Writing assessment in GRE:
The analytical writing section is a new section of the
GRE General Test introduced beginning in October 2002
that tests your critical thinking and analytical writing
skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and
support complex ideas, analyze an argument, and sustain
a focused and coherent discussion. It does not assess
specific content knowledge.
Writing assessment comprises two tasks in analytical
1) Present Your Perspective on an Issue (45 mins)
2) Analyze an Argument (30 mins)
You will be given a choice between two Issue topics.
Each states an opinion on an issue of broad interest and
asks you to discuss the issue from any perspective(s)
you wish, so long as you provide relevant reasons and
examples to explain and support your views.
You will not have a choice of Argument topics. The
Argument task presents a different challenge from that
of the Issue task: it requires you to critique a given
argument by discussing how well reasoned you find it.
The Analytical writing section would be an independent
section and would be separately scored on a scale of
Unlike the Verbal and Quantitative sections wherein you
get the scores on the test day itself, the essay scores
take 10-15 days for processing and finally reaching the
student. Each student response is scored by two readers
and the average of the two scores is usually considered.
If the two scores vary by a big margin then a third
reader adjudicates. The essay is scored on the basis of
the ideas organization, sentence structure and language.
GRE CAT (Computer Adaptive Test)
The Computer Adaptive Tests (CATs) are conducted on
computer in a special test centre. Unlike the
conventional paper-pencil tests, the CATs 'adapt' to
your performance. Each aspirant is given a different mix
of questions depending on how well he or she is doing in
the test. Thus, the questions get easier or tougher
depending on whether you answer them correctly or not.
The score in this kind of a test is determined by the
difficulty level of the questions and not by how many
questions you get right.
The method of determining the score in GRE CAT
When you start the test, the computer assumes that you
are of everage ability.
The computer gives you a medium difficulty question.
If you answer the question correctly, your score goes up
and you are given a slightly tougher question.
if you answer the question incorrectly , your score goes
down and you are given a slightly easier question.
A similar approach continues for the rest of the
computer adaptive test. Everytime you get the question
right, the computer raises your score and gives you a
slightly harder question compared to the question you
Every time you answer the question wrong, your score goes
down and you are given an easier question compared to
the question you answered wrong.
Reporting of the Scores
Unofficial scores appear on screen following the
test for verbal and quantitative section. The essay
score are mailed along with the official score reports.
Official score reports are mailed within 10- 15 days to
test takers and up to 4 institutions designated on the
If you do not select institutions on the test day, you
must pay $13 per institution to have score sent at a
Your own copy of your score report is intended only for
your information and personal records. Official reports
are sent by ETS directly to all authorized score
recipients you designate.
The GRE score is valid for five years. However, most
universities insist on scores from a recently taken GRE
and do not accept scores older than 2/3 years.