How do you Write a Good Essay?
Writing a good essay is all about preparation and practice. Now that you know what skills are measured in the Analytical Writing Section, you can direct your preparations accordingly. A good essay can be characterized by three C’s:
Clear – There is a reason why simplicity is considered the ultimate expression of sophistication. Ensure you present your ideas in a direct, lucid, and clear manner. You don’t want to impress with complex sentence structures as graders actively look and score for clarity. Using an advanced, GRE-level sophisticated vocabulary is recommended, however, as it improves scores.
Cogent – Graders look for strong, compelling arguments from your side. To get a high score, you want to choose strong reasons and develop specific examples to express cogency. The trick is to express cogency in complex arguments and clarity in language at the same time.
Coherent – The different ideas and opinions expressed in your essay, as well as the reasons and examples you present in their defense must be logically connected to one another. Ideas must flow logically, and so should paragraphs.
Apart from the three C’s, you also want to pay attention to your grammar. While minor grammatical errors here and there will not affect your scores, major errors or several minor errors definitely will. There’s a fifth parameter, as well, which will help you score well in the analytical writing section: structure.
Because your graders only have 30 seconds to grade your essays, they take a cursory glance of the essay first, stopping to read only what feels important. When glancing through, graders look for well-structured essays marked by distinct paragraphs, which 1) start with a topic sentence, 2) build into the opinion with examples and reasons, and 3) conclude with an articulation of the topic sentence formerly stated.
When practicing for this section, mark yourself on the three C’s of good essays as well as the structure and the grammar.