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Analytical Writing Drills


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In my practice for the analytical writing section I have found that if I get a decent first paragraph in the first 10 or so minutes the rest of my attempt goes well. Naturally to prepare for this complicated section of the exam more than 10 minute drills are necessary, but I felt it might be a decent way to practice. Hopefully this random idea I had will prove useful for others practice efforts.

So in this game I will post a topic once a week or so. With others either posting their own drill results, or constructively comment on others results.

GRE Analytical Writing Section :

Prompt (from ETS practice materials):

Six months ago the region of Forestville increased the speed limit for vehicles traveling on the region’s highways by ten miles per hour. Since that change took effect, the number of automobile accidents in that region has increased by 15 percent. But the speed limit in Elmsford, a region neighboring Forestville, remained unchanged, and automobile accidents declined slightly during the same six-month period. Therefore, if the citizens of Forestville want to reduce the number of automobile accidents on the region’s highways, they should campaign to reduce Forestville’s speed limit to what it was before the increase.

My first paragraph:

The argument suggests that Forestville residents should campaign to reduce the speed limits on its highways as a recent increase of its speed limits has created a 15% increase in the amount of accidents on its highways. The basis of this argument is due to comparing the speed limits in Elmsford, which have remained unchanged along with its accidents decreasing slightly over the same time period of the change in Forestville. The problem with this argument is it has very little information comparing Forestville to Elmsford in a way that justifies the comparison as a basis of an argument to change things in Forestville.

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It's a good idea to practice for this together, I think! When I was preparing I found it difficult to find information and feedback on my attempts. I did well in the end (5.5). What worked for me was starting with writing down, on a piece of paper, bulletpoints for the different paragraphs I wanted to make. So the first paragraph would be like what you have written now, a short summary of what the text is about. Then I would have a couple of paragraphs, each one naming a different problem with the text. I finished with a summary of the different problems of the text and that, therefore, the speed limit should not be changed based on this information (or whatever).

What I didn't know beforehand, but what I luckily did anyway, is this: it is very important to clearly indicate the 'point' of your paragraph using words like: Firstly, secondly, on the other hand, therefore, to summarise... This helps to organise your response for your own benefit and for the benefit of the computer scoring it.

Sorry, I'm not sure if you were looking for tips, but if you were: I hope it helps!

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Im not even sure if even they even read the analytical writing part. I didn't write much and got a 5. I forgot there was even a writing section when I went in.Honestly, I wouldn't worry about this section at all.

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