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Graduate Record examination is a standardized test which is considered mandatory by most schools and business programs in the U.S. as well as other English speaking countries. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) conducts these exams with the sole purpose of providing a platform to well deserving candidates who dream of better prospects, by pursuing higher courses abroad.
Graduate Record Examination is not about testing what knowledge you have gained but about testing how aligned your knowledge is with present day requirements. These reasoning skills will be assessed through three sections namely, Verbal Reasoning Measure, Quantitative Reasoning Measure and Analytical Writing Tasks.
GRE 2011, from August 2011 has seen a major overhaul in its sections in the test format. However, the Analytical Writing Task has not really undergone a dramatic change. You will be writing two writing tasks which will be assessed on a scoring scale of 0-6 with 0.5 increments.
1) Analysis of Issue – Here you will be given a topic and will be required to construct your own argument by taking a stand either ‘for’ or ‘against’ and provide enough evidence to support your views on the issue.
2) Analysis of Argument – Here the topic given will require you to evaluate the logical soundness of someone else’s argument by assessing and evaluating the given evidence.
While we won’t debate over the fact that writing is an art and the analytical writing section is only intended to check your ability to reason and analyze and how well you can develop these ideas and communicate this analysis, in a focused and coherent manner, in your writing skills. These tasks do not require the knowledge of a specific content and hence, the topics can range from fine arts to humanities to social and physical sciences.
Some programs such as engineering or computer programming might not give much importance to your essays while there are other graduate programs which will have a minimum requirement of four or higher score but if you are applying to writing intensive programs like journalism or English, they will not only look at your numerical scores but also read your essays and evaluate its merit based on the scores you get.
Having said that, in order to score well in the analytical section, you should not only practice with as many examples of GRE essay as possible but you should also understand the skills measured and how the tasks are scored.
Each of your essays will receive a score from at least one trained reader. On a six point holistic scale your essay will be assessed on the overall quality of your writing, where primary emphasis will be on your content and the organization of your material and secondary emphasis will be on your command over the language and its technicalities such as vocabulary, diction, usage of grammar and syntax but not spelling and punctuation. The essay score is then reviewed by a software program called e-rater. If there is parity between the essay score evaluated by the e- rater and the human score, then the human score is considered for the final score. If however, there is a disparity between the two then a second human score is obtained and the final score is the average of the two human scores. If you are taking the computer based test then you will be using a basic word processor developed by ETS which contains functionalities such as insert text, delete text, cut and paste and undo the previous section. There won’t be tools such as spell checker and grammar checker so as to maintain fairness to those test takers who are handwriting their essays at paper based administrations.
GRE Essay Examples: ETS provides GRE Test Preparation materials, the types of formats which are available and how you can obtain them. For e.g. an overview of Analytical Writing measure which is downloadable in large prints. To help you prepare for the Analytical Writing measure GRE has published a number of essay examples to give you sufficient practice.
The examples of essays from the issue topic pool consist of statements which are followed by specific task instructions that will tell you how to respond to the issue. There may be multiple versions of some topics with identical wording but different task instructions and so it is very important that you read your test topic and its specific task directions carefully and reply to the wording as it is asked on the actual test. The argument topic pool again provides ample essay examples for you to practice on. Each of these samples will have specific task instructions hence it is very important that you read the specific task instructions very carefully and respond to the wording as it appears in the actual test.
While the tasks for the Analytical writing measure gives you a number of examples for essay it is still important for you to understand the nuances of scoring so that you can perform well in the tasks. Certain sites given below should not only give you ample practice on examples but also be able to instill in you the confidence to attempt your tasks within the time limit.
www.ets.org/gre/general/scores/how/issues/essays- You will find actual essay examples of scored issue topics from the Analytical Writing Section. There are six sample essays and each of the sample essays is reproduced as written. Each of the sample essays is scored and at the end of each of the examples there is a reader’s comment about the shortcomings of each essay and hence giving you a fair idea on the reader’s evaluation process.
www.ets.org/gre/general/scores/how/argument/essays- Here again you will find the actual examples but on scored argument topics from the Analytical Writing Section. Each of the essay examples is scored and the reader’s comment at the end of each of these samples will give you an insight into the inadequacies of each sample essay thus helping you to understand better the requirements of the essays.
www.800score.com- Their comprehensive course contains an essay preparing guide which contains topics dealing with the basics on analytical writing wherein you will be taught on how to avoid commonly occurring errors. The topics on structuring the essays give useful tips and strategies on pacing as well as the use of templates to structure the essays. The writing drill exercises give enough practice to improve on your writing skills. There are around 400 essay examples for you to practice on. You also get a fifty -page guide which teaches all about writing application essays to graduate school programs. Besides this, they have an essay grading service which allows you to take sample timed essays. You can send these essays for grading and get a feedback within seventy two hours.
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