In this task, you are asked to critique the line of reasoning of an argument given in a brief passage,
clearly pointing out that argument's strengths and weaknesses and supporting your position with reason
and examples. This task is intended to to test both your ability to evaluate the soundness of a position
and your ability to get your point across to an academic audience.
As you critique the argument, think about the author's underlying assumptions. Ask yourself whether any
of them are questionable. Also, evaluate any evidence that the author brings up. Ask yourself whether it
actually supports the author's conclusions.
In your analysis, you may suggest additional kinds of evidence to reinforce the author's argument.
You may also suggest methods to refute the argument or additional data that might be useful to you as
you assess the soundness of the argument. You may not, however, present your personal views on the topic.
Your job is to anlyze the elements of an argument, not to support or contradict that argument.
Faculty members from various institutions will judge your essay, assessing it on the basis of your skills
in the following areas:
- Identification and assumption of the argument's main elements
- Organization and articulation of your thoughts
- Use of relevant examples and arguments to support your case
- Handling of the mechanics of standard written English
Here is an argument analysis topic modeled on the argument analysis task of the GRE. Note that this is not
an official GRE argument analysis topic, although it does resemble the official topics closely in subject matter and form.
SAMPLE ARGUMENT TASK
The following was written as part of an application for a parade permit made by a special event production company in San Francisco.
A televised Christmas parade held in San Fran cisco would be a sure fire source of profits and publicity for the city. Currently
the only nationally televised pre-Christmas parade is the New York Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in late November. Our proposed
early Deecmber Santa Day Parade would both capitalize on the Macy's Parade publicity and attract shoppers to San Francisco: over
10,000 people attended the St. Patrick's Day parade, while last October's Halloween parade through the Haight-Ashbury District
drew at least twice that number. Finally, a recent marketing survey shows that people who come to New York to attend the Thanksgiving
Day Parade spend over $1,000 that weekend on restaurant meals, hotel rooms, and Christmas shopping.
Samples Set 1
Samples Set 2
Samples Set 3
Samples Set 4
Samples Set 5