GRE Essay Prompts and Topics

The Most Complete List of GRE Essay Writing Prompts and GRE Writing Topics.

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GRE Essay Prompt 01

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Analytical Writing 1 Analyze an Issue

1 Question 30 Minutes

Directions: You will be given a brief quotation that states or implies a topic of general interest, along with explicit instructions on how to respond to that topic. Your response will be evaluated according to how well you do the following:

• Respond to the specific directions the task gives you. • Reflect on the complexities of the issue.
• Organize and develop your thoughts.
• Support your reasoning with relevant examples.

• Express yourself in standard written English.

“Scientific theories, which most people consider as ‘fact,’ almost invariably prove to be inaccurate. Thus, one should look upon any information described as ‘factual’ with skepticism since it may well be proven false in the future.”

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.

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 GRE Essay Prompt 02

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Analytical Writing 2 Analyze an Argument

1 Question 30 Minutes

Directions: You will be presented with a short passage that asserts an argument or position, along with explicit instructions on how to respond to the passage. Your response will be evaluated according to how well you do the following:

• Respond to the specific directions the task gives you.
• Analyze and interpret important elements of the passage. • Organize and develop your analysis.
• Support your reasoning with relevant examples.
• Express yourself in standard written English.

The following appeared in a memorandum from the owner of the Juniper Café, a small, local coffee shop in the downtown area of a small American city:

“We must reduce overhead here at the café. Instead of opening at 6 a.m. weekdays, we will now open at 8 a.m. On weekends, we will only be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The decrease in hours of operations will help save money because we
won’t be paying for utilities, employee wages, or other operating costs during the hours we are closed. This is the best strategy for us to save money and remain in business without having to eliminate jobs.”

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to assess the reasonableness of both the prediction and the argument upon which it is based. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would
help to evaluate the prediction.

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GRE Essay Prompt 03

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GRE Writing Issue Prompt

Claim: In order to help small businesses thrive, government should play a minimal role in private business matters.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.

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GRE Essay Prompt 04

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GRE Writing Issue Prompt

Schools should do more to prepare students for the non-academic aspects of adulthood.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.

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GRE Essay Prompt 05

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GRE Writing Issue Prompt

People should question the rules of authority as opposed to accepting them passively.

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, you should consider the reasons for which the statement may or may not be true and explain how these considerations

shape your position.

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GRE Essay Prompt 06

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GRE Writing Issue Prompt

If two applicants for a job are otherwise equally qualified, the job should go to the applicant with more experience.

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, you should consider the specific circumstances in which adopting the position would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position

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GRE Essay Prompt 07

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GRE Writing Issue Prompt

Schools should cut funding for extracurricular activities such as sports and the arts when school buildings are in need of repair.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.

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GRE Essay Prompt 08

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GRE Writing Issue Prompt

Creativity should he used as the only true measure of intelligence.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position

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GRE Essay Prompt 09

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GRE Writing Issue Prompt

Government funding for pure science endeavors, such as space exploration, should be reduced in order to direct more funding towards humanitarian science projects.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to consider specific instances for which this statement may or may not be true.

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GRE Essay Prompt 10

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GRE Writing Issue Prompt 

The fact that technology is outpacing the needs of those in cultures that can afford the technology creates cultures of excess consumerism.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position

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GRE Essay Prompt 11

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GRE Writing Issue Prompt 

Luck plays more of a role in determining success than work ethic does.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to both support and challenge your position.

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GRE Essay Prompt 12

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GRE Writing Issue Prompt 

Some people believe that competition drives young athletes to perform at their best, while others believe that competition discourages those who are not athletically talented from participating in organized sports.

Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own and explain your reasoning for your position. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address both views presented.

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GRE Essay Prompt 13

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt 

A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that employees with paid sick leave are 28 percent less likely to be involved in a work-related accident than employees who do not receive payment for sick leave. Researchers hypothesize that employees with unpaid sick leave feel pressured to work (lining time of illness for fear of lack of pay. On-the-job accidents are then spurred by impaired judgment or motor skills due to illness or illness-related medications. The highest-risk occupations, such as construction, showed the highest discrepancy between paid and unpaid leave.

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to determine whether the researchers’ hypothesis is reasonable. Be sure to explain what effects the answers to these questions would have on the validity of the hypothesis.

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GRE Essay Prompt 14

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt

The city council of Town X has proposed reducing the city’s electric expenses by switching all the lights in public buildings from incandescent bulbs to light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The switch would be made gradually as the old incandescent bulbs burn out, and the city council reasons that since LED lights burn brighter and cost no more to purchase, the switch would help Town X save money on electrical costs in the future.

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered to help evaluate the efficacy of the city council’s proposal to save money on electrical costs. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the council’s prediction

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GRE Essay Prompt 15

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt

Company X has just switched to a 4-day workweek, mandating that employees work 10 hours per day from Monday to Thursday instead of 8 hours per day from Monday to Friday. Although the policy is new, Company X claims that the policy will help to increase profits by shutting down offices on Fridays and to boost employee morale by reducing commuting time to and from work each week

Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

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GRE Essay Prompt 16

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt

Five years ago, the local university built two new dormitories through different contractors: Aleph

Construction and Gimmel Builders. The buildings were nearly identical, though it cost Gimmel Builders approximately 20 percent more to construct their dormitory. Aleph’s dormitory, however, has required approximately 10 percent more in maintenance costs per year over the past five years. Therefore, to construct their new dormitory with the lowest overall cost, the local university should hire Aleph Construction

Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions in the expert’s claim. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

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GRE Essay Prompt 17

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt

Airline industry representatives have recently argued that flying is safer than driving, citing two separate studies. First, US statistics show that each year there are approximately 40,000 deaths in automobile accidents versus only approximately 200 in flight accidents. Second, studies indicate that pilots are four times less likely than average to have accidents on the road.

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to determine whether the argument is reasonable. Be sure to explain what effects the answers to these questions would have on the validity of the argument.

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GRE Essay Prompt 18

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt

Airline industry representatives have recently argued that flying is safer than driving, citing two separate studies. First, US statistics show that each year there are approximately 40,000 deaths in automobile accidents versus only approximately 200 in flight accidents. Second, studies indicate that pilots are four times less likely than average to have accidents on the road.

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to determine whether the argument is reasonable. Be sure to explain what effects the answers to these questions would have on the validity of the argument.

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GRE Essay Prompt 19

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt

In a laboratory study of two different industrial cleansers, CleanAll was found to remove 40% more dirt and kill 30% more bacteria than the next best cleanser. Furthermore, a study showed that employees working at buildings cleaned with CleanAll used far fewer sick days than employees working in buildings cleaned with other cleansers. Therefore, to prevent employee illness, all companies should use CleanAll as their industrial cleanser.

Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

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GRE Essay Prompt 20

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt

Downtown Zurzi is becoming increasingly congested with traffic, increasing commuting time for those who work downtown or near downtown. The nearby city of Loft was faced with the same problem several years ago and implemented a small weekly tax for driving one’s car downtown. Downtown traffic almost immediately subsided in Loft and the local government also raised much needed money for fixing roads elsewhere. Obviously, this plan should be implemented in Zurzi in order to solve the brewing traffic congestion problem.

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and

explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

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GRE Essay Prompt 21

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt

In the last year’s mayoral election in Town T, candidate Miller led candidate Keating by a substantial margin in the polls leading up to the election. At the last minute, candidate Keating launched a widely viewed series of television advertisements that focused on preserving the natural environment of Town T, a topic neglected by candidate Miller. Subsequently, candidate Keating won the election by a narrow margin.

This year, if candidate Miller hopes to win the upcoming mayoral election, he must increase his coverage of the topic of preserving the natural environment of Town T.

 

Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

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GRE Essay Prompt 22

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt

Last year PrepUp had record enrollment in their test prep courses, but yearly profits fell by nearly 30 percent. To the contrary, TopPreparation had comparable enrollment to the year before, with profits rising by approximately 20 percent. This discrepancy most likely results from the fact that PrepUp teaches only live, in-person classes, which require expensive rental spaces and teaching equipment. Although TopPreparation’s total enrollment remained unchanged, its online enrollment increased by 50 percent, and online classes have a much lower overhead. In order to address these issues of profitability in the coming year, PrepUp will begin offering online test prep courses.

 

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether PrepUp’s plan for the coming year and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the plan.

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GRE Essay Prompt 23

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GRE Writing Argument Prompt

Cot-Ten, a cotton production company, has recently faced profitability issues based on the use of Chemical X in its manufacturing process. The main by-product produced when using Chemical X is covered under stringent environmental regulations, making it very difficult and expensive to dispose of. A similar processing product, Chemical Y, has recently been discovered, and can be used by Cot-Ten at a minimal cost of switching. The CEO of Cot-Ten has declared that the company will increase profits by switching to Chemical Y by the end of the month.

 

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

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