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GRE AWA

GRE is the short form of Graduate Record Exam and AWA is the short form of Analytical Writing Analysis section. The AWA is one of the three sections of the general test of GRE. The other two sections of the general test are the Verbal Section and the Quantitative Section. The AWA is considered to be the trickiest to handle and you need remarkable writing skills to score well in this section.


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The Analytical Writing Analysis aims at judging your analytical skills which you present through your writing. It tests whether your thinking abilities are developed enough to critically analyze an argument, rationally support your point of view and coherently present your ideas. These skills are required for undertaking the difficult subjects of college level. In schools students highly depend on their teachers whereas in college they have to study a lot more independently. These scores clearly indicate how competent a child is to study independently.

The AWA consists of two questions: Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument. The analysis of an issue question has to be attempted in 45 minutes and the analysis of an argument question has to be attempted in 30 minutes. Where there are two topics in the former for you to choose from, there is no choice in the latter. In the analysis of an issue question you shall have to give your ideas on a given topic in a well reasoned out logical manner. You have to give your outlook on an issue of general interest. In the analysis of an argument question you have to simply analyze a given argument. By this it is meant that you have to read a piece of writing and criticize it. You have to point the weak logics and links in the argument and justify your claims. In totality this section solves dual purpose. It tests you for how logically you can reason and how convincingly you can support your ideas and on the other hand it tests how well you can judge someone else's point of view for rationale.


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Let us discuss both the questions of AWA separately. In order to attempt the analysis of an issue question you have to clearly understand the topic. Since you have to choose one from the two given topics, your job becomes slightly easier. Read both the topics very carefully. Break up the statements into small parts and try to grasp the meaning of each phrase and word. Once you have understood the two topics you are in a better position to make the choice. For making the selection you have to concentrate on your writing skills rather than your emotions. Do not choose a topic because you feel strongly about an issue; instead choose that topic about which you can write well. Remember that the examiners are judging you and you have to play it safe by giving to them what they want to read. If you choose a topic for which you are short of ideas and examples then the write-up tends to be repetitive and consequently boring. You should be able to give a number of different points and bring in variety by quoting examples so that when the examiner finishes reading your essay his mind is full of your ideas and hence your analysis seems complete. When you choose a suitable topic your ideas begin to flow automatically. If you have practiced enough for this section then there is little effort that you have to make to gather points. Make a mental note of the different ideas you have to concentrate on and begin writing. The general layout of the essay should be clear in your mind; begin with an introduction, followed by the main content and end with a conclusive summary. Mere ideas will not get you anywhere unless they are systematically assembled. Start with the topic in general and your broad idea about it; whether you agree completely, disagree completely, or agree to a certain extent with the claim. Then you can start analyzing the claim by parts. Present each of your idea distinctly, supported with explanations and examples. Where each idea has to be distinct the placement of each point should be judicious, one point should lead to the other. Try to explain one main idea in one paragraph along with the related illustrations. At the same time the beginning of each paragraph should be such that the link between two paragraphs is not broken. The essay has to be complete in itself; it should not sound like a collection of different paragraphs put together without any system.

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