GRE Essay Types
GRE Essay Types
You’ll write two essays on test day, an Issue essay and an Argument essay. We go into more detail about these essays, and decode their directions, in the following chapters. But here’s a brief glimpse of what each essay entails.
The Issue Essay
Technically, this essay is called “Present Your Perspective on an Issue.” The Issue essay topic gives you a broad statement or quotation about some aspect of life. It’s your job to agree or disagree with this statement or quotation and present your reasons for doing so. These reasons can come from your life, your studies, current events, literature, history, and just about any other source you can think of. The topic is broad enough that no right or wrong answer exists. But you do need to pick a side and stick to it. You’ll be limited to just 45 minutes.
The Argument Essay
The test makers call this essay “Analyze an Argument.” In contrast to the Issue essay topic, the Argument essay topic presents a specific argument, making a case for one side of an issue. Your job is to analyze the validity of the argument; whether you agree with its conclusion is irrelevant. Your reasons and evidence should come directly from the argument itself. The test makers want to know whether you can assess an argument based on its conclusions and assumptions. You’ve got 30 minutes for the Argument essay.
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