How to Prepare for
the Analytical Writing Section
Even the most confident of writers should spend time preparing for the Analytical Writing section of the GRE to understand the skills measured and how the tasks are scored. It may also be useful to review the scoring guides, sample topics, scored sample essay responses and rater commentary for each task.
Therefore, it is also important to budget your time to allow sufficient time to consider the issue or argument and the specific instructions, plan a response, and compose your essay. Although the GRE raters who score your essays understand the time constraints and consider your response a first draft, you still want it to be the best possible example of your writing that you can produce under the testing conditions.
Save a few minutes at the end of each timed task to check for obvious errors. An occasional spelling or grammatical error won’t affect your score, but serious and persistent errors detract from the overall effectiveness of your writing and lower your score accordingly.
Published Topics Pools for Analytical Writing
To help you prepare for the Analytical Writing measure, the GRE Program has published the entire pool of tasks from which your test tasks will be selected. You might find it helpful to review the Issue and Argument pools:
- Issue Topic Pool (PDF)
- Argument Topic Pool (PDF)
Click on the links below to learn more:
- About the GRE General Test
- Contact Dr. Donnelly about GRE lessons
- Read our students' reviews
- How is the GRE scored?
- GRE Exam - Section by Section
What our students say
about Dr. Donnelly!
"Dr. Donnelly is a wonderful teacher. He is quick to pinpoint weaknesses and, in many cases, turn them into strengths. He always has a structured lesson plan and pertinent homework assignments and puts aside time in the lesson to go over "trouble problems" from the previous lesson. I highly recommend taking a prep course with him. His patience, humor, and kindheartedness makes an otherwise uncomfortable standardized test almost enjoyable."
"Dr. Donnelly is patient and supportive and is clear when explaining questions that were challenging to me. He also urged me to work out questions on my own, which was extremely helpful. He created an atmosphere in which I looked forward to the challenge of each section on the practice tests, and I definitely felt more confident taking the test. If I need to prepare for another standardized test, I will definitely contact Dr. Donnelly."
“If you are willing to put in the time to work, Dr. Donnelly will make sure you succeed. He is incredibly easy to understand and patient.”
“Dr. Donnelly's way of teaching is very calm and effective. By teaching concepts in the simplest ways possible he managed to make it interesting and challenging at the same time.”