Interview with Tracy Kunichika, the GMAT Essay Grader for 800score.com
800score's site offers 10 free timed essays. After you take the essay you get sample essays from other students emailed to you. For $19.99 USD, 800score's GMAT essay grader Tracy Kunichika will provide feedback and a score for your essay.
Interview with Tracy.
1. What is your background?
I have a bachelor's degree from Harvard and an MBA from the University of Chicago. After working for several years as an investment banker in mergers and acquistions in New York and San Francisco, I now grade essays for 800score and work with a charitable organization called Operation Shanti. We help destitute children and their mothers in India.
2. How does the GMAT essay section work?
There are two types of essay questions, the Analysis of Issue and the Analysis of Argument. Each is 30 minutes long. Each essay is evaluated by both a human reader and an E-Rater, a computer program that evaluates the essays for grammar, spelling, syntax, and sentence and paragraph length. It's important to write your essay in a proper format to make it easier for the E-Rater to grade your writing.
3. What do you find is the most common error students make on the essay section?
Many students write argument type essays for Analysis of Issue topics, meaning that they argue their position as if the issue statement presented is 100% right or wrong. This usually means that they fail to provide a convincing essay because they are, instead, critiquing the statement for incorrect assumptions or faulty logic.
Also seen, although not as often but frequently enough, is the inability of students to stay on point and to directly address the topic presented. Students often go off on tangents and fail to tie their arguments or writing back to the issue at hand.
4. Do students improve their scores rapidly with feedback?
Yes, particularly for the Issue essay. Many students write Issue essays as if they are Argument essays and after receiving the appropriate feedback, are then able to rewrite these essays properly. Feedback is important because it forces you to take a step back and review your essay objectively. Sometimes, students writing essays get too close to the exercise to be able to objectively analyze their own writing. This improves over time if the student is able to objectively critique his or her writing, as well as be open to the feedback received.
5. Is grammar or spelling important?
Spelling and grammar are not that important unless the errors in these areas are so extreme that the student's thoughts and ideas are lost, or are not understandable. More important are the ideas that your essays present and the organization of those ideas into a well-structured, easy to follow essay.
6. What are the differences between analysis of issue and analysis of argument?
The Issue essay is your chance to take a stand on the statement presented and defend your position using analytical reasoning supported by examples where possible. The graders do not grade the essay on whether it is right or wrong, as the issues presented do not have right or wrong answers. Instead, your essay is evaluated based on your ability to convince the reader of your position.
The Argument essay is your chance to point out problems with the statement presented, using evidence and a line of reasoning to make your conclusion. If your argument essay is strong, you will be able to convince the reader of your point of view. Here, you point out flaws in the reasoning presented and you are evaluated on how well you do this.
7. Are templates useful?
The templates are very useful, as they provide students requiring writing assistance with a place to start. Many students have outstanding ideas and analytical thinking, but their writing skills are not good enough to properly and appropriately express their thoughts. The templates give students an overall structure for their essays, and then provide more detail at the paragraph level with sentence structures that they can use to begin to formulate their ideas. Other, more advanced writers, do not seem to need the templates as much.
800score includes sample essay templates and a sixty page guide in its prep course. Try practice free essays at 800score.
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