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Will writing assessment test' in 
GRE raise your chances of aid?

 

While most of the articles that I mail to you are based on either my experiences or those of my team members, this one is based actually on intelligent guessing (which of course is a part of applying to universities)!

Some of you have asked me
"Which exams (AGRE / TSE / TWE) one should take in addition to GRE and TOEFL to improve the chances of aid and admission to universities abroad?" 

I took the AGRE and did quite well (95 percentile). I am sure that counted strongly towards my fellowship in at least one university. But will I advise people to take it today?

Sure! A few months ago I would have said 'yes'. But look at recent developments.
ETS has decided to drop the analytical section of the GRE from Fall 2002. 

Well, you may think that this does not affect you in any way. But let us read between lines:

ETS does a lot of research before making even small changes in its examination pattern. That is why it is respected most by the Grad schools. So, if they decided to add writing assessment, they must have been able to convince most universities that
Writing assessment is indeed a very reliable parameter to assess one's ability to do well in the graduate school.

Obviously that grad school will consider this factor as a plus point now (given that they are anyway accepting it from next year). So, from now, writing assessment may become the most relevant additional test that you take in addition to GRE (until it becomes a part of GRE).

Unfortunately, there are not many good products in the market that guides students on this. Then how do you prepare?

We have compiled what we feel are the most useful resources on the web for writing assessment at the following link. We'll keep updating them and we request anyone who knows of good resources that are not mentioned there to pass them on. 

The resources currently include:

  • Links to 7 FREE samples of issues and 
    7 FREE samples of arguments and

  • Links to all sections of ETS that talk about writing assessment: This will tell you everything you need to know about the test

  • Some insider clues to score well in these sections: Our team did statistical surveys and found out the factors that are common to all high scoring essays/arguments. I am sure that you will find them useful.

In addition to these, use the GMAT essays and related material that ETS provides (www.gmac.org). Something is better than nothing. Check out its samples and develop your writing strategies accordingly.

So, in summary, if you also feel the way I do, writing assessment may be the most valuable additional exam that you can take. Hence, if you are willing to spend extra money on a different exam,
give writing assessment a consideration in addition to TWE / TSE / AGRE. 

 

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