The Analytical Writing measure of the GRE tests examines the test takers ability to think critically, write analytically, use correct grammar, and mechanics. The Analytical Writing measure is comprised of two independently timed tests: a thirty minute “Analyze an Issue” task and a thirty minute “Analyze an Argument” task. Each task measures examinees’ ability to “articulate and support complex ideas, construct and evaluate arguments, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion.” The tests will not necessarily focus on the examinees’ ability to understand or memorize content, but rather to think critically and write analytically about content.
Each of the two tests in the Analytical Writing measure must be completed within 30 minutes. Within each 30 minute test, test-takers will need to read and consider the section’s instructions, plan an appropriate response, and write a successful analytical essay. They will also need to reserve some time to check for and correct obvious errors.
Both of the tests in the Analytical Writing measure of the GRE will be included in one score. The reported score will range from zero (lowest, indicating the response is incomprehensive or invalid) to six (highest, indicating the response is strong, clear, and effective), in half-point increments. Scores will be assigned by one or two trained readers who will assign scores based on the examinee’s overall response to the assigned task. The trained readers are monitored by a computerized program called “e-rater”. If the trained readers’ and e-rater’s assessments align, the human score is used as the final score. If the two scores disagree by a certain amount, a second trained reader assigns a score, and the final score is the average of the two to three human scores. Some of the characteristics of answers scored at each level (6-0) are as follows:
Writing skills that cannot be analyzed because the content disregards the assignment, merely copies information from the assignment, is written in a foreign language, or is otherwise invalid and incomprehensible
Annie Rose Stathes holds a B.A. in International Affairs and an M.A. in Political Science, from the University of Colorado, Denver. She is currently an instructor of writing at Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado. Publishing Rights: You may republish this article in you website, newsletter, or book, on the condition that you agree to leave the article, authors signature, and all links completely intact.