Just like there are techniques for studying standard critical writing I wanted to ask about this one.

From advice I've read heard online for example:


it seems that the advice is to write an essay that has a clear position. Even the grading criterion from the official ETS book says:

  • articulates a clear and insightful position on the issue in accordance with the assigned task.

thus it seems that having a clear stance is the way to go (supported and all etc). But what seems contradictory is that in the instruction to the test they say:

Trained GRE readers will evaluate your response for its overall quality, based on how well you:

  • Consider the complexities of the issue.

plus I've heard multiple times somewhere (maybe in the video) that its important to address also the opposite side of your advantage. So whats do we need to do? Stick with a side strongly and convincingly or consider the other options too? Do we consider the other options to strengthen our own argument? Or why do we need to consider other options or "the complexities of the issue"?

I know they want to "assess my critical thinking" but do they want to asses it through me defending my own ideas and sticking to them or saying why I stick to them despite contrary evidence? I just find this point confusing. What is the writing advice for this?

There should be a clear answer (even if there is more than right one) since there is a "objective score" given to these essays.

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    I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what you're confused about. Critical Thinking is not sticking blindly to your own ideas instead of considering evidence to the contrary. It's showing why you've made an informed decision, what evidence supports your decision and what opposes it, and specifically, why the contrary evidence is insufficient – user18397 Nov 15 '17 at 6:00
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because examination criteria are not on topic here. – user16226 Nov 15 '17 at 13:06
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    @MarkBaker how is this not on topic? its about advice specifically about writing in a specific use case/scenario that has an objective criterion for evaluating it, so there should be an unambiguous answer. – Pinocchio Nov 15 '17 at 16:40
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    basically as @Thomo put it, you want to discuss all angles of the topic to show that you are not being biased, and that you have done your work to make the best and most educated stance on the subject. Of course, this goes without saying that this is where you can probably be the MOST biased. It is easy to pick out "facts" that validate your stance to only show the negatives of one side and positives of another. If you want to provide a balanced argument, try to find positive things even about the differing side and use your stance to state why you like it despite these positive things there. – ggiaquin16 Nov 15 '17 at 17:29
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    @pinocchio - no, it's not. It's not about justifying your position, it's about analysis of the evidence provided to develop an educated and informed opinion that is substantiated by that evidence. – user18397 Nov 16 '17 at 9:33

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