How Important are Unscored Essays?

Preparing and sitting for a standardized test is often a stressful process. Students devote a considerable amount of time to pouring over questions and their answers, hoping to earn as high a score as possible in order to obtain entry to the school of their choice. Certain exams include an unscored essay, and it can be difficult to prioritize this portion of the test when it does not receive a result. However, there are several reasons to do your best on an unscored essay—after all, it is an important part of the exam despite it not affecting your score.

While unscored essays are not reflected in your test results, schools receive a copy of them. Depending on the program and which test you are taking, the essay may serve as a supplementary admissions component. These are some helpful hints on writing the college essay which you may find helpful. When schools examine unscored essays, they are assessing your ability to:

Develop ideas

Schools will assess how well you construct and present ideas within an unscored essay. Can you, in a stressful and timed situation, thoroughly explore those ideas crucial to your argument or your explanation, as well as remain organized? Most programs will not expect a polished “final draft” essay, as that is not likely in the short writing period that you are allotted. However, they do wish to evaluate your skill in clarifying main and supporting ideas, which is an important essay-writing ability. Here are 6 application essay mistakes to avoid.

Write without assistance

Schools also wish to see how well you write when you are in an environment that restricts outside assistance like style guides or writing tutors. When you submit applications to programs, you may include admissions essays, cover letters, resumes, and possibly writing samples. However, these are all documents that you have been able to review repeatedly, as well as edit. You are free to ask others to offer feedback about your work or to revise it with you. Unscored essays are a way to see your writing at its most raw, in an environment in which you cannot seek additional help, under time constraints that do not allow you to step away temporarily and return later to revise or edit.

Manage time

Finally, schools may also examine how well you manage your time when writing. The ability to plan out your session so that you fully make your point in an allotted period of time is an important skill not only as a writer, but as a student in general. Programs will wish to see that you have fully completed your unscored essay, as opposed to only having an introductory paragraph written. These are a few simple ways to improve your writing skills that may help you during an unscored essay.

While you may be overwhelmed or exhausted by the thought of having to complete an unscored essay in addition to the scored portion of your test, it is still very important to put forth your best effort on all sections of your exam. While unscored essays do not affect your overall score, they are still an item that schools are provided with and can use to evaluate your abilities. Unscored essays could potentially affect your admission to the program or school of your dreams.