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Lecture Notes for the GRE Analytical Writing Strategies. Lesson #1 Analytical Writing Strategies. Analytical Writing. This portion of the GRE test measures two things: Your critical thinking ability Your written communications skills
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Lecture Notes forthe GRE Analytical Writing Strategies Lesson #1 Analytical Writing Strategies
Analytical Writing • This portion of the GRE test measures two things: • Your critical thinking ability • Your written communications skills • Strong analytical thinking and writing ability are critical to success in any graduate course. • Make sure you know the test well. • “Presenting your Perspective on an Issue” requires you to develop a compelling argument on a topic, including a clear, concise claim, relevant supporting premises/reasons/logic, and evidence/examples. • “Analyzing an Argument” requires you to critique the effectiveness of a written argument by carefully scrutinizing the reasoning and logic behind it.
Analytical Writing • Seven strategies for succeeding on this portion of the test. • Go to ETS online and go over the list of possible topics. • While it’s futile to prepare for every topic, you might be able to group topics according to the type of argument they represent. • Determine beforehand whether you’ll type or handwrite your essay, and practice your handwriting or typing skills. • Take the first 5-10 minutes to pre-write your essay, especially your core argument • Make sure you understand clearly what the question/writing prompt is asking. • What is the meaning of the topic statement? • Is the question asking me to persuade the reader of the validity of a certain opinion? • Am I being asked to agree or disagree with the statement? If so, what will be my thesis? • What kinds of examples can I use to support my thesis? Explore personal experiences, historical evidence, current events, and literary subjects.
Analytical Writing • Seven strategies for succeeding on this portion of the test. • Memorize the four questions mentioned in the previous slide and apply them to the topic in order to develop your pre-writing. • Consider your audience carefully before you write, so you can shape the argument to fit the reader’s expectations. • Envision an “ideal community” of readers for the broadest possible appeal. • What evidence will you need to generate to prove your point to a skeptical reader. • What would this reader agree or disagree with me about? • What does this reader share with me as common knowledge? • What do I need to tell the reader?
Analytical Writing • Seven strategies for succeeding on this portion of the test. • Become well-versed with the Toulmin Model for analyzing and crafting an argument. • Use the Toulmin Model to write/type practice essays and to analyze model arguments and GRE essays. • Hone and polish your paragraph transition skills to make sure your essay is effectively and cogently organized. • Give yourself five minutes to proofread/revise/edit your essay. • Limit the scope of your argument by emphasizing only a few supporting claims and evidence. • You want to develop your writing thoroughly with strong detail and clarity.
Analytical Writing • Writing the essay. • Carefully consider how you will organize your essay. • Determine how many paragraphs you’ll develop. • 5-7 detailed paragraphs should be your goal. • The first paragraph should “hook” your reader, introduce your topic, and advance your thesis statement. • The body paragraphs should be dedicated to proving your point by developing evidence in support of each forecasted premise summarized in the thesis statement. • The final paragraph should summarize your argument and bring closure to your writing.
Analytical Writing • Writing the essay. • Review and study a writing handbook. • Develop and practice using language effectively • Become comfortable with the following writing concepts: • Point-of-view and consistency. • Tone in the writing. • Effective transitional words and phrases. • Proper sentence structure and avoiding sentence problems. • Proper verb forms. • Proper pronouns. • Adjectives and adverbs. • Punctuation rules.
Analytical Writing • The Issue Essay. • Entails constructing your own argument on a topic. • Make sure you offer an arguable claim and defend it with reasoning and evidence. • Begin by taking the issue apart into three components: • Topic: The broad subject area. • Scope: The more focused aspect of the topic. • Conclusion and premises: Your argument on the issue. • Evidence: Logic and examples supporting your argument. • Assumptions: Unstated values informing your position.
Analytical Writing • The Issue Essay. • Next, list the pros and cons associated with the various sides of the argument. • Select the side and argue for the position that offers the most compelling reasons, evidence, and logic. • Third, organize your argument according to your premises and evidence. • Fourth, after all of this pre-writing, write the essay. • Fifth, proofread and edit carefully.
Analytical Writing • The Argument Essay. • Evaluate and assess someone else’s argument. • Judge the effectiveness of the arguments claims and evidence AND explain how a different approach or more information would strengthen the argument. • Do NOT simply agree or disagree with the author’s position on the topic.
Analytical Writing • The Argument Essay. • The procedure for writing the Argument Essay. • Look carefully at the assumptions upon which the argument is based. • Assumptions are the values (often unstated) upon which the writer is relying and that link the conclusion with the premises. • Assumptions are a great basis for your evaluation.
Analytical Writing • The Argument Essay. • The procedure for writing the Argument Essay. • Take the argument apart into three components by writing out the following in a pre-writing activity (3-4 minutes): • Topic. • Scope. • Conclusion and premises. • Evidence. • Assumptions.
Analytical Writing • The Argument Essay. • The procedure for writing the Argument Essay. • Select the points you’ll make by pointing out the strengths or flaws in the premises, evidence, assumption, and/or logic and write these out (2-3 minutes). • Outline your essay’s organization (2-3 minutes). • Opening sentence should clearly advance your summary of the writer’s argument. • Second sentence should present your overall assessment of the argument’s effectiveness. • Third sentence should present your reasons why you evaluate the essay the way you do.
Analytical Writing • The Argument Essay. • The procedure for writing the Argument Essay. • Write the essay (17-18 minutes). • Plan on writing 3-4 well-developed paragraphs. • Plan on proofreading and editing (2-3 minutes).