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Note about AWA writing style
I took the GRE three times in 2002 before eventually getting an M.S. in journalism. I got a 5 AWA score each time. After finishing grad school and working as a reporter/editor for close to 6 years, I took the GRE again this month and only got a 4.
I was in disbelief since I work with words for a living. After looking at some sample essays and their respective scores, I think I know what happened.
The essays which scored well were written by people who not only presented their ideas well, but also used language which made it seem like they were trying to "sound intelligent."
As a reporter, I have grown used to writing in a more conversational style while focusing on making the content clear. I took this same approach on test day and am almost certain that this hurt my score.
To demonstrate what I mean, here's a sentence from the ETS example an Issue essay that scored a 6:
"Specialists are necessary in order to allow society as a whole to properly and usefully assimilate the masses of new information and knowledge that have come out of research and have been widely disseminated through mass global media."
Yes, the author makes his point clear, but uses a lot of unnecessary words and overly-complicated language. This is exactly what I have been trained to avoid in writing for large audiences!
I'm certain that I expressed my ideas well and made good points for both essays, but I kept the language simple and easy to understand, unlike the example above.
I'm taking a re-test in about 3 weeks and this time, I'm going to make the language more complex.
What do you guys think?