View Full Version : I don't understand ETS AWA scoring criteria?!

07-04-2011, 12:23 AM
Okay, I got a pretty mediocre score on the AWA unexpectedly (4.5). It makes me mad that with all the money we pay, it doesn't even tell you which essay had the lower score, much less what you did wrong. I had only done one or two practice essays, but I read every page of ETS's information and I write a lot so I thought I had a good grasp on what they wanted. I had no trouble understanding the topics or finishing in the right amount of time, so it's nothing like that.

Anyway, the only thing I could think of is I really don't understand what they want. I know I'm a good writer (at least I know that I can express myself and that I don't make many errors). I also know my reasoning skills are at least adequate; I have always thought they were above average. I don't understand which of the scoring criteria are causing my low scores, because I feel I am addressing all of them.

I have looked at the sample essays for the revised test (which I am taking next month), and I really don't understand the ratings. For example, the Score 5 response on this page GRE Revised General Test: Analyze an Issue (http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/issue/sample_responses) is absolutely terrible in my opinion. I don't see how it meets ANY of the criteria, even after reading the commentary. This writer spends 3/4 of the essay making overreaching statements about teenagers' obsession with technology, only tangentially touching on the topic. Then finally, for half of one paragraph and a short concluding paragraph, she discusses that her own point of view opposes everything she just said, stating that people can use technology responsibly and it's too soon to tell whether or not they will.

Can someone explain to me what I am missing about the criteria, particularly why anyone would consider this essay I have referenced to be "thoughtful, well-developed, clear," etc.?

08-24-2011, 11:51 PM
I agree with what you said totally. GRE writing is hard ...