Analytical Writing: "Issue" Task Scoring Guide

The "Analyze an Issue" essay is scored on a six-point holistic scale according to the criteria below. Although the Analytical Writing measure of the GRE® revised General Test contains two discrete analytical writing tasks, a single combined score is reported because it is more reliable than either task score alone. The reported score ranges from 0 to 6, in half-point increments.

Score 6 — Outstanding

In addressing the specific task directions, a 6 response presents a cogent, well-articulated analysis of the issue and conveys meaning skillfully.

A typical response in this category

  • articulates a clear and insightful position on the issue in accordance with the assigned task
  • develops the position fully with compelling reasons and/or persuasive examples
  • sustains a well-focused, well-organized analysis, connecting ideas logically
  • conveys ideas fluently and precisely, using effective vocabulary and sentence variety
  • demonstrates superior facility with the conventions of standard written English (i.e., grammar, usage and mechanics), but may have minor errors

Score 5 — Strong

In addressing the specific task directions, a 5 response presents a generally thoughtful, well-developed analysis of the issue and conveys meaning clearly.

A typical response in this category

  • presents a clear and well-considered position on the issue in accordance with the assigned task
  • develops the position with logically sound reasons and/or well-chosen examples
  • is focused and generally well organized, connecting ideas appropriately
  • conveys ideas clearly and well, using appropriate vocabulary and sentence variety
  • demonstrates facility with the conventions of standard written English, but may have minor errors

Score 4 — Adequate

In addressing the specific task directions, a 4 response presents a competent analysis of the issue and conveys meaning with acceptable clarity.

A typical response in this category

  • presents a clear position on the issue in accordance with the assigned task
  • develops the position with relevant reasons and/or examples
  • is adequately focused and organized
  • demonstrates sufficient control of language to express ideas with acceptable clarity
  • generally demonstrates control of the conventions of standard written English, but may have some errors

Score 3 — Limited

A 3 response demonstrates some competence in addressing the specific task directions, in analyzing the issue and in conveying meaning, but is obviously flawed.

A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:

  • is vague or limited in addressing the specific task directions and/or in presenting or developing a position on the issue
  • is weak in the use of relevant reasons or examples or relies largely on unsupported claims
  • is limited in focus and/or organization
  • has problems in language and sentence structure that result in a lack of clarity
  • contains occasional major errors or frequent minor errors in grammar, usage or mechanics that can interfere with meaning

Score 2 — Seriously Flawed

A 2 response largely disregards the specific task directions and/or demonstrates serious weaknesses in analytical writing.

A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:

  • is unclear or seriously limited in addressing the specific task directions and/or in presenting or developing a position on the issue
  • provides few, if any, relevant reasons or examples in support of its claims
  • is poorly focused and/or poorly organized
  • has serious problems in language and sentence structure that frequently interfere with meaning
  • contains serious errors in grammar, usage or mechanics that frequently obscure meaning

Score 1 — Fundamentally Deficient

A 1 response demonstrates fundamental deficiencies in analytical writing.

A typical response in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:

  • provides little or no evidence of understanding the issue
  • provides little evidence of the ability to develop an organized response (e.g., is disorganized and/or extremely brief)
  • has severe problems in language and sentence structure that persistently interfere with meaning
  • contains pervasive errors in grammar, usage or mechanics that result in incoherence

Score 0

Off topic (i.e., provides no evidence of an attempt to address the assigned topic), is in a foreign language, merely copies the topic, consists of only keystroke characters or is illegible or nonverbal.

Score NS

The essay response is blank.

See also:

 

GRE Test Takers Want to Hear from You!

500,000+ prospects who have demonstrated graduate-level readiness — reach them now! Only with the GRE Search Service.

Business Schools: Raise Your Visibility

And be sure highly qualified GRE test takers know that YOU accept GRE scores.

New! 2014–15 GRE Guide to the Use of Scores

A must-have for any program using GRE scores. Includes best practices, GRE score interpretation data and more.

Start accepting official GRE scores.

Become a Score User >