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Overview for GRE Analytical Writing<<Issue Questions>>. Four Sections in this overview I. Introduction to Issue Questions (I. 介紹 Issue Questions) II. How to Answer Issue Questions (II. 答題技巧及 ETS 提供的例題 )

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overview for gre analytical writing issue questions
Overview for GRE Analytical Writing<<Issue Questions>>
  • Four Sections in this overview
  • I. Introduction to Issue Questions
  • (I. 介紹Issue Questions)
  • II. How to Answer Issue Questions
  • (II. 答題技巧及ETS提供的例題)

A Detailed Look at an Issue Topic and Answer / Developing a Position on the Issue

  • III. Other Useful Tips (III. 更多答題技巧)
  • IV. Related Links and References(IV.相關連結與參考資料)
i introduction to issue questions
I. Introduction to Issue Questions

There are two kinds of essay questions in the GRE test

1) Present Your Perspective on an Issue

1 question, 45 minutes

2) Analyze an Argument

1 question, 30 minutes

GRE分析寫作共有兩種題型-- issue question & argument question,各為一題,前者有45分鐘可作答,後者30分鐘。

This file focuses on the first kind – issue questions.

*You will be asked to --

Present your perspective on the issue, using relevant reasons and/or examples to support your views. That means, you will adopt a position.

*You need to choose from two issue topics. Each presents an opinion on an issue of broad interest.

  • ETS has released its official pool of GRE Analytical Writing questions on www.gre.org
issue question
此檔案主要介紹issue question

* Present your perspective on the issue, using relevant reasons and/or examples to support your views. That means, you will adopt a position.


*You need to choose from two issue topics. Each presents an opinion on an issue of broad interest.

題目會提供兩個議題,只需要選擇一個作答。Issue question提出的議題基本上都是大眾熟悉或感興趣的議題。


Directions for the Issue Writing Task (Issuewriting task作答指示)

Present your perspective on one of the issues below, using relevant reasons and/or examples to support your views. You are free to accept, reject, or qualify the statement.

以下兩項議題請選擇一題,提出你的看法,並運用相關理由或例子支持你的看法。你可以接受或反對所選的議題(accept or reject the statement),或者不選擇接受及反對議題,而是闡述議題的正當性(qualify the statement) 。

Topic 1

"Both the development of technological tools and the uses to which humanity has put them have created modern civilizations in which loneliness is ever increasing."

Topic 2

"Our declining environment may bring the people of the world together as no politician, philosopher, or war ever could. Environmental problems are global in scope and respect no nation\'s boundaries. Therefore, people are faced with the choice of unity and cooperation on the one hand or disunity and a common tragedy on the other."

more questions from the pool of issue topics
More Questions from the Pool of Issue Topics
  • "The university community consists of three different worlds—the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences. Because each world operates on its own assumptions and has its own special habits of thinking, rarely is there meaningful interaction among the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences."
  • ———————————————
  • "The problems of modern society have led many people to complain: \'We live in terrible times.\' Yet, given the choice, no one today would prefer to live in any other time."
"Students should be encouraged to realize that mental agility and rhetorical skill must be accompanied by sincerity and the true conviction of their own beliefs."
  • ———————————————
  • "While most of the environmental problems we face result from the use of technology, society must depend upon technology to find solutions to these problems."
"The absence of choice is a circumstance that is very, very rare."
  • ———————————————
  • "What we call progress is a matter of exchanging one problem for another."
  • ———————————————
  • "Only through mistakes can there be discovery or progress."
  • ———————————————
  • "Every new generation needs to redefine \'right\' and \'wrong\' in its own terms and according to the conditions of its own time."
ii how to answer issue questions ii ets
II. How to Answer Issue Questions II. 答題技巧及ETS提供的例題

<<A Detailed Look at an Issue Topic and Answer>>

Issue Topic例題:

“In our time, specialists of all kinds are highly overrated. We need more generalists—people who can provide broad perspectives.”


以下為此議題的範例回答(sample essay) ,包括引言,主文大綱及結論。完整回答請參考ETS官方網站(http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/GRE/pdf/awintro.pdf )。

(此處之sample issue topic and essay及strategies取材自ETS網站 An Introduction to the Analytical Writing Section of the GRE General Test. http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/GRE/pdf/awintro.pdf )

Sample Essay:

In this essay, the writer attempts to qualify the issue statement. He/She acknolwedges that both specialists and generalists are needed.


(For complete sample essays scored from 1-6 with reader commentaries, please refer to http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/GRE/pdf/awintro.pdf )

Introduction of this essay:
  • In this era of rapid social and technological change leading to increasing life complexity and psychological displacement, both positive and negative effects among persons in Western society call for a balance in which there are both specialists and generalists.
outline of the main body
Outline of the Main Body:
  • Specialists are necessary in order to allow society as a whole to properly and usefully assimilate the masses of new information and knowledge that have come out of research and have been widely disseminated through mass global media.
  • Simply put, without specialists, our society would find itself bogged down in the Sargasso sea of information overload.
  • On the other hand, Over specialization means narrow focii in which people can lose the larger picture.
(4) Not only may over-specialization be dangerous in terms of the truth, purity and cohesion of knowledge, but it can also serve to drown moral or universall issues.

(5) Finally, over-specialization in a people\'s daily lives and jobs has meant personal and psychological compartmentalization.


Without generalists, society becomes inward-looking and eventually inefficient. Without a society that recognizes the importance of broad-mindedness and fora for sharing generalities, individuals become isolated. Thus, while our form of society necessitates specialists, generalists are equally important. Specialists drive us forward in a series of thrusts while generalists make sure we are still on the jousting field and know what the stakes are.

<<Strategies>> 答題策略

Before you start writing, explore the complexities of the issue. 開始作答前請考慮以下問題。

1) What, precisely, is the central issue?


2) Do I agree with all or with any part of the claim? Why or why not?



3) Does the claim make certain assumptions? If so, are they reasonable?


4) Is the claim valid only under certain conditions? If so, what are they?


5) Do I need to explain how I interpret certain terms or concepts used in the claim?


6) If I take a certain position on the issue, what reasons support my position?


7) What examples could I use to illustrate those reasons and advance my point of view? Which examples are most compelling?


<<Developing a Position on the Issue>>關於針對某議題採取立場

The instructions emphasizes:

You are free to accept, reject, or qualify the statement.答題時你可以接受或反對所選的議題,或者不選擇接受及反對議題,而是闡述議題的正當性

1) Qualifying an Issue Statement

For issue statements that have the following patterns, you might want to consider choosing to qualify the statement in your essay(當議題敘述有以下特質時,建議考慮闡述議題的正當性):

A statement
  • whose accuracy depends on various factors
  • 敘述的正當性因各式各樣的因素而有所變化
  • that raises two distinct but related issues
  • 敘述包括兩個看似不同,其實有關聯的議題
  • that lists, or otherwise embraces, two or more distinct categories
  • 敘述列出或贊成兩者以上不同的議題
  • that is unclear or vague in some way
  • 有某些部分交代不清楚或敘述模糊
  • that might be true generally but fails to account for significant exceptional cases
  • 大致上而言,該敘述為真,但無法適用於某些特殊的情況
2) Accepting or Rejecting the Statement


You must provide sound reasons and supporting examples to justify your strong agreement or disagreement. 作答時必須提供完善的理由及例子,以支持你的立場--為何你贊同或反對議題之敘述

* It is ok to adopt a controversial stance, but avoid a fanatical or extreme stance.

* 可以採取具爭議性的立場,但盡量避免提出極端的看法。

* Avoid making criticism based on personal moral grounds, spirituality, or jingoism (excessive patriotism).

* 避免以個人的道德觀點、宗教或極端的愛國主義做出批評。

iii other useful tips
III. Other Useful Tips更多答題技巧

5-Steps Approach答題五步驟

Step 1 Read the question– make sure you understand the question.


Step 2 Underline

Underline key words in the question and write words with the same or related meaning.


Step 3 Get Ideas

Decide if you are for or against the idea. It is ok to give both sides (for and against - one paragraph each) and then to give your opinion in the conclusion.


Step 4: Decide Layout


There is one easy layout called 3773, which you can use if you agree with both sides of the argument. That means four paragraphs: introduction (3 sentences) one side (7 sentences), the other side (7 sentences) and the conclusion (3 sentences).若你選擇闡述議題的正當性,可參考所謂的3773結構,也就是總共寫四段:引言段落三句,主文各兩段,各七句,而結論三句。

Step 5: Choose a major layout

You may choose3773 or 35553 layout.


3773 layout

Use the 3773 layout if you are giving both sides of the argument or situation. In the second and the third prgs, you can give examples and reasons. In the conclusion, just sum up your main idea, or paraphrase your introduction.


35553 layout

It’s best to say if you agree or not right at the beginning. a five-paragraph essay with three sentences in the introduction, five sentences in the second, third and fourth paragraphs, and three in the conclusion. In the three body paragraphs, you give examples and supporting information.



iv related links and references
IV. Related Links and References相關連結與參考資料

<<GRE Writing Skills>>




<<ETS introduction to GRE Analytical Writing>>




<<free GRE general test materials, including scoring details, sample tests and answers>>
  • http://www.ets.org/portal/site/ets/menuitem.1488512ecfd5b8849a77b13bc3921509/?vgnextoid=302b66f22c6a5010VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD&vgnextchannel=d687e3b5f64f4010VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD


Stewart, Mark Alan. Writing Skills for the GRE/GMAT. Lawrenceville: Peterson’s, 2002.

<<writing suggestions on issue, opinion & argument essays>>
  • http://www.writefix.com/argument/
  • http://www.rscc.cc.tn.us/owl&writingcenter/OWL/Argument.html
  • http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/argument.html
  • http://www.studygs.net/wrtstr4.htm