GRE Issue Essay

For the issue writing task on the GRE revised exam, you have 30 minutes to write a response to a presented topic. Thirty minutes is not a long time, but with a little bit of practice, you should be able to compose a response that is insightful, intelligent, and effective. The instructions for the issue essay are straight-forward:

Present your perspective on the issue below, using relevant reasons and/or examples to support your views.

All of the issue topics are broad, and for each one you can write a great essay either in support or in opposition of the presented issue.


Test Tip
For the Issue Essay, you'll want to quickly come up with ideas and examples that support or refute the statement that you are writing about. Your score will be based not on whether you choose to agree or disagree, but how well you back up your claims. You'll need to provide persuasive evidence to help explain your stance on the issue.

Writing a Good Issue Essay

Although writing an essay is a creative process, there are a few guidelines that you can follow to help you maximize your score. In writing the GRE issue essay, your goal should be to showcase your ability to reason intelligently -- and write -- about a specific topic. Towards that goal, you'll need to:

  1. Brainstorm and summarize for BOTH sides of the issue
  2. Provide evidence and reasoning about the issue
  3. Take a stance and indicate your stance on the issue. Do you agree or disagree?
  4. Utilize specific details to support your view.

The most important steps are steps three and four, where you take a stance and back up your claims. The issue essay is not a summary essay, nor is it a review essay. It's an issue essay where you are asked to take a stance and provide supporting details that help to validate your view.