Analytical Writing: Score Level Descriptions
For tests taken before August 1, 2011
The information on this page pertains to the GRE® Analytical Writing Measure.
Although the GRE Analytical Writing measure contains two discrete analytical writing 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 analytical writing demonstrated across both the "Issue" and the "Argument" tasks. Because the test assesses "analytical writing," critical thinking skills (the ability to reason, assemble evidence to develop a position, and communicate complex ideas) weigh more heavily than the writer's control of fine points of grammar or the mechanics of writing (e.g., spelling).
Score Levels 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.
Score Levels 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.
Score Levels 4 and 3.5
Provides competent analysis of complex 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.
Score Levels 3 and 2.5
Displays some competence in analytical writing skills, 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.
Score Levels 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 Levels 1 and .5
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 Level 0
The examinee's analytical writing skills cannot be evaluated because the responses do not address any part of the assigned tasks, are merely attempts to copy the assignments, are in a foreign language or display only indecipherable text.
The examinee produced no text whatsoever.
- "Issue" Task Scoring Guide — for tests taken before August 1, 2011
- "Argument" Task Scoring Guide — for tests taken before August 1, 2011
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