1. Does the E-rater impact human graders?

The E-rater potentially puts pressure on human graders. Human graders will create problems if they constantly disagree with the E-rater and force a third, additional grader to look over the essay (this raises costs). In this way, the E-rater acts as a managerial tool to double-check graders and keep them in line. The bottom line: don’t rely on your essay being appealing to the human grader. There is no guarantee that the grader will give you a high grade to counter a low E-rater grade. Try to follow the E-rater rules.

2. What are the implications?

You should not try any bold or original approaches in your essay. The essay should be written in a simple and organized fashion. If you write a boldly original piece, do not rely on the human grader to acknowledge the quality of your writing.

The E-rater is able to tell if you have identified the argument’s logical flaw. The E-rater stores hundreds of essays for each essay question, and you should use keywords that correspond to the stored “6” essays. When you have identified the logical flaws in the prompt, (use our “usual suspects” section to identify logical flaws), make sure to describe the logical flaws in your essay. This way the E-rater is able to detect that you have identified the correct logical flaws.

3. Pleasing the E-rater:

  1. Make your essay highly rigid in structure. Make it’s organization look like other 5 and 6 essays.
  2. Clearly demarcate sections using phrases such as “for example,” “therefore,” etc.
  3. Use qualifiers judiciously. The E-rater will associate careful use of qualifiers with high scorers.
  4. Read our 20 Real Essays essays to get a flavor for how top score writing is done.
  5. Use the exact terminology we use in the Usual Suspects section to identify critical reasoning flaws in the Argument Section.

4. Errors that will ruin your score:

  1. Writing an essay in a unique and creative fashion. The E-rater will be evaluating you relative to other writers, so a unique argument structure will not appear standard and will always backfire.
  2. Misspelling key phrases, such as “for example” and “therefore.” This will cause the E-rater to miss these words and assume that you did not use transition phrases.
  3. Throwing in jokes and other unnecessary commentary. The E-rater will not detect the meaning under your writing, only its structure, so making clever comments will not raise your score.
  4. Using unusual references that no other business school student would use. The E-rater uses other essays as a template to see how well you resemble them. If you do use unusual examples, try to use concept keywords and a tight structure.
  5. Using too many or too few qualifiers such as “likely,” “should,” etc. Some of the best essay writers use qualifiers, a fact that is reflected in the top essays stored in the E-rater’s database. However, do not overuse qualifiers or you will dilute your essay.
  6. Using a unique and clever rhetorical device that spices up your essay. The E-rater cannot detect cleverness and may find an essay like this confusing, redundant or disorganized.
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