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Revised GRE Argument Topics

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Revised GRE Argument Topics Intro

The Revised GRE Analytical Writing section requires you to write two essays in one hour. One of these essays is called the "Analyze an Argument" Essay. You'll be given a brief passage in which the writer makes a case for completing a course of action or interprets an event by presenting evidence. Your job will be to examine the writer's reasoning and discuss the logic behind it in just 30 minutes. Difficult? Definitely, if you're unprepared.

In order to do well on this portion of the Analytical Writing section, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the argument scoring guidelines, learn how to write the GRE essays, and practice with the prompts listed below or others from one of the best GRE prep books, so you're in peak form on test day.

Revised GRE Argument Topics

Here are a few samples of GRE argument topics similar to those you could see on test day. These topics will not be given to you in isolation. Instead, you'll see an argument like one of these below followed by one of the sets of instructions which will tell you how to critique the argument. Taking notes about each and jotting a quick outline is an absolute must for these responses!

From -The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test: ETS, 2010

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 depatment devoties little of its budget to maintinaing 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. 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.

From -Barron's New GRE, 2011

Statistics gathered over the past three decades show that the death rate is higher among those who do noat have jobs than among those with regular employment. Unemployment, just like heart disease and cancer, is a significant health issue. While many health care advocates promote increased government funding for medical research and public health care, it would be folly to increase government spending if doing so were to affect the nation's economy adversely and ultimately cause a rise in unemployment. A healthy economy means healthy citizens.

Revised GRE Argument Instructions

The argument topic you'll receive will be accompanied by one of the following sets of instructions:

  • Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
  • 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 these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the advice and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the advice.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
  • Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanations can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.
  • Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be addressed in order to decide whether the conclusion and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to the questions would help to evaluate the conclusion.

Revised GRE Argument Sample Essays

If you'd like to see student responses based on one of the topics listed above, check out these GRE argument essays, ranked from 0 – 6 to get a feel for the skills readers will be hoping to find in your own essay.

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