Magoosh Expert

How Much Does GRE Writing Score Matter?

A student writing in a notebook

Much attention is often given to the verbal and quantitative scores, but how much does the GRE writing score matter? This is a topic we need to discuss as it’s oft -overlooked, so let’s dive into the GRE Writing section and find out what it is all about and why it matters.

What’s the writing section all about?

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At the time of writing this post, the GRE writing section consists of two tasks: the Issue task and the Argument task. In the Issue task, test-takers are presented with a broad statement and asked to develop an argument in response. In the Argument task, a given argument is analyzed for its logical flaws and structure. Each task is scored on a scale of 0 to 6, with 6 being the highest score.

The two task format will be offered for another month, but students who take the GRE after September 22, 2023 will not be required to write the Argument essay. These changes will make the test-taking experience less exhausting and anxiety inducing.

The value of a good writing score

  • Show off your Communication Skills: A good writing score tells grad schools that you expressed ideas clearly and logically. It’s all about highlighting your communication skills which are valuable facets for graduate students whether in the social sciences or humanities.
  • Prove You’re a Critical Thinker: The writing tasks ask you to analyze complex issues and arguments. A high score here indicates preparation for the type of critical thinking required in graduate level discussion and writing.
  • Demonstrate Your Writing Prowess: Some grad programs really care about your writing, especially disciplines like the humanities, social sciences, and law. However, even in the hard sciences and business school there are advantages to being able to express yourself clearly in writing.
  • Stand Out From the Crowd: A strong writing score can set you apart from other applicants with similar verbal and quantitative scores. It’s one more way to demonstrate your seriousness and preparation for the challenges of graduate school.

Your writing score can matter, but it may not necessarily reflect all of your strengths as a writer. It is not the only opportunity in our application to highlight this aspect, or to put it in context–your academic record, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and relevant experiences will present a picture that’s bigger than any one score.

The limitations of a writing score

While a high GRE writing score can reflect positively on your admissions chances as a grad student, it’s important to understand its limitations. The score does not necessarily measure creativity, scientific writing ability, or your particular style. Furthermore, it doesn’t capture the diversity of writing skills that are required in different fields of study. Hence, while aiming for a good score, remember that your writing score is just one piece of your overall academic profile.

To gain clarity on the weightage assigned to the writing score by your desired programs, conducting thorough research on their specific requirements is essential. Some programs may have a minimum writing score threshold, while others might consider it as a secondary factor in the overall evaluation process. Understanding these nuances will help you approach the writing section strategically and make informed decisions to maximize your chances of success. Remember, your GRE score is just one aspect of your application, and showcasing your strengths in other areas can compensate for any writing challenges you may encounter. Stay focused, seek guidance if needed, and put your best foot forward in your pursuit of academic excellence.

Improving your GRE Writing score

  • Practice Makes Perfect: Get familiar with GRE writing prompts. Practice makes perfect!
  • Keep It Organized: Clear intros, solid evidence, concise conclusions. Structure your essays for maximum impact.
  • Edit, Edit, Edit: Review your essays for grammar, syntax, and clarity. A well-polished essay shows you mean business.

Your GRE writing score provides a context for showcasing communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and writing proficiency. However, it’s important to remember that this score represents just one aspect of your overall profile. Strive for a comprehensive application that highlights your strengths in all areas. Your test score is not the sole determinant of your potential as a student, but rather a reflection of your performance in this specific assessment. Emphasize your unique qualities, experiences, and aspirations to present yourself as a promising candidate for graduate school.


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