How To Ace The Gre Essay Topics

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Good communication is a sign of a highly organized mind. The GRE Issue Essay tests the ability of the student to think on the spot and organize his thoughts in a manner that could be communicated effectively through words. It also examines sentence forming capabilities, grammatical competency and the command over the English language.


  • The GRE Issue Essay is put forth as a statement or a pair of statements which require no specific knowledge and is based on your perception, views, and opinions about the given topic.
  • The topic is always controversial with two sides to it, one for and one against it.
  • There is no "correct side". You opt for the side which you feel you could do justice to.
  • The time allotted for this section is 30 minutes, and it is scored on a scale of 6.


The GRE Issue Essay requires a lot of practice and preparation on published topics before taking the test. Other than practice timing is extremely important, and the following should be performed in the allotted time for a high score:
  • You should first understand the given issue topic completely (2 minutes).
  • Next you play the Devil's advocate. Using a scratch paper, you should start formulating points both for and against the topic (2 minutes).
  • Choose the side which appeals more to you and which you can present more clearly (1 minute).
  • Brainstorm examples supporting your claim (5 Develop an outline according to a standard format such as one paragraph for the introduction, one paragraph for the conclusion and 3-4 body paragraphs (5 minutes).
  • Write the essay by briefly summarizing your side and the reason for your choice and then announce the main points supporting your claim with the relevant examples checking for the logical connectivity throughout (10 minutes).
  • Proof-read it to minimize errors and grammatical mistakes (5 minutes). If you do the above perfectly, you will finish the issue essay well within the time limit.


  • Introduction is always one of the most important sections in an essay. Provide a captivating introduction which acquaints the readers with the side that you are choosing to explain and the reason for your choice is the beginning of a perfect
  • Construct the essay in a clear and concise manner with logical connectivity among the paragraphs.
  • Use strong points that establish your opinions and specific, relevant examples which reinforce that establishment.
  • Always keep an eye open for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
  • In the conclusion write a line or two in support of the other opposing view; this shows emotional and intellectual maturity, will result in a more favorable opinion of your essay by the corrector.
  • Practice, practice, and more practice is the only key to success. A minimum of three practice essays is required to just get the feel of this section. More practice would help in perfecting your writing skills and timing skills.


  • Never waver from the points that you are making. This will give an impression that you are confused and unsure of what you are talking about.
  • Choose the side that you are going to support carefully and stick to it. Do not keep jumping from side to side or try having it both ways as it will lead to a lack of clarity and time.
  • Never give generalized examples or use first person pronouns unless you are quoting a personal experience as an example. These tips hand in hand with continuous practice and dedication will help you score a perfect six in this section.

The GRE Issue Essay provides a brief quotation on an issue of general interest and asks you to evaluate the issue according to specific instructions. You must then support one side of the issue and develop an argument to support your side.

Yes, you will be making an argument in this essay, but don't confuse it with the GRE Argument Essay, in which you'll poke holes in another author's argument. Here, the focus is on supporting the issue. Think of it like this: In the GRE Issue Essay, you'll develop your own argument with respect to one side of an issue.

Or, as GRE testmaker Educational Testing Service (ETS) puts it, you'll be "required to evaluate the issue, consider its complexities, and develop an argument with reasons and examples to support your views.”

However you choose to look at it, one thing is certain: the better organized your essay, the clearer it will be to the grader, and the higher it will score.

How to structure the GRE Issue Essay

The GRE Issue Essay is similar in structure to the classic five-paragraph short essay. You may opt for four to six paragraphs, but the template we walk you through plans for the classic five.

Here's how to put it to use.


Although the grader will have access to the specific assignment you received, your essay should stand on its own, making clear the assignment you were given and your response to it.

Start with a sentence that clearly restates the issue you were assigned, followed by a sentence with your position on that assignment—your thesis. Next, introduce the specific reasons or examples you plan to provide in each of the next three paragraphs: one sentence for each of the forthcoming paragraphs.

It is key that you consider exactly what's being asked of you in the assignment, and make sure the language you use in your intro paragraph demonstrates that you understand the specific instructions for that assignment. For instance, if the task tells you to “address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position,” you will need to show at least two strong reasons or examples that the opposing side could use—and then explain why those reasons or examples are incorrect.

Structure your first paragraph in this way, and you’re well on your way to effectively indicating that you understand the assignment, are organized, have considered the complexities of the issue, and can effectively use standard written English—all components of a strong essay that's destined for a great score.


Each of your body paragraphs should do three things:

  • introduce one of your examples
  • explain how that example relates to the topic
  • show how the example fully supports your thesis

You should spend the majority of each body paragraph on the third step: showing how it fully supports your thesis.

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