Analytical Writing Section
Writing tasks will be displayed on the computer, and you must type your responses. "Issue" Task
The "Issue" task gives you considerable latitude in the way you respond to the claim made about a given issue. Practice writing responses on several of the topics, keeping to the 45-minute time limit. To prepare for this task, try asking the following questions when reviewing the published list of
; What does the statement mean? What does it imply? What, precisely, is the central
; Do I agree with all or with any part of the statement? Why or why not?
; Is the statement valid only in certain circumstances?
; Do I need to explain how I interpret certain terms or concepts used in the statement?
; If I take a certain position on the issue, what reasons support my position?
; What examples — either hypothetical or drawn from my reading or direct experience
— could I use to illustrate those reasons and advance my point of view? Which
examples are most compelling?
; What reasons might someone use to refute or undermine my position? How should I
acknowledge or defend against those views?
Because the "Argument" task is constrained by the line of reasoning in the argument presented to you, read and analyze the argument carefully. Practice writing responses to several of the topics within the 30-minute time limit. Try asking the following questions when reviewing the published list
of "Argument" topics:
; What claims, conclusions, and underlying assumptions does the argument make?
; What alternative explanations and counterexamples can I think of?
; What additional evidence might weaken or strengthen the claims?
; What changes in the argument would make the reasoning more sound?
Verbal and Quantitative Sections
IMPORTANT NOTE: Test-taking strategies appropriate for the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the computer-based GRE General Test are different from those that are appropriate for taking the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the paper-based GRE General Test. Be sure to follow the appropriate strategies for the testing format in which you will be testing. Computer-based testing strategies should not be used if you take the paper-based test.
; Practice test questions under timed conditions so that you get used to the pace of
the test. For example, if there are 30 questions in a section and you have a total of
30 minutes to complete the section, give yourself an average of one minute to
complete each question. When you are practicing, keep time in mind and remember
that if you spend too much time on one question, you will have less time to spend
; Use the computer tutorial. The tutorial is included in the GRE Powerprep software.
The tutorial will let you try out the functions of the computer (e.g., the mouse, the
scroll bar) used during the test.
; When you arrive at the test center, you will have the opportunity to complete an
untimed computer tutorial before the actual test begins. You can spend up to 30
minutes on the tutorial and other untimed sections to become familiar and
comfortable with the computer before starting the timed sections of the test. ; Once the test is under way, you can always click on "Help" to review the directions
or a summary of the tutorial again, but be aware that this will count against the
allotted time for that section of the test.
; Some questions, graphs or passages are too large to appear completely on the
computer screen. In these cases a "scroll bar" appears to the right of the material
and the word "Beginning" appears on the information line at the top of the screen.
These are cues to scroll for more information.
Pace yourself throughout the test — You want to finish!
; Use the resources available for test practicing (test preparation books, software) to
become familiar with the test and test instructions before you get to the test center. ; Read the directions carefully before you begin. The directions at the beginning of
each test section give the total number of questions in that section as well as total
time allotted for that section.
; Budget enough time for each question so as to be able to complete the test without
having to rush at the end of each section. Keep in mind the average amount of time
to spend per question.
; Once you start the test, an on-screen clock display will continuously count down the
remaining time. You can hide this display if you want, but it is a good idea to check
the clock periodically to monitor your progress. The clock will automatically alert you
when five minutes remain in the allotted time for that section.
; Use your time wisely. Read each question carefully to determine exactly what is
being asked. Eliminate the wrong answers and select the best choice. Don't get
stuck on a tough question and lose time. Keep moving through the test and try to
finish each section.
; You may want to use the one-minute break between test sections to replenish your
supply of scratch paper. After the Analytical Writing section, an on-screen message
indicates a 10-minute break is available. Section timing does not stop for
Know the rules.
; Computer-adaptive tests require that you answer every question in the order in
which it is presented. You can't skip a question and go back. The computer selects
the next question from a large pool of available questions based upon your previous
; Click on the appropriate answer. Answer each question by clicking on the oval next
to the answer choice or by clicking on any part of the text of that answer choice.
Complete the answer by clicking on "Next" and then "Answer Confirm." You can
change an answer any time before confirming it by clicking on a different answer
; Understand the implications of exiting a section or quitting the test. Once you exit a
section, you cannot return to it. Click on the "Test Quit" box at the bottom of the
screen only to end the testing session. If you quit the test, you will not receive a
score for any section, even for sections already completed. If you click on "Section
Exit" or "Test Quit" by mistake, you will be given the opportunity to reverse or
confirm that decision.
; You may take the computer-based GRE General Test once per calendar month up
to five times in a 12-month period. This applies even if you ended the testing
session by clicking on "Test Quit" or canceled your scores after completing the test.
Understand how the test is scored.
; The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are adaptive tests.
Computer-adaptive tests are scored differently from most paper-and-pencil tests.
The score on the computer-adaptive test depends on a combination of such factors
o the number of questions answered within the allotted time
o performance on questions answered throughout the test
o the statistical characteristics (including difficulty level) of questions answered
throughout the test
Don't panic if you don't know an answer.
; Don't spend too much time on any one question. The last thing you want to do is
waste a lot of valuable time on any one question. If, after a reasonable amount of
thought, you don't know the answer, eliminate as many answer choices as possible
and then select and confirm the best answer. Keep going and aim to complete the
; If you are running out of time at the end of a section, make every effort to complete the test. Data indicate that most test takers get higher scores if they finish the test. In fact, based on analyses of test takers, a majority of test takers will score higher if they finish the test than if they do not attempt to answer all of the questions. There is a chance that guessing at the end of the test can seriously lower your score. The best strategy is to pace yourself so that you have time to consider each test question and won't have to guess.