How To Score Your GRE Essays?

A good way to prepare for GRE essays is by writing a lot of sample essays. However, just writing essays makes little sense. You need to even analyse essays and identify your mistakes and weaknesses. One way to do it is by scoring your GRE essays. Scores tell you a lot about your individual ability and guide your improvement process.

Any good essay is composed of the following elements:

  • Ideas – You should see whether the ideas make for a compelling read along with good examples. Your idea should be on the lines of the major component of the argument.
  • Structure – A good essay always has an introduction, which flows seamlessly into the body paragraphs and comes to an end with a solid conclusion.
  • Coherence – All your paragraphs should flow smoothly from one to the other maintaining momentum of the topic. The entire essay should read like one coherent piece.
  • Grammar – Check for common errors in subject-verb agreement, parallelisms and punctuations. Also, make sure that you use your tenses correctly. Always proofread to avoid spelling mistakes and typos.
  • Writing style – It is not necessary to show off your vocabulary skills. You should use words and phrases that explain the ideas in a simple manner. Use a combination of sentences to keep the readers interested.

When you are analyzing your essay, look for the factors listed above. You can see how you have fared in each of the aspects listed above.

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But we know it is hard to stay objective while evaluating your own essays. Thankfully, there are great resources available for becoming better at scoring your own essays. You have the following options:

  1. ETS – What better than going to the test makers themselves! ETS has made available a lot of GRE test preparation material in multiple formats. We highly recommend reading the Overview of the Analytical Writing Measure. It familiarizes you with essay preparation and offers tips to do well in this section. The document also offers insights into the scoring pattern and provides a pool of argument and issue topics along with sample essays.

    ScoreItNow! is yet another useful service offered by ETS. This online service enables you to submit essays and get an immediate score from the e-rater automated scoring system. You can also review scored sample essays, get suggestions for improving your writing skills and receive feedback for your responses. The fee for the service is US$20.

  2. Use QS Leap Online Study Groups – Online learning communities such as our own QS LEAP offer a great way to get some friendly feedback. You may also get useful suggestions which you can incorporate in your essay writing.
  3. Get feedback from mentors and friends – Have a friend or a mentor? They might be able to give you some real feedback on your essays. Look for people in your network who have taken the GRE before. Ask them to evaluate the essay based on the elements listed above.

Hopefully, these resources will help you prep well for the essay. Scoring your GRE essays is a great approach to essay writing. Even if you are not naturally good with essays, a little practice and analysis is all you need to be on the right side of the 0-6 score scale.

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