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Scoring the Analytical Writing Section


Your Issue and Argument scores are combined into one average score that is reported to the colleges. Although you can view your math and verbal scores at the test center shortly after the test, your analytical writing score will not be available until 10–15 days after the test.


Each of your two essays will be graded holistically, receiving a score between 0 and 6. With the holistic grading method, papers are read quickly and a score is assigned based on the general impact of the writing on the reader. Papers awarded 6's are considered to be outstanding, 5's are strong, 4's are adequate, 3's are limited, 2's are seriously flawed, and 1's are fundamentally deficient. Notice that papers graded with “top-half” scores—4, 5, or 6—are described as having positive attributes, whereas papers receiving “bottom-half” scores—1, 2, or 3—are described as being problematic. Your final score is the average of the two essay scores and range from 0 to 6, in half-point increments.


Before we begin studying particular essays, we need to review some fundamentals of sentence structure and punctuation. No matter how inspired an essay is, its score may be hurt by punctuation errors that make the essay difficult to read or inadvertently change its intended meaning.

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