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If you are planning on applying to graduate school, one of the perquisites required is that you take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). A part of the verbal section of the test involves you writing two essay questions; an “analyze an issue” essay, and an “analyse an argument” essay. You are provided with 30 minutes to complete this part of the exam. This section of the test is harder for international students, since English is not their first language. However, by taking time out to study prior to taking the exam, you can score very well on this section. There are several GRE courses in Kuwait that are available to assist in your test preparation. Here are some useful tips to help you to write an effective GRE essay.

Read carefully: A typical mistake made by test takers is that they fail to read the question properly. The two essays provide different instructions; while it may appear that answering an essay question is simple, being careless can cause you to fail.

Read each question more than once, as you are reading, take notes and underline key points that will help you to structure your argument.

Plan: After you have read the question, take time out to brainstorm your argument. This should take you between three to five minutes to complete. Brainstorming involves getting your ideas down onto paper, so that you can focus on them at length once you begin to write the essay. Once you have done this, your next step is to start prioritizing and organizing your ideas. Planning what you are going to write before you articulate it on paper will assist you in structuring your essay more effectively.

Analyze an issue: This is not like a traditional argumentative essay. The goal here is not to state whether or not you agree with the information presented. Neither are you required to discuss whether or not the data is accurate. You are required to identify the missing pieces within the argument. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) suggests that you evaluate the line of reasoning, use of evidence, and the arguments structure. For example, you can construct an argument that suggests that the evidence provided within the argument, does not justify the data provided. Or you can argue that the information is falsely attributing an explicit cause to an effect.

Analyze an issue: In this essay, you are asked to critically express and examine a distinct position on a particular topic. This section is very similar to an argumentative, or a persuasive essay. Your point of view is not what you are required to express here. What the examiners are looking for is how clearly you are able to articulate yourself, and how well you support your statement with analysis and evidence.

Your opening statement should articulate your point, and the main body should develop and provide examples to support your argument.

Helpful hints: The worst thing that you can do when writing your essay is waffle. If you cannot develop your argument any further, simply stop writing. The idea is that you are confident and clear in what you saying. Taking a middle of the road approach, where you are making points to support a double argument will hinder your scores. What you say, and the amount that you write is not important. You are being evaluated for your ability to defend your argument.

Do not make general statements; be very specific by choosing examples that relate to the real world. You don’t have to choose a scholarly example, but you must focus on a real life situation.

You can choose examples from a broad range of subjects such as history, literature, sports, politics and current events. Simply ensure that you are clearly able to communicate how your example supports your main idea.

You are the person writing the essay; it is therefore obvious that information came from you. Avoid self referencing, or writing in the first person, evade using phrases such as “I believe,” or “I think.”

If you are using a personal example, you can revert to first person pronouns within the body of the text if the story you are telling is about your own life. However, do not use “I” in the introduction, or conclusion.

To infuse confidence into your writing make strong declarative statements by adding emotional adverbs, adjectives, and because clauses.

Your conclusion is often the strongest part of your argument, and students typically use it to sum up everything they have said in the opening statement and the body. To make your argument more interesting, you can make a prediction of the opposing view point. This shows that you are cognizant of the fact that there are some people who are not going to support your position, you can go on to counter their argument which will reinforce your main thesis.

Final thought: Students who score the highest in the GRE are those who spend a significant amount of time studying prior to taking the test. Even if you enrol on one of the GRE courses in Kuwait, you should spend time outside of the classroom implementing what you have learnt.

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