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GRE AW Issue prompts


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I'm going to be writing my GRE in a week and I'm kinda stumped on how to approach the Issue essay for the AWA.From what I've been reading about the issue prompt of the AWA, a lot of websites say that sticking to addressing what the prompt asks for is the best method. But I had recently taken a GRE AWA course and the instructor stated to me that I should choose to either Agree or Disagree and stick to what I choose. But most of the prompts ask to discuss the "extent" to which I agree or disagree, for example:


Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.


Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.


Since most of the issues they propose seem to be extermely absolute (ie. using the words always, should etc) wouldn't it make more sense to describe the extent to which I agree by also include situations or points that promote disagreement? This would make it a lot easier to actually describe my opinion on the matter. For example, for the following prompt


Nations should pass laws to preserve any remaining wilderness areas in their natural state, even if these areas could be developed for economic gain.


Wouldn't it make more sense to say I agree because we need to preserve the environment for other species but saying "any" remaining wilderness areas is too extreme since in developing countries farming these areas could promote economical benefits for the poorer population. Or does this seem like I'm wavering between two opinions which would result in a weak thesis?

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I have a friend who teaches prep classes, and she told me that students who aren't great writers need to be warned away from picking something in the middle because they can sound wishy-washy.  Maybe your instructor just gives that advice as a default?  I think you should just write about whatever your real opinion is.  If you try to force things one way or the other, it will make your writing harder.  And yeah, sometimes the prompt statements are pretty extreme, so going to one end of the spectrum or the other without any allowance for the other side wouldn't portray you as a nuanced thinker.

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When you write the GRE, you should have a template in mind for how you want to present/organize your essay. In fact, before test day, you should test out this template at least once. If you decide to choose one side and defend it, then you will need only one template. If you want to leave room for choosing (and defending) both sides, you will need two templates.


If you'd like some additional tips on organizing your essay, we have a series of free videos on the topic of Analytical Writing.




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