Introduction to ‘Analyse an issue’ on GRE

On GRE-General test, first task that you must take on is ‘Analyse an issue’. You get exactly 30 minutes to type your response in console. GRE expects you to write about 350 words, however It is observed that a well-discussed take on an issue would consume about 500 words. In this task, you are presented with an issue that is pervasive in society. This issue is followed up with a set of instructions which are presented later. You must follow the instruction while discussing the issue in natural manner. A sample task is given below.

Some people believe that government funding of the arts is necessary to ensure that the arts can flourish and be available to all people. Others believe that government funding of the arts threatens the integrity of the arts.

Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views presented.

Above is just a sample. Educational testing Services (ETS) has published total eight such instructions in its Official Guide to GRE. Each task is accompanied by one of the following sets of instructions.

  1. Write a response in which you 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.
  2. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.
  3. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.
  4. Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views presented.
  5. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reasons on which that claim is based.
  6. Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how these consequences shape your position.

It is evident that in GRE, instructions appear complicated, however a closer look will help us understand essentially, they are very similar. One common thread is observed among these instructions is you are going to see one of the following elements in the main topic.

  1. Statement
  2. Recommendation
  3. Claim
  4. View
  5. Claim and reason
  6. Policy

Once you find these elements, you are asked to analyse the ways an issue can be looked upon or circumstances in which the topic may change its significance or consequences of the given subject. While discussing all possible sides GRE asks you to use valid reasons and relevant examples in order to take a position. So, independent of the variety of the instructions, your line of actions is same in every situation.

What is the purpose of this essay?

Many students find the tedious question pointless as writing sensible matter on the kind of subjects GRE puts forth, demands very high levels of efforts. The point is GRE test-makers expect that as graduate student, you are able to think about any given time from maximum possible points of view before reaching a conclusion. Even while endorsing a side you should be able to assess all possible sides. So, the ‘Analyse an Issue’ essay tests your ability to “explore the complexities of an issue or opinion and, if appropriate, to take a position that is informed by your understanding of those complexities.

Is it necessary to have analysing skills?

Let’s assume that, after your M.S. you join an experimental laboratory, you should be able to think about all possibilities that can explain possible outputs of the experiment. In other case, after your M.B.A. while taking an important decision you should be able to think about all circumstances and select an option which has lowest risks involved and maximum benefits. GRE has introduced this essay writing task to find glimpses of these abilities in your thinking process and hence asks you to evaluate the issue like this.

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