When you begin your computer-based GRE, the first section you will encounter is the Analytical Writing measure, specifically the Issue Essay task, for which you have 30 minutes to write a response to a prompt. While the instructions for the issue essay vary from prompt to prompt, consider the portion of the instructions common to (almost all) issue essays:
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position...
After the last phrase ("In developing and supporting your position"), there are a few additional brief instructions. These instruct you to pay attention to both sides of the issue and to use pertinent and compelling examples. The examples you use are especially important.
Now consider scoring criteria for essays that earn a 6 (the top score):
Sustains insightful, in-depth analysis of complex ideas; develops and supports main points with logically compelling reasons and/or highly persuasive examples (emphasis mine); is well focused and well organized; skillfully uses sentence variety and precise vocabulary to convey meaning effectively; demonstrates superior facility with sentence structure and language usage, but may have minor errors that do not interfere with meaning.
Notice that ETS again mentions persuasive examples. This emphasis on examples is not accidental. To write a top-scoring issue essay, it is essential that you include specific, compelling examples to support your thesis and that you include details germane to the topic. While you might consider this an insuperable obstacle—after all, how could one possibly be expected to know examples for everything—continue reading for our discussion of how to arrive equipped with excellent, detailed examples to use on your test.Read More