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Score Level Descriptions

Although the GRE® Analytical Writing section contains two discrete tasks, a single combined score is reported because it is more reliable than is a score for either task alone. The reported score, the average of the scores for the two tasks, ranges from 0 to 6, in half-point increments.

The statements below describe, for each score level, the overall quality of critical thinking and analytical writing demonstrated across both the Issue and Argument tasks. As the name suggests, the Analytical Writing section is designed to assess both critical thinking skills and writing ability. Thus, many aspects of analytical writing, including reasoning skills, organization, and degree of control of the conventions of standard written English are taken into consideration in the determination of a final score. For a full description of how these criteria are used to assess essay responses, please refer to the scoring guides for the Issue and Argument tasks, which are available on the GRE website at www.ets.org/gre/revised/scoreguides.

SCORES 6 and 5.5 — Sustains insightful, in-depth analysis of complex ideas; develops and supports main points with logically compelling reasons and/or highly persuasive examples; is well focused and well organized; skillfully uses sentence variety and precise vocabulary to convey meaning effectively; demonstrates superior facility with sentence structure and language usage but may have minor errors that do not interfere with meaning.

SCORES 5 and 4.5 — Provides generally thoughtful analysis of complex ideas; develops and supports main points with logically sound reasons and/or well-chosen examples; is generally focused and well organized; uses sentence variety and vocabulary to convey meaning clearly; demonstrates good control of sentence structure and language usage but may have minor errors that do not interfere with meaning.

SCORES 4 and 3.5 — Provides competent analysis of ideas; develops and supports main points with relevant reasons and/or examples; is adequately organized; conveys meaning with reasonable clarity; demonstrates satisfactory control of sentence structure and language usage but may have some errors that affect clarity.

SCORES 3 and 2.5 — Displays some competence in analytical writing, although the writing is flawed in at least one of the following ways: limited analysis or development; weak organization; weak control of sentence structure or language usage, with errors that often result in vagueness or lack of clarity.

SCORES 2 and 1.5 — Displays serious weaknesses in analytical writing. The writing is seriously flawed in at least one of the following ways: serious lack of analysis or development; lack of organization; serious and frequent problems in sentence structure or language usage, with errors that obscure meaning.

SCORE 1 — Displays fundamental deficiencies in analytical writing. The writing is fundamentally flawed in at least one of the following ways: content that is extremely confusing or mostly irrelevant to the assigned tasks; little or no development; severe and pervasive errors that result in incoherence.

SCORE 0 — The examinee's analytical writing skills cannot be evaluated because the responses do not address any part of the assigned topics, are merely attempts to copy the assignments, are in a foreign language, or display only indecipherable text.

SCORE NS — The examinee produced no text whatsoever.