GRE study guide: Analytical Writing section

Posted by  | December 4 2019

ets argument essay pool

The GRE’s Analytical Writing section requires you to write two essays in one hour — one Issue essay and one Argument essay. You’ll be scored based on your ability to formulate a thesis statement and how well you argue your statement in the following paragraphs. While writing two essays in one hour sounds intimidating, it’s doable with the right planning and practice. Here are some tips for getting started.

Become familiar with sample topics. Educational Testing Services (ETS) — the creators of the GRE — publishes the entire pool of Issues and Argument topics on their website. The topics that you’ll see on your test will be taken from those pools, so becoming familiar and practicing with the topics listed will be an extremely helpful resource. ETS also has sample scored Issue and Argument essay responses available so you can see the difference between writing quality and scores.

Practice with GRE essay prompts. Like most subject matter, the best way to get better at writing and formulating an argument is to keep practicing. Here are some helpful tips for practicing writing an essay: 

  • ETS has 328 published GRE essay topics , any of which can appear on the Analytical Writing section.
  • Grade yourself with the official standards set by GRE rubrics. If you don’t think you can be objective enough, find a friend to score it for you.  
  • Keep within the 30-minute time limit. 
  • If you are taking the computer-based GRE, practice writing your essay using POWERPREP Online or another word processor. 
  • Leave time to edit your essay. 

Outline your essay before writing. Outlining your arguments before putting them into words will help you organize your thoughts and construct a cohesive argument. Begin by determining your thesis, then briefly outline your two to four examples or points of analysis that you will go into your body paragraphs. Complete your outline with a few bullet points under each of your points of analysis that explain how each supports your thesis. 

How to organize your essay  

Issue essays. The Issue essay section will provide you with an issue statement followed by a specific task that will tell you how to respond to the issue. Consider using this sample template for your essay: 

  • Introduction. Start your introduction with a sentence that restates the issue followed by your thesis statement, or your main argument. In the following sentences, introduce your specific reasons and evidence you will provide in the following body paragraphs. A good rule of thumb is to have one sentence for each of the following body paragraphs.
  • Body paragraphs (2–4). Your body paragraphs should introduce a main piece of evidence, provide an explanation on how the evidence relates to the topic, and demonstrate how your evidence supports your thesis
  • Conclusion. Briefly summarize the points you’ve made in a way that slightly mirrors your introduction. 

Argument essays. The Argument essay section will provide you with an argument and asks you to analyze it based on logic. Consider using this sample template for your essay: 

  • Introduction. Your introduction should restate the author’s opinion, summarize the facts provided to you that led to the author’s opinion or conclusion, and state your thesis in the final sentence on your view of the opinion based on evidence. 
  • Body paragraphs (2–4). Your body paragraphs should introduce a flaw in the argument or an example of insufficient evidence, explain why that example is flawed, and offer alternative evidence such as alternate possibilities that the author did not include.
  • Conclusion . Briefly summarize your thesis again and possibly provide some suggestions for changes that would strengthen the argument.

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Cracking the GRE: Analytical Writing

October 4, 2013 

ets argument essay pool

The Analytical Writing section of the GRE is designed to assess critical thinking and analytical writing skills, including the ability to express complex ideas clearly and effectively while sustaining a coherent and focused discussion. The test does not evaluate specific content knowledge.

Question Types

This section of the GRE consists of two separately timed essays. For each essay, you will be given 30 minutes to address a specified general topic. You will be provided with a set of instructions on the approach to take. It’s important to carefully read and follow the instructions in order to satisfy the test requirements.

The two Analytical Writing essays are categorized as follows:

•  Analyze an Issue:  This section assesses your ability to think critically about a general interest topic and express your thoughts about it in writing. You will be given an issue statement that makes a claim that can be viewed from several different angles. In your essay, you are expected to explain and defend your position on the issue.

•  Analyze an Argument:  This section assesses your ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate arguments related to an event or course of action. The arguments will be presented in a brief passage that puts forth the author’s case. You must determine if this case is logically sound and explain your evaluation in writing.

Note that the first essay requires you to state your position and provide evidence to support it while the second essay requires you to analyze and evaluate someone else’s position. As you write your essays, remember that you will be assessed based on how you use critical thinking and analysis to fully address the specified topic and how well you can express yourself in writing.

Topic Examples

Educational Testing Service (ETS) provides examples of the type of topics that are included in the Analytical Writing section. For the Analyze an Issue essay, you may be asked to agree or disagree with the claim that the widespread use of technology is causing deterioration in people’s ability to think for themselves. Another example is agreeing or disagreeing with a recommendation that all elementary and secondary school students should study the same national curriculum.

An example passage provided by ETS for the Analyze and Argument section describes a city that has a polluted river running through it. The state has made a commitment to clean up the river. Therefore, the city should set aside money in this year’s budget for recreational facilities along the river. Is this a logically sound argument?

It’s critically important to budget your time during the test. Within the 30-minute time limit for each essay, you’ll need to read the instructions, analyze the issue or argument, decide on your response, and compose your essay. You also need to save time to proofread your essay after you’ve finished writing. GRE readers may overlook minor grammatical errors due to the time constraints of the test, but serious errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics will significantly lower your test score.

For the Analyze an Issue essay, you need to discuss how much you agree or disagree with the issue statement. Remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” response. You will be scored on the reasoning you use to support your point of view and the relevant examples you provide. Avoid using examples that are too broad or lists of examples with no supporting detail.

For the Analyze an Argument essay, begin by breaking down the line of reasoning in the argument text. Identify the separate steps in the thinking process and determine if progression from one step to the next is logically sound. For this essay, remember that you are not being asked whether you agree with the argument. Instead, focus on the author’s success in providing evidence that supports his or her position.

How to Prepare

The audience for both your essays will be college and university faculty who are trained as GRE readers. Your writing should demonstrate a level of critical thinking and clarity that positively reflects your academic background.

ETS recommends that everyone prepare for the Analytical Writing test, even confident and practiced writers. Review the score level descriptions and other materials provided in the  Analytical Writing  section of the GRE website. To help examinees prepare, ETS has provided the complete pools of issue and argument topics. You will be presented with one topic from each pool when you take the test.

ETS has provided an invaluable preparation tool in the form of scored sample essays in the  Analytical Writing Introduction . Going over the scored sample essays will provide insight into what GRE readers expect to see in a high scoring essay and what will cause them to give a low score. ETS also provides a sample test; completing this test under test conditions and having it evaluated by an instructor or peer will provide one more advantage when you sit down to take the actual test.

Quick Tips for GRE Analytical Writing Prep

Study sample essays  The GRE Analytical Writing test includes two types of essays: Analyze an Issue and Analyze an Argument. Visit the  Education Testing Service (ETS) website at to see descriptions and samples of each type of essay. Learn how GRE essays are scored:  According to ETS, even the most practiced writers need to become familiar with the skills being measured and the scoring criteria. Review scoring guides and sample scored essays on the ETS website. Complete sample essays:  ETS Powerprep II Software provides sample tests that include both Analyze an Issue and Analyze an Argument essays. Download a free copy at Practice, practice, practice:  The more you write, the easier it will become. Avoid GRE writer’s block and complete several test essays within the 30-minute time limit. Ask instructors or knowledgeable friends to proofread and critique your essays and then work to correct the problems they find. Get expert help:  If writing is one of your weaker academic areas, investigate online GRE prep courses and tutoring services.

For more information on the GRE please see our post on  GRE preparation ,  GRE Verbal Reasoning  and  GRE Quantitative Reasoning .

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ets argument essay pool

The best way to figure out how to get a high Analytical Writing score is to look at a GRE essay sample, but doing so without any guidance can be overwhelming. How do you show insight? Do typos affect your score? What’s a good way to keep your essay organized?

We’ll answer all these questions for you (and more!) in this article by analyzing four real GRE essay examples and highlighting the key features you’ll want to include in your own essays.

How to Use This Guide

Before we get to the GRE sample essays and their analyses, I’ll highlight two best ways to use this guide to improve your essay and get a great scoring essay yourself.

First, use the perfect-scoring sample GRE essays in this guide as models of possible ways to accomplish the essay tasks . By this, I don’t mean you should plagiarize entire sentences, paragraphs, or essays – that’s both wrong and against GRE code of conduct (it will disqualify your entire test if discovered). Plus, there are so many prompts (152 Issue prompts and 176 Argument ones) that it’s unlikely you’d be able to use any of these exact essays anyway.

What you can and should do is incorporate the features highlighted in the analyses below in your own essays. For instance, if you’ve been struggling with how to logically connect ideas within paragraphs in your own essays, take a look of some of the examples of logical connection I point out in this article and see how they fit within the context of the full essay. You can then practice replicating successful connections between ideas in your own practice essays.

The other main way to use this guide is in conjunction with the essay grading rubrics to help ferret out your writing weaknesses and work on them. Start with the rubrics for the Issue and Argument tasks and identify which criteria are most difficult for you to meet. Even if you can’t articulate precisely what your weakest spot is (e.g. failing to logically connect your ideas within paragraphs), you can at least narrow down the general rubric area you most struggle with (e.g. organization in general).

Once you’ve identified the general area you have the most trouble with, read the GRE essay examples and our analyses in this article to find concrete instances (rather than the abstract descriptions) of the rubric criteria. For more information about the different rubrics for the different essay tasks, read our articles on how to write perfect-scoring GRE Issue and Argument essays .

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Because this article is on the longer side, we’ve created a table of contents to enable you to jump to a specific essay example or task type:

Table of Contents: GRE Essay Examples 

Issue essay 1: technology and human ingenuity, issue essay 2: cooperation vs. competition, argument essay 1: mason city riverside recreation, argument essay 2: super screen movie advertising.

The first of the GRE sample essays we’ll be looking at is written in response to the following “Analyze an Issue” prompt:

As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

The essay written on this Issue prompt takes the position that rather than hindering our abilities to think for themselves, technology will spur humanity on to achieve ever-greater things. The full text of this GRE essay sample can be found on the ETS website .

In this analysis, I’ll go over the different ways in which this essay meets the GRE essay rubric criteria for a perfect scoring Issue essay . The first of these rubric criteria I’ll be discussing is the way the author takes a clear and insightful stance on the issue in the essay.

The author’s position that instead of fearing new technology, we should embrace its possibilities is methodically articulated over the course of the entire essay, culminating in the essay’s conclusion with a full thesis statement (“There is no need to retreat to a Luddite attitude to new things, but rather embrace a hopeful posture to the possibilities that technology provides for new avenues of human imagination.”). Below is an outline of how the author expresses her thesis throughout the essay:

  • Paragraph 1 : The author acknowledges “technology has revolutionized the world.”
  • Paragraph 2 : The author explains the reasoning behind the statement in the prompt (“The assumption is that an increased reliance on technology negates the need for people to think creatively to solve previous quandaries”).
  • Paragraph 3 : The author counters the reasoning she discussed in paragraph 2, writing that “reliance on technology does not necessarily preclude the creativity that marks the human species.”
  • Paragraph 4 : The author advances her counterclaim one step further, stating that “technology frees the human imagination.”
  • Paragraph 5 : The author further develops the idea from Paragraph 4, stating “By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals can now be achieved.”
  • Paragraph 6 : This final paragraph concludes the essay with a fully articulated thesis that also sums up what went before: “There is no need to retreat to a Luddite attitude to new things, but rather embrace a hopeful posture to the possibilities that technology provides for new avenues of human imagination.”

The author’s straightforward explanations of her thinking and logic enhance the clarity of her position, while the nuanced content of the position itself demonstrates insight into the issue.


The next area a perfect-scoring Issue essay must demonstrate mastery of is the development of its position through compelling and persuasive examples and reasoning . The author of this essay accomplishes this task by providing examples to support each idea she discusses and, furthermore, explaining not only the content of the examples but also why the examples support her position.

Here’s an example from paragraph 5:

By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals can now be achieved. Consider how the late 20th century witnessed the complete elimination of smallpox. This disease had ravaged the human race since prehistorical days, and yet with the technology of vaccines, free thinking humans dared to imagine a world free of smallpox. Using technology, battle plans were drawn out, and smallpox was systematically targeted and eradicated.

In this example, the author begins by laying out the main idea to be discussed (impossible things can be achieved by relying more on technology). She then supports this idea with the example of the impossible problem of smallpox and the steps taken that led to its eradication.

The great thing about the way the author explains her reasoning and examples is the concision and precision with which she gets her information across. Rather than going off into a discussion about the damage caused by smallpox, or staying too vague by mentioning how “diseases” had been solved by the use of vaccines, the author chooses a specific example (smallpox) and mentions only the details relevant to proving her point . This kind of precise writing takes practice, but being able to effectively sum up an example and why it supports your position in just a couple of sentences is essential if you want to get a high score on the GRE Issue essay.


Focus, organization, and logical connections are the third criterion that a perfect-scoring essay needs to fulfill. In the case of this GRE essay sample, the author achieves this organization and focus by linking ideas both within paragraphs (as seen in the previous example) as well as between paragraphs . Let’s look at the way the author transitions between the end of paragraph four and the beginning of paragraph five:

The unlikely marriage of economics and medicine has healed tense, hyperinflation environments from South America to Eastern Europe.

This last example provides the most hope in how technology actually provides hope to the future of humanity. By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals can now be achieved.

The author connects the two paragraphs by continuing paragraph four’s discussion of ways human imagination has been pushed by technology (technology combining economics and medicine has solved a problem) with paragraph five’s exploration of how this example has led to achieving things previously considered impossible. The smoothness of the transition between the two paragraphs is effected both by presenting the content of the next paragraph as a logical progression from what was just discussed as well as by using language (“this last example”) that connects the two on a more superficial level.

By keeping paragraphs tightly linked on both the surface level of sentence structures as well as on the deeper level of content being discussed , the author of this essay also keeps her writing focused and cohesive.


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The last quality a perfect-scoring essay must demonstrate is precision of language and flow in writing . The author of this GRE Analytical Writing sample fulfills this requirement by using language to precisely and economically convey meaning throughout her essay. Here’s one example of precise and effective use of language in the essay:

This disease had ravaged the human race since prehistorical days, and yet with the technology of vaccines, free thinking humans dared to imagine a world free of smallpox.

In this excerpt, the author uses the evocative word “ravaged” to show the dire extent of the problem solved by technology, reinforcing that the issue was previously considered impossible to cope with. She also uses the phrase “humans dared to imagine” in this sentence, which ties the example being discussed back to the previous paragraph’s discussion of human imagination.

While there are a couple of minor errors in this excerpt (“prehistorical” should be “prehistoric,” “free thinking” should be “free-thinking”), they do not significantly change the meaning of the author’s words and so do not detract from the overall effectiveness of the author’s language.

Nope nope nope we've gone too prehistoric, walk it back, folks

Return to Table of Contents

The second of the GRE Issue essay samples I’ll be analyzing is written in response to the following prompt about the values of cooperation vs. competition:

“The best way for a society to prepare its young people for leadership in government, industry, or other fields is by instilling in them a sense of cooperation, not competition.”

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons or examples that could be used to challenge your position.

The sample Issue essay written in response to this topic takes the stance that cooperation, not competition, is a preferable value to instill in young people in preparation for government. You can read the full essay on page 108 of this PDF . Read on for a discussion of the different ways in which this essay meets the requirements for a perfect score.

As with the previous GRE essay sample, we’ll start by looking at how this essay meets the perfect-scoring essay criteria of stating a clear and insightful position (as required by the essay task). The author fulfills the first part of the criteria with his clear statement of his thesis in the last line of the very first paragraph:

I would have to agree that the best way to prepare young people for leadership roles is to instill in them a sense of cooperation.

He reiterates this clear position with the last two sentences of his conclusion:

Getting to be President of the United States or the managing director of a corporation might require you to win some battles, but once you are there you will need diplomacy and people-skills. Those can be difficult to learn, but if you do not have them, you are likely to be a short-lived leader.

To achieve a perfect Issue essay score, however, it’s not just enough to be clear in your position; your position must also demonstrate insight into the issue . The author of this essay accomplishes this second part by choosing a two-pronged approach to answering the essay question. Rather than merely explaining how cooperativeness leads to positive outcomes in government, industry, and other fields, the author also explains how competitiveness leads to negative outcomes.

Thus, the author makes his position clear by stating it in the opening and closing paragraphs of the essay and shows insight by taking the more complex position that not only is cooperation good, but competition is bad.


The next of the rubric criteria we’ll discuss has to do with how well the author develops his position with examples and reasoning . A great example of this development can be found in the second paragraph of this essay, which discusses the drawbacks of competition.

The author begins his discussion of competitiveness by arguing that it’s a quality that doesn’t need to be “instilled” because it’s already present. Beginning with general reasoning about human behaviors at school and the office to introduce his point, the author then neatly segues into specific examples of competitiveness gone amok (Hitler in Germany and the recent economic meltdown in America).

With each example presented in the essay, the author pushes his position along a little further. He moves from discussing the most extreme historical cases (genocide) to more recent events (economic recession), concluding by focusing in on one person’s life and career (Tiger Woods). This final example allows the author to reach his final destination in his discussion of competitiveness: yes, competition can serve people well up to a certain point, but the price is that it is also “detrimental and ultimately quite destructive.”

Competition is particularly destructive if you're playing chess with glass pieces!

The third way this essay meets the requirements of a perfect-scoring essay is through the logical connection of ideas within and between paragraphs . The transition between the end of paragraph two and the beginning of paragraph three provides a stellar example of this skillful connecting of ideas:

It [competitiveness] served him well in some respects, but it also proved to be detrimental and ultimately quite destructive.

Leaders who value cooperation, on the other ahnd, have historically been less prone to these overreaching, destructive tendencies.

On the face of it, the author only connects the two paragraphs by using a transition phrase (“on the other hand”) that sets up the next paragraph as contrasting with what came before. While this kind of transition would be good enough for a lower-scoring essay, though, the author does not just leave the connection between the two paragraphs at that. Instead, he also connects the two paragraphs by keeping the focus on the same issue from the end of one paragraph to the beginning of the next.

The content-level transition between paragraphs occurs when the author transitions from discussing the “detrimental and ultimately quite destructive” competitiveness of Tiger Woods directly into claiming that cooperation-valuing leaders are “less prone to these overreaching, destructive tendencies.” This twofold linkage of content (deeper level) and transition phrase (more surface level) makes it clear to the reader that the discussion of leaders valuing cooperation follows logically the discussion of negative outcomes for competition-valuing leaders.


The final 6-level quality demonstrated by this GRE Writing sample is its use of skillful and precise language to convey specific meaning . Overall, the language in this essay is formal and academic , despite the profligate use of first person point of view by the author (which can make writing seem less formal). The following sentence exemplifies the author’s command of language:

The recent economic meltdown was caused in no large part by the leaders of American banks and financial institutions who were obsessed with competing for the almighty dollar.

Despite the minor error in this sentence (it should read “in no small part,” rather than “in no large part,”), the author’s meaning is absolutely clear: competition led to the meltdown. Strong vocabulary choices like “economic meltdown,” “obsessed,” “almighty dollar” are what make this an effective statement of the author’s position. Compare the above excerpt to a more milquetoast version of the same statement:

The recent economic downturn was mostly caused by financial leaders who wanted to earn lots of money.

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This second sentence has the same basic meaning as the real excerpt from the essay. Because it doesn’t use particularly precise or compelling language, however, this watered-down version ends up minimizing the magnitude of problems caused by competitiveness (which undercuts the author’s point). This vaguer version of the essay excerpt also lacks the word “competing,” which makes it useless as an instance of competition among leaders leading to negative consequences.

The original excerpt from the essay, and indeed the entire GRE essay example, is so strong precisely because it manages to pack in specific relevant language that adds to, rather than detracts from, the author’s meaning.


The next essay I’ll be analyzing is written in response to the following “Analyze an Argument” prompt:

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. Use of the river for water sports is therefore sure to increase. The city government should for that reason devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities.

Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

The GRE Argument essay sample I’ll be analyzing critiques the numerous assumptions made and ultimately concludes that the argument for spending more money on Mason City’s riverside recreational facilities rests on faulty assumptions.

The full text of this essay can be found on the ETS website . Be sure to read through the essay first before coming back to read my analysis of it. We’ll start by looking at the ways in which this GRE essay sample identifies and examines the argument given in the prompt in an insightful way:

There are three key assumptions made by the argument that are identified in the essay:

#1 : The survey results are valid and representative

#2 : The reason Mason River isn’t used is because of odor and pollution

#3 : Cleaning the pollution in the river will get rid of the odor and then lead to more usage by residents

The Argument essay example we’re looking at examines each of the assumptions by considering the implications if the assumptions made by the article turn out not to be true . Here’s part of the essay’s investigation of the second assumption listed above:

Though there have been complaints, we do not know if there have been numerous complaints from a wide range of people, or perhaps from one or two individuals who made numerous complaints.

The author identifies the assumption that complaints indicate many people want to use the river and examines it by reasoning through possible scenarios other than the one presented in the prompt. The insight comes from the fact that the specific possibilities discussed by the author are highly plausible alternative explanations for the facts that would change the validity of the prompt’s assumption. It’s very possible that the complaints were not made by every single resident, or even a majority of residents, as the prompt seems to assume, but were in fact only made by a few people.

As a result of her analysis, the author ultimately concludes that there is insufficient information to support the assumption that Mason River isn’t used due to its odor and pollution.

Bear with me.

The next way the author of this sample GRE essay fulfills the requirements of a perfect-scoring Argument essay is by providing comprehensive support for each of her main points . Throughout the essay, the author is able to explain exactly why each assumption made is problematic by using examples that precisely illustrate her argument.

Consider how this is approached in the second paragraph of the essay. The author starts the paragraph by presenting the assumption made in the essay argument that the survey results can be relied upon. She then proceeds to decimate that assumption with multiple examples of ways in which the survey could be flawed and not be an accurate representation of the residents’ opinions, as can be seen in the following excerpt:

For example, the survey could have asked residents if they prefer using the river for water sports or would like to see a hydroelectric dam built, which may have swayed residents toward river sports. The sample may not have been representative of city residents, asking only those residents who live upon the river. The survey may have been 10 pages long, with 2 questions dedicated to river sports. We just do not know.

The thoroughness of the author’s support for her point is magnified by the specificity of the scenarios she proposes . Stating “the survey might not have been representative of the city residents” would have been far less compelling a point than stating “[t]he sample may not have been representative of city residents, asking only those residents who live upon the river.”

Probably not quite so on the river as this, though.

Another important ideal a perfect-scoring Argument essay must live up to is being organized logically, with clear transitions between ideas . The author of this GRE essay sample is able to meet the first part of this requirement with a simple five-paragraph organizational structure : an introduction, one paragraph for each assumption discussed, and a conclusion.

Accomplishing the logical connection and development of ideas throughout the essay requires a little bit more finesse, but the author still manages it. Here’s an example from the beginning of the third paragraph of a skillful transition:

Additionally, the author implies that residents do not use the river for swimming, boating, and fishing, despite their professed interest, because the water is polluted and smelly.

In the above example, the author uses the transition word “additionally” to connect the ideas that will follow with what went before. The example also references the previous paragraph’s discussion of the unreliability of the survey of residents (“their professed interest”) and links it to the current discussion of pollution and smell being the cause of low participation in riverside recreational activities. The combination of these two methods of connecting the two paragraphs results in a smooth logical flow from one idea to the next.

Let your ideas flow. Like the Mason River.

Lastly, a perfect-scoring Argument essay must be precise and effective in its discussion of ideas, with few if any errors . The author of this essay successfully meets this standard by using purposeful language to efficiently and clearly get her point across, as can be seen in this example from paragraph three:

While a polluted, smelly river would likely cut down on river sports, a concrete connection between the resident’s lack of river use and the river’s current state is not effectively made.

The author contrasts the prompt’s assumption (“a polluted, smelly river would likely cut down on river sports”) with the “concrete connection” that is not present. The essay as a whole is not completely devoid of errors (for example, the author writes “afffected” instead of “affected”), but the errors are few and do not have a negative impact on the clarity of the writing.


The last of the GRE essay examples I’ll be analyzing at is written in response to this “Analyze an Argument” prompt:

The following is taken from a memo from the advertising director of the Super Screen Movie Production Company.

“According to a recent report from our marketing department, during the past year, fewer people attended Super Screen-produced movies than in any other year. And yet the percentage of positive reviews by movie reviewers about specific Super Screen movies actually increased during the past year. Clearly, the contents of these reviews are not reaching enough of our prospective viewers. Thus, the problem lies not with the quality of our movies but with the public’s lack of awareness that movies of good quality are available. Super Screen should therefore allocate a greater share of its budget next year to reaching the public through advertising.”

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.

The essay written in response to this “Analyze an Argument” prompt raises and evaluates questions about how many viewers and reviews of Super Screen productions there actually were, if there is a strong relationship between how movie reviewers and general audiences react to movies, and whether or not the percentage of positive reviews about a movie reflects how much of an impact reviews have on audiences.

The full text of this GRE essay sample can be found on p. 112 of this PDF . Read through the essay first, then check below for an analysis of its positive (and negative) qualities.

The first aspect of the essay we’ll analyze is how it succeeds in identifying and examining the parts of the argument that are relevant to the task . In the essay’s introduction, the author mentions that there are questions that need to be asked (“Before this plan is implemented, however, Super Screen needs to address some questions about its possible flaws”), but he really hammers it home in the conclusion by specifying which questions need to be answered:

In conclusion, there are many questions Super Screen needs to answer before using this advertising director’s plan. They need to look carefully at actual numbers, both of viewership and of positive reviews. The also need to identify the relationship that their target audience has with movie reviewers and determine how their target audience feels about their movies. Fianlly they need to take a nuanced look at the movie reviews that they use in their advertising.

With this conclusion, the author hits the three main points that need to be considered before agreeing to the advertising director’s plan : viewer and review numbers, audience reactions to reviews, and whether or not reviews are a useful metric by which to measure movie success.

An instance of the author identifying a particular argument can be found in the third paragraph of this GRE essay sample. The paragraph starts by clearly stating the question that needs to be answered (what the number of positive reviews was and how it compared to past reviews). After this initial identification of the question, the author also explains how answering this question would have an impact on the usefulness of the recommendation: if the increase in positive reviews was from 1% to 2%, allocating more money to advertising to emphasize this fact is likely to have less impact than if the money were instead budgeted towards improving film quality.

Lights! Camera! And a 200% increase in script quality!

Another quality all perfect-scoring Argument essays must contain is strong and thorough support for each point discussed . The author of the GRE essay sample we’re analyzing fulfills this requirement, supporting every question she raises about the argument in the prompt by showing how its answer would affect the recommendation.

A good example of this all coming together happens in paragraph five of the essay:

Finally the studio must ask whether the percentage of positive reviews is really a relevant way to measure the potential impact of movie reviews. There are dozens of movie reviewers but when deciding whether to not to go to a movie, the general public will usually pick from among the 10 most popular movie reviews. These are the reviews that will impress the public if they are included in advertising. If the most popular movie reviewers disliked Super Screen movies that a larger number of small time film bloggers reviewed positively, Super Screen needs to think of a new advertising strategy.

In this paragraph, the author opens by identifying the element of argument to be discussed (are positive reviews a useful way to measure the impact of movie reviews in general?). She then develops this point through reasoning about why the answer to this question might contradict the assumption made in the argument (people mostly use popular reviews to decide on what movies to see, rather than the ratio of popular to negative reviews).

The author ends this paragraph by conclusively showing that the answer to the question raised in this paragraph is crucial for determining whether or not Super Screen should follow the advertising director’s plan: if the percent of positive reviews isn’t a good way to measure movie impact and the real issue is that relatively few popular movie reviewers liked Super Screen movies, then the recommendation of the advertising department is unreasonable.

No amount of advertising's going to wake up that movie reviewer.

The third requirement for a perfect-scoring Argument essay is that it must develop and connect ideas in a clear and logical fashion. The organization of this GRE argument essay sample helps accomplish this by routing the author’s thoughts into an introduction, four body paragraphs, and a conclusion . Each body paragraph of the essay is centered around one or two related questions. A good example of this can be found in paragraph four, which contains two related questions about the relationship between audiences and movie reviewers:

Finally, Super Screen needs to ask what the relationship is between its viewers and the movie reviewers cited in the memo. Using a survey distributed to its target audience, Super Screen could determine if movie reviews have an effect on their audience’s decision to go see a movie, whether movie reviewers tended to have the same taste as the target audience and exactly whether or not movie reviews are reaching the audience. Super Screen also needs to consider how its movie choices have affected the separate movie reviewer and audience populations. If the studio has switched from making mega- blockbuster action movies to more nuanced dramas, the general public may be less willing to go see their movies even though movie critics prefer the dramas to the action movies.

The above paragraph starts out by discussing if Super Screen’s target audiences are affected by reviews and whether their audiences and movie reviewers have the same taste, then segues into discussing if the studio’s film-making choices have affected audiences and movie reviews. The transition between the two different questions being discussed is effected by the simple use of the word “also” in the third sentence of the paragraph:

Super Screen also needs to consider how its movie choices have affected the separate movie reviewer and audience populations. [bolded for emphasis]

The last sentence of the paragraph again links back to the discussion of audience taste vs. reviewer taste, reinforcing the close and logical connection between the two questions discussed in the paragraph.

Bo Gordy-Stith/Flickr

Finally, a perfect-scoring Argument essay must employ varied and precise language, with few errors . Earlier, we discussed paragraph four as a particularly strong example of the author’s effective development of ideas. The last sentence of this paragraph contributes to this efficacy through the use of specific language :

“If the studio has switched from making mega-blockbuster action movies to more nuanced dramas, the general public may be less willing to go see their movies even though movie critics prefer the dramas to the action movies.”

The use of the descriptor “mega-blockbuster” to describe the action movies preferred by the masses effectively conjures up something that is the diametric opposite of a “nuanced drama.” In addition, the author’s contrasting of the “mega-blockbuster action movies” with “more nuanced dramas” parallels the second half of the sentence’s contrasting of the preferences of the general public vs. those of the (possibly) more refined movie reviewer.

There are a few minor spelling errors (e.g. in “attendence” instead of “attendance”), and the last two body paragraphs both start with “finally” (which is a little repetitive), but in general, this is a skillfully written essay. It’s not perfectly polished like an essay you’d turn in for school, but that’s absolutely OK. In the grand scheme of the GRE essay scoring rubric, writing flourishes matter much less than clarity of thought and precision of language.

Some Super Screen movie reviewers. MCAD Library/Flickr.

6 Tips for a Perfect-Scoring GRE Essay

To wrap up this article, I’ll go over some of the key points you should take from the four GRE sample essays I analyzed in this article.

#1: Include an Introduction and a Conclusion

One thing that all these perfect-scoring GRE sample essays had in common was an introduction and a conclusion . It doesn’t have to be a full paragraph, but you need to at the very least introduce your ideas at the beginning of your essay and wrap up your conclusions at the end of it.

#2: State Your Position Clearly

In my notes to myself on one of the GRE Issue essay examples I analyzed above, I observed that the author “states her thesis early and often” because of the way her position was made clear throughout the essay. While obviously you don’t want to just repeat the same sentence over and over again, it is imperative that you include at least one clear statement of your position in your essay , preferably in your introduction paragraph.

The importance of clearly stating your position varies between the two GRE essay tasks somewhat. For the Argument essay, you might be able to get away with a vague summary of the points you’ll cover and still get a 4.0 or above on the essay; by contrast, it’s nearly impossible to get above a 3.0 on the Issue essay if you do not clearly state your position on the issue, as that is integral to the essay task itself.

Whatever the prompt or essay type, if you want to get a perfect score on your essay, you’ll need to include a clear statement of your position on the issue or what points you’ll be analyzing in regards to the argument in the prompt.

#3: Be Specific in Your Support

All of the perfect-scoring GRE essay examples analyzed in this article contained specific and relevant support for the claims made by the authors. In the Issue essay examples, the authors drew upon well-defined examples and concise examples that directly supported the author’s position on the issue. In the Argument essay samples, the authors focused in on several specific parts of the arguments and debated their validity using specific hypothetical scenarios and questions.

The takeaway of this for your own writing is that the specific is always more persuasive than the general when it comes to supporting a point. And if you can’t find specific support for your position or for the flaw you’ve found in an argument, then that’s a good sign that you need to consider changing your position or finding another part of the argument to critique.

If you can't support your thesis with specific examples, you might need to find a new thesis.

#4: Explain Your Support Clearly

As I discussed in my analyses of the four GRE Writing samples, whether or not your writing is polished and perfectly worded and spelled is not nearly as important as your successful communication of your ideas and how they are supported . In the GRE essay, all is precision, and analyses of issues that use clearly-explained compelling examples or analyses of arguments that cut to the very heart of why an argument is flawed with supporting explanations will ultimately score higher than beautifully crafted but logically imprecise essays.

#5: Use Transitions

All of the authors of the GRE essay examples analyzed in this article are able to maintain focus and organization in their essays by employing multi-level transitions that link ideas between and within paragraphs on both content and linguistic levels. In your own writing, be conscious of when you are changing from discussing one idea to another and make sure the transition is smooth. Even just adding transition words like “additionally” or “in contrast” to the beginning of new ideas can help your writing flow better.

#6: Stay Organized

While all of the GRE essay examples used in this article were written in response to different prompts, they all adhered to basically the standard five-paragraph , introduction-body paragraphs-conclusion format.

There’s no reason to take extra time away from your analysis of the questions to figure out a unique organizational structure for each essay when the five paragraph essay will get it done just as well (if not better). This is not because other forms are not possible; as the ETS website says, “You are free to organize and develop your response in any way you think will enable you to effectively communicate your ideas about the issue.”

But the utility of the five paragraph form is that it’s a tried-and-true way to keep your essay organized . Using it will save you the time of having to figure out a new organizational strategy for every essay you write. And the more consistently you stick to a simple (but clear) organizational structure, the faster you’ll get at it, until organizing your thoughts logically comes as second-nature (especially important in a timed essay environment when every second counts).


What’s Next?

Now you know what it takes to get a perfect essay score. But do you actually need to get a perfect 6.0 on GRE Writing? Find out with our discussion of what a good GRE Writing score is .

Curious about how the criteria mentioned in this article translate into numerical scores? Read our article on how the GRE essay is scored to learn more!

Need to boost your essay score quickly? We have 15 great tips and strategies that help you improve your Analytical Writing score .

Ready to dive into practice essays with some practice topics? Use our guide to the 328 official GRE essay topics to get started.

Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?

ets argument essay pool

Author: Laura Staffaroni

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel and fulfill their college and grad school dreams. View all posts by Laura Staffaroni

ets argument essay pool

The GRE ® General Test

One test for graduate, business and law school

Select a step to learn more about your GRE ® General Test journey.

Analyze an Issue Task

The "Analyze an Issue" task assesses your ability to think critically about a topic of general interest and to clearly express your thoughts about it in writing. Each Issue topic makes a claim that can be discussed from various perspectives and applied to many different situations or conditions. Your task is to present a compelling case for your own position on the issue.

  • Before beginning your written response, read the issue and the instructions that follow the Issue statement.
  • Think about the issue from several points of view, considering the complexity of ideas associated with those views.
  • Make notes about the position you want to develop and list the main reasons and examples you could use to support that position.

Task instruction sets

It’s important that you address the central issue according to the specific instructions. Each task is accompanied by one of the following sets of instructions:

  • Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.
  • Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.
  • Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.
  • Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views presented.
  • Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.
  • Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how these consequences shape your position.

The GRE raters scoring your response are not looking for a "right" answer — in fact, as far as they are concerned, there is no correct position to take. Instead, the raters are evaluating the skill with which you address the specific instructions and articulate and develop an argument to support your evaluation of the issue.

Understanding the context for writing: Purpose and audience of the Issue task

The Issue task is an exercise in critical thinking and persuasive writing. The purpose of this task is to determine how well you can develop a compelling argument supporting your own evaluation of an issue and effectively communicate that argument in writing to an academic audience. Your audience consists of GRE raters who are carefully trained to apply the scoring criteria identified in the  scoring guide for the "Analyze an Issue" task .

Raters apply the Issue scoring criteria to actual responses, so you should review scored sample Issue essay responses and rater commentary. The sample responses, particularly those at the 5 and 6 score levels, will show you a variety of successful strategies for organizing, developing and communicating a persuasive argument. The rater commentary discusses specific aspects of evaluation and writing, such as the use of examples, development and support, organization, language fluency and word choice. For each response, the commentary points out aspects that are particularly persuasive as well as any that detract from the overall effectiveness of the essay.

Preparing for the Issue task

Since the Issue task is meant to assess the persuasive writing skills you’ve developed throughout your education, it has been designed neither to require any particular course of study nor to advantage students with a particular type of training.

Many college textbooks on composition offer advice on persuasive writing and argumentation that you might find useful, but even this advice might be more technical and specialized than you need for the Issue task. You will not be expected to know specific critical thinking or writing terms or strategies; instead, you should be able to respond to the specific instructions and use reasons, evidence and examples to support your position on an issue.

Published topic pool

An excellent way to prepare for the Issue task is to practice writing on some of the  published topics (PDF) . Even if you don't write a full response, it’s helpful to practice with a few of the Issue topics and sketch out your possible responses. Some people prefer to start practicing without regard to the 30-minute time limit. Others prefer to take a "timed test" first and practice within the time limit.

Plan your response

Regardless of which approach you take, review the task directions and then follow these steps:

  • Carefully read the claim and the specific instructions and make sure you understand them. If they seem unclear, discuss them with a friend or teacher.
  • Think about the claim and instructions in relation to your own ideas and experiences, to events you have read about or observed and to people you have known. This is the knowledge base from which you will develop compelling reasons and examples in your argument that reinforce, negate or qualify the claim in some way.
  • Decide what position you want to take and defend.
  • Decide what compelling evidence (reasons and examples) you can use to support your position.

Remember that this is a task in critical thinking and persuasive writing. The most successful responses explore the complexity of the claim and follow the specific task instructions. As you prepare, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What, precisely, is the central issue?
  • What precisely are the instructions asking me to do?
  • Do I agree with all or any part of the claim? Why or why not?
  • Does the claim make certain assumptions? If so, are they reasonable?
  • Is the claim valid only under certain conditions? If so, what are they?
  • Do I need to explain how I interpret certain terms or concepts used in the claim?
  • If I take a certain position on the issue, what reasons support my position?
  • What examples — either real or hypothetical — could I use to illustrate those reasons and advance my point of view? Which examples are most compelling?

Once you’ve decided on a position to defend, consider the perspectives of others who might not agree with your position. Ask yourself:

  • What reasons might someone use to refute or undermine my position?
  • How should I acknowledge or defend against those views in my essay?

As you plan your response, you may find it helpful to:

  • summarize your position and make notes about how you’ll support it
  • look over your notes and decide how you’ll organize your response

After you’ve practiced with some of the topics, try writing responses to some of them within the 30-minute time limit so that you have a good idea of how to use your time in the actual test.

Evaluate your response

When you’re finished writing your practice response, it would be helpful to get some feedback on your response.

  • You might want to get feedback on your response from an instructor who teaches critical thinking or writing
  • You could trade essays on the same topic with other students and discuss one another's responses in relation to the scoring guide.

Look at the  scoring guide for the Issue topic  and try to determine how your essay meets or misses the criteria for each score point in the guide. Comparing your own response to the scoring guide will help you see how and where to improve.

Tips for the Issue task

Keep the following tips in mind:

  • You’re free to organize and develop your response in any way that will enable you to effectively communicate your position.
  • You can incorporate writing strategies you learned in English composition or writing-intensive college courses.
  • GRE raters will not be looking for a particular developmental strategy or mode of writing. In fact, when GRE raters are trained, they review hundreds of Issue responses that, although highly diverse in content and form, display similar levels of critical thinking and persuasive writing.
  • Raters will see some Issue responses at the 6 score level that begin by briefly summarizing the writer's position on the issue and then explicitly announcing the main points to be argued. They’ll see others that lead into the writer's position by making a prediction, asking a series of questions, describing a scenario or defining critical terms in the quotation. Raters know that a writer can earn a high score by giving multiple examples or by presenting a single, extended example.
  • Use as many or as few paragraphs as needed to support your argument. You’ll probably need to create a new paragraph whenever you shift to a new cluster of ideas.
  • The clarity of your ideas and the skill with which you convey them are more important than the number of examples and paragraphs or the form of your argument.

Sample Issue task with strategies, responses and rater commentary

For more information, review a sample Issue task, including strategies for the topic and essay responses with rater commentary at each score level.

The sample responses, particularly those at the 5 and 6 score levels, will show you a variety of successful strategies for organizing, developing and communicating a persuasive argument. The rater commentary discusses:

  • specific aspects of evaluation and writing, such as the use of examples, development and support, organization, language fluency and word choice
  • aspects that are particularly persuasive
  • aspects that detract from the overall effectiveness of the essay

Pool of Issue topics

When you take the GRE General Test, you’ll be presented with one Issue topic from the pool. To help you prepare, we’ve published the entire pool of tasks from which your Issue topic will be selected.

GRE Writing Prompts: Your Guide

Many students preparing for test day are apprehensive about the GRE Analytical Writing essay. After all, there is no way to know exactly which GRE Writing prompts test-takers will see. So, understandably, students worry that there is no way to be fully prepared for all of the possible GRE essay topics that could pop up.

In that respect, however, GRE essay questions are no different from any other type of GRE question you may encounter. After all, you can’t predict exactly which Quant or Verbal concepts will be tested on any given GRE, or what the exact topics discussed in Reading Comprehension passages will be.

Nevertheless, there is still much we can learn about what we’ll face in GRE Quant and Verbal . And, we can still adequately prepare ourselves for whatever may come our way in those sections on test day. The same goes for GRE Writing topics. In fact, in some ways, we have even more information about what we’ll face in GRE essay prompts.

So, breathe a sigh of relief! There is plenty you can learn about the GRE essay topics, so that you go into your exam well-prepared. To help with that preparation, this article will discuss key aspects of the GRE essay prompts and Analytical Writing topics. We’ll also look at some real examples of AWA prompts.

Here is what we’ll cover:

What is gre analytical writing, how many writing prompts are on the gre, the basics of gre essay topics, gre issue topics, using the ets issue topics pool, gre issue tasks: example 1, gre issue tasks: example 2, gre writing prompts: key takeaways, what essays are on the gre, are you only given one prompt per gre essay, how long should gre essays be, can i skip writing on gre test day, is it hard to get a 4 on gre writing, is a 5.0 on gre writing good, what’s next.

To start, let’s review what the GRE Analytical Writing section consists of and what it asks you to do.

The first section you’ll see on the GRE is Analytical Writing. The GRE Analytical Assessment (AWA) prompts you to write an essay, which you have 30 minutes to complete. So, you’ll spend the first half-hour of your exam on Analytical Writing.

Your basic job in GRE Analytical Writing is to write a logically organized essay that demonstrates the following:

  • critical thinking and logical reasoning skills
  • an ability to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively
  • basic English grammar and spelling skills.

You’ll write your essay using the basic word processing program within the GRE test platform. The program features common functions such as delete , undo , cut , and paste .

However, since your own grammar and spelling skills will factor somewhat into the GRE essay scoring, the program does not feature automated spelling or grammar check.

There is no automated spelling or grammar check in GRE Analytical Writing.

Now that we know what the Analytical Writing section is, let’s discuss the basics of GRE Analytical Writing prompts. We’ll start with how many essay prompts you’ll see.

One of the first questions I hear from students who are just learning about GRE Writing prompts is, “How many essay prompts are you given on the GRE?”

Some of this confusion comes from the fact that there used to be 2 essay tasks on the GRE: Analyze an Argument and Analyze an Issue. However, as of September 22, 2023, when the new GRE test (aka the shorter GRE) was released, there is no longer an Argument task in AWA.

So, the Analytical Writing section includes only 1 essay task: the Analyze an Issue task. Let’s discuss what that task requires you to do.

In GRE Analytical Writing, there is only 1 essay task, Analyze an Issue.

The GRE Issue Essay

The Analyze an Issue task, commonly known as the GRE Issue essay, presents a statement of opinion. Your job is to write a response to that opinion.

The opinion may be presented in a single statement that is 1 or 2 sentences long. Alternatively, it may be presented as a 1-sentence “claim” followed by a 1-sentence “reason,” in which the “claim” is the opinion and the “reason” is the reasoning underlying the opinion.

In either case, following the presented opinion, there will be instructions on how to respond to it — that is, what your essay should discuss or accomplish. (We’ll look at some examples of GRE Issue essay prompts shortly.)

Importantly, whether you agree or disagree with the opinion presented in the prompt does not affect your essay score. In other words, there is no “right answer.”

Rather, you should choose whatever position allows you to craft the most logical, coherent, and convincing essay possible. Your position should demonstrate sound reasoning and analysis, and you should be able to support your position with examples.

The GRE Issue essay presents an opinion that you must respond to in your essay.

Now that we understand what the GRE Issue essay is, let’s discuss the topics GRE writing prompts involve.

Let’s start with the good news: GRE Writing topics do not require you to have particular subject matter knowledge. So, there won’t be any GRE Issue topics for which you’re at a disadvantage because you don’t have experience in a certain field of study.

All the information you need to write an effective response to a GRE Issue prompt will appear in the prompt, be common knowledge, or be things you happen to know and can use in your essay.

All the information you need to write an effective response to a GRE Issue prompt will appear in the prompt or be common or incidental knowledge you can draw upon.

That said, there are a few GRE essay themes or broad categories that GRE AWA topics tend to fall into. Let’s take a look.

Broadly speaking, topics for GRE Analytical Writing fall into a few general categories:

  • government and politics
  • society and culture
  • education and research
  • human nature

Remember, you will not need specialized knowledge of any of these GRE Issue categories. But how might GRE Issue essay prompts cover these topics? Well, a GRE Issue prompt might present an opinion about one of the following, for example:

  • a type of program that governments should or shouldn’t fund
  • a way that scientists should conduct their research
  • a procedure that colleges should follow to benefit their students
  • the effect of certain technologies on some aspect of society.

Of course, those are just a few examples. You’ll be happy to know that, regardless of the topic covered or how it’s covered, the opinions presented in GRE Writing prompts will not be expressed in highly technical terms or using obscure references.

Rather, they will be much like opinions you might hear during routine conversations with friends or colleagues, hear on a podcast or opinion segment on the news, or read in a newspaper editorial.

GRE essay themes include government and politics, society and culture, education and research, technology, and human nature.

Now, let’s explore an often-discussed subject among students investigating the GRE essay topics: the ETS Pool of Issue Topics.

The GRE Published Pool of Topics

You may be surprised to learn that the ETS writing prompts that can appear on the GRE are publicly available. In other words, there is a list of possible essay questions for GRE General Tests. This list is called the Pool of Issue Topics, and it features actual GRE Analytical Writing prompts that have in the past and could in the future appear on the test. You can view the GRE Issue essay topic pool PDF online here .

Now, when some people hear that a list of GRE essay topics is readily available online, they make it their mission to pore over every inch of that list. Here’s the thing: there are dozens of sample GRE essay questions in the Pool of Issue Topics. (In total, the GRE essay topics pool is nearly 40 pages long.) So, it is neither practical nor necessary to read through all of the GRE AWA writing prompts in order to be prepared for test day.

Furthermore, it is certainly a waste of your time to attempt to memorize the AWA sample prompts. For one, the wording you see in prompts in the GRE Writing Issue Pool may vary slightly in prompts on your actual exam.

Secondly, you’ll need to carefully read the prompt you see on test day regardless of how many GRE sample prompts you’ve read before. So, please don’t make the mistake of spending your valuable study time trying to commit the GRE list of essay topics to memory.

Let’s discuss how you should use the GRE Issue Pool.

You may be wondering how to most effectively make use of having so many sample GRE Issue topics at your fingertips. First, it is worthwhile to read through some of the prompts in ETS’s GRE Pool of Issue Topics to get a feel for how GRE essay prompts are worded and the ways they cover topics.

Then, as your GRE essay practice in preparation for test day, you should randomly select a few sample GRE essay questions to write responses to. Before you write those practice essays, you may want to check out these GRE writing examples , which feature sample essay responses with scores and reader commentary. You also may want to have a look at the GRE scoring rubric for Analytical Writing , to see the essay characteristics that are associated with different scores.

Now, let me make one important point clear: it is not a wise use of your time to attempt to write responses to every prompt in the GRE Analytical Writing pool, for the following 3 reasons:

  • You do not need anywhere near such a large amount of practice to be able to write a high-scoring GRE essay. So, in writing so many practice essays, you will waste valuable study time you need for other sections of the test.
  • You will burn yourself out on essay-writing by the time test day rolls around.
  • After writing so many essays, even if you recognize the prompt you see on test day, you almost certainly will not remember how you responded to it in your practice essay.

Practice writing responses to a few GRE Writing sample prompts from the ETS Issue Pool online, but don’t go overboard.

Now, let’s look at a couple of GRE Writing prompt samples from the ETS Issue Pool.

Example GRE Essay Questions

To get a feel for what to expect in the Analytical Writing section, let’s review a couple of example essay questions from the GRE Writing Issue Pool. You can find these GRE essay examples in the PDF linked above.

Some people believe that the purpose of education is to free the mind and the spirit. Others believe that formal education tends to restrain our minds and spirits rather than set them free.

Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views presented.

Notice the format of the question: first, an opinion is presented. Below that opinion, we see a few italicized lines of instructions on how to respond to the presented opinion. This format is standard for GRE Issue essay prompts.

Notice also that, while we can say that the topic of the prompt is “education,” a test-taker would not need any particular knowledge of education practices or policies in order to write an effective response.

In other words, a person of any background can form an opinion about the “purpose of education.” Forming that opinion does not require having specialized knowledge or training.

Let’s look at another example from the GRE list of essay topics.

Leaders are created by the demands that are placed on them.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

Notice that the language in the instructions in the prompt above is similar in some ways to that in the first prompt, though not exactly the same. If you scan the GRE Writing examples in the ETS Issue pool, you’ll notice some common language among many of the prompts.

However, there are several variations of instructions that could appear in GRE Issue prompts. So, it’s imperative that you always read the instructions in a prompt very carefully. It would be a mistake to skim or read only part way through a prompt because you recognize the wording, and thus assume you know what the instructions are asking you to do.

Always read through the entirety of the instructions in a GRE essay prompt, even if the instructions look similar to ones you’ve seen before!

Now that we’ve done some GRE practice writing prompts, let’s wrap up with the key takeaways from this article and answer some common questions about GRE Analytical Writing.

  • GRE Analytical Writing is the first section you’ll see on your test.
  • The Analytical Writing section features 1 essay prompt, Analyze an Issue, which you have 30 minutes to complete.
  • Your essay should demonstrate critical thinking and logical reasoning skills, clear and effective communication of your ideas, and basic English grammar and spelling skills.
  • The GRE Issue essay presents a 1-2 sentence opinion that you must respond to. Whether your response agrees or disagrees with the presented opinion does not affect your essay score.
  • You do not need specialized subject knowledge to effectively respond to GRE essay prompts.
  • The pool of Issue topics GRE tests can feature is available online. That list features actual ETS GRE Writing prompts.
  • Review and practice some of the example GRE essay questions in the ETS Issue Pool to get accustomed to GRE essay challenges and refine your GRE writing strategies.
  • Do not attempt to memorize all of the GRE Issue essay prompts or determine how to address each GRE Writing question in the topic pool.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Let’s answer a few common questions about GRE Analytical Writing.

As of September 22, 2023, there is 1 essay task on the GRE, the Analyze an Issue task.

There is only 1 prompt per GRE essay. So, you will see only 1 prompt on any given GRE test.

There is no minimum or maximum word count required for the GRE essay. So, conceivably, you could write a high-scoring essay that is 350 words or one that is 600 words. There is no magic number.

That said, in order to effectively develop and support your ideas in a well-organized essay, you’ll need an intro and a conclusion paragraph, plus 2 or 3 paragraphs in between to present and elaborate on your main points. So, we’re looking at a 4-5 paragraph essay.

Now, each paragraph does not have to be overly long; good GRE essays should certainly prioritize quality over quantity. But, in many cases, you may find that 400 words is not quite enough to properly respond to a GRE essay prompt.

Think about it: a 4-paragraph essay (the minimum you’ll need) that is 500 words is only 125 words per paragraph. Those aren’t very long paragraphs!

So, shoot for quality over quantity, but realize that in general, you may need more like 500-600 words to write a cohesive and complete GRE essay.

For the vast majority of GRE test-takers, the answer to this question will be NO. Most graduate schools want applicants submitting GRE scores to have taken the entire GRE, not just parts of it.

So, unless you’ve confirmed that your desired programs don’t consider Writing scores, you should absolutely complete the Analytical Writing section.

For more on this topic, check out our article on the importance of the Analytical Writing score .

A 4.0 is currently a 56th percentile score in GRE Analytical Writing. Note that the mean GRE writing score is currently just under 3.6. So, a 4.0 is slightly better than average. And, generally speaking, schools consider 4.0 a “good” score, though of course each program will have its own standards.

In any case, considering that nearly half of all people who take the GRE are able to score 4.0 or higher on Analytical Writing, I’d say that it isn’t particularly hard to earn that score.

Of course, if you don’t do any Analytical Writing preparation, or you go into your exam without writing strategies in place, scoring 4.0 could be quite hard. So, the answer to whether any particular score on the GRE is “hard” to earn will always be somewhat relative.

A 5.0 is currently a 91st percentile score in GRE Analytical Writing and is generally considered an excellent score. After all, that score would put you in the top 10% of all GRE test-takers.

To read more about how graduate schools view different Writing scores (and other GRE section scores), check out our article on what a good GRE score is .

Looking for GRE essay templates and expert AWA preparation tips and rhetorical strategies? The Target Test Prep GRE Course fully prepares you to dominate any GRE essay question you see on test day. Check out the course for 5 days for just $1 !

You also may be interested in these strategies for combating boredom in Reading Comprehension and these myths about the GRE Verbal section .

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AWA Issue Sample Topic: Setting Up Pro and Con Points

AWA Issue Sample Topic - image by Magoosh

Today, I will take apart an AWA Issue sample topic from the GRE Issue task . I’ll show my brainstorm process and come up with pros and cons and specific examples to back up each side.

Click here to view the prompt (Source and instructions: ETS Pool of Issue Topics )

First of all, be sure to read not only the prompt at the link above but also the directions found in the second ETS link (and this applies to any prompt you write an essay for, of course!). You’ll then want to establish a nuanced position on the issue and provide your rationale. You do not want your position to be too neutral (defending a default position is never that compelling) but neither do you want it to be too extreme (for instance: “Unless you study the cities of a major society you will be forever doomed in trying to understand that society”.)

In determining what position you wish to take, it’s helpful to come up with statements that are either For or Against the prompt. Then, you’ll want to pick whichever side you feel has the best reasoning and support. Below, I’ll walk you through my own example reasoning for this AWA Issue sample topic.

  • All great civilizations have had a flourishing city. The government/king/queen have been here. To understand most of its people, the way in which it is ruled, we must understand the city.
  • ‘Most important characteristics’ shows that life outside of a city can still help illuminate the society, but not as much as city life can.
  • Learning centers/colleges/universities are typically in a city. Understanding the intellectual output is key to understanding a society.
  • In post-agrarian societies, most jobs are contained within cities. That is commerce is conducted in the cities.
  • Many societies have been agricultural. That society’s customs, rituals can only be understood in the context of a rural backdrop.
  • Even a modern society depends on agriculture to sustain it. Surely, to understand the important characteristics of a society, we need to understand the people who live in rural areas.
  • ‘Major cities’ is a stretch. Even smaller cities can help us understand a society, especially if the culture/values tend to be different in the smaller cities/more rural areas.

For your actual essay, your For/Against should not be so long. Find some shorthand way of expressing your thoughts (I wrote everything out because my shorthand wouldn’t look very good in a blog post).

Perhaps you’ve come up with a different list of For/Against. Regardless, the next step is to figure out where you fall on the Agree/Disagree spectrum. That is what position, based on your brainstorming, are you taking.

I’ll choose For, stating that my position was predicated on modern societies, most of which have a majority of their population living in major cities. I’ll concede at some point in the essay that even smaller cities can offer insight into a society.

To effectively support and develop these points, I would want to think of relevant examples. For the last point, I would offer up the United States. The culture between large cities and small cities can be very different. There is the Red State vs. Blue State dichotomy that can also pertain to small cities vs. large cities. To understand the religious political divide in the U.S. we would need to also study life in small cities and rural areas. This would be my concession point, which basically shows that my position is not 100% for the prompt, but is more balanced and nuanced.

I hope this breakdown of an AWA Issue sample topic was helpful to you. If you’re looking for more practice, the ETS website offers hundreds more sample essay prompts. Now if you’re not convinced and think, “Hey, I already have a book with sample essay prompts,” then consider this: on test day the prompt you get will be one of the prompts on this site. I highly recommend you use it in your GRE practice!

Chris Lele

Chris graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and has 20 years of experience in the test prep industry. He’s been quoted as a subject expert in many publications, including US News , GMAC , and Business Because .

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52 responses to “AWA Issue Sample Topic: Setting Up Pro and Con Points”

T.D. Avatar

Hey Magoosh,

I feel very late to the table with my question but here goes- Is it okay for me to back up my support for a topic (or disagreement with it) with real life examples? For instance, If I’ve chosen to support the topic “To understand the most important characteristics of a society, one must understand it’s major cities,” can I state my support with examples of real life cities such as NYC and Lisbon, Portugal or should i steer clear of specifics and try to speak more generally.

David Recine

Real life examples are definitely OK for these kinds of essays, and using your own experience can make it easier for you to come up with good ideas and supporting details. So go for it! 🙂

Benjamin Avatar

Hi, Magoosh

I would like to know the link between these two Issue prompts:

”Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.” and

”Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.” Please, also, how do I go about each one of them? Thanks.

Magoosh Expert

Hi Benjamin,

There are six different instructions that you will see in the Issue essay, but they are all basically asking you to do the same thing! Your task in the Issue Essay is to take a position and craft a strong argument in favor of that position. You should also make sure to acknowledge the other side of the argument in a short concession point paragraph, which shows that you thought about the problem from multiple angles. While the instructions are slight different, you’ll notice that they are essentially asking you the same thing! The only difference between them might be in the way you talk about your evidence. For example, in your first example, you might discuss different “considerations” while for the second one you might talk about “reasons.” Your language should mirror the language in the prompt, but otherwise you approach all Issue essays in exactly the same way, regardless of directions!

Maria Avatar

Hello Chris ! Please if you are for the motion how do you talk against it too. Do you talk for the motion throughout and talk against it at the latter or do both simultaneously?

I can take this one! 🙂 If you are in favor of something in a pro/con AWA essay, it’s best to focus on why you’re for the motion in most of the essay. The best place to bring up points against what you’re in favor of would be in the second-to-last paragraph, right before the conclusion. This second-to-last paragraph can focus on your counter-argument– the cos of what you are “pro” for. Remember, though, if you bring up a counter-argument, you should also explain why the counter-argument isn’t significant enough to sway your opinion. Be sure to explain that part at the end of your counter-argument paragraph. Does that make sense? 🙂

Pranavi Avatar

Can we agree to both views in the issue task “Governments should focus more on solving the immediate problems of today rather than trying to solve the anticipated problems of the future.”

Hi Pranavi,

The golden rule of the Issue essay is to always take ONE side and stick to it! It doesn’t matter which side you choose, but the graders want to see that you are thinking critically and able to effectively argue a point. You should have a ‘concession point paragraph’ where you show that you have considered the other side, but even here you need to clearly show why your argument is superior.

Yvonne Avatar

My arguments for this topic were completely different from yours. Am I reading the issue topic wrong? My argument was that the demographics, culture, and value of a major city may be extreme different from the rest of the country due to immigration, tourism, and a different economic focus. Therefore, one cannot only study a country’s major cities to understand their society.

The cons you just listed would also work. There are many different approaches someone can take to constructing an AWA argument, and there is no one right approach to this question– or to other AWA questions.

Robin Avatar

Is there any website that lists the most-frequent topics for the issues and argument sections?

Vrinda Avatar

This is the pool of topic for issue based essays Hope it helps 🙂

Michelle Avatar

Hello Chris, I´m curious…Can I make up an example – like invent an ancient city to support my position? Regards, Michelle

Chris Lele

Hmm…this is fine on the SAT, but I’m not sure how that flies on the GRE. True, the computer won’t know the difference. The human grader, technically, should be looking for logical structure, persuasiveness and general syntactical pizzazz. Still…subjectivity may just creep in there. I’d play it safe, but you might very well be able to get a perfect ‘6’ by talking about Floramia, the most architectural advance pre-Sumerian civilization 🙂

Jazzy Avatar

Hi Magoosh,

Can we use personalized examples in awa issue ? Like something from my personal life but still relevant to the topic given ?

You can, to some extent. I would just be careful not to base your entire essay of the example or get too caught up in summarizing the example. As long as there is analysis and you relate it to the issue and even to the other examples. That is, there should be a sentence or two in which you mention the general significance of your example.

Hope that helps!

Eva Avatar

Can I question the question itself? The concept of “most important characteristics“ is very vague and can be determined solely by interpretation. If we define education as one important characteristics, then we must study cities. If we say that only agriculture is vital, then we need to study the villages. Can I write these points in the essay?

ramesh Avatar

i am struggling with initiating the paragraph with first sentence ,what should i do to overcome this problem.

Jeeva Avatar

HI Mr.Chris, I have started preparing for my GRE exam. I am extremely worried about the analytical writing section. While writing an essay, I take a lot of time to plan and jot down the points.I get frustrated that I am not able to complete the essays in 30 minutes. Even after taking down the points, I am not able to write a free-flowing essay as I tend to get stuck often. Until now, I practiced about 4 essays and each took me more than an hour to complete. Please help me.

Divya Avatar

This approach does make the task easier and I thank you for it. But even so, I had recently asked my friends to grade a couple of essays I had written and they’ve all been averaging 3.5. They say I use unrelated words and that my grammar isn’t very good. I understand that those reasons would impact my score but could you tell me to what degree they would? I do provide examples related to the topic and write enough text to support my stand.

I think it’s very tough for friends–or someone who isn’t familiar with what GRE essays get which scores–to grade these essays. What typically happens is said friends will look at the score guidelines (for what merits anything from a ‘0’ to a ‘6’) and then use their interpretation of the info. to come up with a score. One user on the forums was so adamant that an essay deserved a ‘1’ because according to him, his scoring was consistent with how he interpreted the scoring.

What someone needs to do is actually look at essays that have score a 1, 2, etc. to get a sense of what the GRE considers a 1, 2, etc. If your friends are willing to put in the time to get a better sense of this, then you could use their feedback. For now, I’d question it.

One quick piece of advice: don’t just say you agree or disagree with the prompt and then use a few examples that clearly show your stance. You have take a stance somewhere in the middle. Doing so shows that you accept that the answer to the question is anything but black and white but depends on some variables. Address these “depends” and showing how they influence your position is the type of analytical thinking the GRE is looking for–don’t just rattle of tidy examples.

Hey, thanks for the advice against taking a concrete stand and not acknowledging the opposing view. I used to make that mistake up until that point but I soon changed my approach and focused on an analytic reasoning of both sides of the topic. I got 5.5 on the AWA on test day and being a non-native speaker, I’m very thrilled. Thanks again. =)

Great! That’s awesome to hear 🙂

Mahda Avatar

Thanks for your awesome tips. Their simply great. Is the issue and argument going to be one of the topics included in the ETS ‘s issue/argument pool. Thanks

Su Avatar

Hello Chris,

I wanted to ask that in the issue essay, after we have jotted the points for both the sides of the issue(pros and cons) and its time to choose a side, is it necessary to choose a side? Or we can elucidate/support both the positions in our essay?

Actually, do not choose just one side. You can choose a side for a couple of paragraphs but then you should show how the position doesn’t hold up in some cases. You should address those cases, using relevant examples. The whole point of the Issue is they give you a black and white statement and they want you to elucidate the shades of gray. Ultimately, you don’t want to choose a side but show that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Hi Yeah, I understand it better now. Anyways thank you for all the awesome tips you provide here. Great job! 🙂

Ramya Avatar

But *then ?

Jessica Wan

Thanks for catching that typo! 😉

Taiwo Avatar

My problem stems from getting the pros and cons. i’m usually stuck there 🙁 . How can i improve this aspect of my writing?.

Benjamin Avatar

Hi, I was wondering how we should go about tackling the issues with prompts that state a Claim and Reason. For e.g.

Claim: Nations should suspend government funding for the arts when significant numbers of their citizens are hungry or unemployed. Reason: It is inappropriate—and, perhaps, even cruel—to use public resources to fund the arts when people’s basic needs are not being met.

Do we have to spend our whole essay dissecting the reason, arguing for and against the cruelty of using funds to support the arts when people are starving, or can we address the claim more generally, giving other reasons such as government funding for the arts is an insignificant portion of overall funding for the arts? I hope it is the latter, for it does not seem like an easy task to come up with many argument for only one reason.

I don’t think ETS really has an official stance on how the best approach the question. As long as you combine an analysis of the claim and the reason, you should be fine. Meaning, focus on the claim, if you feel it is easier to do so, but do not ignore the reason. Likewise, do not focus only on the reasoning, attacking it the same way you would a typical issue question, without addressing the claim on which it is based.

Hope that made sense :).

Sou Avatar

Hello So do you think it would be all right if if you argument states that the claim is right but the reason is not applicable to the claim?

I’m not sure if I understand the last part of your question…in general, though, don’t completely agree with the issue. The issue is there for you to analyze. Indeed, the issue is stated in such a black and white manner so that you can step in and say, in essence, “Actually, it’s not that straightforward.”

Nikhil Avatar

My strategy is similar to what is listed here. I took about 7 minutes to brainstorm and draw up a pro and cons column. Also, I had examples for both positions and at the end of brain storming, I decided which side of the essay prompt I was going to adopt. Then after clearly elucidating my arguments for my adopted position, I also considered the opposing view, so as to give the essay a balanced analysis.

I received a 4.5/6 on the AWA.

Without actually seeing your essay it is hard to determine why you received a 4.5 and not a ‘5’ or higher. The truth is structure is only one ingredient to your essay. ETS will also look to see how cogent your examples are, how varied your sentence structure, and how sophisticated your prose is. I can confidently say that if you followed the structure above that doing so should not have detracted from your score.

My best guess is cogency of examples. Some of my students have off days, and though everything else is tidy about their essays, their examples fail to cohere and they get a point or so off.

Hope that helps shed some insight :).

Oluwunmi Avatar

Thanks Chris, I began practice for AWA two days back. I hope my writings improves to earn at least a 4.5 on my test date (Early September). Also, Do we have a magoosh team that can help score practice AWA essay. At no cost o!

Hi Oluwunmi,

Unfortunately, we don’t offer an essay review service! If you have any general questions about approaches to writing or structuring essays, feel free to let us know through the Help tab in Magoosh and we’d be happy to help.

esra Avatar

I’m going to retake the gre and am wondering how much a score higher on the essays like from 4 to 5 will affect my quantitative grade as well. I just need five grades higher on the quantitative and am wondering how many points I can get by studying for and raising my essay as well? I mean is it worth the time or should I stick to the maths, I don’t really have much time left.

Your essay score is totally unrelated to your quant score. So in order to raise you quant score you will have to improve on the math. I’d say don’t give up so easily. A 5-point increase in math is attainable :).

oh I wish I’d known that a bit earlier. this just made me realize- so if I need a quantitative grade of 149 to apply for my masters, then I can even totally skip the verbal and essay sections to the maths?? (I mean ım not sure ıll actually do this, but then it means it won’t affect my maths at all?) and one last question- Im not sure if it may be silly but I had a 145 in my last exam and need a 149, about how many more questions will I have to do right this time?.. I wish the gre scores were given in more detail (to me and not the school or wherever).

thanks a lot!

Yes, I know the score bit is confusing. I’m guessing a 3+ correct answers should get you there.

As for skipping the AWA, you can definitely do so without in any way affecting your verbal score.

Hey Chris, I’ve signed on to Magoosh for a year and had written GRE earlier this year (303 awa 2). i intend to take GRE once again and the AWA scares me. Not that I cant read nor right, I just have this problem starting and developing the thoughts to my satisfaction. Is there a section for AWA on magoosh ?

Mahantesh Avatar

I had a different problem. My verbal score was 146 and AWA 4.0. However, I am seeing mostly people with having far better verbal score than mine but their AWA score less than 4.0. Still perplexed with my predicament of this type.

How did you go about studying for the verbal? I’d love to help you dramatically improve upon your score :).

Yes, we do have a special section for the AWA. Hopefully, it will help get the thoughts flowing. In the meantime, I recommend using the prompts from the ets bank to practice coming up with pros and cons.

Yes, we have an AWA section on Magoosh :). Indeed it talks about a few strategies to help generate thoughts. Let me know if you find it helpful :).

Lizzy Avatar

You mentioned that one should avoid being too neutral in an issue essay, and yet in the example topic, you concede with the point that small cities can offer insight into a society. At what point is an essay deemed “too neutral?” I often find myself having appealing pro and con examples for my essays, yet too few of substantial examples to firmly decide on what side of the issue I should write on.

Also, do you have any tips for generating examples on the fly? I often find myself stuck trying to generate insightful examples and ultimately result to insipid “personal experience” ones.

Good question! I think there is an important difference between a concession point and a neutral thesis. A concession point shows that you are able to consider the other side of the issue and show that, in some cases or situations, your point does not hold true.

Being neutral, on the other hand, would involve not taking a side at all. Consider the following thesis: Studying cities can sometimes yield important characteristics of a society.

That’s a very wishy-washy argument, one that really doesn’t amount to much of a stance.

Hope that clears things up :).

Shubham Avatar

Thanks! Very helpful points.

Could you please give main points(For and Against) for a few more difficult issue topics.

Hi Shubham,

I will work to do so in the near future. Glad you are enjoying the posts :).


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Savvino-storozhevsky monastery and museum.

Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery and Museum

Zvenigorod's most famous sight is the Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery, which was founded in 1398 by the monk Savva from the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra, at the invitation and with the support of Prince Yury Dmitrievich of Zvenigorod. Savva was later canonised as St Sabbas (Savva) of Storozhev. The monastery late flourished under the reign of Tsar Alexis, who chose the monastery as his family church and often went on pilgrimage there and made lots of donations to it. Most of the monastery’s buildings date from this time. The monastery is heavily fortified with thick walls and six towers, the most impressive of which is the Krasny Tower which also serves as the eastern entrance. The monastery was closed in 1918 and only reopened in 1995. In 1998 Patriarch Alexius II took part in a service to return the relics of St Sabbas to the monastery. Today the monastery has the status of a stauropegic monastery, which is second in status to a lavra. In addition to being a working monastery, it also holds the Zvenigorod Historical, Architectural and Art Museum.

Belfry and Neighbouring Churches

ets argument essay pool

Located near the main entrance is the monastery's belfry which is perhaps the calling card of the monastery due to its uniqueness. It was built in the 1650s and the St Sergius of Radonezh’s Church was opened on the middle tier in the mid-17th century, although it was originally dedicated to the Trinity. The belfry's 35-tonne Great Bladgovestny Bell fell in 1941 and was only restored and returned in 2003. Attached to the belfry is a large refectory and the Transfiguration Church, both of which were built on the orders of Tsar Alexis in the 1650s.  

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To the left of the belfry is another, smaller, refectory which is attached to the Trinity Gate-Church, which was also constructed in the 1650s on the orders of Tsar Alexis who made it his own family church. The church is elaborately decorated with colourful trims and underneath the archway is a beautiful 19th century fresco.

Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral

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The Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral is the oldest building in the monastery and among the oldest buildings in the Moscow Region. It was built between 1404 and 1405 during the lifetime of St Sabbas and using the funds of Prince Yury of Zvenigorod. The white-stone cathedral is a standard four-pillar design with a single golden dome. After the death of St Sabbas he was interred in the cathedral and a new altar dedicated to him was added.

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Under the reign of Tsar Alexis the cathedral was decorated with frescoes by Stepan Ryazanets, some of which remain today. Tsar Alexis also presented the cathedral with a five-tier iconostasis, the top row of icons have been preserved.

Tsaritsa's Chambers

ets argument essay pool

The Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral is located between the Tsaritsa's Chambers of the left and the Palace of Tsar Alexis on the right. The Tsaritsa's Chambers were built in the mid-17th century for the wife of Tsar Alexey - Tsaritsa Maria Ilinichna Miloskavskaya. The design of the building is influenced by the ancient Russian architectural style. Is prettier than the Tsar's chambers opposite, being red in colour with elaborately decorated window frames and entrance.

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At present the Tsaritsa's Chambers houses the Zvenigorod Historical, Architectural and Art Museum. Among its displays is an accurate recreation of the interior of a noble lady's chambers including furniture, decorations and a decorated tiled oven, and an exhibition on the history of Zvenigorod and the monastery.

Palace of Tsar Alexis

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The Palace of Tsar Alexis was built in the 1650s and is now one of the best surviving examples of non-religious architecture of that era. It was built especially for Tsar Alexis who often visited the monastery on religious pilgrimages. Its most striking feature is its pretty row of nine chimney spouts which resemble towers.

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Coordinates of elektrostal in degrees and decimal minutes, utm coordinates of elektrostal, geographic coordinate systems.

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Geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) define a position on the Earth’s surface. Coordinates are angular units. The canonical form of latitude and longitude representation uses degrees (°), minutes (′), and seconds (″). GPS systems widely use coordinates in degrees and decimal minutes, or in decimal degrees.

Latitude varies from −90° to 90°. The latitude of the Equator is 0°; the latitude of the South Pole is −90°; the latitude of the North Pole is 90°. Positive latitude values correspond to the geographic locations north of the Equator (abbrev. N). Negative latitude values correspond to the geographic locations south of the Equator (abbrev. S).

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The Evening

Both sides delivered closing arguments at trump’s trial.

Also, Israel pushed on in Rafah. Here’s the latest at the end of Tuesday.

Donald Trump gazes directly into the camera with law enforcement officials and onlookers gathered behind him.

By Matthew Cullen

The prosecutors who charged Donald Trump with 34 felonies and the lawyers defending the former president against the accusations spent all day today delivering their final arguments to the jury of 12 New Yorkers who will soon decide Trump’s fate.

Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, went first. He spent three hours attacking the prosecution’s case — which argues that Trump falsified records to cover up a sex scandal — as “absurd” and “preposterous.” He insisted to the jury that they ought to have reasonable doubt about Trump’s guilt.

The main thrust of Blanche’s argument was that the prosecution’s key witness, Michael Cohen, could not be trusted. He portrayed Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, as a greedy liar bent on revenge and labeled him the “G.L.O.A.T.,” or the greatest liar of all time. Blanche’s calculus is simple: Cohen offered the prosecution’s most direct link between Trump and the alleged crime. So if the jury doesn’t believe him, they may have a hard time finding Trump guilty.

The prosecution, represented by Joshua Steinglass, fired back by defending Cohen and weaving a sweeping story of how Trump, with help from Cohen and the tabloid The National Enquirer, sought to bury negative news stories before the election. “This scheme, cooked up by these men, at this time, could very well be what got President Trump elected,” he said. “This was overt election fraud.”

Steinglass was still delivering his closing arguments as we sent this newsletter. Here’s the latest .

What’s next: Jury deliberations could begin as soon as tomorrow . It could take them anywhere from a few hours to weeks to reach a verdict. If convicted, Trump faces up to four years in prison.

Israel pushed on in Rafah

The Israeli military said today that its forces were pressing on with their ground assault in Rafah, in southern Gaza, where they engaged in close-quarters combat with Hamas fighters. Israel’s military campaign there has faced fierce international criticism, especially in the wake of a deadly airstrike on Sunday that killed dozens of Palestinians.

Here’s the latest .

Israeli officials said that the assault had targeted a Hamas compound, and that its bombs were too small to have caused the massive fire. But Israel’s military promised to investigate the strike after a series of international leaders called for accountability and a halt in the fighting.

In related news, the temporary pier that the U.S. built to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza broke apart in rough seas .

The U.S. is facing pressure to approve attacks in Russia

Ukraine is preparing for a Russian offensive from the northeast , where Ukrainian officials say Russia has amassed some 10,000 troops near the border. The situation there has prompted several Western leaders to call for the U.S. to allow Ukraine to use American weapons to strike within Russia. Without that power, the Ukrainians say their hands are tied.

The Biden administration has debated taking such a step but has feared escalating the war. Vladimir Putin warned today that Western countries helping Ukraine strike inside Russia should be aware of “what they’re playing with.”

Dangerous winds and hail hit Texas

More than a million Texans were without power today after powerful storms brought rain, high winds and hail the size of golf balls to parts of the state . Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, which is one of the busiest in the country, grounded flights for several hours.

The storms hit the region as it was recovering from deadly tornadoes that swept across the state over the weekend.

Also in Texas, a few runoff elections today are worth keeping an eye on .

More top news

Vatican: The pope apologized after reports that he had used an offensive slang word referring to gay men as he spoke against admitting them to seminaries.

Georgia: Lawmakers overturned a presidential veto and gave final approval to a bill that critics say could undermine the country’s efforts to join the E.U .

Education: Harvard said it would no longer take positions on matters outside of the university .

Puerto Rico: An I.R.S. insider accused the agency of failing to police a tax break designed to lure wealthy Americans to the island.

Heat: The average person on Earth experienced 26 additional extra-hot days over the past year as a result of climate change, scientists said.

Crypto: The executive overseeing the subsidiary in the Bahamas of FTX, the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange, was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in New York.

Climate: The Biden administration laid out guidelines around the use of carbon offsets, which have been criticized as ineffective.

Louisiana: Four men were able to escape from a jail this weekend because of an eight-inch gap and a lack of oversight. Two of the men were still at large.


Was an identity thief behind a plot to sell graceland.

A Times reporter last week sent an email to an address listed in legal documents as a company that planned to foreclose on and sell Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley. There had been little evidence of the company’s existence, and Elvis’s granddaughter had argued in a lawsuit that the foreclosure was fraudulent.

The response that my colleague received added a bizarre twist to the story : The writer told The Times that he was based in Nigeria, and claimed to be the leader of a ring that preys on dead, older or unsuspecting Americans. As for the attempt to auction off Graceland, he said, “I had fun figuring this one out, and it didn’t succeed very well.”

The wizard of jeans

Benjamin Talley Smith is one of the most influential people in fashion you’ve never heard of. He is a denim specialist whose name has been passed from brand to brand like a secret password, and he may well have made the jeans you’re currently wearing.

Smith has worked with Tommy Hilfiger, Alexander Wang, Walmart and other companies looking for a bigger share of the rapidly growing jean market. Our fashion critic Vanessa Friedman explained why brands keep turning to Smith, who calls himself the denim whisperer.

Dinner table topics

Memorable styles: These were the most unforgettable looks from the Cannes Film Festival .

Americans’ favorite seafood: Is shrimp good for you ?

A tough task: An island near Sicily is planning to round up all of its wild goats. It won’t be easy .

Skin protection: Sunscreen is a summer essential. Are you using it the right way ?


Cook: This chicken meatball soup is reviving and cozy.

Watch: Here are five of the best horror movies to stream this month .

Read: A new biography of the director Elaine May has the intensity to match its subject .

Listen: We asked readers for their favorite soundtracks. Here’s what they picked .

Decorate: Some designers swear by dark and stormy themes .

Exercise: This intense 20-minute workout is easy on your joints .

Compete: Take this week’s Flashback history quiz .

Play: Here are today’s Spelling Bee , Wordle and Mini Crossword . Find all of our games here .


A solar spectacle in new york.

About two hours after this newsletter hits your inbox, crowds of residents and tourists will flood the streets of Manhattan for a spectacular view: The setting sun will perfectly align with the street grid, casting a glow down the city’s broad west-east corridors and illuminating the city’s famous skyscrapers. It’s known as Manhattanhenge .

The solar event, which happens twice a year, can bring the entire borough to a brief halt, prompting people to celebrate an otherwise normal daily sunset. “The whole thing is just a nice, relaxing summer party and celebration of astronomy,” one scientist said.

Have a radiant evening.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew

We welcome your feedback. Write to us at [email protected] .

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Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s hush money trial

Want to catch up as Donald Trump’s hush money trial nears the end? Read more about what to expect from closing arguments , see what every key witness said in testimony , a timeline of events related to the trial, and what we’ve learned .

NEW YORK (AP) — Closing arguments in Donald Trump ‘s historic hush money trial began Tuesday morning in a Manhattan courtroom, giving prosecutors and defense attorneys one final opportunity to convince the jury of their respective cases before deliberations begin.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche spoke for about 2 1/2 hours in the morning while prosecutor Joshua Steinglass was expected to go as long as 4 1/2 hours. Court was expected to continue much longer than usual — to as late as 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.

Jurors will undertake the unprecedented task of deciding whether to convict the former U.S. president of felony criminal charges stemming from hush money payments tied to an alleged scheme to buy and bury stories that might have threatened Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump’s 2024 trials: Where they stand and what to expect

At the heart of the charges are reimbursements paid to Michael Cohen for a $130,000 hush money payment that was given to porn actor Stormy Daniels in exchange for not going public with her claim about a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump.

Prosecutors say the payments to Cohen, Trump’s then-lawyer, were falsely logged as “legal expenses” to hide the true nature of the transactions.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing.

He pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records, charges which are punishable by up to four years in prison.

Closing arguments are expected to last all day Tuesday, with jury deliberations beginning as soon as Wednesday.

The case is the first of Trump’s four indictments to go to trial as he seeks to reclaim the White House from Democrat Joe Biden.

The other cases center on charges of illegally hoarding classified documents at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election. It’s unclear whether any of them will reach trial before the November election.

7:29 p.m. EDT

Closing arguments come to an end.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass finished his summation by imploring jurors to find Donald Trump guilty of all 34 counts of falsifying business records.

“Donald Trump can’t shoot someone on Fifth Avenue at rush hour and get away with it,” Steinglass said, parroting Trump’s own long ago remark, prompting an objection from Trump’s lawyer. The objection was sustained.

During his closing remarks, Steinglass had sprinted — and, at times, staggered — through the timeline of events covered during Donald Trump’s hush money trial, repeating many of the points he’s already made, albeit with more emphatic takeaways.

As the judge’s 8 p.m. deadline was minutes away, Steinglass acknowledged his summation had been “really long.”

“I apologize for trading brevity for thoroughness,” he told jurors, “but we only get one shot at this.”

Steinglass spoke for over five hours. Todd Blanche, Trump’s defense attorney, went for about three.

Judge Juan Merchan told jurors he’ll give them instructions Wednesday before they start deliberating. Court will start at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the judge said, noting the long day on Tuesday. He said court will go until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday and that they’ll revisit scheduling and the length of days as the week goes on.

Jurors appeared resilient but relieved to be going home as they marched out of the courtroom after the marathon day of summations.

Following the longer-than-usual day in the courtroom, the former president didn’t give his usual post-court remarks to the press in the hallway.

Prosecutor cites examples of intimidation by Trump before court takes its final recess

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass showed jurors a series of Donald Trump’s social media posts lashing out at his former lawyer Michael Cohen after Cohen defected, which the prosecutor argued were not only designed to punish the former fixer, but to signal to other potential witnesses: “cooperate and you will face the wrath of Donald Trump.”

He also cited lawsuits Trump had filed against Cohen and Daniels as other examples of intimidation.

“The defendant wanted everyone to see the cost of taking him on,” Steinglass said.

A related argument, regarding threats Daniels said she faced after going public, prompted Trump’s lawyers to object. Defense lawyer Todd Blanche called it “extraordinarily prejudicial.” Steinglass stressed that he wasn’t suggesting Trump was behind the threats, but Judge Juan Merchan told him to move along anyway.

The sides argued briefly over that issue while the jury was out of the courtroom for the final recess.

But the day wasn’t over. The prosecution’s summation, which began around 2 p.m., was still going as of 7 p.m.

Merchan told Steinglass he’s facing a hard out at 8 p.m. All day, jurors have said they can work until that time, but not later, the judge said. Merchan suggested the lawyer have his colleagues give him a note to indicate when it reaches that time so he can then wrap up his statement.

“Thanks for sticking with me,” Steinglass tells jurors as he settled back in at the podium after the break.

6:51 p.m. EDT

Prosecutor jokes about the length of this presentation.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass seems to be trying to stay on the good sides of the jury — and to be cognizant of the length of his presentation, which had stretched into a fourth hour Tuesday evening.

“I know what you’re thinking: Is this guy going to go through every single month’s worth of checks?” he quipped at one point as he ran through ledger after ledger.

He’s also tried to pepper his closing with occasional humor.

At one point, as he talked about how much money Michael Cohen was making, he said Trump’s former lawyer and fixer “was making way more money than any government job would ever pay.”

“And don’t I know that,” he added.

The aside drew smiles and chuckles from some of the jurors.

As the clock neared 6:30 p.m., Steinglass paused, asking the judge if he should “power through” or stop. After a bench conference, Steinglass returned to the podium and asked jurors: “You good to go a little bit longer?”

They appeared amenable, to which the prosecutor replied with a satisfied: “Alright.”

Prosecution discusses assertion that payments to Cohen were for his legal work

During closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money trial Tuesday, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said Michael Cohen did little work for Trump in 2017, despite the checks he was receiving.

Trump’s lawyers contend the payments were for legal services Cohen provided that year. Steinglass pointed to Cohen testifying he did only about 10 hours of legal work that year.

“Mr. Cohen spent more time being cross-examined at this trial than he did doing legal work for Donald Trump in 2017,” Steinglass quipped. “Do you think there’s any chance Donald Trump would pay $42,000 an hour for legal work by Michael Cohen?”

Steinglass seized on a 2018 Trump tweet in which the then-president described the arrangement with Cohen as “reimbursement” while insisting it was unrelated to Trump’s candidacy.

“Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA,” Trump wrote at the time.

Steinglass said that while the payments didn’t come out of campaign funds, “the payment has everything to do with the campaign.”

“And yet they still try to argue that the payments to Cohen in 2017 were for legal services rendered — because to say anything else is to admit that the business records were false, and they can’t do that,” the prosecutor said of his counterparts at the defense table.

Steinglass said the defense’s characterization of the payments to Cohen is also undermined by the fact that Trump didn’t pay Cohen anything in 2018, despite Cohen performing legal work for Trump that year.

The prosecutor also argued it would be “crazy” to think former Trump company finance chief Allen Weisselberg and Cohen devised the payment plan on their own. Trump surely would have asked questions about the $35,000 checks to Cohen that came to him to sign, the prosecutor asserted.

“Don’t buy this bogus narrative that the defense is selling — that the defendant was too busy to know what he was signing,” Steinglass urged jurors. “The defendant’s entire business philosophy was and is to be involved in everything, down to negotiating the price of the light bulbs.”

6:04 p.m. EDT

Prosecution turns to the daniels payout as closing arguments resume.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass turned from the hush money arrangements before the 2016 election to the alleged effort to mask Cohen’s reimbursement for the Daniels payout as closing arguments resumed Tuesday in Donald Trump’s trial in New York.

Steinglass argued the case has “smoking guns” — in the form of handwritten jottings by former Trump company finance chief Allen Weisselberg and ex-controller Jeffrey McConney.

The two documents show calculations related to the payments Cohen got in 2017. They included his reimbursement for the $130,000 he’d paid Daniels, as well as an unrelated reimbursement, a bonus, and money to cover taxes, according to testimony.

While the defense suggested that Cohen was the driving force in the decision to style the payments as fees for legal services, the Weisselberg and McConney notes are “overt manifestations” that that’s not so, the prosecutor argued.

“They are the smoking guns. They completely blow out of the water” the defense’s claims that the payments were for legal work, Steinglass said.

4:43 p.m. EDT

Steinglass connects ‘access hollywood’ tape and daniels payment.

Closing arguments in the trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump appears in New York

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche sits with Donald Trump as prosecutor Joshua Steinglass presents closing arguments on May 28, 2024. Courtroom sketch by Jane Rosenberg/ Reuters

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass stressed late Tuesday afternoon that to understand the hush money case against Donald Trump, jurors needed to understand the climate in which the deal to pay off Stormy Daniels was made — just after the “Access Hollywood” tape leak had “caused pandemonium in the Trump campaign.”

“It’s critical to appreciate this,” Steinglass said.

At the same time he was dismissing his words on the tape as “locker room talk,” Trump “was negotiating to muzzle a porn star,” the prosecutor said.

“Stormy Daniels was a walking, talking reminder that the defendant wasn’t only words. She would have totally undermined his strategy of spinning away the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape,” Steinglass said.

5:21 p.m. EDT

Court takes a break, but is not done yet.

Court in Donald Trump’s hush money trial recessed for a 20-minute break just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Before sending jurors out of the courtroom, Judge Juan M. Merchan thanked them for making arrangements to stay later than usual. He said some jurors made child care and other arrangements allowing them to stay until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.

“I think right now we’re going to try to finish this out tonight,” he said.

The judge also noted that all of the jurors still looked alert. “I don’t think we’re losing anyone,” he observed.

While Manhattan famously has a night court that handles arraignments — first court appearances of those recently arrested — it’s unusual for state court trials there to run as late as 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Merchan has been consulting with high-level court security officers, among others, about the plan.

Prosecution’s closing argument stretch into 3rd hour

The prosecution’s closing argument in Donald Trump’s hush money case stretched into its third hour Tuesday afternoon as prosecutor Joshua Steinglass recapped the details of the back-and-forth between Stormy Daniels’ representatives and Michael Cohen over the payoff deal.

Steinglass supplemented his detailed recitation with phone records, text messages, encrypted communications and excerpts of testimony, seemingly trying to reinforce his theme that there’s a “mountain” of corroboration for the allegations at hand.

Meanwhile, Trump is taking in this leg of the summation with his head back and his eyes closed — a strategy he’s employed throughout the trial.

4:17 p.m. EDT

Prosecution dubs ‘access hollywood’ tape a ‘category 5 hurricane’.

Following a brief afternoon break in closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money trial, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass turned his attention to the publication of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in October 2016 and the resulting fallout for the then-candidate’s campaign.

Steinglass reminded jurors how Hope Hicks, then the campaign’s communications director, testified that news coverage of the tape knocked a Category 4 hurricane out of the headlines.

Steinglass dubbed the tape a “Category 5” hurricane.

Prosecution pushes back on defense efforts to cast doubt on Cohen’s recording of call with Trump

The prosecution on Tuesday targeted the defense’s efforts to cast doubt on a September 2016 recording that Michael Cohen made of a conversation with Donald Trump in which the two are allegedly heard discussing a plan to buy the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story from the National Enquirer.

Steinglass said the defense had gone to “laughable lengths” to try to undermine the recording, which he cast as “nothing short of jaw-dropping.”

Cohen had testified during the hush money trial that the recording, which cuts off before the conversation finishes, was interrupted when he received an incoming call.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche had tried to cast the recording as unreliable and suggested it was actually about a plan to buy a collection of material on Trump that the National Enquirer had been hoarding — not McDougal.

Blanche also questioned whether Trump mentioned a dollar figure that he might have to spend, as Cohen and prosecutors contend, or whether he said something else.

Trump was ‘looming behind everything they’re doing,’ prosecutor says

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said on Tuesday during closing arguments that joking texts between Karen McDougal’s lawyer Keith Davidson and then-National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard about hypothetical ambassadorships were clear evidence that they knew the deal would benefit Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Throw in an ambassadorship for me. I’m thinking Isle of Mann,” Davidson wrote on July 28, 2016, referring to the British territory Isle of Man.

“I’m going to Make Australia Great Again,” replied Howard, who hails from Australia.

All joking aside, Steinglass said: “It’s a palpable recognition of what they’re doing. They’re helping Trump get elected.” The prosecutor said the text messages underscore that “Trump is looming behind everything that they’re doing.”

3:39 p.m. EDT

Prosecutor zeroes in further on ‘catch-and-kill’ allegations.

Digging further into the two sides’ dispute over the “catch-and-kill” allegations, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said during closing arguments Tuesday that it doesn’t matter that Karen McDougal preferred a deal that would help her career while not airing her claims of an affair with Donald Trump, as her former lawyer and others testified.

“Her motivations are totally irrelevant. The question is: What is the defendant’s motivation?” the prosecutor said, adding that that motivation “was to serve the campaign.”

Trump denies any sexual involvement with McDougal.

Steinglass hits back at Blanche’s claim that ‘every campaign’ is a conspiracy

Batting back defense lawyer Todd Blanche’s argument that “every campaign in this country is a conspiracy to promote a candidate,” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said during closing arguments that Trump’s alleged efforts to suppress negative stories that might hurt his 2016 White House bid were no different.

The purpose of the effort, Steinglass argued, was “to manipulate and defraud the voters, to pull the wool over their eyes in a coordinated fashion.”

Steinglass went on to call the National Enquirer’s work in that area on Trump’s behalf “one of the most valuable contributions that anyone ever made to the Trump campaign.”

“This scheme, cooked up by these three men, could very well be what got President Trump elected,” Steinglass said.

Steinglass also pushed back on Blanche’s contention that the National Enquirer’s deal to bury the Trump Tower doorman’s bogus story wasn’t a form of catch and kill.

Steinglass noted that the tabloid amended its source agreement with doorman Dino Sajudin so that he would be paid the agreed upon $30,000 fee within five days of signing the document — instead of upon publication of the story, as had been previously drafted.

“The only reason to kill a bogus story,” certainly wasn’t to act in a financially responsible fashion or satisfy the tabloid’s investors, Steinglass argued, but to be “in service of the defendant’s campaign.”

3:28 p.m. EDT

Prosecutor says the case is about trump and not michael cohen.

After Donald Trump’s lawyer had insisted to jurors that the hush money case rested on Michael Cohen and that they couldn’t trust him, prosecutor Joshua Steinglass sought to persuade the group that there is “a mountain of evidence, of corroborating testimony, that tends to connect the defendant to this crime.”

He pointed to testimony from David Pecker and others, to the recorded conversation in which Trump and Cohen appear to discuss the Karen McDougal deal, and to Trump’s own tweets.

“It’s not about whether you like Michael Cohen. It’s not about whether you want to go into business with Michael Cohen. It’s whether he has useful, reliable information to give you about what went down in this case, and the truth is that he was in the best position to know,” Steinglass said.

The prosecutor then accused the defense of wanting to make the case all about Cohen.

“It isn’t. That’s a deflection,” he said. “This case is not about Michael Cohen. It’s about Donald Trump.”

Prosecution wants jurors to understand Cohen’s motives

While the defense in Donald Trump’s hush money case portrayed Michael Cohen as a lying opportunist who has profited off his hatred of Trump. prosecutors suggested in their closing arguments that the disbarred attorney had little choice but to parlay his history with Trump into books, a podcast, merchandise and more.

“I’m not asking you to feel bad for Michael Cohen. He made his bed,” Steinglass told jurors. “But you can hardly blame him for making money from the one thing he has left, which is his knowledge of the inner workings of the Trump Organization.”

The prosecutor later elaborated: “We didn’t choose Michael Cohen to be our witness. We didn’t pick him up at the witness store.”

“The defendant chose Michael Cohen to be his fixer because he was willing to lie and cheat on the defendant’s behalf,” he added.

2:59 p.m. EDT

Steinglass says ‘stormy daniels is the motive’.

The prosecution on Tuesday homed in on Stormy Daniels’ sometimes “cringeworthy” testimony about a 2006 sexual encounter she says she had with Donald Trump, saying it was vital because it “only reinforces his incentive to buy her silence.”

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass added that Daniels’ account of meeting up with Trump in his Lake Tahoe hotel suite — replete with details of the décor and what she saw when she snooped in Trump’s toiletry kit — was full of touchstones “that kind of ring true.”

“Her story is messy. It makes people uncomfortable to hear. It probably makes some of you uncomfortable to hear. But that’s kind of the point,” Steinglass said.

He told jurors: “In the simplest terms, Stormy Daniels is the motive.”

“We don’t have to prove that sex actually took place, but the defendant knew what happened in that hotel room and the extent that you credit her testimony, that only reinforces his incentive to buy her silence,” Steinglass argued.

Prosecution tries to counter defense’s efforts to discredit Cohen

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass on Tuesday afternoon tried in his summation to counter the defense’s efforts to discredit Michael Cohen’s testimony.

He said that the jury should take Cohen’s past dishonesty into account.

“How could you not?” he asked.

But he says that Cohen’s anger is understandable given that, “To date, he’s the only one that’s paid the price for his role in this conspiracy.”

Cohen, Steinglass argued, did Trump’s bidding for years, was his right-hand man, and when things went bad, was cut loose and thrown under the bus.

“Anyone in Cohen’s shoes would want the defendant to be held accountable,” he argued.

Allegations of extortion are ‘not a defense of election fraud,’ proseuctor says

At the outset of its summation in Donald Trump’s hush money trial, the prosecution sought to rebut the defense’s claim that adult film actor actor Stormy Daniels was trying to “extort” the then-presidential candidate.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass noted that Daniels’ representatives initially sought to sell the story of a sexual encounter between the porn actor and Trump to media outlets — not to Trump. Steinglass also cited Daniels’ testimony that she came to believe that going public was the best way to protect herself and her family from pressure to stay silent.

WATCH: Robert De Niro and Jan. 6 first responders speak outside Trump’s hush money trial

Regardless, allegations of extortion are “not a defense to election fraud,” the prosecutor said.

“You don’t get to commit election fraud or falsify business records because you believe you’ve been victimized,” he told jurors.

2:22 p.m. EDT

Jurors instructed to disregard ‘improper’ defense comment about sending trump to prison.

Closing arguments in the trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump appears in New York

Justice Juan Merchan presides as prosecutor Joshua Steinglass presents closing arguments during Donald Trump’s criminal trial on May 28, 2024. Courtroom sketch by Jane Rosenberg/ Reuters

The judge in Donald Trump’s hush money trial told jurors after a lunch break that they must disregard an “improper” comment from defense lawyer Todd Blanche urging them not to send the former president to prison.

Judge Juan M. Merchan gave the instructions after scolding Blanche before the break over the remark made near the end of the defense’s summation.

Prosecution begins its closing arguments

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass has begun delivering his closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money trial. He speaks from the same podium that Blanche used, looking directly at jurors from a position between the prosecution and defense tables.

“This case, at its core, is about a conspiracy and a cover-up,” Steinglass said as he began.

Prosecutors have presented “powerful evidence of the defendant’s guilt,” he said.

As he continued, Trump sat at the defense table with his body angled toward Steinglass, listening as Steinglass spoke.

2:03 p.m. EDT

Trump’s kids hold news conference.

Donald Trump’s children held a news conference outside the courthouse during a lunch break in his hush money trial, with Donald Trump Jr. echoing defense lawyer Todd Blanche and calling Michael Cohen “the GOAT (greatest of all time) of liars.”

He said the Biden campaign holding a news conference at the trial showed the case was a “political persecution” and in using one of his father’s frequent terms, called it a “witch hunt.”

“This is a sham. This is insane. It needs to stop,” he said.

Former U.S. President Trump's criminal trial on charges of falsifying business records continues in New York

Eric Trump speaks next to his wife Lara Trump, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, and Donald Trump Jr., during a press conference outside Manhattan state court on May 28, 2024. Photo by Brendan McDermid/ Reuters

His brother Eric Trump decried “political warfare” and said his father is the “toughest man I’ve ever seen” and “he endures this nonsense every single day.”

“I want to say sorry to the jury that’s in there. This has been the greatest colossal waste of time,” he said.

Lara Trump, Eric Trump’s wife and the Republican National Committee co-chair, said that Alvin Bragg, the top law enforcement officer in New York, was focusing on her father-in-law instead of crime in New York.

“If they can profit off it on the other side, so can we,” she said, and plugged Trump’s campaign website where donations can be accepted.

Steinglass takes issue with ‘ridiculous comment’ from defense

Before an afternoon lunch break, the judge in Donald Trump’s hush money trial scolded defense lawyer Todd Blanche for imploring jurors not to send Trump to prison on the words of Michael Cohen and said he would instruct the jury to disregard the comment.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass had taken issue with what he cast as a “ridiculous comment” and asked the judge to intervene.

“I think that saying that was outrageous,” Judge Juan M. Merchan scolded Blanche. “Someone who’s been a prosecutor as long as you have and a defense attorney as long as you have, you know that making a comment like that is highly inappropriate. It’s simply not allowed. Period.”

If Trump is convicted, sentencing will be up to the judge, not the jury.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, charges punishable by up to four years in prison. It’s unclear whether prosecutors would seek imprisonment in the event of a conviction, or if the judge would impose that punishment.

Defense implores jury to return a ‘not guilty’ verdict

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche finished his summation Tuesday by telling jurors the hush money case “isn’t a referendum on your views of President Trump.”

“This is not a referendum on the ballot box — who you voted for in 2016 or 2020, who you plan on voting for in 2024. That is not what this is about,” the attorney told jurors. “The verdict you have to reach has to do with the evidence you heard in this courtroom,” and nothing else, he reminds them.

He implored the jury to return a quick “not guilty” verdict.

Blanche calls Cohen ‘an MVP of liars’

As he neared the end of his summation on Tuesday, defense lawyer Todd Blanche reminded jurors of Michael Cohen’s admitted fixation on Donald Trump — and his desire to see him behind bars.

Blanche played short clips of Cohen’s podcast in which he commended District Attorney Alvin Bragg and said that the idea of seeing the former president booked on criminal charges “fills me with delight.”

The case against Trump is built around testimony from “a witness that outright hates the defendant, wants him in jail, is actively making money off that hatred,” Blanche said.

Closing arguments in the trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump appears in New York

Donald Trump’s children — Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump — and daughter-in-law Lara sit nearby the former president as defense lawyer Todd Blanche presents closing arguments in his hush money case. Courtroom sketch by Jane Rosenberg/ Reuters

While Cohen has testified that he lied to protect Trump, his family and others, Blanche asserted that the ex-lawyer “is lying simply to protect Michael Cohen and nobody else. Period.”

Blanche’s voice grew to a roar — the loudest he had been all morning — as he also declared that Cohen had lied about speaking to Trump by phone about the Stormy Daniels arrangement on Oct. 24, 2016.

“It was a lie,” Blanche said. “That was a lie and he got caught red-handed.”

Blanche called Cohen “literally like an MVP of liars.”

“He lied to Congress. He lied to prosecutors. He lied to his family and business associates,” he said.

Defense sharpens critique of ‘catch and kills’

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche on Tuesday questioned the prosecution’s narrative that the Stormy Daniels payment in October 2016 was part of a conspiracy amongst Trump, Michael Cohen and the National Enquirer to suppress negative stories about the then-candidate through the practice known as “catch and kill.”

Cohen had known about Daniels’ claim since it was published without her permission on a gossip website in 2011, Blanche said, adding that Daniels had authorized her manager to seek offers to sell the story in early 2016.

“Why did it not go anywhere for months and months and months if there was a catch-and-kill scheme?” Blanche asked.

Cohen agreed to pay Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, after the leak of the “Access Hollywood” tape.

Blanche reminded jurors of the two other stories prosecutors say were buried through “catch and kill.”

The National Enquirer paid $30,000 for a since-disproven rumor from a Trump Tower doorman and $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal for her claim of an affair with Trump, though publisher David Pecker testified the tabloid wasn’t interested in pursuing her story at first because it couldn’t be corroborated.

Pecker said he refused to pay Daniels because he didn’t want to shell out any more money for Trump without getting repaid, leaving Cohen to make the deal himself.

Blanche suggested the publisher didn’t want anything to do with the story anyway.

“That’s our conspiracy? That’s the three catch and kills?” Blanche said.

12:33 p.m. EDT

Defense tried to downplay ‘access hollywood’ tape.

Lawyer Todd Blanche tried on Tuesday to downplay the fallout from the “Access Hollywood” tape that sent Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign into a tailspin, telling the jury: “It was not a doomsday event.”

Blanche conceded in his summation that Trump was bothered by the story. “Nobody wants their family to be subjected to that type of thing,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re running for office, if you’re running ‘The Apprentice’ … Nobody wants their family exposed to that type of story.”

Nonetheless, he argued characterizations of the tape as devastating were an exaggeration. He pointed to testimony from Trump’s former assistant Madeleine Westerhout, whom he said cast the fallout as “a couple of days of frustration and consternation.”

Westerhout, who was then working for the Republican National Committee in close coordination with the Trump campaign, had testified that the tape “rattled the RNC leadership” but that Trump wasn’t thrown by it.

Reince Priebus, then-chair of the Republican National Committee, had told Trump after the tape was released that he had two choices: drop out of the race or lose by the largest margin in history, Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has recounted.

12:12 p.m. EDT

Blanche argues ‘people already knew’ about daniels’ claims.

Turning to Stormy Daniels’ story, defense lawyer Todd Blanche noted in his summation that her allegations of a 2006 sexual encounter with Donald Trump were aired on a gossip site in 2011 — four years before Trump announced his presidential candidacy. Trump has denied having sex with Daniels.

“So how could this issue have influenced the election?” Blanche argued. “People already knew about the allegations.”

At the behest of Daniels and Michael Cohen, the story was taken off the site.

Blanche asserted that the real impetus behind Daniels’ interest in making a deal in 2016 was that some people wanted to use the election as pressure to “extort” Trump.

Following a brief morning break, Blanche singled out that Daniels issued two statements in 2018 denying that she’d ever had a sexual encounter with Trump. She testified earlier in the hush money trial that she signed off on them at her lawyer’s urging.

Defense denies recorded conversation was about payoff of former model

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche spotlighted a key piece of prosecution evidence during his summation: the secret recording Michael Cohen says he made of himself briefing Donald Trump on a plan to buy the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story from the National Enquirer.

Blanche said the September 2016 recording, which cuts off before the conversation finishes, is unreliable and was actually about a plan to buy a collection of material on Trump that the National Enquirer had been hoarding — not McDougal. Cohen has said the audio cut off because the iPhone he was using to make the recording was receiving a phone call.

“There is no doubt that this recording discussed AMI and discussed Mr. Pecker,” Blanche said, referring to the National Enquirer’s parent company and then-publisher. “There is a lot of doubt that it discussed Karen McDougal.”

After playing parts of the recording, Blanche urged jurors to trust their ears when deciphering a specific part — whether Trump mentioned a dollar figure that he might have to spend, as Cohen and prosecutors contend, or whether he said something else.

“What do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?” Trump said, according to Cohen and prosecutors, as in $150,000.

“Listen to the recording. See if you hear one-fifty,” Blanche told jurors.

11:28 a.m. EDT

Trump campaign holds its own news conference.

Donald Trump’s campaign staffers held their own news conference outside the courthouse Tuesday morning in the exact same spot where actor Robert De Niro and Jan. 6 officers had just spoken on behalf of Joe Biden’s campaign.

Jason Miller, Trump’s senior campaign advisor, called De Niro “a washed-up actor,” and said the news conference showed that the hush money trial was political.

“After months of saying politics had nothing to do with this trial, they showed up and made a campaign event out of a lower Manhattan trial day for President Trump,” Miller said.

Karoline Leavitt, the campaign press secretary, called the Biden campaign “desperate and failing” and “pathetic” and said their event outside the trial was “a full-blown concession that this trial is a witch hunt that comes from the top.”

Blanche: ‘This wasn’t a catch and kill’

The defense in Donald Trump’s hush money trial took issue on Tuesday with the notion that there was a conspiracy to suppress negative stories to help Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche pointed to American Media Inc.’s $30,000 payment to Dino Sajudin, a former Trump Tower doorman who falsely alleged the former president had fathered a child out of wedlock. It was one of three potentially damaging stories about Trump the tabloid did not run.

READ MORE: Ex-tabloid publisher testifies at hush money trial about scheme to shield Trump from damaging stories

Blanche then pointed to former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker’s testimony that he saw the doorman story as a potential blockbuster and would gladly have published it if it had been true.

“This isn’t a catch and kill. This is an opportunity,” Blanche said. “It was worth too much to catch and kill, full stop.”

He also noted Pecker had testified that the tabloid only published about half the stories they purchased.

“That’s meaningful. That matters,” Blanche told the jury.

He later targeted prosecutors’ portrayal of Karen McDougal’s deal with AMI as part of the purported hush money conspiracy, emphasizing testimony from her lawyer and others that she didn’t want her claim published.

Rather, Blanche said, the former Playboy model wanted to reenergize her career by getting into magazines, according to the testimony — though McDougal herself didn’t testify.

“This was not a catch-and-kill,” Blanche said.

11:09 a.m. EDT

De niro: trump is a threat to democracy.

Robert De Niro said Tuesday morning that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump does not belong in the White House. The actor was campaigning for President Joe Biden in lower Manhattan, joined by former law enforcement officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

They stood not far from where closing arguments were happening in Trump’s criminal hush money trial. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

De Niro said if Trump returns to the White House, Americans can “kiss these freedoms goodbye that we all take for granted.”

Blanche urges jurors to disregard ‘conspiracy’ concerns

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche implored the jury in Donald Trump’s criminal trial to reject the prosecution’s contention that he engaged in a conspiracy to influence the 2016 election by involving himself in efforts to bury negative stories about him — and to reject the allegation that, after the fact, he falsified records of Michael Cohen’s payments to hide that conspiracy.

“The government wants you to believe that President Trump did these things with his records to conceal efforts to promote his successful candidacy in 2016, the year before,” Blanche said.

“Even that, even if you find that is true, that is not enough … it doesn’t matter if there’s a conspiracy to win an election. Every campaign in this country is a conspiracy to promote a candidate, a group of people who are working together to help somebody win.”

Defense says Trump watches his finances carefully

After arguing earlier Tuesday that Donald Trump may not have been fully aware of all his invoices, defense lawyer Todd Blanche stressed to jurors that the former president was a stickler about watching his finances.

Michael Cohen received $420,000 in all from Trump in 2017, a sum that the ex-lawyer and prosecutors in the former president’s hush money case have said included the $130,000 reimbursement related to Stormy Daniels, a $50,000 repayment for an unrelated expense and a $60,000 bonus. On top of that, prosecutors have said, there was extra money to cover taxes that would be due on the $130,000 as income — taxes that wouldn’t apply if it had simply been paid as a business expense reimbursement.

“That is absurd,” Blanche told jurors, pointing to “all the other evidence you heard about how carefully President Trump watches his finances.”

Actor Robert De Niro and Jan. 6 first responders speak near Trump’s trial

Biden campaign deploys actor Robert De Niro, Jan. 6 first responders near Trump’s trial

Joe Biden’s campaign sent actor Robert De Niro and two law enforcement officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to an area in lower Manhattan not far from the criminal court where Donald Trump’s hush money trial is happening.

Speaking while the former president was stuck in court, De Niro said Trump wants to “destroy not only the city but the country and eventually he could destroy the world.”

As he spoke, Trump protesters screamed anti-Biden chants.

10:48 a.m. EDT

Trump was extremely busy when signing checks, blanche says.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche stressed during his summation on Tuesday that Donald Trump was busy during the time when he signed the checks at the heart of the hush money case.

“It matters where President Trump was,” Blanche said.

He noted Trump assistant Madeleine Westerhout had testified that the then-president would sometimes sign checks while meeting with people or while on the phone, not knowing what they were.

Blanche argued it was unreasonable to suggest Trump was aware of the details of every invoice just because he knew of some. “That is a stretch and that is reasonable doubt, ladies and gentlemen,” he said.

Blanche criticizes prosecution’s use of Trump’s books and more

About an hour into the defense’s closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money case, defense lawyer Todd Blanche took aim at the prosecution’s use of excerpts from Trump’s books to attempt to portray him as a detail-oriented micromanager who would be fully aware of any money his company was spending.

The books were from a decade ago, if not older, and were written with the help of ghostwriters, Blanche told the jury.

“You should be suspicious. That’s a red flag,” Blanche said in an effort to pre-empt the prosecution’s closing.

Blanche then started digging into the details of how payments to Michael Cohen were made, first through a trust set up to hold Trump’s assets while he was in the White House, then through Trump’s personal bank account with checks signed by the then-president.

“This was a very confusing time for the Trump Organization,” Blanche said. There were a lot of adjustments being made as Trump’s assets were put under the trust’s control and it was the first time in decades that Trump wasn’t in charge, he added.

At one point, early in the repayment process in 2017, the then-Trump Organization finance chief emailed a subordinate that it was OK to pay Cohen out of the trust per an agreement with Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., who were running the Trump Organization’s day-to-day operations at the time. Both were in court on Tuesday.

Blanche questioned why, if prosecutors allege Trump was involved in a conspiracy to conceal the nature of the payments, the sons he put in charge of his company weren’t called to the witness stand.

10:19 a.m. EDT

Cohen was trump’s personal attorney, blanche reiterates.

A key part of prosecutors’ claims in Donald Trump’s hush money case is that his former lawyer Michael Cohen wasn’t being paid for legal work in 2017, but rather was being reimbursed in a veiled way for the Stormy Daniels payment.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche pointed to emails and testimony Tuesday showing that Cohen did indeed work on some legal matters for Trump that year.

While Cohen characterized that work as “very minimal,” Blanche argued otherwise.

Former U.S. President Trump's criminal trial on charges of falsifying business records continues in New York

Donald Trump appears with his lawyers Todd Blanche, Emil Bove and Susan Necheles on May 28, 2024. Photo by Spencer Platt/ Pool via REUTERS

“Cohen lied to you. Cohen lied to you,” Blanche said, his voice getting more emphatic.

Blanche noted that Cohen went on TV to discuss his role as Trump’s personal lawyer and put the title in the signature block of every email he sent.

“This was not a secret. Michael Cohen was President Trump’s personal attorney. Period,” he said.

Biden and Trump campaigns hold dueling news conferences outside courthouse

Joe Biden’s campaign announced on Tuesday that it would hold an event with “special guests” as closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money trial are underway.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller said the former president’s allies will respond with their own event immediately following Biden’s.

He posted on the social platform X that Biden’s allies “aren’t in PA, MI, WI, NV, AZ or GA — they’re outside the Biden Trial against President Trump,” adding: “It’s always been about politics.”

Powerpoint closing

The defense in Donald Trump’s criminal trial is using a PowerPoint presentation as it begins its summation and tries to convince the jury that the former president is not guilty, instead shifting blame to former lawyer Michael Cohen and the Trump Organization.

Todd Blanche showed jurors copies of the invoices, vouchers and checks that are at the heart of the hush money case — vouchers and checks he says were entered and prepared by the Trump Organization’s accounting department.

The PowerPoint also notes Cohen sent the invoices for his services. None of the invoices were sent directly to Trump, Blanche said.

Blanche takes aim at Cohen’s testimony

Insisting that prosecutors haven’t proven their case, defense lawyer Todd Blanche told jurors during closing arguments Tuesday morning that they “should want and expect more” than key prosecution witness Michael Cohen’s testimony, or that of a Trump Organization employee accounts payable staffer talking about how she processed invoices, or the testimony given by Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer Keith Davidson.

Blanche argued that Davidson “was really just trying to extort money from President Trump” in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

“The consequences of the lack of proof that you all heard over the past five weeks is simple: is a not guilty verdict, period,” Blanche said.

Blanche further laid into Cohen and his testimony, telling jurors he’ll come up repeatedly throughout the defense’s summation.

“You’re going to hear me talk a lot about Michael Cohen, and for good reason. You can not convict President Trump, you can not convict President Trump of any crime beyond a reasonable doubt on the word of Michael Cohen,” Blanche said. Cohen “told you a number of things that were lies, pure and simple,” the lawyer added.

9:54 a.m. EDT

Defense begins closing arguments.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche began his closing argument Tuesday morning by telling jurors that Donald Trump “is innocent” of the charges against him.

“He did not commit any crimes and the district attorney has not met their burden of proof. Period,” Blanche said before adding that evidence in the case “should leave you wanting.”

“This case is about documents. It’s a paper case. This case is not about an encounter with Stormy Daniels 18 years ago, an encounter that President Trump has unequivocally and repeatedly denied ever occurred,” Blanche said. “Nor is it about the confidential settlement and non-disclosure agreement that Daniels entered into eight years ago.”

9:46 a.m. EDT

Merchan explains closing arguments process.

Jurors in Donald Trump’s criminal trial were attentive Tuesday morning as Judge Juan M. Merchan explained the closing arguments process — that by law the defense must go first and prosecutors must go last.

Merchan says he’ll leave it up to the jury if they want to work past 4:30 p.m., the normal end of the court day, to accommodate both summations in their entirety, rather than spilling into Wednesday.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche said he expects to speak for about 2½ hours during the defense’s part of closing arguments while prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said he may go as long as 4½ hours.

The scene in the courtroom

Donald Trump stood and looked back for a moment after he arrived at the defense table for the start of closing arguments in his hush money trial. Sitting between two of his attorneys — Todd Blanche and Emil Bove — the former president appeared animated before the proceedings began, gesturing and chatting with his lawyers.

Seated behind Trump are members of his family, including his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. and his daughter Tiffany.

Trump: It’s a ‘dark day in America’

Donald Trump spoke to reporters before heading into the courtroom on Tuesday morning, calling it “a dark day in America” and “a very sad day.”

The former president carried a sheet of paper and read quotes off of it from political and legal commentators who have attacked the hush money case, a feature Trump has made a regular part of his trial routine. He called Judge Juan M. Merchan “corrupt” and “conflicted” but said he couldn’t speak about it because of the gag order.

“We’ll see how it goes. This is a very dangerous day for America. It’s a very sad day,” Trump said.

He was accompanied by three of his children, Don Jr., Eric and Tiffany, along with one of his de facto campaign managers Susie Wiles.

9:20 a.m. EDT

Trump arrives at courthouse.

Former U.S. President Trump's criminal trial on charges of falsifying business records continues in New York

Former President Donald Trump, joined by his attorney Todd Blanche, speaks to the media as he arrives for his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on May 28, 2024. Spencer Platt/ Pool via REUTERS

A small of supporters yelled “We love Trump” outside the courthouse in lower Manhattan Tuesday morning as Donald Trump’s motorcade arrived. The supporters waved American flags and were wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats.

Inside, the prosecution team made its way into the courtroom, led by Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass, who is expected to make the prosecution’s closing argument.

As has been his routine, Steinglass walked in carrying a file box full of papers.

8:35 a.m. EDT

Trump family members will be at court.

Several of Donald Trump’s family members plan to be at court Tuesday for his hush money trial.

They include his sons, Don Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, daughter-in-law Lara Trump, daughter Tiffany Trump and her husband Michael Boulos.

Former U.S. President Trump's criminal trial on charges of falsifying business records continues in New York

Donald Trump’s sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., daughter Tiffany, as well as daughter-in-law Lara Trump arrive as his criminal trial over charges that he falsified business records wraps up on May 28, 2024. Photo by Andrew Kelly/ Pool/ Reuters

Other family members have not yet joined him in court, including his wife, former first lady Melania Trump, and his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump.

7:17 a.m. EDT

What happens during closing arguments.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers will have their final opportunity to address the jury in closing arguments.

The arguments don’t count as evidence in the case charging Donald Trump with falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments during the 2016 presidential election. They’ll instead function as hourslong recaps of the key points the lawyers want to leave jurors with before the panel disappears behind closed doors for deliberations.

READ MORE: What to expect as closing arguments begin in Trump hush money trial

Jurors over the course of a month have heard testimony about sex and bookkeeping, tabloid journalism and presidential politics. Their task ahead will be to decide whether prosecutors who have charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records have proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

What must be proved for a conviction?

With closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money trial expected to get underway Tuesday morning, jurors have a weighty task ahead of them — deciding whether to convict the former U.S. president of some, all or none of the 34 felony counts he’s charged with.

To convict Trump of felony falsifying business records, prosecutors must convince jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that he not only falsified or caused business records to be entered falsely but also did so with intent to commit or conceal another crime. Any verdict must be unanimous.

READ MORE: Why Trump’s hush money defense depends on knocking down Michael Cohen’s credibility

To prevent a conviction, the defense simply needs to convince at least one juror that prosecutors haven’t proved Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard for criminal cases.

New York also has a misdemeanor falsifying business records charge, which requires proving only that a defendant made or caused the false entries, but it is not part of Trump’s case and will not be considered by jurors.

A seat in court during closing arguments proves alluring for some

For many Americans, Memorial Day weekend was a moment to remember the sacrifices of U.S. military personnel and to unplug from the bustle of daily life.

For others, it was a chance to snag a prime spot in line for entry into Donald Trump’s hush money trial ahead of Tuesday’s closing arguments. Last Friday afternoon saw several people camped out — including professional line sitters with pup tents — for a chance to see the tail end of the historic proceedings up close and personal.

WATCH: How Trump’s alleged hush money payments led to his charges in New York

Though most of the seats inside the courtroom are reserved for lawyers, members of Trump’s entourage, security personnel and journalists, a few are open to the general public.

The former president’s Manhattan trial has drawn visitors from all over, including students from local schools and plenty of out-of-towners.

What to expect this week

Closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money trial are expected to begin on Tuesday, marking the beginning of the end of the historic proceedings that kicked off in April.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers will make their final pitch to jurors, hoping to sway them in one direction or another after more than four weeks of witness testimony.

READ MORE: A law school professor explains what to watch for in Trump trial’s closing arguments

Following the conclusion of closing arguments, which are expected to last all day, Judge Juan M. Merchan will spend about an hour instructing the jury on the law governing the case, providing a roadmap for what it can and cannot take into account as it evaluates the Republican former president’s guilt or innocence.

Jurors could begin deliberations as early as Wednesday.

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