GRE Premier 2017 with 6 Practice Tests


Chapter 19. Analytical Writing Practice Set

In this chapter, you will find four Analytical Writing prompts to practice on: two Analyze an Issue tasks and two Analyze an Argument tasks. When you complete the essays, read the sample essays and analysis to gauge whether your essays are similarly strong and whether they would earn a high score.

Review of the Kaplan Method for Analytical Writing

Before starting your practice essays, review the steps and strategies you have studied for answering each type of Analytical Writing task quickly, thoughtfully, and cohesively.

1.    Step 1Take the issue/argument apart.

2.    Step 2Select the points you will make.

3.    Step 3Organize, using Kaplan’s essay templates.

4.    Step 4Type your essay.

5.    Step 5Proofread your work.

Analytical Writing Practice Prompts



1.                      ANALYZE AN ISSUE PRACTICE

2.    You will be given a brief quotation that states or implies an issue of general interest, along with explicit instructions on how to respond to that topic. You have 30 minutes to plan and write an essay that communicates your perspective on the issue according to the instructions.

Respond to the instructions and support your position with relevant reasoning drawn from your academic studies, reading, observation, and/or experience.

Feel free to consider the issue for a few minutes before you begin to write. Be certain your ideas are fully developed and logically organized, and make sure you leave enough time to review and revise what you’ve written.

3.    Issue Essay 1 Prompt

“Because people increasingly eat at restaurants, all restaurants should be required to display nutritional information about the meals they serve. This knowledge makes it easier for diners to make healthy choices and reduces the risk of diet-related health problems.”

Write an essay in which you take a position on the statement above. In developing and supporting your viewpoint, consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true. (Use a separate sheet of paper or a computer to write your essay.)

4.    Issue Essay 2 Prompt

“All results of publicly funded scientific studies should be made available to the general public free of charge. Scientific journals that charge a subscription or newsstand price are profiting unfairly.”

Write an essay in which you take a position on the statement above. In developing and supporting your viewpoint, consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true. (Use a separate sheet of paper or a computer to write your essay.)

5.                      ANALYZE AN ARGUMENT PRACTICE

6.    You will be given a brief passage that presents an argument or an argument you need to complete, along with detailed instructions on how to respond to the passage. You have 30 minutes to plan and compose a response in which you analyze the passage according to the instructions. A response to any other argument results in a score of zero.

Note: You are not being asked to present your opinions on the subject. Make sure you respond to the instructions and support your analysis with pertinent reasons and/or examples.

Feel free to take a few minutes to consider the argument and instructions and to plan your response, before you begin to write. Be certain your analysis is fully developed and logically organized, and make sure you leave enough time to review and revise what you’ve written.

7.    Argument Essay 1 Prompt

The following appeared as part of a promotional campaign to sell advertising on channels provided by the local cable television company:

“Advertising with Cable Communications Corp. is a great way to increase your profits. Recently, the Adams Car Dealership began advertising with Cable Communications, and over the last 30 days, sales are up 15% over the previous month. Let us increase your profits, just as we did for Adams Cars!”

Write a response that examines this argument’s unstated assumptions. Make sure you explain how this argument depends on those assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions are wrong. (Use a separate sheet of paper or a computer to write your essay.)

8.    Argument Essay 2 Prompt

The following appeared in the Ram, the Altamonte High School student newspaper:

“Of Altamonte students polled, 65 percent say they participate in either an intramural, varsity, or community sports team. Being a member of a sports team keeps one fit and healthy and promotes an active lifestyle. Since the majority of students are taking care of their physical fitness after or outside of school, Altamonte High should eliminate all physical education classes and put more resources into the development of the intramural and varsity sports teams.”

Write a response in which you explain specific evidence needed to evaluate the argument and discuss how the evidence might weaken or strengthen the argument. (Use a separate sheet of paper or computer to write your essay.)

Answers and Explanations



“Outstanding” Essay (score of 6)

Requiring restaurants to publish the fat and calorie content of their meals has its detractors; they say that disclosing the makeup of meals will alarm diners, driving them away and reducing the restaurants’ income. They also balk at the cost of determining these figures in the first place. But the benefits of such a program far outweigh its drawbacks. Disclosure lets people make informed eating choices, an important consideration given what we know about unhealthy diets. In addition, disclosure may end up benefiting the restaurants, both in terms of revenue and public relations.

People are eating in restaurants with increasing frequency, and we know that a healthy diet contributes to better overall health; studies show, for example, that a healthy diet lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. By contrast, a poor diet, one rich in fat and calories, contributes to obesity and diabetes, both of which are on the rise in the United States.

For these reasons, we should require that restaurants post nutritional information on the meals they serve. That way, people can choose the meals they want to eat, whether their desire is to eat healthily or not.

Restaurant owners are understandably concerned that disclosing information perceived as negative could scare people off, but if all restaurants have to comply, no single business should suffer. In addition, disclosure may encourage restaurants to find healthier ways to prepare their meals, which would benefit everyone.

Determining the fat and calorie content of meals will cost restaurants money initially, but such disclosure can benefit them overall; people will appreciate the openness of the disclosure and feel confident that they’re in charge of their fat and calorie intake, instilling in them a sense of comfort and control, and making them more likely, rather than less so, to eat at a restaurant that lists fat and calorie contents.

Requiring restaurants to post nutrition information can benefit both owners and patrons. It can have immediate and lasting positive effects on diners who choose to eat healthily, and it can instill a sense of control and confidence in diners who appreciate knowing what they’re eating, making them more likely to continue the trend of dining out.

Analyze an Issue Essay 1 Assessment

This essay is well constructed; the author begins by recognizing arguments against restaurant disclosure and then states his opinion (“Disclosure lets people make informed eating choices, an important consideration given what we know about unhealthy diets”). He proceeds to support his position with compelling evidence about health studies, medical trends, business operations, and public relations. The writing is clear and direct, and it reveals skillful use of diction. For all these reasons, this essay receives a score of 6.

2.       ISSUE ESSAY 2

“Outstanding” Essay (score of 6)

Scientific journals that charge a subscription or newsstand price should amend this practice to avail the public of results of publicly funded research. The reasoning here is twofold: first, the public’s taxes have paid for all or a part of the research, and second, scientific results should always be readily accessible to all interested parties.

A publicly funded project means, in effect, that the taxpayers own the research and have a right to the results free of charge. Granted, many research projects are funded by a combination of private contributions, institutional grants, and public funding. Even when this is the case, the public should not be punished for being one part of a coalition that may include profit-making groups. Perhaps the research committee will need to include in its duties finding venues to make research results readily available at no charge. The mere fact of public financial support of research, in whole or in part, entitles taxpayers to have access to the fruits of that research.

Another reason to let the public see results at no charge (besides being totally or partially financially responsible for such research) is that from a larger philosophical standpoint, people should be allowed access to scientific information. Innovation in the private sector and the market necessitate access to the latest research and developments. The result of making such research widely available is that the process becomes self-sustaining. New discoveries feed new developments in the private or industrial sector, which in turn fuel further research. Publishers of scientific journals may respond to such an argument by saying that they need to make a profit in order to cover their expenses of reporting, printing, handling, and mailing research results. With that said, shouldn’t the government and private sponsors of a project cover these expenses and include them in their overhead, in the same proportion as their support of the research? Additionally, popular science magazines, using their revenues from advertisers and subscribers, might pay journals to reprint research in their magazines. This practice could also provide funds for making the information available for free to parties not interested in an entire slick magazine with multiple subjects.

It is supposed that some scientists and government officials will refuse to allow sensitive or secret scientific information to be available to the public for free. Governments should not disseminate sensitive or secret research publicly, but the scope of research we are talking about is what is already published in scientific journals and available for public consumption. It’s also probably true that more transparency will promote more international research and more freedom to experiment. Soviet scientists in the former Soviet Union were not allowed to read about scientific endeavors outside of the USSR. This led to decades of wasted money, effort, and time; errors made that shouldn’t have been; and a lot of reinventing of the wheel. Furthermore, other scientists, pharmacists, and pharmaceutical companies need access to professional journals to keep up on the cutting-edge information released post-research. Ethically speaking, they are charged with nurturing scientific debate and keeping the public safe and informed.

In conclusion, scientific journals that charge a subscription or newsstand price are profiting unfairly when they publish wholly or partially publicly funded research results. These journals need to adjust this practice for the benefit of the public and other professionals. The public’s taxes have paid for all or a part of the research, and for ethical reasons, research results must always be readily accessible to all interested parties.

Analyze an Issue Essay 2 Assessment

From the very beginning, the author takes a specific position on the issue and supports it, using strong examples and reasons. The author includes counterarguments, such as the potential cost of publication that the scientific journals must foot, but she provides clear rebuttals with powerful supporting evidence. Her inclusion of the Soviet example gives a vivid illustration of the consequences of not freely sharing information, and it appeals to the reader’s sense of public justice and safety. The writing is solid, well developed, and error-free, and the writer demonstrates a mastery of rhetorical language. For all these reasons, this essay receives a score of 6.


“Outstanding” Essay (score of 6)

The promotional campaign by Cable Communications Corporation argues that all businesses would benefit from advertising with the cable television company in the form of increased profitability. As evidence to back up this assertion, the promotional campaign notes the experience of the Adams Car Dealership, a recent advertiser with Cable Communications Corporation. Over the last 30 days, Adams Cars has seen a 15% increase in sales over the previous month. The argument as it now stands is unconvincing because it is missing evidence that would make the argument more well reasoned. It also suffers from poorly defined vocabulary, which makes the argument less easy to understand.

The argument presupposes that the example of the Adams Car Dealership is relevant for other businesses. It could be that there is a particular advantage from advertising for car dealerships because car buyers are willing to travel around to buy a car. The same may not be said, for example, of a dry cleaner. In general, people will take their dry cleaning business to the closest dry cleaner because it is a commodity service and a relatively small expenditure. Thus, advertising would be much more effective for a car dealership than a dry cleaner. The statement also presupposes that business owners do not have a better option for advertising. A company may get a higher increase in profits by advertising in print media or online. For business owners to make an informed decision regarding their advertising expenditures, they need to see a comparison between Cable Communication’s offering and the offerings of other advertising outlets.

The argument suffers from poorly defined vocabulary. The first piece of such vocabulary is the word “recently.” From just this word, it is impossible to tell when the advertising began. If Adams’ advertising began three months ago, it would not be very impressive that sales increased 15% between month two and month three of the advertising campaign. Why would there not have been a boost before the most recent month? If the promotional campaign told business owners exactly when Adams began advertising, the owners would have a better ability to evaluate the argument’s conclusion. The author should also clarify the phrase “increase your profits.” The promotional campaign’s argument gives no details on the fees associated with advertising with Cable Communications. If Adams Cars had to develop an ad and pay large sums to Cable Communications to run the ad, the total cost of advertising with the cable company very well may have exceeded the additional profits derived from increased sales. Without additional information in this regard, business owners cannot possibly evaluate the argument’s conclusion.

To convince business owners that they should advertise with Cable Communications, the promotional campaign should show additional evidence from a wide variety of businesses that have benefited by advertising with the company. The argument presupposes that the 15% increase in sales at Adams Car Dealership is a direct result of the recent advertising campaign with Cable Communications Corporation. It could be that the dealership had announced a sale for this month or that the previous month’s sales were seasonably low—for example sales in March might always be better than sales in February due to some exogenous factor. In order to better believe that Adams benefited from the advertising campaign with Cable Communications, business owners need evidence that there was not some other factor causing the 15% increase. Perhaps evidence could be shown comparing the last 30 days of sales with the same period in the previous year, or the last time the dealership was running the same promotions.

To conclude, the promotional campaign by Cable Communications suffers from poorly defined vocabulary and lack of strong evidence. It turns upon unstated presuppositions, such as assuming that business owners do not have a better alternative for advertising. To better convince business owners of the benefits of advertising with Cable Communications, the company should provide additional details regarding the relevance of cable advertising to multiple business types, the exact nature of Adams’ increase in sales, the ability of cable advertising to outperform other forms of advertising, and the true costs of advertising with Cable Communications. With this additional information, the promotional campaign would be much more convincing when it concludes that advertising with Cable Communications is a great way to increase a business’s profits.

Analyze an Argument Essay 1 Assessment

The author successfully identifies and analyzes this argument’s main contention: that advertising with Cable Communications will increase the profits of every business.

In the opening paragraph, the essay restates the argument and then cites its unsupported assumptions. In the following four paragraphs, the author insightfully identifies flaws in the assumptions and perceptively suggests ways to clarify them.

Specifically, the author cites these points undermining the argument:

1.    The one-size-fits-all fallacy of the argument that all businesses would benefit from the exposure

2.    The example of 15% profit increase is misleading—not all potential profits would be similar

3.    The argument that cable advertising is the best possible option for businesses

4.    Vague and misleading language, and not defining key terms

Throughout the essay, the author uses well-organized paragraphs—each starts with a broad statement followed by supporting statements—and his ideas logically flow from one sentence to the next. He uses succinct, economical diction and rotates complex and simple sentences.

The essay concludes strongly by making specific suggestions that would improve the essay’s arguments. The essay remains focused and clear throughout, earning it a score of 6.


“Outstanding” Essay (score of 6)

The Ram article falls short of presenting a convincing and logical argument for eliminating all physical education classes at Altamonte High School and putting more resources into the development of intramural and varsity sports. First, the article’s statistics are unclear and poorly labeled; they lead to a faulty conclusion. Second, among other things, the article draws conclusions that go beyond what is supported by the evidence, concluding in the drastic recommendation that “Altamonte High should eliminate all physical education classes.”

The statistics in the article are not properly labeled and, therefore, have the potential to be misleading: “…65 percent of Altamonte students polled.” However, maybe only 100 out of 2,400 students were polled, which is not a legitimate sampling. Maybe only athletes were polled. Maybe only seniors, who tend to have more intramural and varsity members than freshmen, were polled.

The author also overlooks the extent to which the 65 percent of polled students participate in the intramural, varsity, and community teams—some students might be on multiple teams, but others might barely be involved. In any case, this part of the argument is an appeal-to-the-majority fallacy: “A majority of people do such-and-such, so it must automatically be the best way to go.” Even if 65% is a completely legitimate statistic, this may not be enough of a majority when one is making decisions about the health and future of all our youth.

In addition, the Ram article draws conclusions beyond what the data supports: “Being a member of a sports team keeps one fit and healthy and promotes an active lifestyle.” Just because some members of sports teams are fit and healthy does not logically mean that all are. Or maybe not all sports participants are sufficiently active. For example, perhaps some outfielders of the community sports team rarely get to run, catch, or throw and are never selected by their competitive coach for more challenging positions such as pitcher or catcher. Additionally, the author fails to note if any of these out-of-school activities teach nutrition, how to make healthy choices, how to avoid drug abuse and eating disorders, and other physical education goals beyond competition and teamwork.

In conclusion, the Ram article would be more convincing if the statistics were properly identified and labeled. In addition to data that is properly contextualized and understood, more precise and specific details would bolster the conclusion, such as how active the members of the intramural, varsity, and community teams are (“They stretch for 15 minutes and run for 30 minutes during warm-up”). With such details, the author could support all of the generalizations the article puts forth. Finally, the author of the article needs to justify why 65 percent, if indeed a legitimate sampling, is a sufficient majority for such a major change in school curriculum.

Analyze an Argument Essay 2 Assessment

The author successfully addresses several flaws of the argument in this response, including the potentially faulty or misunderstood statistics and classical reasoning errors, such as the appeal-to-the-majority fallacy and the hasty-generalization fallacy.

The author cites this evidence as potentially flawed:

·        The polled students may reflect a sample size or makeup that is skewed, and the inclusion of better labeled or explained statistics would help support the argument.

·        The illogical conclusion that what is good for a majority of students would be good for all the students.

·        The hasty generalization that students who participate in sports teams are healthier and fitter than those who don’t.

Throughout the essay, the paragraphs are well constructed and follow the blueprint of the thesis statement. Every claim is supported by evidence.

The essay concludes by suggesting ways to improve the article, which is what the prompt asks the writer to do. The suggestions are good ones that would definitely strengthen the article writer’s argument. The essay remains focused and clear throughout, earning it a score of 6.