In this video, the GRE Expert Nick from Kaplan presents his recommended GRE essay template.

Before you start structuring your essay, it is very important to know exactly what the graders want to see. This is going to determine how you approach and write your essay. Generally, they are interested in five key elements:

First, they want to make sure you respond to the specific instructions of the prompt. Second, they want to make sure you understand the complexities of the argument. Third, they want you to understand how to organise your essay into discrete paragraphs. Fourth, they want to make sure you know how to use evidence and examples to support your position. Finally, they want you to avoid making many grammatical errors.

With the introduction paragraph you simply want to show the essay graders that you understand what you have to do. The task in an argument essay is to understand the main conclusion of the author, the claims they use to support that conclusion, and to uncover the underlying assumptions. In that sense, the structure of your introduction shows right away if you understand all of this. It is also a good idea to use a lot of keywords. The graders love it.

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Each paragraph that is part of the body of the text has to be centred on one core assumption. First, you present one of the major assumptions of the author using a strong active voice. Then, you talk about what the impact would be if that assumption proves to be false. It is good practice to use the three Fs as transition keywords for the body paragraphs: first, furthermore, and finally. The most important aspects of the body paragraphs include explaining the assumptions, supporting them with evidence and examples as well as developing your own ideas and thoughts.

Finally, the purpose of the conclusion is to establish credibility. At the end of the essay, you will want to remind the graders that you understand the task at hand. Return to your central idea and state that the author makes a potentially good point although there is still not enough evidence to conclude that this is the best way to go.

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