The Analytical Writing measure tests your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, construct and evaluate arguments, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It does not assess specific content knowledge. The Issue task presents an opinion on an issue of general interest followed by specific instructions on how to respond to that issue.
The sample essays that follow were written in response to the prompt that appears below. The rater commentary that follows each sample essay explains how the response meets the criteria for that score. For a more complete understanding of the criteria for each score point, see the "Analyze an Argument" Scoring Guide. In surveys Mason City residents rank water sports swimming, boating and fishing among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river's water and the river's smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River.
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When you take the test, you will be presented with one Issue topic from this pool. Each Issue topic consists of an issue statement or statements followed by specific task instructions that tell you how to respond to the issue. The wording of some topics in the test might vary slightly from what is presented here.