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Analytical Writing - please help!


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I am getting much better at the analytical writing portion of the GRE, but am wondering about a few things.

Most of the topics ask whether you agree or disagree with a statement and to provide examples or details that support your decision. When choosing either side (agree or disagree) and providing examples/information to support my decision, is it okay to provide information relating to the opposite side too? I know I am supposed to choose one side and explain it, but it seems like information about the other side helps support my decision and explain my reasoning further. I just don't want to provide information for the opposite side and confusing readers with which side I choose, yet, I want to provide this information to help support my decision.

I hope this all makes sense. Please help!

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Great question. The short answer is "Yes, and you should!"

I recently had a very good writer as one of my students (she was probably better than I am) who ended up with a 5.5 on the real test. I remember she remarked to me, "I find myself disagreeing with every prompt!" - and it made me realize that her approach worked well as a template.

What I often advise is similar to what she usually did:

Intro: establish context

Pgh 1: discuss reasoning contrary to yours

Pgh. 2: your argument

Pgh 3: another aspect of your argument


I really like this general method, since I think it's easier to provide a response to the contrary point-of-view rather than to just state your point-of-view in a vacuum.

Granted, this template might not work for everyone or for all prompts. Be sure to check out the ETS books for sample essays to get good examples of different ways to structure things.


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I agree with the above. I was told the GRE loves that "grey area," but to make sure you thoroughly prove why even though there might be something that seems like a valid point, how it can be easily overcome/isn't valid. Additionally, it shows that you really have taken some time to think critically about the topic, since there are few situations in which one side is right. 

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