The Analytical Writing Assessment consists of a 30 minute writing task called the Analysis of an Argument. In this section you must read a brief argument, analyze the reasoning behind it, and then write a critique of the argument. You are not asked to state your opinion, but to analyze the given one. You may consider the questionable assumptions that underlie the author's thinking, what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion or what sort of evidence could help strengthen or refute the argument
The Analytical Writing Assessment is designed as a direct measure of your ability to think critically and communicate your ideas. To be more specific, the analysis of an argument task tests your ability to formulate an appropriate and constructive critique of a prescribed conclusion based upon a specific line of thinking. Your responses will be scored on the basis of:
- The overall quality of your ideas
- Your ability to organize, develop and express those ideas
- Your ability to provide relevant supporting reasons
- Your ability to control the elements of standard written English
Test- Taking Strategies
- Make sure you have taken all parts of a question into account before you begin to respond to it
- Take time to organize your ideas, but ensure that you leave time to reread your response and make any revisions that you could to improve it
- Get used to asking yourself what questionable assumptions might underline the thinking? What alternative explanations might be given? What additional evidence might prove useful in evaluating the reasoning?
- Explain how your examples illustrate your point, do not just list them
- Ensure that your essay consists of full sentences. Your response should not read like an outline
The evaluation of your response depends on how well
- You organize, develop and present your ideas
- Control the elements of standard written English
It is important that you plan your argument before you begin writing. Read the analytical task carefully to make sure you understand exactly what is expected. Keep in mind the 30 minute time frame as you plan your response. As you write, try to keep your language clear and the flow of your ideas plausible. State your premise clearly at the start, and make sure you present a strong conclusion at the end
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