How to write gre essay
What is an essay
The word “essay” came into Russian from French and historically goes back to the Latin word exagium (weighing). French essay can be literally translated into experience, trial, attempt, sketch, essay.
An essay is a prosaic work of small volume and free composition that expresses individual impressions and considerations on a particular occasion or question and does not necessarily claim to be a defining or exhaustive interpretation of the subject.
L.P. Krysin’s “Explanatory Dictionary of Foreign Language Words” defines the essay as “an essay that interprets any problems not in a systematic scientific form, but in a free form”.
The “Great Encyclopedic Dictionary” gives the following definition: “An essay is a genre of philosophical, literary-critical, historical-biographical, journalistic prose, combining an accentuated individual position of the author with a relaxed, often paradoxical presentation, focused on conversational speech”.
“A brief literary encyclopedia” specifies: “An essay is a prosaic work of small volume and free composition, interpreting a private theme and representing an attempt to convey individual impressions and considerations, one way or another associated with it”.
Some features of an essay:
the presence of a particular theme or question. A work devoted to the analysis of a wide range of problems, by definition, cannot be done in the genre of essays.
An essay expresses individual impressions and reflections on a specific topic or issue and does not knowingly claim to be a defining or exhaustive interpretation of the subject.
As a rule, an essay assumes a new, subjectively coloured word about something; such a work may have a philosophical, historical and biographical, journalistic, literary and critical, popular science or purely fictional character.
The content of the essay primarily assesses the personality of the author – his worldview, thoughts and feelings.
This genre has become popular in recent years. The creator of the essay genre is M. Montaigne (“Experiences”, 1580). Today an essay is offered as a task quite often. It is one of the basic components of a package of documents (at admission to an educational institution or employment). An essay competition helps to choose the best from a variety of the best!
Writing an essay is also important for a young professional.
The way the candidate has managed to present himself or herself, the way he or she has described his or her achievements and failures, allows the employer to determine whether the person is good enough for the business, whether his or her work experience is enough to justify the hopes in the future and to benefit the company (organization, enterprise).
The aim of the essay is to develop skills such as independent creative thinking and written expression of own thoughts.
Writing an essay is extremely useful as it allows the author to learn to clearly and competently formulate thoughts, structure information, use basic concepts, highlight causal relations, illustrate experience with relevant examples, and argue his conclusions.
The most relevant topic for the essay of a young specialist is “Me and my career”. The topic of the essay is given to make it easy for the commission (employer) to assess your thinking, creativity, enthusiasm and potential. The best way to achieve this result is to write directly and frankly, while remaining honest with yourself. If you are not honest, there is every chance that your essay will be considered unnatural.
Structure and essay plan
The structure of an essay is determined by its requirements:
The author’s thoughts on the problem are presented in the form of brief theses (T).
the thought must be supported by evidence – so the thesis is followed by arguments (A).
Arguments are facts, phenomena of public life, events, life situations and life experience, scientific proofs, references to the opinion of scientists, etc. (A). It is better to give two arguments in favor of each thesis: one argument seems unconvincing, three arguments can “overload” the presentation made in the genre, focused on brevity and imagery.
Thus, the essay acquires a ring structure (the number of theses and arguments depends on the theme, the selected plan, the logic of thought development):
When writing an essay, it is also important to consider the following points:
The introduction and conclusion should focus on the problem (in the introduction it is put, in the conclusion the author’s opinion is summarized).
It is necessary to highlight paragraphs, red lines, to establish a logical connection between paragraphs: this way the integrity of the work is achieved.
Style of presentation: the essay is emotional, expressive and artistic. Specialists believe that short, simple, varied in intonation sentences and skilful use of the “most modern” punctuation mark – dash – provide the proper effect. However, the style reflects the features of the personality, it is also useful to remember this.
Before you start writing an essay, pay attention to the following questions. The answers to them will allow you to define more clearly what is worth writing in an essay:
When touching on your personal qualities or abilities in an essay, ask yourself:
Do I differ in one way or another from those I know?
in what way has this quality manifested itself?
About the activities that you have been (are) engaged in:
What made me engage in this activity?
why did i continue doing this?
About every event in your life that you mentioned:
why did I remember this particular event?
Did it change me as a person?
how did i react to it?
Was it a revelation to me; something I had not previously suspected?
Every person that you mentioned:
why did I name this person?
Do I seek to become like him?
What are his qualities that I admire?
Was there something told to them that I would remember for life?
Have I reconsidered my views?
About each of your preferences and the things you don’t like:
why do I like it or not like it?
Has this circumstance had a significant impact on my life?
About every failure you’ve ever had:
what have I learned as a result?
what have I learned from this situation?
The classification of the essay
In terms of content, there are essays:
spiritual and religious, etc.
In literary form, the essays are presented in the form:
of the lyrical miniature,
There is also a distinction between essays:
analytical and others.
In this case it is based on the compositional features of the work performed in the genre of essays.
Finally, a classification of the essay into two large groups is proposed:
personal, subjective essay, where the main element is the disclosure of this or that side of the author’s personality,
an objective essay where the personal beginning is subordinate to the subject of description or some idea.
A young specialist’s essay on a specific topic belongs to the second group.
Signs of an essay
There are some common features of the genre, which are usually listed in encyclopedias and dictionaries:
There are, of course, no hard borders. The volume of the essay is from three to seven pages of computer text. For example, at Harvard Business School, an essay is often written on just two pages. Russian universities allow essays of up to ten pages of typewritten text.
A specific topic and a subjective interpretation of it is emphasized.
The topic of an essay is always specific. An essay cannot contain many topics or ideas (thoughts). It reflects only one variant, one thought. And it develops it. It is an answer to one question.
Free composition is an important feature of an essay.
Researchers note that an essay is by nature arranged in such a way that it does not tolerate any formal framework. It is often built contrary to the laws of logic, subject to arbitrary associations, guided by the principle of “It’s the opposite”.
It’s not easy to narrate.
It is important for the author of this essay to establish a trusting style of communication with the reader; to be understood, he avoids deliberately complicated, vague, excessively strict constructions. Researchers note that a good essay can write only one who is fluent in the subject, sees it from different angles and is ready to present the reader not exhaustive, but multi-dimensional view of the phenomenon, which became the starting point for his reflections.
A penchant for paradoxes.
The essay is intended to surprise the reader (listener) – this is, in the opinion of many researchers, its obligatory quality. The starting point for the reflections embodied in the essay is often an aphoristic, vivid statement or paradoxical definition that literally collides at first glance undisputed but mutually exclusive statements, characteristics, and theses.
Internal semantic unity
It’s probably one of the paradoxes of the genre. Free in composition, focused on subjectivity, the essay at the same time has an inner semantic unity, i.e. the consistency of key theses and statements, the inner harmony of arguments and associations, the consistency of those judgments in which the personal position of the author is expressed.
Conversational speech orientation
At the same time it is necessary to avoid using slang, template phrases, word abbreviations, too frivolous tone in the essay. The language used to write an essay should be taken seriously.
So, when writing an essay, it is important to define (understand) its subject, define the desired scope and goals of each paragraph.
Start with the main idea or a vivid phrase. The task is to capture the reader’s (listener’s) attention at once. Comparative allegory is often applied here, when an unexpected fact or event is associated with the main theme of the essay.
Essay writing rules
Only one of the formal rules for writing an essay can be named – the presence of a title.
The internal structure of the essay can be arbitrary. Since it is a small form of writing, there is no need to repeat the conclusions at the end, they can be included in the main text or in the title.
Argumentation may precede the formulation of the problem. The formulation of the problem may coincide with the final conclusion.
Unlike an essay that is addressed to any reader, so it starts with “I want to talk about…” and ends with “I came to the following conclusions…”, an essay is a replica addressed to a prepared reader (listener). In other words, to a person who already has an idea of what he or she is going to talk about. This allows the author of the essay to focus on the disclosure of the new and not overburden the presentation with service details.
Errors in writing the essay
Unlike tests, essays do not involve the format of multiple-choice (when you have multiple choices). Essay writing is not time limited, you can rewrite it many times, ask your friends to read your essay. Take advantage of all the features and try to avoid common mistakes.
Don’t think you can limit yourself to spell checkers. Reread your essays and make sure there are no ambiguous expressions, bad spells, etc. Examples that are not worth “taking note”:
“I am proud to have been able to resist the use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco.”
“To work in your firm (organization), located in a wonderful place, where there is a lot of Gothic architecture, will be an exciting challenge for me”.
Tiresome preambles. Insufficient details.
Too often, an interesting essay loses out in what is an enumeration of statements without illustrating them with examples. The essay is characterised by common cliches: the importance of hard work and perseverance, learning from mistakes, etc.
Essays are limited to a certain number of words, so you need to manage this volume wisely. Sometimes this means giving up ideas or details, especially if they have already been mentioned somewhere or are not directly relevant. Such things only distract the reader (or listener) and obscure the main subject of the essay.
The longer the sentence, the better – this is the opinion of some candidates. However, this is far from the truth. Long phrases do not yet prove that the author is right, and short sentences often have a greater effect. It is best when the essay long phrases alternate with short ones. Try reading the essay out loud. If you feel that you are taking a breath, break down the paragraph into smaller paragraphs.
When you’re done writing an essay, do the exercise. Assign each paragraph a letter: either S (short), M (medium), or L (long). S – less than 10 words, M – less than 20 words, L – 20 or more words.
A correct essay has the following or similar letter order – M S M L M S.
The wrong essay characterizes this sequence of letters – S S M L L L.
How to write gre essay and fast
Do not overload the essay. shsat handbook
When writing the essay, discard the words from the encyclopedias. Incorrect use of such words distracts the reader’s attention and diminishes the meaning of the essay.
By avoiding such common mistakes, you can interest the expert commission (employer) in your experience.
When writing an essay it is very important to check the first version. When writing a draft, your main task is to develop arguments, grind the main thoughts and arrange them in a strict sequence, accompanied by illustrative materials or auxiliary data, etc. After writing the first option, give him a day or two to rest, and then return to the work of verification and improvement, on a “fresh head”.
When checking the essay, first pay attention to the important points that follow:
First of all, it is important to remember that an essay is a subjective genre, so its evaluation can also be subjective. You should not focus on the entire mass of employers.
No matter what question you answer, you need to achieve certain goals. You are expected to keep in mind the following when writing your essay:
Have I answered the question that has been asked?
How clear and precise have I been in expressing my thoughts?
Does it sound natural that I have written, that there are no mistakes?
Also make sure that you:
Demonstrate your desire to build your career in a certain direction.
You were “aiming” to build a career in a certain area.
Included in the story from one to three qualities, strengths, characteristics that distinguish you from the mass of other candidates.
Presented at least one strong argument for the employer to invite you into their business.
Communication skills / written speech.
Essays are also designed to test your ability to express your thoughts on paper and your writing skills. A selection consultant says: “Your essay should not characterize you as a future writer or philologist, you – a future leader, manager. The ability to present your ideas well is important for success in business, and the ability to express them on paper is important for those who easily communicate with other people.
A poorly written (presented) essay will not help you to be accepted into business.
The image of a real person.
The expert committee (employer) wants to see in the essay the image of the person who wrote it. Not only the test results and work experience are important, but also the character of the candidate. “We are looking for something elusive in the documents that cannot show numbers, so we hope to find it in the essay. Never miss an opportunity to tell us about yourself in your essays. It will help us to make sure that we are considering a very real person, not just the sum of the various figures.
What’s important here is to be honest, sincere, unique – to be yourself!
Experts believe that often graduates, applicants are eager to seem like someone: a leader, a mature person, that they forget to be just a person!
The only way to make the commission (employer) see behind all the documents the image of a particular person is to make an element of personal, unique, unique in the essay. Your essays will immediately become more interesting and appealing. They will help to stand out among hundreds of other applicants.
“Your essay should be as personalized as possible. It’s a waste of time to read essays that are full of common phrases. You still don’t understand anything about the personality of this candidate.”
Everything you write in your essay needs to be supported by examples and references to your experience. Details will make your essays interesting, unique, specific.
Distinctive features / Uniqueness / Something interesting, funny.
According to experts, “graduates (applicants) should not be afraid that they will go beyond what is allowed, it is better to be yourself. Very often alumni are concerned about whether they will be able to make the right impression, so they take everything that makes them outstanding out of the essay. So safe, from the point of view of the alumni, essays are tiresome to read.
You don’t have to make jokes in your essays to make them interesting. But try to use all the means at your disposal to make your essays memorable.
The panel of experts does not tolerate participants who like to dust their eyes. It would be better if your essay reflected the true state of affairs. At the same time, do not focus on your shortcomings, although they are present in your character. You have to be honest, but positive. Talk about yourself and your qualities only positively! The so-called “weaknesses” should be presented as follows: “This used to be my fault, now it’s turned into a positive quality.”
It’s a literary work.
Representatives of expert committees like such essays, which are a pleasure to read. “Make sure that your essay is easy to read. Give it some more time: check if your thoughts are consistent and lead to the logical conclusion of the topic”.
“Humour is a great tool, but use it wisely. A sarcastic or impertinent tone is often annoying. Real humour is art, it is a sign of good taste.
In your essays you tell the story of success, you indicate the reasons why you want to build your career in the direction you have chosen. You can go even further by writing your essay as a literary work: a story, a story. However, this is a risky approach, as most people are not very good writers, in addition, it is possible to underestimate the seriousness of your narrative. And finally, employers will not invite you into their business just because you are a great storyteller. Also get to know how to write gre essay