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parg
10-31-2010, 12:54 AM
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?

shaken
11-02-2010, 07:19 AM
i gave my GRE last mnth n got a 4 in AWA...well i also used simple language...but i think the main factor for me was lack of practice..honestly it's very difficult to use such big words naturally n fluently in such a short period of time..with being nervous n all..i think the main thing to score well is to practice using the vocab that u learn...if this is what it takes to get a 6 then i think u shud work hard on it. Also wouldn't reading other ppl's essays crowd out ur own ideas? bcz many ppl post their essay samples, is it a good idea to read them?

Any other suggestions?

slashragnarok
11-09-2010, 04:26 PM
I think the GRE readers look for some complex sentence structure and grammar. Newspaper reports are written keeping the space factor in mind. So, one is expected to tailor his/her writing style according to the requirements i.e. keeping the material informative, short and in language that readers can easily relate to. However, this is not the case with the GRE issue analysis. You are not only expected to be articulate but also capable of conveying your message through the use of some complex sentences.

Notice that in the above paragraph I could have stated what I did in a much terse manner. But, the GRE readers, in my opinion, look for such paragraphs as written above. I started out with making a claim that was central to explaining what I felt about GRE issue essays. Then I provided an example of a contrasting scenario and elaborated on it, after which I restated my first claim and reasoned it out.

So you do not have to really read sample essays in a manner that overrides your own ideas but the sentence structure, and grammar used certainly help getting a cue as to how one should go about composing the essay. Hope this helps.

GREAWfailend
08-25-2011, 01:43 AM
I agree with what you said. The GRE AWA graders are not innovative but very bureaucratic and peninsular: they admire complex ideas, complex vocabulary, complex sentence structure

carred
09-12-2011, 03:45 PM
Hi
Today I got to know that a score of 3 points in the AWA section would be sufficient to be admitted to my #1 grad school. How hard do you think is it to reach that score, considering I'm neither a native nor have crammed any of the 3000 words lists?
Thanks for advice

annabel398
03-13-2012, 04:39 PM
Well, I got a 5.5 and I think my writing style is pretty straightforward, though not journalistic. I have read, and I tend to believe, that two things are critical for a high score: clear development of your ideas, and length!

By clear development, I mean that anyone reading your essay could state your position and identify how you support it after reading through the essay once. "Signposting" is important: using words like "first," "then," "it follows that," "therefore," "to sum up," and so on. Signpost your support as well: "for example," "consider," "in the case of..." The OP, who wrote journalistically, might have lost points here, because signposting is not good style in journalism.

As for length, I don't mean lengthy words so much as length of the entire essay. I hate to say it, but research seems to bear this out. All other things being equal, the longer essay will be seen as better.

vasoolraja
03-15-2012, 02:07 PM
Well, I got a 5.5 and I think my writing style is pretty straightforward, though not journalistic. I have read, and I tend to believe, that two things are critical for a high score: clear development of your ideas, and length!

By clear development, I mean that anyone reading your essay could state your position and identify how you support it after reading through the essay once. "Signposting" is important: using words like "first," "then," "it follows that," "therefore," "to sum up," and so on. Signpost your support as well: "for example," "consider," "in the case of..." The OP, who wrote journalistically, might have lost points here, because signposting is not good style in journalism.

As for length, I don't mean lengthy words so much as length of the entire essay. I hate to say it, but research seems to bear this out. All other things being equal, the longer essay will be seen as better.

Thanks for the valuable information!