Lesson: Writing the Issue Essay

Comment on Writing the Issue Essay

Quick question about the role of opposing side paragraph. Is it enough to provide explanation and example that leads to the conclusion that its affect will be limited to some extent and would not damage the side I am taking? If not what are the specific components that I need to add? I could not identify the context from the video, so I would appreciate if you could give me some advice.
greenlight-admin's picture

That sounds like a great angle.

Thank you for reply. May I ask additional question? I fully understand that I will need a paragraph to defend my position, yet I sometimes come to a balanced opinion, saying that basically disagree but conditionally agree on some extent. How should I work through? Should I try to present to stick on or the other?
greenlight-admin's picture

That's a fine strategy. The grader is interested in your ideas and how you present them. As long as you meet those two criteria, you'll do well.

You saved my life, my test is coming in one week from now and i wasn't able to write even one sentence until I watched these videos, i don't know how to thank you
greenlight-admin's picture


In the body paragraphs, assuming that i have 3 supporting points, can i provide a very detailed example (that may occupy 60%-70%) of the paragraph's word count?? in both tasks?
greenlight-admin's picture

I think that would be fine as long as you don't deviate too far from the points you're trying to make.

Amazing Points..Thanks for sharing your ideas.

First of all, thank you for the amazing template.

Question: Whenever I encounter difficult prompt to answer, I could only come up with two ideas instead of three (except for one rebuttal). Is it possible to get full score even if I put out two ideas instead of three (hence, 5 paragraphs total)?
greenlight-admin's picture

Yes, I think it's possible. You'll just need to elaborate more on your two points.

Do you have to always refute the point in the opposing paragraph? Or can you just state the opposing point. Some of the directions for the issue essay don't mention you have to rebut the opposing point?
greenlight-admin's picture

I think that you strengthen your position by stating AND rebutting opposing points.

For building the essay, you came up with roughly 5 points (3 supporting, 2 contradicting). Do you intend to write 5 paragraphs plus 2 paragraphs for the intro and conclusion, a total of 7 paragraphs?
greenlight-admin's picture

I suggest that you choose 2 or 3 of your best supporting points and write 1 paragraph for each point. For the opposing points, you can choose 1 or 2 of them to write paragraphs about.


Hi Brent, thank you so much for all the incredible efforts you made for putting this fantastic study guide together. It's indeed THE best one out there.

Using the method you explained in this video, what would be your first as well as your second sentence, until "I believe...", of your introduction paragraph for this prompt below? Thanks so much inadvance.

"As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.

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 ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position."
greenlight-admin's picture

Thanks for the kind words!

Here's one way to start the essay:

The issue of whether an increased reliance on technology will decrease people's thinking skills is a contentious one.


Thanks for the response, Brent.

Another quick question about the argumentative essay type.
Although you said that the "identify alternative explanations and explain how they could be plausible" instruction is rare, what would be the key points regarding structuring the essay, if any, that are relatively different than the ones you provided and explained in the argumentative essay videos if we got something like this one below:

"A recent study of eighteen rhesus monkeys provides clues as to the effects of birth order on an individual's levels of stimulation. The study showed that in stimulating situations (such as an encounter with an unfamiliar monkey), firstborn infant monkeys produce up to twice as much of the hormone cortisol, which primes the body for increased activity levels, as do their younger siblings. Firstborn humans also produce relatively high levels of cortisol in stimulating situations (such as the return of a parent after an absence). The study also found that during pregnancy, first-time mother monkeys had higher levels of cortisol than did those who had had several offspring.

Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument."

Or does the exact structure that you used for the "identify the assumptions" instruction work fine for this particular type of instruction too?

Much appreciated and thanks.
greenlight-admin's picture

For this essay prompt, I'd spend some time summarizing the experiments, and then I'd write an essay that highlights an alternative explanation.

The argument suggests that one's birth order affects one's response to stimulation.

Experiment #1: In response to stimulation, FIRSTBORN rhesus MONKEYS produced much more cortisol than their younger siblings.

Experiment #2: In response to stimulation, FIRSTBORN HUMANS produced much more cortisol than their younger siblings.

Experiment #3: During pregnancy, FIRST-TIME mother monkeys had more cortisol than NON-FIRST-TIME mother monkeys

Notice that the 3rd experiment has nothing to do with BIRTH-ORDER. This is a big hint at an alternative reason for the various results.

One alternative theory is that animals produce the most cortisol when they experience something for the FIRST TIME. This would certainly explain the results of experiment #3, but not experiments #1 and #2.

However, it could also be the case that, before a certain age, animals aren't mature enough to fully comprehend the complexity of new experiences and, as such, do not produce much cortisol. This would explain the results of experiments #1 and #2.

Does that help?


Very much so! Much appreciated! Thanks a lot.

Interactive GRE Math Flashcards
Do we interactive GRE English Flashcards the way we do on math? If we do have do I access it, please?
greenlight-admin's picture

Hi Chibuzo12,

We only have flashcards for the math concepts and formulas.
There isn't the same need for Verbal flashcards.


Thanks for providing these videos free of cost. Is it necessary to have a rebuttal for the concession point? Can I state the concession point without the rebuttal, saying that this point can be valid in some cases?
greenlight-admin's picture

That's perfectly fine. Your main goal is to demonstrate that you've considered both sides of the issue.

I tried writing article with this template and I am really happy with the results. But the only problem I faced was of vocabulary. So can you suggest me ways of improving my vocabulary and how I can use new words in AW section?

greenlight-admin's picture

Here's a video lesson with tips on building your vocabulary: https://www.greenlighttestprep.com/module/gre-sentence-equivalence/video...

Once you've created a template for each essay, you can use a thesaurus (or an online version like thesaurus.com) to replace basic words with "fancier" words.

Hey Brent,
In your text, you used 'fancy' words, like 'vital skills' and 'mandate'. Does it have any impact on the grade if I use easier words? I know those words, but I don't really belive that during the text I will be able to think about similar words.
greenlight-admin's picture

I believe the computer program that scores your essays "views" your essay more favorably when bigger/more sophisticated words are used.
I have to believe this is true since the majority of the Verbal questions on the GRE test your vocabulary.
The good thing is that you can build "fancy" words into your template.

For example instead of writing, "The author's argument that X and Y cause Z, is NONSENSICAL." you might use a bigger word and write "The author's argument that X and Y cause Z, is SPURIOUS at best."

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