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How to Get a “Top-Half” Score


Writing essays for standardized exams can raise anxieties in people who are poised when answering other kinds of test questions. Perhaps this is because critical and creative skills are being tested and evaluated in a more subjective manner than they are within the objective multiple-choice format. Performance anxiety can lead to a host of problems, from having a difficult time understanding exactly what is being asked to having debilitating uncertainties about how to begin an answer. The best way to reduce such anxieties, and therefore increase your chance of obtaining a top-half score, is through rehearsal, which encompasses four activities that need to take place before taking the GRE:


  1. understanding the two writing tasks and how they differ
  2. knowing what the evaluators expect to find in top-half essays
  3. anticipating an organizational scheme for each of the two essays
  4. writing out at least one answer for each of the two question types

Having completed these four steps, you will be in an excellent position to approach the Analytical Writing Test with confidence and competency.

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