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  1. #1
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Default Americans--care to be my cultural interpreter?

    So I received my GRE scores back; I only scored a 5/6 on the analytical writing section (81st percentile). Given my program, this is problematic enough that I need to address it on my grad app.

    The score is graded off of two essay responses, and I'm supremely confident that I scored a 6/6 on the one I understood (I edited it and it was great), and a 4/6 on the other question because I was very confused about what an "expressway" was. I spent five minutes trying to understand the question and then I ran out of time to edit it.

    Wikipedia says that Canadians use this term, but I've never heard of it outside of vaguely understanding it is a term used for highway speed roads in America. I presumed it linked hickville point A to urban point B without entry or exit points, like an "express bus" doesn't have stops between A and B. I critiqued it saying the hickville commuters wouldn't be paying taxes to the city but reaping the benefits of working in the city, etc.

    I signed something saying I wouldn't say what questions I was tested on, so I won't post further info, but can you please clarify what an expressway is?
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  2. #2

    Default

    As I understand it, expressway is synonymous and interchangeable with freeway and highway. That's how I've always used them. I think the difference is merely geographical. I grew up in New Jersey and they were all highways. Now I live in California and they're all freeways. I've seen individual roads named "X Expressway", "X Freeway" and "X Highway", but the specific names don't necessarily seem to mean anything about the nature of the road. I think they all have exits at least periodically.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

    Johari
    /Nohari

  3. #3
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Default

    Hmmm... thanks, Effemdoubleyou.


    5/6, 81st percentile isn't a terrible score, I just really feel like the only way I could've scored lower than a 5.5 is by missing stuff from the second prompt. Thoughts that ran through my head:
    • what do they mean by "expressway"?
    • what's the difference in power between state and city government for this decision they're making me critique? they just say "the government" and are presuming I understand. is the level of government funding it making the decisions?
    • who are the taxpayers funding this decision--does suburbia in America pay taxes to the city? they just say "the taxpayers" and are presuming I understand.

    and I feel like an American would have this base knowledge whereas I spent 5 of my 30 minutes wondering what the decision was that I was critiquing in the first place because I felt confused.

    Normally I totally own these as my own deficiencies, but I read that sometimes there's cultural clashes and it's no big deal to say in your application that you ran into one.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm so sorry to hear that you didn't do as well as you deserved to have. Damn the luck to get that question! Because I'm quite sure your score is not an accurate reflection of your writing skills!

  5. #5
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Like FMW said, it's pretty much interchangeable. The writing portion of the test always seemed worthless to me. What are you studying?
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  6. #6

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    I'm so glad the GRE didn't have a writing portion when I took it. It feels like by nature it can't help but be subjective and arbitrary. Like Tiltyred said, I'm sure the score is not reflective of your skills.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

    Johari
    /Nohari

  7. #7
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks guys. I found the exact prompt online, and I think it was more to with not understanding government stuff than the expressway jazz.


    I have this drafted out so far:
    My second writing prompt asked me to critique a decision involving the interplay between state and city government, the urban centre and the outlying suburbs, and citizen voting. As a Canadian, when the prompt failed to clarify the actions available to each government category or the boundaries of who the city taxpayers or voters might be, I felt very lost. Due to my lack of education about or familiarity with smaller levels of American government, I did not understand the decision which I was asked to critique, and I do not feel that my second essay reflects my ability to critique an argument. I would be happy to write another argument essay in person on your campus, or allow ETS to release my writing samples for you to review, which will show the qualitative difference between the two essays. Iím confident that I scored substantially better on the issue essay than I did on the argument essay.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  8. #8
    Sniffles
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    This song should help you Usehername.

    [youtube="GQpTEaPFHXQ"]Expressway song[/youtube]

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