Everything You Wanted to Know About the GRE Essay Part 1: General

Each essay is evaluated by at least one trained human evaluator. Each essay is then scored by a computerized GRE-Study-Tipsprogram (e-rater). If the human and the computer scores closely agree, their scores are averaged. If the scores disagree, a second human evaluator is brought in and the final score is the average of the scores given by the two humans.

The final scores on the issue and argument essays are then averaged before being rounded to the nearest half-point interval on a 0 to 6 scale. The test takers will thus receive only a single essay score.


UnderstandingThe first step is to understand the difference between an issue essay and an argument essay.

Issue essay tests a student’s ability to think about the topic tested, take a stand, and support his side with strong evidence. In an argument essay, the student is expected to evaluate the validity of an argument. While the issue essay is either well-presented or badly presented the argument essay is either well-argued or not well argued.



Any well-written essay requires practice, even if you are a proficient writer.  The issue and argument essay questions used in the GRE are available on the ETS website (ets.org). So pick a topic from the list, time yourself and ensure you practice writing the essays within the 30 minutes. Get an expert to evaluate your essays.


Most students forget to proofread their essays. In the rush to complete the essay on time, they focus on just typing in the response. Though it is perfectly acceptable to make a few grammatical or spelling mistakes, consistent errors will bring your score down. Spend a couple of minutes and review your essay. This will ensure that your efforts don’t become fruitless because of avoidable errors.

Learn top experienced tips to ace the GRE: Download our FREE, Complete Study Guide to the GRE!

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