- Paperback: 234 pages
- Publisher: Peterson's; 1 edition (July 19, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0768910943
- ISBN-13: 978-0768910940
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #928,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Writing Skills for the GRE and GMAT Tests 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The author (I say "author" because I couldn't find an author other than the Thompson/Peterson publishers) gives a structure for timing each stage of the essay process. Planning the Issue Essay, for example, included: five minutes for brainstorming and outlining; 30 minutes for composing; and 10 minutes for review. It was the brainstorm and outline planning I found particularly helpful for both essays.
For the Argument essay, outlining advice included quickly listing the evidence presented and then analyzing it. For outlining the Issue essay, the author suggests using a pro-versus-con technique for brainstorming both sides of the topic. Both approaches helped me to quickly organize ideas. As I practiced more, I got away from the suggested outlining and started to develop my own style, but the book's structure gave me a strong foundation to start with.
As far as the example essays in the back of the book, they are not written under a time constraint and are probably beyond what is possible to write under timed conditions. But the author acknowledges this and offers the essays as ideal examples for reference. Given that they are so well-crafted, I found them useful to read for structure and diction.
This book taught me a new term: "to qualify." Qualifying an Issue statement, I learned, means you don't completely agree or disagree with the statement and write your essay accordingly. This method, described as "hedging your position," was new to me and I would have liked a better explanation. That's my only complaint about this great tool for GRE essay preparation.
My first few practice essays were rushed and unclear. On the day of the exam, I found myself with EXTRA time to edit and even add an extra paragraph. This could not have happened without Peterson.
I located this book at the public library a few days before the GRE- one of the best preparation decisions I made. It prompted me how to use supporting examples without letting them become cumbersome, develop a nuanced but clear line of reasoning, and skillfully deconstruct the arguments given in the argument-analysis portion.
This book might be a few years old, but its contents far outperform Barron's 2006/7 section on the GRE writing portion. I recommend using Barron's for everything else (verbal, quantitative tips and review, and the practice tests)- but complement your study with Peterson's book.
Also, I would recommend checking out the A&E video series "Biography of the Millennium: 100 People, 1000 Years" for an overview of western culture and history. It supplies some great examples to use in your essay.
A job well done, Mark Alan Stewart (the author)! Kudos to you!