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Must know GRE preparation tip: killer quotes for your AWA!
Gayathri Gopakumar

Meet Gayathri - a Content Editor at Hotcourses India- an IDP company. A once-international student herself- she loves to research & give insights into the world of global education through her writing. When she isn’t working, you'll find her playing, travelling or binge-watching just about anything.


17 Jan 2019 293 Book icon 3 mins Share

Must know GRE preparation tip: Killer quotes for your AWA!

Caught up in your GRE preparation? This article explains how to boost your AWA score by including quotes in the essay.

17 Jan 2019 293 Book icon 3 mins Share
Must know GRE preparation tip: killer quotes for your AWA!

“Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when it is quoted, than when we read it in the original author?" - Philip Gilbert Hamerton (The Intellectual Life, 1873)

Yes, we understand you’re caught up in verbal and quantitative sections of your GRE preparation, but here’s the thing: Scoring above average in AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) is just as important!

Did YOU know that essays with skillful use of quotes are more likely to score high than essays without quotes? Yep! While good writing skills can fetch you the average score of 3.5 in AWA, mastering them can push your score towards an outstanding 6. Best way to do it? 

Simple, include quotes! 

But what kind of quotes do you use and more importantly, where? 

Also, check out popular MBA and Engineering programmes in the USA that you can apply to post your GRE test. 

Welcome to the art of quoting. 

Yes, it’s an art, indeed. Read on to know how to master it and ace your AWA with confidence!

Essaying AWA

To start with, let’s take a look at the AWA section in GRE. It consists of 2 essays: analysis on an issue and analysis of an argument. And, you’ll be given roughly 30 minutes to complete it. The good news is that GRE essay topics are already published in the official ETS website. Yay, right?  But *tsk tsk*there are over 200 topics listed across a wide span of subject areas. Worry not! We’ve made your GRE preparation much easier by listing down a few of the most common fields:

  • Politics
  • Science and technology
  • Education
  • Arts

Quite contrary to common belief, you’re tested not on what you write (of course, there’s gotta be some logic in it), but on how you write and substantiate your argument. So, all the more focus on your writing folks!

The role of quotes

Well, for starters, beginning your essay with an apt quote definitely sets the ground for your argument. It tells the grader right away where you’re heading at, giving the essay a firm direction.

Secondly, by quoting a famous line that substantiates your argument, you’re making your say look more credible.

Let’s face it! Essays with quotes in it seem promising and interesting at the same time.

Above all and most importantly, a quote in the conclusion will leave the grader pondering over your argument.   

However, if the quote doesn’t take any of the above roles, then simply chuck it! It’s a misfit! In fact, an irrelevant or an out-of-place quote can do more harm than good. It can come across as forced and put off the grader. So you now know how NOT to use them too!

Tweaking the quote

The whole point of including quotes is to convey the author’s idea in his own words. But if you’d like to retain the author’s idea and convey it in your words, go ahead and tweak them relevantly, if you must. That’s called paraphrasing. 

For example, if you wanna paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s quote - “Trust, but verify” – you could put it down as – to summarise Ronald Reagan’s popular phrase, it’s simpler to trust, when you can verify. This way, you not just convey the essence of the original quote, but you also gain more credibility because you’re citing the author. Practice using quotes during your GRE preparation and master quoting.

Umm… What if I want to use many?

Quoting makes your essay look more interesting, credible and strong – no arguments there. But, at the end of the day, it’s YOUR essay! After all the valuable points you’ve made about the subject, the last thing you’d want is to stuff it with quotes that alienate you from your own essay. That’s exactly how it would come across if you include too many quotes.

Then-how many is too many? 

Good question. Ideally, two quotes in an essay are good. Avoid squeezing in more than 2. If you have one too many quotes that are appropriate to your arguments, take a call on what fits the bill best. 

 Cite the author

As a thumb rule, ALWAYS cite the author of your quote. Citing the author is a very crucial aspect of the quote. Using words from others without giving them due credit is termed plagiarism. And you do not want to get your score cancelled for plagiarism. So be sure to put the quote in double quotation marks and name the original author of the quote. Here’s an example:

Abraham Lincoln once said, “It is a pleasure to be able to quote lines to fit any occasion...”   

Your takeaway quotes

To make your work easier, we’ve collated a list of handy quotes based on trending GRE essay topics. Use them appropriately to ace your essay. 

  • “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself” ― Arthur Miller
  • “No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation” – Woodrow Wilson (28th U.S President)
  • “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws” – Plato
  • “It is dangerous to be right, when the government is wrong” – Voltaire
  • “As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can” – Julius Caesar

We’ve now walked you through the basics of quotes for your essay. 

But knowing how to use the right flow in the essay with quotes comes with practice – which is precisely why you should keep all of the above points in mind during your GRE preparation.

Do you have a projected GRE score for yourself? Check out the top universities accepting your GRE score. Want help in picking the right university or programme? Reach out to us or drop a line in the chat box to avail our expert counselling and career guidance!

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