• GRE Tutoring
  • GRE Practice
  • GRE Free Consultation
  • GRE Prep Resources

How to Write an Effective Argument Essay for the GRE

The Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, has three sections. One of those sections measures a student’s analytical writing skills. For this section, students are required to write both an issue essay and an argument essay. GRE graders look closely at the evidence included in a student’s argument essay as well as the organization of all of the various components. Learn what an argument essay is and get some tips on how to write an outstanding one for the GRE.

What Is the GRE Argument Essay?

The argument essay on the GRE requires you to evaluate an argument put forth by an author. Your job is to examine the author’s reasoning and evidence as well as the overall organization of the argument.

Ultimately, you must decide whether the author’s argument is logical. If you decide that the author’s argument is illogical, then you must give specific reasons to support that analysis. For example, you may point out unanswered questions or faulty pieces of evidence in the argument. Alternatively, if you decide that an author’s argument is logical, then you must offer evidence supporting that analysis.

When writing this essay, you should not reveal whether they agree or disagree with the author’s argument. Furthermore, you should not share their views on the subject being discussed. The purpose of this essay is to reveal your skills in analyzing and evaluating an argument, not in presenting your own argument. 

Comparing your practice essays to essays that have gotten good scores is a great way to figure out how to improve

Tips for Writing GRE Argument Essays

There are many useful tips that can help you write an excellent argument essay. GRE test-takers may want to begin by jotting down notes on a scrap piece of paper as they read the author’s argument. The few minutes that you dedicate to taking these notes can ensure that you include all of the important points in the final essay.

You should always read the instructions paired with each GRE argument task before starting to write. Not every argument essay has the same set of instructions – for example, some instructions require you to focus on an author’s assumptions, while others ask that you focus on unanswered questions in the argument. These are just two examples out of many types of instructions given to students tackling the GRE argument essay. It’s also a wise idea for you to draft an outline for the essay before beginning to write it. Following an outline can increase the clarity and organization of an argument essay.

Our GRE courses at Varsity Tutors provide students with the tools and strategies they need to craft a notable argument essay. Our instructors have taken and mastered the GRE, enabling them to pass on valuable tips to students. We offer several tutoring options , including online and in-person instruction, to make GRE preparation as convenient as possible for our busy students.`

Preparing for the Argument Essay

Most students want to do everything they can to write a clear, organized argument essay. GRE prep should include essay-writing practice. You can write a practice argument essay, then dissect it sentence by sentence to make sure it contains all of the necessary elements. As a note, the GRE gives students 30 minutes to write an argument essay, so it’s a good idea for you to time yourself when you complete your practice essays. That way, you know how much time you can spend on making notes, drafting an outline, and writing the essay.

It’s also helpful for you to study essays that received a high score on the GRE. An outstanding argument essay contains vocabulary words that add to the clarity of the writing. You can expand your supply of vocabulary words by reading online articles, newspapers, and magazines. You may want to jot down some words commonly used in these publications. Flashcards are helpful study tools for students who are learning unfamiliar words and their definitions as well.

Our instructors at Varsity Tutors can teach you how to write a GRE argument essay. We offer practical advice and guidance that students can use as they move through the steps of writing a convincing essay. Also, our instructors give valuable encouragement to students to help them have a confident mindset on test day. Contact Varsity Tutors today and let us help you boost your essay-writing skills!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options.

GRE Blog Categories:

  • Grad School Admissions
  • How to Study for the GRE

Reach out to ask any questions about our services! Call or Text (973) 922-0818 or Email [email protected]

how to write argument essay for gre


how to write argument essay for gre

How to write a perfect GRE Analyze an Argument Essay: Tips, Tricks, and Examples

ATTENTION: Starting in September 2023, the Analyze an Argument Essay will be removed from the GRE; there will only be the Analyze an Issue Essay .

What is the Argument Essay?

                               Steps to Write a Perfect Score Essay

Step 1: Read and Understand the Argument

The first step to writing a successful Argument Essay is to read the argument carefully and make sure you understand it. Try to identify the main point the author is making, and any supporting evidence or examples they use to make their case.

Example Prompt: 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. The 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.

Note: This prompt was taken directly from a previous GRE practice test via www.ets.org/gre.

Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas for the Essay

Once you’ve thoroughly understood the argument, it’s time to start planning your response. Start by brainstorming your ideas and organizing them into an outline. You are allowed to use scratch paper for the GRE, so feel free to write your ideas on paper; however, I recommend typing your ideas in the text box. This way it saves more time when converting the bullet points to paragraphs as a lot of your essay will already be written.

Within the example prompt it asks what the assumptions of the argument are. Therefore, you want to be a detective and dig deep into the argument. You want to ask yourself the question why is this argument flawed? or why should you not believe this argument? Sometimes it is hard to identify the flaws, but just read sentence by sentence and ask yourself what could be wrong with the statements. Let’s pick apart the argument that was given in the example prompt.

List of Assumptions

1. It is assumed that anyone who likes water sports participates in them. This may not be the case; meaning, someone who ranks water sports as their favorite recreation actively may only like to watch it and not actually participate in it. The claim that “water sports is therefore sure to increase” holds true based on this assumption.

2. Any time that there is a survey, you want to ask yourself how accurate is the survey? For example, if they went to the river and surveyed every person that had their bathing suit on, the results would clearly be skewed because those are people that are clearly engaging in some types of water activity. However, if they randomly went to houses in town and asked their feedback on the river, they may have different responses, which would be more accurate.

3. This argument is also assuming that the river quality and small is the only reason that people do not participate in water sports in that river. Maybe it is actually due to the roughness of the water or the lack of parking near the river. Maybe residents would still go to other rivers even if the Mason City River was cleaner due to other factors.

4. In the argument it states “For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river’s water and the river’s smell”; however, it doesn’t indicate if 90% of the residents complain or only 1 person complains every year. This is a huge assumption that the author is making and skews the validity of the argument greatly.

5. Notice that the argument states “The city government should for that reason devote more money in this year’s budget”. It is important to note that the clean-up of the river will also happen this year.

There are so many more assumptions that this argument has; however, above are the most convincing points. Even though there are so many assumptions, you do not need to include them all in your essay, pick the top 3-5 arguments and include them within your essay.

Step 3: Create Paragraphs in Essay Form

Once you have drafted your outline, you will now start to compile your ideas into paragraphs. Your response should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Typically the GRE essay should be about 300-500 words, but don’t worry too much about quantity as they grade more on content and ideas. However, do keep in mind though, short essays tend to not have well developed ideas.

Structure of Essay:


  • In the introduction, you should briefly summarize the argument and state your thesis.

Body Paragraphs:

  • In the body paragraphs, you should evaluate the argument’s assumptions (in this example), using specific examples and evidence to support your points. This could include facts, statistics, or other relevant information that helps to strengthen your argument.
  • When evaluating the argument, be sure to address any potential counterarguments. This shows the graders that you understand both sides of the issue and that you can think critically about the argument.
  • Each assumption should be a separate body paragraph. Each bullet point that we created in the brainstorm section can be it’s own body paragraph. Hence, why I mentioned typing the outline as then it will be easy to create a body paragraph out of each bullet point.


  • Finally, end your essay with a strong conclusion that summarizes your main points and restates your thesis. This will leave a lasting impression on the graders and reinforce the strength of your argument.

Step 4: Proofread

This is the last step that almost everyone skips; however, it is arguably one of the most important steps. One key concept on the GRE easy grading rubric is spelling, grammar, flow of sentences, and structure of overall essay. Therefore, all these points can be tweaked and fixed within the proofreading stage of writing your essay. I will remind you again: Don’t forget to proofread!

What does a perfect score essay look like?

Below is an essay that scored a 6, which is perfect! Do keep in mind this essay is copied directly how it was written, including any spelling or grammar errors. Prior to reading this essay, I suggest that you pause reading the rest of this blog post and write your own essay based on the given prompt above . This way you can compare your essay to the one below to gauge what score you would receive and what you can do to improve your own writing for test day.

Example Essay Response (Score 6)           While it may be true that the Mason City government ought to devote more money to riverside recreational facilities, this author’s argument does not make a cogent case for increased resources based on river use. It is easy to understand why city residents would want a cleaner river, but this argument is rife with holes and assumptions, and thus, not strong enough to lead to increased funding.           Citing surveys of city residents, the author reports city resident’s love of water sports. It is not clear, however, the scope and validity of that survey. For example, the survey could have asked residents if they prefer using the river for water sports or would like to see a hydroelectric dam built, which may have swayed residents toward river sports. The sample may not have been representative of city residents, asking only those residents who live upon the river. The survey may have been 10 pages long, with 2 questions dedicated to river sports. We just do not know. Unless the survey is fully representative, valid, and reliable, it can not be used to effectively back the author’s argument.           Additionally, the author implies that residents do not use the river for swimming, boating, and fishing, despite their professed interest, because the water is polluted and smelly. While a polluted, smelly river would likely cut down on river sports, a concrete connection between the resident’s lack of river use and the river’s current state is not effectively made. Though there have been complaints, we do not know if there have been numerous complaints from a wide range of people, or perhaps from one or two individuals who made numerous complaints. To strengthen his/her argument, the author would benefit from implementing a normed survey asking a wide range of residents why they do not currently use the river.           Building upon the implication that residents do not use the river due to the quality of the river’s water and the smell, the author suggests that a river clean up will result in increased river usage. If the river’s water quality and smell result from problems which can be cleaned, this may be true. For example, if the decreased water quality and aroma is caused by pollution by factories along the river, this conceivably could be remedied. But if the quality and aroma results from the natural mineral deposits in the water or surrounding rock, this may not be true. There are some bodies of water which emit a strong smell of sulphur due to the geography of the area. This is not something likely to be afffected by a clean-up. Consequently, a river clean up may have no impact upon river usage. Regardless of whether the river’s quality is able to be improved or not, the author does not effectively show a connection between water quality and river usage.           A clean, beautiful, safe river often adds to a city’s property values, leads to increased tourism and revenue from those who come to take advantage of the river, and a better overall quality of life for residents. For these reasons, city government may decide to invest in improving riverside recreational facilities. However, this author’s argument is not likely significantly persuade the city goverment to allocate increased funding.

What must be included in a perfect score essay?

  • clearly identifies aspects of the argument relevant to the assigned task and examines them insightfully
  • develops ideas cogently, organizes them logically, and connects them with clear transitions
  • provides compelling and thorough support for its main points
  • conveys ideas fluently and precisely, using effective vocabulary and sentence variety
  • demonstrates superior facility with the conventions of standard written English (i.e., grammar, usage and mechanics), but may have minor errors

List of Argument Topics

Each year, ETS (creator of the GRE) complies a list of possible arguments that can be used for the GRE Exam. However, what is so great about this, is they post them for the test takers! I have included the resource for the list of the GRE argument topics and I suggest that you read through them prior to test day. You can also use this pool of prompts for practice writing an essay. I have had serval of my students tell me that the exact essay that they used to practice was actually on their real GRE exam from using this list.

About the author

Samantha Carney

Samantha Carney

About our GRE tutors

Prep For Success has a team of amazing GRE tutors, who have all scored in the 99th percentile. Additionally, all of them have been rigorously trained on all of our tips, tricks, and strategies to obtain a high score! Each tutor takes the time to understand your specific strengths and weaknesses so you don’t waste time in your studies and have the most effective study plan! Feel free to reach out to get assistance on the GRE or Graduate School Admissions.

  • essay , GRE
  • June 29, 2023
  • No Comments

Harvard graduate on campus

MIT vs Harvard: Deciding the Best Fit for Your Academic Success


Upcoming LSAT Changes: No More Logic Games Confirmed

open dictionary looking at GRE vocabulary words

7 Best GRE Vocabulary Tips & Tricks

Leave a reply cancel reply.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Become a Tutor
  • Referral Program
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Service
  • Refund/Cancelation/Reschedule Policy

Want to talk to a live Prep For Success representative that can answer all your questions? If so, reach out!

Recently viewed courses

Recently viewed.

Find Your Dream School

This site uses various technologies, as described in our Privacy Policy, for personalization, measuring website use/performance, and targeted advertising, which may include storing and sharing information about your site visit with third parties. By continuing to use this website you consent to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use .

   COVID-19 Update: To help students through this crisis, The Princeton Review will continue our "Enroll with Confidence" refund policies. For full details, please click here.

GRE Essay Prompts

The GRE Analytical Writing section requires you to write two essays—one will be an analysis of an issue and the other will be an analysis of an argument. You will have 30 minutes for each essay. Try your hand at these GRE essay prompts, and read our explanations for what makes a great GRE essay. We pulled these sample questions from our book GRE Premium Prep and from our GRE prep course  materials.

The GRE Issue Essay

The Issue Essay of the GRE requires you to present your opinion on the provided topic.

Issue Topic

You will be given a brief quotation that states or implies an issue of general interest and specific instructions on how to respond to that issue. You will have 30 minutes to plan and compose a response in which you develop a position on the issue according the specific instructions. A response to any other issue will receive a score of zero.

A high-scoring Issue essay accomplishes four key tasks: (1) considers the complexities of the issue; (2) supports the position with relevant examples; (3) is clear and well organized; (4) demonstrates superior facility with the conventions of standard written English. Make sure that you respond to the specific instructions and support your position on the issue with reasons and examples drawn from such areas as your reading, experience, observations, and/or academic studies.

[+] See the Answer

The GRE Argument Essay

The Argument Essay of the GRE asks you to examine and critique the logic of an argument.

Argument Topic

You will be given a short passage that presents an argument, or an argument to be completed, and specific instructions on how to respond to that passage. You will have 30 minutes to plan and compose a response in which you analyze the passage according to specific instructions. A response to any other issue will receive a score of zero.

A high-scoring Argument essay accomplishes these tasks: (1) clearly identifies and insightfully analyzes important features of the argument; (2) develops ideas clearly and logically with smooth transitions; (3) effectively supports the main points of the critique; (4) demonstrates superior facility with the conventions of standard written English. Note that you are NOT being asked to present your own views on the subject. Make sure you that you respond to the specific instructions and support your analysis with relevant reasons and/or examples.

Want more practice?

Take a GRE practice test with us under the same conditions as the real thing. You'll get a personalized score report highlighting your strengths and areas of improvement.

Start a Free Practice Test

  • Graduate School  

Featured Grad Schools For You

Explore Graduate Programs for You

Explore our featured graduate schools & programs to find those that both match your interests and are looking for students like you.

Best Law Schools 2023

Best Law Schools

Check out our complete list of 168 law schools, based on surveys of school administrators and over 17,000 students.

Search for Medical Schools

Search for Medical Schools

Our medical school search allows you to refine your search with filters for location, tuition, concentrations and more.

Featured Business Schools For You

Find MBA Programs Matched to Your Interests

Explore our featured business schools to find those that are looking for students like you.

What would you score on the MCAT today?

Thank you! Look for the MCAT Review Guide in your inbox.

I already know my score.

Enrollment Advisor

1-800-2REVIEW (800-273-8439) ext. 1


Mon-Fri 9AM-10PM ET

Sat-Sun 9AM-8PM ET

Student Support

1-800-2REVIEW (800-273-8439) ext. 2

Mon-Fri 9AM-9PM ET

Sat-Sun 8:30AM-5PM ET


  • Teach or Tutor for Us

College Readiness




  • Enrollment Terms & Conditions
  • Accessibility
  • Cigna Medical Transparency in Coverage

Register Book

Local Offices: Mon-Fri 9AM-6PM

  • SAT Subject Tests

Academic Subjects

  • Social Studies

Find the Right College

  • College Rankings
  • College Advice
  • Applying to College
  • Financial Aid

School & District Partnerships

  • Professional Development
  • Advice Articles
  • Private Tutoring
  • Mobile Apps
  • Local Offices
  • International Offices
  • Work for Us
  • Affiliate Program
  • Partner with Us
  • Advertise with Us
  • International Partnerships
  • Our Guarantees
  • Accessibility – Canada

Privacy Policy | CA Privacy Notice | Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information | Your Opt-Out Rights | Terms of Use | Site Map

©2024 TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University

TPR Education, LLC (doing business as “The Princeton Review”) is controlled by Primavera Holdings Limited, a firm owned by Chinese nationals with a principal place of business in Hong Kong, China.


Writing Center: Tips for GRE Essay Writing

  • How to Set Up an Appointment Online
  • Documentation Styles
  • Parts of Speech
  • Types of Clauses
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling & Mechanics
  • Usage & Styles
  • Resources for ESL Students
  • How to Set up an APA Paper
  • How to Set up an MLA Paper
  • Adapt to Academic Learning
  • Audience Awareness
  • Learn Touch Typing
  • Getting Started
  • Thesis Statement
  • The First Draft
  • Proofreading
  • Writing Introductions
  • Writing Conclusions
  • Chicago / Turabian Style
  • CSE / CBE Style
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Cross-Cultural Understanding
  • Writing Resources
  • Research Paper - General Guidelines
  • Annotated Bibliographies
  • History Papers
  • Science Papers
  • Experimental Research Papers
  • Exegetical Papers
  • FAQs About Creative Writing
  • Tips For Creative Writing
  • Exercises To Develop Creative Writing Skills
  • Checklist For Creative Writing
  • Additional Resources For Creative Writing
  • FAQs About Creating PowerPoints
  • Tips For Creating PowerPoints
  • Exercises to Improve PowerPoint Skills
  • Checklist For PowerPoints
  • Structure For GRE Essay
  • Additional Resources For PowerPoints
  • Additional Resources For GRE Essay Writing
  • FAQs About Multimodal Assignments
  • Tips For Creating Multimodal Assignments
  • Checklist For Multimodal Assignments
  • Additional Resources For Multimodal Assignments
  • GRE Essay Writing FAQ
  • Tips for GRE Essay Writing
  • Sample GRE Essay Prompts
  • Checklist For GRE Essays
  • Cover Letter
  • Personal Statements
  • Resources for Tutors
  • Chapter 2: Theoretical Perspectives on Learning a Second Language
  • Chapter 4: Reading an ESL Writer's Text
  • Chapter 5: Avoiding Appropriation
  • Chapter 6: 'Earth Aches by Midnight': Helping ESL Writers Clarify Their Intended Meaning
  • Chapter 7: Looking at the Whole Text
  • Chapter 8: Meeting in the Middle: Bridging the Construction of Meaning with Generation 1.5 Learners
  • Chapter 9: A(n)/The/Ø Article About Articles
  • Chapter 10: Editing Line by Line
  • Chapter 14: Writing Activities for ESL Writers
  • Resources for Faculty
  • Writing Center Newsletter
  • Writing Center Survey

Tips for Writing GRE Essays


  • Just like you would during the exam, follow the 30-minute guideline, avoid pausing your timer, and write in an area similar to the area you will take the exam
  • Try to only use official practice prompts as these prompts are the most similar to the exam prompts you will receive on test day
  • Write your essay prompts as part of full-length practice tests to ensure that you’re preparing for the full test
  • Statements such as “I believe” and “In my opinion” lessen the strength of the writing
  • These instructions include questions that you need to answer in your essay 
  • Although most instructions will start out in a similar manner, different questions will be asked further on in the instructions
  • 2 minutes to read through the instructions and prompt
  • 3 minutes to select a thesis statement and brainstorm an outline for the essay 
  • 20 minutes to write the essay, beginning with the body paragraphs and ending with an introduction or conclusion with the remaining time
  • 2 minutes to fix small mistakes, such as spelling and grammatical errors
  • 3 minutes to make any last-minute changes as necessary  
  • Essays can lose points when not enough information is included 
  • Write an introduction and conclusion after you have developed your body paragraphs
  • Your body paragraphs factor more into your scoring than the introduction and conclusion 
  • If you run out of time, cut out your conclusion paragraph or include a 1-3 sentence conclusion. The conclusion does not include new information and, as such, is the least important part of the essay
  • Your analytical thinking and logical reasoning is being assessed, not your knowledge base
  • Ensure that your essay is structured well and follows a clear logical progression
  • Adhere to traditional essay writing conventions, such as a strong thesis statement, clear evidence, and transition sentences
  • The clarity in which you convey your argument will be evaluated 
  • Final adjustments to tone and clarity will ensure that your essay is well-written 

Analyze an Issue essay 

  • Your thesis statement will be the backbone of your essay. The rest of your paragraphs, arguments, and evidence will be used to support your thesis
  • Graders will not be able to evaluate how well you defended your position if they cannot identify your thesis statement 
  • Review effective responses to GRE prompts from other applicants to learn the type of writing that receives high scores
  • The strength in which you defend your argument is the main purpose of the essay
  • Ensure that you effectively choose a position, instead of taking the middle-of-the-road approach
  • The manner in which you defend your position matters
  • Consider the multiple perspectives that can be taken on the issue
  • You can use one of the arguments from the side you didn’t select as a counterargument that you refute in your essay
  • By developing ideas on these common essay topics, you’ll be able to develop your opinion on the issue more quickly  
  • All of your examples should be related back to your thesis statement
  • This will reinforce your argument and strengthen your position
  • Hypothetical situations can easily be refuted by stating that those situations would never happen

Analyze an Argument essay 

  • Read the argument multiple times and take notes about areas of the argument you want to address in your writing 
  • The evidence, support, and reasoning used to support the position 
  • The claims and conclusions that are explicitly stated 
  • The claims or conclusions that are assumed without any justification
  • The claims that are implied
  • The structure of the argument 
  • The manner in which the argument forms a line of reasoning
  • Look for transition words, such as “however,” “thus,” and “hence”
  • The purpose of this essay task is to evaluate the argument and you can best evaluate the argument by refuting the logic in the argument
  • Focus on analyzing the logic of the argument, not discussing your opinions about the argument
  • No flaw is too “obvious” to point out and the more obvious flaws are often easier to analyze within the time limit
  • Weak evidence
  • Lack of evidence to support an assumption or argument
  • A weak analogy between ideas
  • Assuming the characteristics of one group applies to other people or groups
  • Vague language
  • Using biased or limited statistics and data 
  • Assuming that a certain condition is necessary for a certain outcome
  • Anticipate counterarguments to your position and address these counterarguments in your essay
  • Since you only have 30 minutes to complete the task, you don’t need to evaluate every part of the argument 
  • Avoid making assumptions about the argument that are not stated or implied
  • Ensure that each of these examples is relevant to the topic
  • These examples can be from the prompt and real-life examples
  • << Previous: GRE Essay Writing FAQ
  • Next: Sample GRE Essay Prompts >>
  • Last Updated: Sep 14, 2023 10:30 AM
  • URL: https://mc.libguides.com/writingcenter

Enjoy this post? Rate it!

GRE Argument Essay

Tips and hacks to ace GRE argument essay

Are you looking for tips and hacks to acing the gre argument essay to begin with, understanding the gre argument essay format is the first step toward acing the exam. continue reading this blog to find out more about getting great scores at gre argument essay writing., table of contents, the significance of the gre argument essay , how to write an argumentative essay , determine the flaw , excellent start , examine the evidence , provide examples , a powerful conclusion , continuous practice , dos and don’ts when preparing for the gre argument essay , key takeaways .

While most GRE candidates excel at verbal and mathematical reasoning, just a few excel at argument essay writing. On the other hand, students must know how to write a GRE argument essay to gain an advantage over the other candidates by scoring excellent marks in the analytical writing portion. Read the article to find out everything you need to know to nail the GRE argument essay.

The GRE argument essay assesses how well you grasp, analyze, and write an argument that differs from the issue essay. It is necessary to complete this task in 30 minutes. You can use specific writing skills learned in English compositions. 

In this essay, you must analyze an argument, identify assumptions and faults, and provide references to a certain path. Furthermore, learning how to create a solid argument essay evaluates the validity of your critical thinking, reasoning, and opinions on the argument. 

To begin an argumentative essay, you need to understand its goal and how well you can explain your point. The GRE argument essay structure considers opposing viewpoints too. The simple five ways to begin an argumentative essay are as follows.

The first paragraph of your argumentative essay should be the introduction, which introduces your topic, and sets up the rest of the article.

Using examples in the second, third, and fourth paragraphs, you must give your ideas and evidence. Each body paragraph should either present specific facts of supporting proof or disapproval of the opposing viewpoint. 

In the fifth and final paragraph, you revisit your argument in the context of all preceding evidence and concisely sum things up.

GRE Argument Essay

Best strategies for GRE argument essays 

The following are a few tips for the GRE argument essay. 

The first step is to identify the argument’s fault. Read the argument attentively and determine where the writer went wrong or missed something. The argument will contain some legitimate points, but it will also contain certain fallacies that you must point out during GRE 2019. 

Begin the GRE essay with a brief introduction demonstrating that you have grasped the argument and determined the conclusion. Declare unequivocally that the reasoning is wrong. The essay’s body should explain the argument’s weaknesses and understandably outline them. 

Before you begin writing the essay, take the time to grasp the author’s ideas and the evidence they utilized to support them. Now go through each piece of proof one by one. You won’t have enough time to contradict them if you choose too many. If you choose too few, you will expand on only those, and the essay will feel dragged. It is why the number three is ideal. 

Choose those that you can confidently reject or demonstrate. You must do this before writing the essay to avoid confusion later in the GRE test . 

Once you’ve established the assumptions, you’ll be refuted and need to provide examples demonstrating the assumption’s failure. Examples must be relevant and specific. It is the most practical approach to demonstrate to the examiner that you have grasped the argument, carefully examined it, and can dismiss it based on logic. 

Your ending should emphasize that the argument contains numerous problems that render its reasoning unacceptably flawed. You may even suggest a few adjustments that might improve the argument. The goal is not to utterly dismiss the argument. It demonstrates that the argument is weak and not supported by the data supplied. Also, throughout the essay, employ bold and powerful GRE terminology. 

Correcting your essay can help you boost your GRE score. During your GRE preparation, you should practice composing sample essays. It will assist you in developing a strategy for the argument essay in GRE and give you a better understanding of what to expect throughout the exam. GRE prep classes are an excellent method to strengthen your writing skills and score higher on the exam. 

Before you can learn how to start an argument in the GRE, you must first understand the test’s dos and don’ts. The following can help you prepare for your GRE argument essay-

● The GRE argument essay is a significant scoring component of the exam. 

● An argumentative essay has five parts, i.e., a powerful introduction with a clear and concise thesis, three body paragraphs supported by thorough evidence, and a convincing conclusion.

● You can utilize transitional words and phrases to help the readers follow the reasoning.

Question 1: What is an acceptable GRE argument essay score? 

Answer: The GRE argument essay is graded from 0 to 6. A decent score, on the other hand, can range from 4.5 to 6. 

Question 2: Can I omit analytical writing from the GRE? 

Answer: The GRE analytical essay section may include two essays. Skipping this does not improve your overall GRE score. Failure to complete this portion may affect your chances of admission to a graduate program. 

Question 3: What characteristics distinguish a strong argumentative essay? 

Answer: The argumentative essay demands well-researched, accurate, complete information. The theory should be supported by some empirical, logical, statistical, or factual evidence. 

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

how to write argument essay for gre

People also liked

IELTS success

IELTS success| Tips to master each section

IELTS Grammar

Importance of IELTS grammar | Tips and tricks


TOEFL and IELTS | Role of contextual & academic words

simulated tests

Simulated tests | Opportunity to overcome challenges

GRE exam structure

TOEFL, IELTS, & GRE exam structure | Key differences 2024!

GMAT exam

Ace the GMAT exam | Navigate quant & verbal difficulties!

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please enter an answer in digits: three × 4 =

Start your journey with iSchoolPrep

Need help with your Test Preparations? Contact Us for more details

how to write argument essay for gre

Inquire Now

Get e-books, expert guidance, live classes and more....

The Magoosh logo is the word Magoosh spelled with each letter o replaced with a check mark in a circle.

How to Use the GRE Essay Pool for Effective Practice

A student preparing for essay writing on the GRE

The GRE includes a unique component called the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), where test-takers are currently required to write two essays: the Issue Essay and the Argument Essay. With the upcoming changes to the GRE in September 2023, students will no longer be required to write the Argument Essay.

To prepare effectively for this section, it’s essential to practice with various essay topics. ETS, the organization that administers the GRE, provides an extensive pool of essay topics for both the Issue Essay and the Argument Essay . In this article, we will explore how to use the GRE essay pool for effective practice and enhance your essay-writing skills.

How to Train with the GRE Essay Pool:

  • Track Your Journey : Keep records of your practice essays and the improvements you make over time. Seeing your progress can be a great motivator!

The GRE essay pool is like your personal training ground. Use it to hone your writing skills, get comfortable with different essay prompts, and build confidence. Remember to pay attention to structure, organization, and effective use of evidence, and develop your own unique writing style. With enough practice using the GRE essay pool, you’ll be ready to ace the AWA section of the GRE.

Magoosh Expert

View all posts

More from Magoosh

Magoosh Shorter GRE Quantitative Diagnostic Test

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Business & Industry
  • K-12 Education & Counseling/Social Work
  • Natural Resources & Sustainability
  • Certificates
  • Conferences
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Coding Boot Camp
  • Cloud Systems Administration Boot Camp
  • Data Analytics Boot Camp
  • Training Solutions
  • UNH Violin Craftsmanship Institute
  • Upcoming Business & Industry Workshops
  • Upcoming Natural Resources & Sustainability Workshops
  • Upcoming K-12 Education & Counseling/Social Work Workshops
  • COVID-19 Protocols
  • Welcome Information
  • Sign-up For Email Updates

Like us on Facebook     Follow us on Twitter     UNH on YouTube      Follow us on LinkedIn      Sign Up for Email

Celebrate 150: The Campaign for UNH

Professional Development & Training

What you will learn, tools & materials.

how to write argument essay for gre

GRE Preparation - Part 1 (Verbal and Analytical) (Self-Guided)

If you're planning to apply to graduate school, you will have to take the GRE. This course is here to help. Part 1 takes you through all the question types on the verbal reasoning and analytical writing sections, including reading comprehension, text completion, sentence equivalence questions, and both essay tasks. You will also gain pointers on time management, anxiety relief, scoring, and general standardized test-taking. Be prepared to excel on exam day to achieve your best potential score.

Introducing the GRE® Revised General Test

You may have heard that you can't study for the GRE. But that's not true. There are many things you can do to prepare for the GRE, and the more time you spend preparing the better your scores will be. This lesson tells you everything you need to know about the general makeup of the GRE, so you know what to expect come test day.

Overview of GRE Verbal and Analytical Sections

This lesson gives you an overview of what to expect from the GRE Verbal and Analytical sections. You will see sample reading comprehension, sentence equivalence, and text completion questions, and take a brief look at the analytical writing section.

Approaching the Analytical Writing Section

The first section you will encounter on the GRE is the analytical writing section. You will write two essays in 60 minutes, so you need to be well prepared. This lesson gives you the essentials to be your best on exam day.

Writing Style Review for the Analytical Writing Section

Grammar and punctuation count on the analytical writing section. This lesson covers tips for improving your writing style and reviews the important rules of Standard English so that you can perform your best.

Practice for the Analytical Writing Section

If the thought of writing a complete analysis of an issue or argument within a half an hour has you running for the hills, don't despair. Here's a specific plan for making the most of your time so you can prove to the admissions committee of your favorite graduate program that you can create a cohesive, interesting essay.

How to Interpret a Reading Passage

Roughly half of the questions in the verbal reasoning sections require you to answer questions based on reading passages. The GRE reading passages come in all sizes and topics. This lesson will walk you through the process of examining passages efficiently so that you can quickly soar through the reading questions.

How to Answer Reading Questions

The reading questions on the GRE revised General Test come in a variety of formats with several objectives. You will learn unique approaches to various reading question formats that will maximize your performance on exam day.

Practicing Reading Questions

The best way to improve your performance on the GRE reading questions is practice. In this lesson you will take a short reading practice exam and then carefully examine the strategy for answering each question correctly.

How to Answer Text Completion Questions

The fill-in-the-blank GRE text completion questions test your reading ability and knowledge of vocabulary. In this lesson, you will learn the tactics for dissecting each sentence to extract its exact meaning.

Practice Answering Text Completion Questions

In this lesson, you will take a mini practice exam and become familiar with text completion questions. Then you will explore how best to answer each question.

How to Answer Sentence Equivalence Questions

In this lesson, you will discover what to expect from the third question type in the verbal reasoning section, the sentence equivalence question. You will discover some strategies for evaluating sentences and recognizing synonyms.

Practice Answering Sentence Equivalence Questions

Test your prowess on sentence equivalence questions by taking a mini practice exam, followed by detailed explanations on how to answer each question.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader .
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Username or Email Address

Remember Me Forgot Password?

Prove your humanity

A link to set a new password will be sent to your email address.

Your personal data will be used to support your experience throughout this website, to manage access to your account, and for other purposes described in our privacy policy .

Get New Password -->


Analyzing an Argument When Taking the GRE

Sandipan Mukherjee

  • July 21, 2021
  • Career Guidance , Essay Writing , Study Tips

Of the two GRE writing sections, the argument essay demands the most of test-takers by testing their abilities to analyze reason and logic. When gearing up for the GRE writing sections , future graduate students need to prepare for both the  Issue Task  and the Argument Task. As the essay writing service , KingEssays assumes that the latter, however, requires more preparation, because this section exists to test students’ abilities for deconstructing a fallacious argument. And if they’re not used to doing so, this can prove to be a harrowing task.

What is the GRE Argument Essay?

The GRE Argument Task is a writing section in which test-takers have presented a declaration of some kind, often in the form of office memos, press-release-type statements, and other statements that come to some conclusion too abruptly or with many logic flaws.

All prompts will ask test-takers whether or not they find the argument “well-reasoned” or not. While it seems this question allows some room for “yes, I find it well-reasoned,” there will usually be at least 3 or 4 major flaws in the logic within the statement presented.

After considering the prompt, test-takers must write out – in a sound and well-organized fashion – how the speaker of the statement has misled his or her audience. Because this requires a bit of pre-writing thinking, it’s important not to jump in writing before working out what to say.

How to Write the GRE Argument Essays?

First and foremost, the test-taker must carefully read the prompt that’s presented to him. Prompts will always be making claims that, on the surface, make a bit of sense. However, once the test-taker has read through it, he must identify the logic flaws (again, 3 or 4 of them).

This is where pre-writing comes in. Since there are only 30 minutes allotted to this task, this portion shouldn’t take up more than 3 minutes or so, so there’s enough time to construct the essay and proofread it at the end. The test-taker should jot down all the argument flaws, and try and keep the points and counter-points organized.

Here’s a sample prompt from the GRE Argument Task:

  • “Our nation’s new college graduates will have better success obtaining jobs if they do not pursue advanced degrees after graduation. After all, more than 80 percent of State X’s undergraduate students are employed full-time within one year after they graduate, while less than half of State X’s graduate-level students find employment within one year after receiving their graduate degrees.”

Go through sentence by sentence, if that helps. In this argument, the speaker automatically assumes that State X is representative of the nation as a whole, which is a generalization that may jump to an irrational conclusion. Motivation from a state-to-state basis could be different, too, between graduates and undergraduates.

This argument is susceptible to unreliable statistic samples, which is a common logic problem in GRE argument essay prompts . The architects of the GRE are looking for students who can deconstruct an argument and find its flaws.

Other Types of Argument Flaws

There are many other kinds of argument flaws that students can run into in the GRE Argument Task section.

  • Unreliable polling techniques
  • Weak analogies
  • Correlation vs. cause and effect (calling something a cause or an effect when there is an only correlation)
  • Over-generalizing
  • Drawing a too-broad conclusion
  • Circular reasoning
  • Reliance on vague or ill-defined terminology

These are only a few logic flaws test-takers may run across when taking the GRE. It’s important to practice finding flaws in arguments before going in to take the test because, without practice, this skill will not come easily. With a bit of GRE writing preparation, that high score of 6 should come a lot more easily.

The Issue Essay

Taking the GRE is stressful enough for most, simply with the thoughts of the “math” and verbal sections. However, with the bonus of two timed writing sections, it’s enough to stress out the most stoic of students. But really, it isn’t just the math and verbal sections students should prepare for, but also the writing sections.

GRE Writing Sections

Two separate sections are designed to test the taker’s writing ability, line of reasoning, and effective and practical use of logic. These sections are scored differently than the rest of the test, with a maximum score of 6. The two sections aren’t always presented in the same order, so prepare to be flexible.

One essay is the argument task. In this section, test-takers are presented with a single prompt. This prompt often takes the form of some sort of memo or news-type article, and the claims presented within are riddled with fallacies. The test-takers job is to pull apart the fallacious arguments and explain why they’re unreasonable. Only 30 minutes are allotted to this assignment.

The second section, the one that will be discussed in further detail, is the issue task essay. Here, test-takers are presented with two prompts to choose between, both making certain statements that are easily arguable (much like entry-level college writing exams). The student’s job is to choose one of the two prompts, pick a side to present, and write. This section takes up to 45 minutes.

GRE Writing: Issue Task Essay

The first item at hand when approaching the issue task section is to read – carefully – the prompts that are given. Remember, there will be two separate prompts for this section (versus the singular prompt in the argument task section), so read both of them over and commit to one as soon as possible.

A typical prompt might look like this:

  • Present your perspective on the issue below, using relevant reasons and/or examples to support your views: What most human beings want to attain is not knowledge, but certainty. Gaining real knowledge requires taking risks and keeping the mind open – but most people prefer to be reassured rather than to learn the complex and often unsettling truth about anything.

So, the first order of business is choosing aside. Is it easy or difficult to agree with the statement? Unlike the other GRE writing section, this essay is asking for opinion but doesn’t care what that opinion is, as long as it’s well structured and argued.

Outlining and quick prewriting can potentially make or break a GRE writing score. Once the test-taker chooses aside, it’s a good idea to write down all thoughts on the subject, and try to group them in some reasonable organizational form. The GRE reviewers aren’t too concerned with specific types of organization, just that the format used is logical.

After taking a minute or two outlining his initial thoughts in response to the prompt he chooses, the test-taker should then begin to write, spending the majority of his time on the body itself, not so much the introduction and conclusion. These two paragraphs are important, but if time is running out, it’s better to have a fully developed body with a sub-par intro and conclusion than a great intro and conclusion and messy body.

Finally, don’t neglect to proofread. The people who will be reviewing the essays won’t be too concerned with typos and typing-too-quickly mistakes; they will be concerned if the misuse of grammar deeply affects the readability of the essay.

Buy a Good GRE Help Book/Program

Even the strongest writers would be wise to prepare for the writing portion of the GRE. There is too much to outline in a single article, so a good investment for any GRE-takers is a preparation book or computer program. Some are better than others, but the most important thing to look for is that it works for the test-taker. So try a few out, pick one, and get studying.

The writing sections of the GRE can be extremely stressful, especially if the test-taker plans to apply to a school that weighs the writing score heavily. Remaining calm is key when tackling these sections, so be sure to study beforehand, gain some pre-test confidence, and then dominating the essays will be like second nature.

We hope you found this article insightful.

Thank you for being patient and staying with us till the end.

If you are facing problems on choosing the right college, career paths or If you need any help on the college application process, essay/SoP/LoR reviews, please  schedule a   30 or 60 minutes online 1-on-1 interactive session with any of our experienced counselors  OR  send an email  at  [email protected]

Our counselors include  Ex-Harvard, Ex-Stanford, Ex-Oxford, Ex-Cambridge, Ex-ESADE, Ex-UT Austin, Ex-IIM, Ex-ISB, etc.

Note: This is a sponsored article!

Share this:

Discover more from stoodnt.

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Type your email…

Continue reading

Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

student in library on laptop

How to Write an Effective Essay

Writing an essay for college admission gives you a chance to use your authentic voice and show your personality. It's an excellent opportunity to personalize your application beyond your academic credentials, and a well-written essay can have a positive influence come decision time.

Want to know how to draft an essay for your college application ? Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing.

Tips for Essay Writing

A typical college application essay, also known as a personal statement, is 400-600 words. Although that may seem short, writing about yourself can be challenging. It's not something you want to rush or put off at the last moment. Think of it as a critical piece of the application process. Follow these tips to write an impactful essay that can work in your favor.

1. Start Early.

Few people write well under pressure. Try to complete your first draft a few weeks before you have to turn it in. Many advisers recommend starting as early as the summer before your senior year in high school. That way, you have ample time to think about the prompt and craft the best personal statement possible.

You don't have to work on your essay every day, but you'll want to give yourself time to revise and edit. You may discover that you want to change your topic or think of a better way to frame it. Either way, the sooner you start, the better.

2. Understand the Prompt and Instructions.

Before you begin the writing process, take time to understand what the college wants from you. The worst thing you can do is skim through the instructions and submit a piece that doesn't even fit the bare minimum requirements or address the essay topic. Look at the prompt, consider the required word count, and note any unique details each school wants.

3. Create a Strong Opener.

Students seeking help for their application essays often have trouble getting things started. It's a challenging writing process. Finding the right words to start can be the hardest part.

Spending more time working on your opener is always a good idea. The opening sentence sets the stage for the rest of your piece. The introductory paragraph is what piques the interest of the reader, and it can immediately set your essay apart from the others.

4. Stay on Topic.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep to the essay topic. If you're applying to 10 or more colleges, it's easy to veer off course with so many application essays.

A common mistake many students make is trying to fit previously written essays into the mold of another college's requirements. This seems like a time-saving way to avoid writing new pieces entirely, but it often backfires. The result is usually a final piece that's generic, unfocused, or confusing. Always write a new essay for every application, no matter how long it takes.

5. Think About Your Response.

Don't try to guess what the admissions officials want to read. Your essay will be easier to write─and more exciting to read─if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about your subject. Here’s an example: If all your friends are writing application essays about covid-19, it may be a good idea to avoid that topic, unless during the pandemic you had a vivid, life-changing experience you're burning to share. Whatever topic you choose, avoid canned responses. Be creative.

6. Focus on You.

Essay prompts typically give you plenty of latitude, but panel members expect you to focus on a subject that is personal (although not overly intimate) and particular to you. Admissions counselors say the best essays help them learn something about the candidate that they would never know from reading the rest of the application.

7. Stay True to Your Voice.

Use your usual vocabulary. Avoid fancy language you wouldn't use in real life. Imagine yourself reading this essay aloud to a classroom full of people who have never met you. Keep a confident tone. Be wary of words and phrases that undercut that tone.

8. Be Specific and Factual.

Capitalize on real-life experiences. Your essay may give you the time and space to explain why a particular achievement meant so much to you. But resist the urge to exaggerate and embellish. Admissions counselors read thousands of essays each year. They can easily spot a fake.

9. Edit and Proofread.

When you finish the final draft, run it through the spell checker on your computer. Then don’t read your essay for a few days. You'll be more apt to spot typos and awkward grammar when you reread it. After that, ask a teacher, parent, or college student (preferably an English or communications major) to give it a quick read. While you're at it, double-check your word count.

Writing essays for college admission can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. A well-crafted essay could be the deciding factor─in your favor. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll have no problem creating memorable pieces for every application.

What is the format of a college application essay?

Generally, essays for college admission follow a simple format that includes an opening paragraph, a lengthier body section, and a closing paragraph. You don't need to include a title, which will only take up extra space. Keep in mind that the exact format can vary from one college application to the next. Read the instructions and prompt for more guidance.

Most online applications will include a text box for your essay. If you're attaching it as a document, however, be sure to use a standard, 12-point font and use 1.5-spaced or double-spaced lines, unless the application specifies different font and spacing.

How do you start an essay?

The goal here is to use an attention grabber. Think of it as a way to reel the reader in and interest an admissions officer in what you have to say. There's no trick on how to start a college application essay. The best way you can approach this task is to flex your creative muscles and think outside the box.

You can start with openers such as relevant quotes, exciting anecdotes, or questions. Either way, the first sentence should be unique and intrigue the reader.

What should an essay include?

Every application essay you write should include details about yourself and past experiences. It's another opportunity to make yourself look like a fantastic applicant. Leverage your experiences. Tell a riveting story that fulfills the prompt.

What shouldn’t be included in an essay?

When writing a college application essay, it's usually best to avoid overly personal details and controversial topics. Although these topics might make for an intriguing essay, they can be tricky to express well. If you’re unsure if a topic is appropriate for your essay, check with your school counselor. An essay for college admission shouldn't include a list of achievements or academic accolades either. Your essay isn’t meant to be a rehashing of information the admissions panel can find elsewhere in your application.

How can you make your essay personal and interesting?

The best way to make your essay interesting is to write about something genuinely important to you. That could be an experience that changed your life or a valuable lesson that had an enormous impact on you. Whatever the case, speak from the heart, and be honest.

Is it OK to discuss mental health in an essay?

Mental health struggles can create challenges you must overcome during your education and could be an opportunity for you to show how you’ve handled challenges and overcome obstacles. If you’re considering writing your essay for college admission on this topic, consider talking to your school counselor or with an English teacher on how to frame the essay.

Related Articles


Free Resources

PrepScholar GRE Prep

Gre prep online guides and tips, how is the gre essay scored.

how to write argument essay for gre

Your GRE Writing score is a kind of cyborg measurement that averages together both human and machine ratings and melds them into an Analytical Writing score on a scale of 0-6. But how does a human grade the essay? Is the computer grader trustworthy?

In this article, we’ll explain the details of the GRE essay scoring process and the rubrics used by the human graders to derive your two essay scores.

Feature image credit: Seems Legit – panel 3 of 6 /used under CC BY-SA 4.0 /Cropped and resized from original.

GRE Writing Scores: A Roadmap

The GRE essay scoring process is a little complicated because it involves both human and computer graders . Each essay (analyze an issue and analyze an argument) is first graded by a trained human grader on a scale of 1-6. The scale used for essay scoring is holistic, which means you won’t automatically get points off after a certain number of errors. Instead, you’ll be graded on the overall quality of your essays.

Your essay is next sent through the e-rater , which is described on the GRE website as “a computerized program developed by ETS that is capable of identifying essay features related to writing proficiency.” The e-rater program likely grades essays on quantifiable metrics like level of vocabulary difficulty, sentence structure, length of essay (word count and number of paragraphs), and so on. Because it’s pretty difficult to write a program that can judge an essay based on content, it’s possible you could fool the e-rater with a long off-topic essay that uses high-level vocabulary.

But that’s where the human essay graders come in. If the human and computer graders “closely agree,” then the average of their two scores is the score you receive for that essay task. However, if the two scores do not “closely agree, ” then a second human is brought in to grade and the final score is the average of the two human-assigned scores . So if you tried to sneak an off-topic essay by the e-rater, it would be caught by the human grader and a second human grader would be brought in. Even if the human grader scored your essay way higher than the e-rater, you’d still end up with two human graders.

After both of your essays have been scored by e-rater and human grader(s), your overall GRE Writing score is then calculated. To get this number, your scores on the Issue and Argument task are averaged together to give you a final Analytical Writing score on a scale of 0-6 (with 0.5 increments). For instance, if you got a 4/6 on the Issues essay but a 5/6 on the Argument essay, your total GRE Analytical Writing score would be 4.5.

Quick side note: we've created the world's leading online GRE prep program that adapts to you and your strengths and weaknesses. Not sure what to study? Confused by how to improve your score? We give you minute by minute guide.

You don't NEED a prep program to get a great GRE score. But we believe PrepScholar is the best GRE prep program available right now , especially if you find it hard to organize your study schedule and don't know what to study .

Click here to learn how you can improve your GRE score by 7 points, guaranteed .

GRE Essay Scoring: Issue Task

The Analyze an Issue task on GRE Writing asks test takers to read a statement about an issue, take a position, and develop and support that position with evidence and reasoning. For your essay to score highly, you’ll need a clear thesis statement presenting your point of view and multiple examples that back up your claims . How well you accomplish this task dictates how well you’ll do on the Issue essay.

Fortunately, ETS is very up front about what specific benchmarks Issue essays need to meet to reach each score level. Below, I’ve listed the descriptions for 6-, 4-, and 2-scoring Issue essays.

As the above table shows, the holistic GRE Writing score is arrived at by assessing an essay’s quality across many different dimensions: analysis, ideas, development, support, organization, vocabulary & sentence structure. The guiding principle that is used to differentiate between different score levels across all areas, however, is precision .

The more precise you are in formulating an opinion on the issue, in developing and supporting your thinking, in organizing your thinking, and in choosing your words to convey your thinking, the better GRE Writing score you’ll get.

precision/used under CC BY-SA 2.0/Cropped, color-adjusted, and resized from original.

GRE Essay Scoring: Argument Task

The GRE argumentative essay task requires test takers to read an argument and analyze it. The specifics of how this analysis should be done varies from task to task (read more about the eight different kinds of argumentative essay prompts in this article ), but basically you’ll have to evaluate the position or recommendation put forward and decide whether or not it’s reasonable .

Below are the different characteristics of essays scoring a 6, 4, or 2 on the Argument task . As you go through, you may notice some similarities between it and the rubric for the Issue task.

Again, as with the Issue task, the main dimension that separates different score points for the GRE Argument task is level of precision . Instead of being judged on precision in formulating an opinion on an issue, your essay will be judged on precision in analyzing and explaining your analysis of the given argument. Similar to the Issues essay, however, high-scoring Argument essays will still need to demonstrate precision in ideas, development, support, organization, and vocabulary.

You shouldn't number them, but you do have to make sure your ideas are clearly organizedOrganized/used under CC BY-SA 2.0/cropped and resized from original.

How Are GRE Writing Scores Evaluated by Grad Schools?

Now that you understand how the GRE essay scoring works, the question becomes how much grad schools care about GRE Writing scores. The near-unanimous answer, based on the number of schools and programs I researched, seems to be a resounding “not much.”

If schools really want applicants to have specific test scores, they’ll list GRE Writing score cutoffs on their websites (more about what a good GRE Writing score is here ). For the most part, though, as long as you get a 4.0 or above, you’ll be fine, even for the most competitive programs. Find out more about how your GRE score plays into graduate school admissions here .

Grad school!/used under CC BY 2.0/cropped and color-adjusted from original.

What’s Next?

Want to learn more about how scoring works on the GRE? Try our complete guide to GRE scoring . If you took the old GRE, you can follow our instructions to learn how to convert your old GRE score to its equivalent new GRE score .

Hoping for more essay-specific scoring advice? We tell you how to get a perfect six on the Issue and Argument essays here .

Need some quick tips to boost your GRE Writing score? Then you should be sure to read our collection of the best strategies and tips to improve your score here .

Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?

how to write argument essay for gre

Author: Laura Staffaroni

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel and fulfill their college and grad school dreams. View all posts by Laura Staffaroni

how to write argument essay for gre


March 21, 2024

gre vs gmat

Are you planning to apply for a master’s or PhD program? Though some programs do not require any standardized tests (many became test-optional after the COVID-19 pandemic), there’s a good chance that you will need to take either the GMAT or the GRE. This will most likely be the trickiest decision for those applying for business school programs, such as MBAs, since GMATs are somewhat specific to business school admissions (as you will read, the GRE is most common for many other graduate school programs). Many business schools accept both the GRE and the GMAT, so it’s up to the applicant to decide which test is a better fit. Continue reading for the scoop on each, as well as some factors to consider as you decide which test– the GMAT vs GRE–will help you meet your graduate school and career goals.

If you are looking for the highest-quality GMAT or GRE tutor, we strongly recommend the experts at Wasik Tutoring .

Learn More About Wasik Tutoring

A bit about the GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is most frequently used for business school admissions. This test assesses the critical thinking and reasoning skills that a future student would need to be successful in a business school program, such as an MBA.

The GMAT is divided into four sections:

1) Analytical Writing: In this 30-minute section, test takers write a short essay in order to analyze and critique a given argument.

2) Integrated Reasoning: This section assesses one’s ability to solve problems using given data (which the test taker will draw and analyze from tables and graphs). Problems in this section are both quantitative and verbal, and mostly multiple choice. This section is also 30 minutes long.

GMAT vs GRE (Continued)

 3) Quantitative Reasoning: In this longer section, test takers have 62 minutes to solve 31 multiple choice questions, a number of which ask about “data sufficiency” (in other words, do you have enough data to solve a given problem?).

 4) Verbal Reasoning: This section offers 65 minutes for answering 36 questions, and it involves the reading and evaluation of written materials. Test takers are asked to solve three types of questions for this section: reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction.

  A bit about the GRE

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is used by future students applying to study in a wide range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Those applying for programs in fields such as social work and education also often take the GRE.

The GRE also includes four sections:

1) Analytical Writing: Unlike the GMAT, this section includes two essays, with 30-minutes for each. Test takers are asked to construct their own arguments and evaluate another’s argument.

2) Quantitative Reasoning: Comprised of two 35-minute sections with 25 questions in each, this section assesses basic math skills. Questions include multiple choice, numeric entry, and quantitative comparison. Math subjects include basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.

3) Verbal Reasoning: This section includes two sections with 30 minutes to answer 20 questions. Questions include reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence.

4) Unscored or Experimental Section: The GRE includes an unscored verbal or quantitative portion called the “experimental” section, which can appear in any order after Analytical Writing (which always comes first). This section acts as a sort of placebo or control element, testing the difficulty of new questions that will be used in future scored sections in the test. Unfortunately, you will not know which section is unscored, so you should do your best in each section.

Format of the GMAT and GRE

Both the GMAT and the GRE use a computer adaptive format, meaning, the computer program changes the difficulty level of questions based on the test taker’s answers. While the GMAT adapts the difficulty after each question, the GRE adapts the difficulty after each section. Both exams are offered remotely and at testing centers.

  How the GMAT and GRE are scored

The GMAT is scored from 200 to 800. Test takers also receive the section scores separately: Verbal and Qualitative scores each scale from 6 to 51, the Writing section is scored out of 6, and the Integrative Reasoning is scored out of 8.

To get into top business school programs, you will want to strive for at least a 700 on the GMAT. For instance, at University of Chicago’s Booth Full-Time MBA , the average GMAT score is 728 (same as the average score for the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania ). At Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern , the average score is 731, and at Ross School of Business at University of Michigan , the average score is 719. For more information on what GMAT score you might need for the business schools you’re applying for, we recommend this reading on the average GMAT score by school .

The GRE, on the other hand, is scored from 130 to 170 (the writing section is also scored separately, out of 6). When you take the GRE, you will receive your percentile score, as well as your raw score. This percentile lets you know how well you did compared to others. In general, if you receive a score above the 75 th percentile (meaning, you did better than 75% of test takers), you will be a competitive graduate school applicant. For more information on how this works, check out this article on GRE scoring .

Which is more difficult?

This depends on the specific skill set of the test taker. Students with strong quantitative and analytical skills often thrive when it comes to the GMAT, since the math and data interpretation problems tend to be more complex. The quantitative section for the GRE, however, tends to be more straightforward, and allows the use of calculators (so it may be more welcoming to those less inclined towards math). The verbal section on the GMAT also tends to be more analytical, great for students who are detail-oriented and strong editors. The GRE’s verbal section might be better for test takers with strong writing skills and large vocabularies.

In terms of cost, the GMAT is a bit pricier at $300 if delivered online, $275 at a testing center. Extra score reports are $35 each and the rescheduling fee is $60 (more than 60 days before the appointment—this amount increases the closer you get to the exam). In terms of cancellation fees, you can be refunded $120 if you cancel more than 60 days before the exam appointment, $90 if you cancel 15-60 days before, and $60 if you cancel 14 or fewer days before.

The GRE, on the other hand is $220 in most locations, with an extra $35 fee for each extra score report, and a $50 fee for rescheduling. If you cancel at least 4 days before the test date, you can get back 50% of your registration fees.

So, which should you take?

One might think that the GMAT is automatically the better option for students applying for business school programs, but this is not necessarily the case. Nowadays, business schools often look for a wide range of skills, including those assessed by the GRE.

This being the case, how you test will likely matter more than which test you take. In other words, you should probably opt for the test that you’re better at. As you figure out which to take, begin with a practice test of each (since these tests are expensive, you probably won’t want to officially take both, but practice tests are readily available online).

Lastly, you might want to ask yourself these questions as you make your decision:

  • What are your academic goals? If you plan to attend a business school, it might be a tough choice. When it comes to business, are you most interested in exploring the qualitative or quantitative side of things? Which test will better represent where you want to focus as a thinker and entrepreneur? On the other hand, if you’re going into a non-business school program, the GRE will likely make the most sense.
  • What are your academic strengths? If you pride yourself on your analytical or editing skills, the GMAT might be the best option. However, if you are most comfortable writing a broader academic argument, you might want to go for the GRE. If you’re not sure, think back to what your strengths have been in past exams, in university courses or even the SATs. And of course, there’s no harm in taking a practice test of each.
  • What is your testing style? The GRE allows you to skip around and look over past answers, which is helpful to some test takers. It is also comprised of more short sections, rather than fewer long ones, which can be helpful to those who work better with breaks. If focusing for a long period of time is your strength, or if breaks tend to mess with your focus, then GMAT could be best for you.
  • Do any schools you’re applying to require one or the other? Many schools accept both, but make sure to check on the admissions requirements of your program before making any assumptions.
  • Do any potential jobs require one or the other? Some business and consulting firms (among other companies) ask for GMAT scores in the hiring process. If you’re planning to go into a business field, it could be worthwhile to research possible employers ahead of time while making a decision.

 GMAT vs GRE – Final thoughts

All in all, there is no absolute right or wrong answer when it comes to which test you should take, though it can be tough to decide. We hope that this information has been useful. For more information on factors to consider when applying to various graduate school programs, we recommend the following articles:

  • MBA Acceptance Rates 2024
  • 15 Best PsyD & PhD Clinical Psych Programs 2024
  • 25 Thesis/Dissertation Defense Questions
  • Average LSAT Score, LSAT Percentiles, & Law School Acceptance Rates 2023
  • The Best Data Science Master’s Programs of 2023
  • Do You Need a Master’s to Get a PhD?

' src=

Sarah Mininsohn

With a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Sarah is a writer, educator, and artist. She served as a graduate instructor at the University of Illinois, a tutor at St Peter’s School in Philadelphia, and an academic writing tutor and thesis mentor at Wesleyan’s Writing Workshop.

  • 2-Year Colleges
  • Application Strategies
  • Big Picture
  • Career & Personality Assessment
  • College Essay
  • College Search/Knowledge
  • College Success
  • Costs & Financial Aid
  • Dental School Admissions
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Graduate School Admissions
  • High School Success
  • High Schools
  • Law School Admissions
  • Medical School Admissions
  • Navigating the Admissions Process
  • Online Learning
  • Private High School Spotlight
  • Summer Program Spotlight
  • Summer Programs
  • Test Prep Provider Spotlight

College Transitions Sidebar Block Image

“Innovative and invaluable…use this book as your college lifeline.”

— Lynn O'Shaughnessy

Nationally Recognized College Expert

College Planning in Your Inbox

Join our information-packed monthly newsletter.

Sign Up Now


  1. 4 Top-Scoring GRE Sample Essays, Analyzed (Issue + Argument

    Paragraph 1: The author acknowledges "technology has revolutionized the world.". Paragraph 2: The author explains the reasoning behind the statement in the prompt ("The assumption is that an increased reliance on technology negates the need for people to think creatively to solve previous quandaries").

  2. GRE General Test Analytical Writing Analyze an Argument Task

    In fact, when GRE raters are trained, they review hundreds of Argument responses that, although highly diverse in content and form, display similar levels of critical thinking and persuasive writing. For example, raters will see some essays at the 6 score level that begin by briefly summarizing the argument and then explicitly stating and ...

  3. How to Write a Great GRE Argument Essay

    The essays that tend to get the highest grades have one feature in common: length! Write as much as you can—without being repetitive. Your Argument essay should include at least four indented paragraphs and consist of 350-600 words—ideally somewhere in the 500-600-word range. Quality is most important, but in order to achieve that, you ...

  4. GRE General Test Analytical Writing Overview

    The Analytical Writing measure of the GRE General Test administered before September 22, 2023, assesses your critical thinking and analytical writing skills by assessing your ability to: articulate and support complex ideas. construct and evaluate arguments. sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It doesn't assess specific content knowledge.

  5. How to Structure the GRE Issue Essay

    GRE Analytical Writing Essay Scoring Process. Your GRE essays will be scored by half-point increments, from 0 to 6 (highest). Two graders will score both this argument essay and your issue essay. A third grader will also score your essays if your two initial graders' scores differ by more than one point. The graders base scores on their ...

  6. GRE Writing A Step-by-Step Guide to the GRE Argument Essay

    In this video, GRE expert, Mason, walks you through the steps you should take when writing a strong GRE Argument Essay:00:00 - GRE expert Mason shares how he...

  7. How to Write an Effective Argument Essay for the GRE

    Preparing for the Argument Essay. Most students want to do everything they can to write a clear, organized argument essay. GRE prep should include essay-writing practice. You can write a practice argument essay, then dissect it sentence by sentence to make sure it contains all of the necessary elements. As a note, the GRE gives students 30 ...

  8. PDF Overview of the Analytical Writing Section

    3BIntroduction. The Analytical Writing section of the Graduate Record Examinations® (GRE®) tests 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.

  9. The New GRE AWA: Tips to Approach the GRE Essay

    The GRE essay tests your ability to write a cogent thesis statement that you must defend over the course of several paragraphs. ... Sample Argument Essays from ETS. The essays here are actual student essays. Use these essays to assess your own level of writing. In other words, determine where in the 0.0-6.0 range you fall, based on the scores ...

  10. GRE Argument Essay Step-by-step Guide and Example

    Visit https://www.gregmat.com for more gre stuff.In this video, I write an argument essay 'live' from beginning to end. GregMat+ is the most affordable GRE t...

  11. How to write a perfect GRE Analyze an Argument Essay: Tips, Tricks, and

    The best way to do well on the Argument GRE essay is to learn the tips and tricks within this blog post and then practice writing your own essay 2-3 times before delving into the actual exam. This blog post will show you an example prompt and response, identify what should be included in a perfect score essay, and give you a step-by-step guide ...

  12. 12 Tips to Ace GRE Writing

    2 minutes to read through the prompt and directions. 3 minutes brainstorming, outlining, and writing a thesis statement. 20 minutes writing the body paragraphs and examples of your essay. 2 minutes to edit for small mistakes, such as grammatical errors. 3 minutes (if available) to write an intro.

  13. GRE Essay Prompts

    The GRE Analytical Writing section requires you to write two essays—one will be an analysis of an issue and the other will be an analysis of an argument. You will have 30 minutes for each essay. Try your hand at these GRE essay prompts, and read our explanations for what makes a great GRE essay. We pulled these sample questions from our book ...

  14. LibGuides: Writing Center: Tips for GRE Essay Writing

    3 minutes to select a thesis statement and brainstorm an outline for the essay. 20 minutes to write the essay, beginning with the body paragraphs and ending with an introduction or conclusion with the remaining time. 2 minutes to fix small mistakes, such as spelling and grammatical errors. 3 minutes to make any last-minute changes as necessary.

  15. How to Write Your GRE Argument Essay

    Looking for tips and tricks on writing your GRE argument essay? Join this workshop with Magoosh GRE expert, Linnea, to get the full rundown. Bring your quest...

  16. GRE Argument Essay Tips- All You Need To Know

    The GRE argument essay assesses how well you grasp, analyze, and write an argument that differs from the issue essay. It is necessary to complete this task in 30 minutes. You can use specific writing skills learned in English compositions. In this essay, you must analyze an argument, identify assumptions and faults, and provide references to a certain path.

  17. How to Use the GRE Essay Pool for Effective Practice

    Get Acquainted with the Prompts: The first step is to get to know the prompts in the GRE essay pool. Go through them, understand what each type of essay demands, and take note of the specific instructions. Plan Your Attack: Create a plan that includes regular practice with these essay topics. Set aside specific times to write practice essays ...

  18. 328 Official GRE Essay Topics to Practice With

    There are 152 different possible GRE essay topics in the GRE Issue pool and 176 different GRE essay topics in the GRE Argument pool, which means it's unlikely you'll run out of official prompts to practice with. And while there's only a 1/328 chance that one of the GRE writing prompts you practice with ends up being on the test, that's ...

  19. The Shorter GRE: New Test (as of 2023) Half as Long

    The Educational Testing Service (ETS) shortened the Graduate Record Exam (GRE ®) in 2023. Instead of a 4-hour long exam, test-takers now receive a condensed exam that takes less than two hours to complete, about half the time of the old (pre-September, 2023) test. Read about what changed on the GRE in 2023, and how it affects your GRE prep.

  20. GRE Preparation

    The first section you will encounter on the GRE is the analytical writing section. You will write two essays in 60 minutes, so you need to be well prepared. This lesson gives you the essentials to be your best on exam day. Writing Style Review for the Analytical Writing Section. Grammar and punctuation count on the analytical writing section.

  21. Analyzing an Argument When Taking the GRE

    Of the two GRE writing sections, the argument essay demands the most of test-takers by testing their abilities to analyze reason and logic. When gearing up for the GRE writing sections, future graduate students need to prepare for both the Issue Task and the Argument Task. As the essay writing service, KingEssays assumes that the latter, however, requires more preparation, because this section ...

  22. Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay

    Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing. Tips for Essay Writing. A typical college application essay, also known as a personal statement, is 400-600 words. Although that may seem short, writing about yourself can be challenging. It's not something you want to rush or put off at the last moment.

  23. How Is the GRE Essay Scored? • PrepScholar GRE

    After both of your essays have been scored by e-rater and human grader (s), your overall GRE Writing score is then calculated. To get this number, your scores on the Issue and Argument task are averaged together to give you a final Analytical Writing score on a scale of 0-6 (with 0.5 increments). For instance, if you got a 4/6 on the Issues ...

  24. GMAT vs GRE

    1) Analytical Writing: In this 30-minute section, test takers write a short essay in order to analyze and critique a given argument. 2) Integrated Reasoning: This section assesses one's ability to solve problems using given data (which the test taker will draw and analyze from tables and graphs). Problems in this section are both quantitative ...