According to the educational testing service, this section of the GRE test is used to assesses your ability to think critically about a topic of general interest and clearly express your thoughts about it in writing each issue topic
In this section of the computer delivered GRE test, critical thinking and analytical writing skills are tested. The analytical writing section tests the ability to articulate and support complex ideas, it checks if a test taker can construct and evaluate arguments or start your own argument and evaluate the arguments presented. While writing an essay as part of the analytical writing section, it is important to make sure that the essay is well built and demonstrates your writing skills. A GRE essay needs to have sustained argument, structured with several paragraphs and it has to be focused. There shouldn’t be any deviation from any point or talk about anything irrelevant and it should be coherent.
The GRE analytical writing measure is not about assessing knowledge of any content. One does not need to be an expertise in any field of any kind. The idea is to comprehend information received and used it constructively to maintain a coherent discussion using specific examples when necessary.
What is the structure/format of the AWA section in the GRE?
It is always advised that test takers undertake practice tests to get familiar with the structure of the Analytical Writing Assessment in the GRE General Test. The analytical writing sections is the first section of the GRE test. This section contains two essays –
- The analysis of a current issue and
- The analysis of an argument.
All you need is to have a solid, template-based approach to cracking the GRE Analytical Writing Ability section with exemplification of logical and critical thinking in your responses.
For this essay section, you have to write two essays and you will have 30 minutes to write each one. Please note that you cannot transfer time for one essay to the other. For example, if you spend only 20 minutes on the first essay, you cannot then apply the additional 10 minutes to the second essay.
The one essay type is called “analyze an issue” or the “issue task” or the “issues essay”. You are presented with an issue and you must explain and support your position on that issue. The other essay is called “analyze an argument” or the “argument task”. You are presented with an argument and you must write an essay critiquing the argument. Now it's important to note that these writing tasks do not test specific subject knowledge and they test only your ability to think analytically and communicate your ideas in a clear and effective manner.
Your final score for the analytical writing score will range from 0 to 6. Each of your essays will be graded at least two times once by a human and once by a computer program to get an accurate essay score. There are no precise scoring rules such as a 1/2 Point deduction for a spelling error or a 1/3 Point increase for a good idea. The overall quality of ideas presented, the overall ability to organize development, express those ideas the relevant supporting reasons and examples used and the ability to control the elements of standard written English determine your final AWA score. So, make sure to take as many practice tests as a part of your GRE prep to get familiar with the structure of the exam and improve your writing skills.