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AWA Basics: Analytical Writing Assessment Video

Here’s Chris going over the basics of the AWA section– scoring, format, and prompts:

If you have any questions about the writing section that you’d like to have answered , feel free to leave us a comment and we’d be happy to help!

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

11 Responses to AWA Basics: Analytical Writing Assessment Video

  1. Gayathri August 11, 2016 at 12:03 am #

    Hi chris,
    I have my GRE in a week. I find that i’m quite poor at essay writing. what can i do to move my points up the scale?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 12, 2016 at 4:39 am #

      Hi Gayathri,

      That’s a tall order in such a short time, but we have some advice that should help! ๐Ÿ™‚ First, you should take a look at these ETS topic pools:

      * List of AWA Issue Prompts
      * List of AWA Argument Prompts

      This is a list of ALL of the topics from the exam, so you WILL see one of these topics on your test. Familiarize yourself with these topics, and then write several practice essays of your own (using these topics of course!). Once you’ve written your own essays, you can read the scored sample essays on the ETS website here:

      * List of AWA Issue Sample Responses
      * List of AWA Argument Sample Responses

      Also, our test prep expert, Chris Lele, has written some sample essays that will be helpful. I recommend taking a look at the prompts, writing your own essay, and then comparing it to what Chris wrote.

      * Mock Issue Essay and Brainstorming an Issue Essay
      * Mock Argument Essay

      You could also explore this blog’s writing content further advice. We analyze student essays, talk about ways to brainstorm ideas, look at the common topics in the prompts, how to attach the claim and reason prompt, and more.

      You can compare your own essay to these essays, and you can see why each got the score it did. For even more quality example essays, I’d recommend checking out Vibrant Publishing guides to GRE Analytical Writing. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Hope this helps. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Joanne August 6, 2014 at 6:04 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have watched all the videos and most of the blog post on writing, and I still have several questions concerning AWA.

    You mentioned in the lessons that we should brainstorm two examples of pros and one of con, and then start writing. However, in the issue pool, some topics contain both “reason” and “claim”. So in this case, how do we take position? Do we have to agree/disagree with both, or could we focus our discussion on just one of them? How do we allocate our “pros and cons” to the “reason and claim”? I find it quite hard to decide the structure of this type of topics.

    For example, today I wrote an essay on this topic:
    Claim: government should spend their funding in major cities
    Reason: cities represent and generate cultures and traditions of the country.

    I disagree with the statement (mainly the “reason” part), so my main point of each paragraph goes as: 1. cities cannot represent the cultures of one country, because the process of globalization has made all cities look almost the same; 2. cities are not representative, because most of the population live in rural areas, where traditions are better preserved; and 3. government should spend the money in developing rural regions rather than cities, or the gap between the undeveloped areas and major cities will become more distinguished.

    So do I focus too much on refuting the “reason”? Should I write more about the “claim” instead? Could you please tell me? And how to structure for this type of questions?

    Another question is how to develop a cogent paragraph, and insightful/in-depth analysis? I understand that there should be “logical flows”, but it is really easy to digress when writing (especially under time limit and pressure, and there is no time to revise). Any suggestions? Or is there any pattern to follow? (like the 2 pros + 1 con tips for the article, anything for a paragraph?)

    Thank you very much!!!

  3. akhila January 16, 2014 at 7:10 am #

    Hi Chris I am going to have my GRE in a week but facing problem with Issue, as in where can i workout for these examples about what you have stated in your video, because according to me I am a bit weak in taking up examples as i donโ€™t have much of it in my mind when i am writing an issue.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele January 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      Hi Akhila,

      A good idea is to look at as many practice essay as possible–there are many online. Get a sense of the examples that essays use, specifically how they develop them and how they tie the examples to their thesis.

      Then, you should practice these 10-minute brainstorm sessions, in which you state your side, then come up with at least two supporting examples. You should also write a sentence saying why you chose these examples. Finally, you want to come up with a counterexample, or some form of concession to show that your position is not 100% in all cases.

      Soon, you should be able to make that a 5-minute exercise, something you will do test day, in the first five minutes of the essay section.

      Good luck!

    • Yue May 22, 2015 at 2:37 am #

      I want to watch

  4. Jatan October 18, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Hi Chris
    I am going to have my GRE in a week but facing problem with Issue, as in where can i workout for these examples about what you have stated in your video, because according to me I am a bit weak in taking up examples as i don’t have much of it in my mind when i am writing an issue.
    Please suggest any link to workout on generalized examples.

  5. Dewi June 5, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I am already member of magoosh. I want to focus studying on my writing, I was wondering is there a program in magoosh that offer correcting or giving approximately score for an essay??

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      Hi Dewi,

      Unfortunately, we don’t offer an essay review service! If you have any general questions about approaches to writing or structuring essays, feel free to let us know through the Help tab in the product and we’d be happy to help :).

  6. Pooja Taneja September 29, 2011 at 5:46 am #

    Hi Chris,

    With my GRE next week , I was actually facing some doubts in the AWA Issue section. Is it necessary to put forward either a positive or negative viewpoint on the issue ? Can we actually start with elaborating the points in support of the issue and then move on to some that refute it, or we have take any one side throughout..?
    And yes, Really Nice work by you all.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 29, 2011 at 11:44 am #

      Hi Pooja,

      You can put forward either a positive or negative viewpoint. The key is that you take a clear position. In your last body paragraph, you should actually take the other side, or at least show a possible weakness or shortcoming in your argument. But again, you first have to establish a clear position, which can either be in support or against the issue.

      Hope that helps!

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