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How is the official test essay graded?

GRE, GMAT and TOEFL essays are graded by two agents: a person and a machine (program), called E-rater. The machine does not understand the meaning of the essay, which means that it cannot evaluate the strength of your arguments. Instead, it grades the essay based on syntactic clues, like grammar, usage, transitional words, theory-sounding words, and the length of the essay. This implies that grammatically correct and usage wise appropriate, long, pedantic essays, with lots of transitional words will generally get high scores.  The human grader’s job is to make sure your essay is on track like checking whether you respond to the prompt properly and whether the examples are pertinent and the rationale is persuasive.