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   AWA Essay Guide
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spacer left_arrow Chapter 1: AWA Introduction
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spacer active_arrow Chapter 2: Analysis of Issue
spacer   2a. Contents
2b. Timing
2c. Structure
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spacer left_arrow Chapter 3: Analysis of Argument
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spacer left_arrow Chapter 4: About the E-Rater
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spacer left_arrow Chapter 5: Improving Your Writing
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spacer left_arrow Chapter 6: Real Essay Questions
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spacer left_arrow 10 Most Common Errors
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Chapter 2 - Section 1: Analysis of Issue
 
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The Analysis of Issue question asks you to discuss your opinion on an issue. You will need to write a well-balanced analysis of the issue presented by the test.

The most common topics relate to general business and public policy issues. Business issues include business ethics, marketing and labor. Government issues include regulatory and social welfare issues.

Sample topic

  • Does lowering tax rates increase economic growth?

    Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


Pick a Side

In order to attack these generalized policy questions, you need to take a precise position. Because your essay will be short (you have only 30 minutes), you won't be able to cover every possible argument, rebuttal and example. Choose the most persuasive points and relevant examples.

Question Thesis Evaluation
It is essential that politicians keep certain secrets from the public.” “Politicians are ultimately representatives of the public charged with acting in the best interest of the public. However, in order to fulfill this responsibility, it is essential for politicians to occasionally keep secrets from the very people they represent.”

Precise. This stays parallel by addressing whether or not keeping secrets is essential (as the prompt suggests) and evaluates the question only in   terms of the public.

Comment: The trick here is the word
es
sential ... this word is an extreme statement and opens up the argument to dispute.
“While it may harm their favor in polls, it is often a better choice for politicians to withhold certain information from the public.” Imprecise.  This does not address whether withholding this information is "essential," as the prompt suggests. A more precise stance would address  whether or not this choice is essential rather than simply better.  
“Withholding information is indeed a right of politicians, as evidenced by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which essentially   guarantees all Americans the right to withhold information—politicians included.” Imprecise. This does not address whether or not keeping secrets is "essential," but rather whether or not it is a "right." Additionally, this loses  track by addressing a Constitutional amendment aimed at protecting the right to withhold in a courtroom, whereas the prompt addresses withholding information from the public.

You Can Talk About Both Sides

Pick a side, but also feel free to acknowledge both sides of the issue to show that you understand both side fully. You can persuade the reader that, despite the counter-arguments, your position is, overall, the stronger one.

Show the reader that you see both sides of the issue by occasionally using qualifiers when describing each side. A qualifier is a word or phrase that tempers the language nearby. Words like fairly, rather, somewhat, and relatively, and expressions like seems to be, a little, and a certain amount of limit the severity of other words or phrases they modify.


spacer  Chapter 2a: Analysis of Issue - Content