. Still, I must say, once in three months I visit the cinema.

 Do you prefer to watch a movie at the cinema or at home?

I ‘d prefer to watch movies at home as it is more comfortable, flexible and economical. However, I enjoy watching 3D movies at the cinema.

Which film from your childhood do you remember the most?

It must be this Hindi blockbuster movie called Mohra because of the plot, cast, and  amazing songs. This reminds me of those summer vacations with my cousins which were so amazing.

What’s your favourite film now?

It is still the same. Must say a good movie never loses its charm. I still watch it if its on TV on a weekend afternoon or so.

Part 2

Describe an interesting place that you have visited as a tourist.

  • Where this place is
  • Why you went there
  • What you did there
  • Explain why you thought this place was so interesting

The most amazing place I have been to so far is Koh Samui, a beautiful island in Thailand. Thailand is hardly four-hour flight from India. It kept me spellbound throughout. The scenic beauty of the place offered me much more than I had expected.

I went there on a vacation with my family. We started from my hometown Bengaluru by flight till Kolkata. Then, we had a hopping flight to Thailand. We had a gala time in amusement parks which suit a perfect tourist destination. Although I am not a big fan of these rides, I was happy to see my family members chilling in the dangerous rides. Also, we visited zoos in Thailand. There I saw an Albino Tiger which is one of the rarest species and on the verge of extinction. Apart from visiting these places, we shopped on famous streets. Despite the communication barrier, locals were very cooperative and cheerful while shopping. It was a haven for shopping buffs like me. While traveling, we enjoyed the food there as Thailand is known for street food. Tried all kinds of cuisines there, from sea food to banana pan cakes. Not to forget the fun on the beautiful beaches of Pattaya, we were content to watch beautiful sunrise and sunsets from the beaches.

We decided to visit Thailand simply because we needed family time for a long time. We wanted to be rejuvenated. Also, Thailand is an economical and nearby tourist destination.

This trip was fascinating because I had the opportunity to travel by all the means of transport at once for the first time making it my most memorable experience so far.

Part 3:

What areas of a town or city do tourists often like to visit?

In my opinion,Tourists would often love to visit monuments of great historical significance, shopping complexes, and eateries. Many people also choose to visit museums and art galleries, although I am not sure, nowadays, I am not sure about their popularity.

How important is it for local governments to look after popular tourist attractions?

In many successful tourist friendly nations, I have observed and read that the secret behind such places is the strong support of local governments to its citizens. So it is really important that local governments look after these destinations as tourists are drawn to well-maintained attractions readily increasing business for local people.

Should people pay to visit attractions such as museums and galleries?

According to me, museums and art galleries should collect minimal entrance fees to maintain the premises and pay their staff. I am against exorbitant prices which I have seen in some of the museums.

How should tourists behave when they are in a different country?

As the saying goes-’ When in Rome, do as Romans do’ I strongly believe in this to avoid any mishaps. Tourists should read a bit about the culture and history of the place they are visiting so that they respect the sentiment of the host country. Worse! they can avoid any awkward standoffs.

What can local papers do to help tourists to enjoy their visit?

Locals can be friendly, helpful and kind to help tourists enjoy their stay. At least they should not try to take advantage of the stranded ones. I think trustworthy hosts are always warm and remembered for years to come by the tourists.

What can tourists learn from visiting new places?

Hmmmm………..Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller. Tourists learn the customs, tradition and culture and get first had information about the places they visit.

 

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IELTS Speaking Test 1 – Sample Answers

We are getting request to post sample answers for IELTS speaking section from all over India. We have created this post to help our students outside Pune. More are to follow these. Like our writing posts, we hope you like these samples as well.

Part 1:

Tell me something about your secondary school.

Well, I did my schooling in Modern High School which was hardly few minutes from my house. We had a huge building which was more than 100 years old with a big library and well-equipped laboratory. Also, there was a big playground where we used to play regularly. Our teachers were well experienced and famous for being strict overall.

Which subject did you find the most difficult at school?

I found Mathematics incredibly difficult until I met my professor at the college who made my life easy. I felt that Maths is inherently difficult because we had to remember so many formulae.

Do you ever need that subject now?

Yes, I do. However, it’s used in an elementary form in my day to day routine in the form of transactions essentially. There is not much to fear about it.

What did you enjoy about being a school student?

I liked to meet my friends more often, play more and eat more. As a child, I was careless because of my elder siblings who studied along with me in the same school and used to care for me. I think I enjoyed all those things.

Are there any famous buildings in your hometown?  What are they?

Yes, there are many famous buildings in my hometown such as Shaniwarwada and the District Court to name a few. They are well known for their appearance and architecture among people.

In what type of buildings do most people of your hometown live?

A majority of people live in modern buildings especially in apartments due to lack of space for independent houses. There are some bunglows in plush areas of the town and very cramped houses sporadically. However, mostly people stay in apartments.

Should buildings be attractive to look at?

Definitely, as it increases the aesthetic point of view to a place making it even more special, such as houses in Bhutan. The buildings are so unique and beautiful!

What is the most unusual building you have ever seen?

Hmmmm….. Burj Khalifa in Abu Dhabi is the most spectacular building I have ever come across till date. The sheer architecture is breathtakingly beautiful making it the tallest building in the world by 300 m.

Part 2:

Describe an interesting story that you have heard or read about in the news.

  • When you heard or read about the story
  • What the story was about
  • Why the story was in the news
  • And explain why you thought the story was interesting

A few months ago I read about Ishita Katyal on the internet news while looking for interesting TED talks.

She is the youngest TED speaker from India who was just 10 years old back then. What surprised me, even more, is her intellectual speech filled with witty and captivating sentences spoken in the TED video which I watched immediately after I read an article about her. She speaks about the importance of choices left to children and why we as adults shouldn’t bother children by asking questions about their future. This news was an eye opener for me and provided me with useful tips.

Her take on the topic was interesting to me as this little girl makes so much of sense. News about her flashed everywhere on the internet highlighting the fact that she too is from Pune making me feel proud as I too live in Pune. Apart from being a speaker, she is also an author of a book published by Penguins.

This news left me pondering about how careful we should be as adults when we strike a conversation with a child. It was indeed enlightening and suggest all to read this news.

Part 3:

When do people like to read the newspapers?

In my country, people generally read newspapers at the beginning of the day sipping a cup of tea or coffee. They love it that way. Due to busy schedules, some like to read it while travelling or even in lunch breaks.

How important is it for people to have a choice of a newspaper?

Choices are essential. The freedom to choose a newspaper from a huge variety empowers the reader in terms of different sources of the truth and to check if the news delivered is reliable and trustworthy. For example, in a multilingual country like India, it is essential that people are able to access news in their mothertongue which is possible with variety of newspapers.

What does a good newspaper contain?

According to me, a good news paper contains truth in an unbiased form irrespective of the possible consequences the management could face. Because it is the primary objective of a newspaper to say the truth as it is. Plus, there should a variety of topics covered.

Why do some people choose to read the news on the internet rather than in a newspaper?

Internet news is easily accessible, user-friendly and instant. Internet news is preferred by some people especially the young generation over a newspaper.

How is internet news different from the news you read in the newspaper?

Internet news is more interactive, lively and user-friendly than a newspaper. In addition, it is eco- friendly too. Its also updated every second as opposed to 24-hour cycle for newspapers. Although newspaper is tangible reading news on the internet is trending.

Will internet news ever replace newspapers?

Most likely it may replace but will take considerable time for that because more and more people feel reading on the internet is more comfortable. Therefore , newspapers may become obsolete in  the future.

GRE Vocabulary: Confusing words 1

We have picked up few confusing words on GRE in this series of blogs.

Breach and Broach

Breach

Used as a noun

  1. an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct.

“a breach of confidence”

  1. a gap in a wall, barrier, or defence, especially one made by an attacking army.

“a breach in the mountain wall”

Used as a verb

  1. make a gap in and break through (a wall, barrier, or defence).

“The rocket breached all speed.”

  1. (of a whale) rise and break through the surface of the water.

“We saw dolphins breaching through surface of the water.”

Broach

Used as noun

  1. Machinery; a tool used for elongating the hole

Used as verb

  1. Raise for discussion/ to mention or suggest for the first time

“He broached the subject, which the house was avoiding for a long period of time.”

  1. To tap or pierce

“He broached beer from keg”

Vindicate and Vindictive

Vindicate

Used as a verb

  1. to clear from accusation, set free

“The court vindicates the accuse”

  1. to justify

“Subsequent evidences vindicated his intentions.”

Vindictive

Used as an adjective

  1. disposed or inclined towards revenge

“After the incident, he turned vindictive.”

  1. Proceeding from or showing revengeful spirit

“vindictive rumors”

IELTS Essay 11

Question:

Some people believe that television programmes are of no real value for children.

How far do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Answer:

Television is one of rarest legacies of twentieth century that we have carried in this world of smart gadgets which are loaded with information and entertainment through thousands of channels. While children are exposed to this content all the time, least priority is allotted to evaluate about repercussions of the development.

Firstly, cartoons form main pedigree of young television viewership which exposes youngsters to foul language as well as violence resulting into children disobeying parents. Secondly, movies, songs and daily soaps paint a disoriented picture of relations, work ethics and overall life which sometimes lead to glorification of negative traits denting innocent minds for the lifetime. Thirdly, in this tender age, adolescents get easily lured by sports-events like wrestling, imitating which have has resulted into many accidents or injuries and still continues till date.

At the same time, it’s worthwhile to note that there are many informative shows, may be very rare compared other programs, on science, technology, history and art, which have potential to impact child’s future career choice, must be encouraged. In addition, sports like Cricket, Tennis and many more can motivate them to pursue for lifetime, imbibing them with its importance. However, it’s a common sight in every household that children are attracted towards the programs which have negative implications. Even parents are to be blamed for lack of guidance and monitoring on their off-springs’s television habits.

Looking back, most influential television shows impart inappropriate information and may also rob off children of their innocence. In fact, they make them biased in life choices, which is detrimental. In conclusion, current television programs are worthless for children.

We hope you learn from this essay. Your suggestions or questions are always welcome. Contact us in case of any doubt on IELTS, TOEFL and GRE. We will be glad to help you out.

Expressing general point of view

General point of view is often used to back your position either in conversation or writing. They are used to discuss general observations which are evident but may not be quantifiable. These phrases are very useful for students preparing for GRE, IELTS and TOEFL.

  1. It is thought that…

Usage: M.S. Dhoni is a good captain and it is thought that, whichever team he leads, will definitely reach final rounds of the tournament, no matter how known players in the team are.

  1. Most/Many people would say that…

Usage: Many people in India would say that, recent Brussels attacks are comparable to Pathankot attacks.

  1. It is widely accepted that…

Usage: In Indian culture, it is widely accepted that, son of the family owns the responsibility of the parents.

  1. It is considered that…

Usage: Most of the neighbors found the new resident a bit odd. It is considered that a good neighbor helps others, but in this case it was not true.

These expressions are usually used when a speaker or an author wishes to describe a general thought held by almost all people around. As seen in above examples, even though statistics backing the claim are not available with communicator, the statement perfectly resonates with most of Indians.

  1. Few people may say that…

Usage: Although few people may say that, Internet isolates individuals; in my understanding it is a perfect way connecting people.

This expression is used to take the credit of an argument away. If a particular thought is represented by very few, then it must be wrong.

We encourage your suggestions for our blogs.