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Writing Center: Checklist For GRE Essays

A guide to information to help you research and write more effectively.

Checklist For GRE Essays


  • Adheres to the questions and requirements set forth in the instructions 
  • Includes an appropriate amount of writing
  • Contains a clear and logical structure 
  • Contains a clear and strong thesis statement 
  • Uses evidence that effectively supports the thesis statement 
  • Explains how supporting evidence supports the thesis statement
  • Transitions between ideas using transition sentences and words
  • Makes clear, declarative statements 
  • Includes a sufficient introduction and conclusion 
  • Essays reflect the applicant’s writing ability and skill
  • Free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors

Analyze an Issue essay

  • Develops a clear position about the topic 
  • Includes strong, relevant examples to defend the position 
  • Adequately defends the position about the topic
  • Evaluates and discusses the topic in the prompt
  • Mentions and refutes counterarguments about the position and other perspectives 
  • Avoids changing position throughout the essay 
  • Statements are made with confidence and are not tentative 

Analyze an Argument essay

  • Clearly read and understand the argument 
  • Contains a clear position about the logical soundness of the argument 
  • Uses specific examples and evidence to defend the position 
  • Avoids simply agreeing with the argument 
  • Avoids including personal opinions and beliefs
  • Focuses on multiple aspects of the argument
  • Mentions and analyzes flaws in the argument 
  • Avoids making assumptions that are not stated or implied in the argument
  • Addresses and refutes counterarguments