Meet GRE Essays
Meet GRE Essays
Although you’ll see this section first on test day, we’re covering it last for two reasons: We wanted to get your confidence up before tackling this portion of the test, the one that strikes fear into the hearts of even the most fearless test takers. After all, this section requires you to write not one but two essays under pretty severe time constraints. But we’re here to say, Fear not, friends. The Essay section is as beatable as any other section on the GRE.
The second reason we’re covering this section last is because many of the concepts you got under your belt in the Verbal section, and particularly in the Reading Comprehension chapter, will be very helpful here. Good readers make good writers—and if you’ve got the Verbal question types down, as we hope you do, you’ll be much better prepared to embark upon the writing challenges of the GRE essays. Let’s begin.
You’re required to write two essays in 75 minutes: an “Issue” essay and an “Argument” essay. For the Issue essay, you’ll be given two statements presenting two different issues, officially known as the topics, and you’ll have 45 minutes to write a cogent, coherent essay detailing your perspective on one of them. You get to choose which of the two topics you’d like to write about. For the Argument essay, you’ll be given a short argument, also known as the topic, and 30 minutes to write a cogent, coherent, argumentative essay critiquing the given argument. Both essays require you to make arguments, despite their different names. We describe the essay types in more detail below.
You’ll type the two essays using the most rudimentary software program you’ve ever seen. Think Fred Flintstone with a couple of rocks. This word-processing program does let you type, cut, paste, and undo, but you won’t have a spell-checker, a grammar-checker, or even the ability to use fancy fonts such as bold or italics, nor does the software recognize keyboard shortcuts.
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