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#31082 - 06/09/05 10:00 PM Readability indexes??
Molly Malone
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Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 25
Loc: Easten USA

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Well, as it is painfully obvious, I am trying to finish up a SOP for Grad school. I noted the readability index at the end of word- it checked it and gave me a lousy 37% readable...so I used the FOG index to see and got an index of 19- which is a little high. (people say to aim for 10-15) I think the most complex word I used was myriad, and that is not too complex. Seems like this is a good way to keep writing on a grade level, but I don't get why the number of syllables makes one word mroe complex than another- for example the word possible is rated as complex while the word angst would be considered simple. I imagine many 8 yr olds could easily explain possible, but have some trouble with angst... opinions on FOG and Flesh readability indexs please..
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#31083 - 06/09/05 10:01 PM Re: Readability indexes??
Molly Malone
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Registered: 05/16/05
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Oh oh, the typos in my post! very sorry!
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#31084 - 06/10/05 01:29 AM Re: Readability indexes??
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

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Molly Malone, you can edit your post by clicking the icon of a page with a pencil if you want to fix things. (It also helps prevent double posting - check out the FAQ for details.)

Can you explain what a FOG index is? And maybe a Flesh index too? Actually, I don't know what you mean by SOP either. Someone might be able to answer your question if you can make it clear what you're looking for.

It's hard to come out of the immersion of grad school and make sense to the laypeople, I imagine.

(and this is what it looks like when you edit the post because you accidentally hit the Reply button instead of URL)

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#31085 - 06/10/05 10:59 AM Re: Readability indexes??
Molly Malone
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 25
Loc: Easten USA

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Thanks FishDreamer.

SOP is a statement of Purpose- "What I want to do when i grow up"

The Flesh readability score pops up at the end of word spell check if you have settings for it- it tells you apparently what grade level the reading is on and gives it a "readibility score" Note: The cat is on the mat is considered 100% readable... The feline is comfortable on the resting device. is probably only about 47% readable.

The FOG index is an index that allows you to test for readability as well- you count the more than three syllable words and then divide it by the total number of words- or something like that to get the FOG index.

I was aghast to find that mine was so high, but then I noted that Academic writing is supposed to be between 15-20, so I guess since I am writing for an Academic audience, its ok??
Either way, it goes in the mail today.

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#31086 - 06/10/05 12:16 PM Re: Readability indexes??
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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Molly Malone, your SOP is for your graduate school application, right? So the assumption is that your application materials are intended for the faculty admissions committee to review?

From where I stand as a grad student in an American university, it seems both reasonable and effective for your readability indices to be on the college-graduate level, since that's the audience you're aiming for. The recommendation for a Flesch-Kincaid score between Grades 10-15 (i.e., readable by someone with at least a high school education) is usually meant for writing geared to general audiences, not for academic writing. (Of course, y'all should take everything I'm saying with a grain of salt, since I pout when my Flesch-Kincaid score drops below grade 12.)

If anyone else is interested in learning more about these readability indices, here's what the Wikipedia has to say about the
Flesch-Kincaid Readability Scale and the Fog Index . For a more complex explanation of how these linguistic tools work, try here.

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#31087 - 06/10/05 06:39 PM Re: Readability indexes??
Molly Malone
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 25
Loc: Easten USA

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Thanks LaSalleUgirl,

I probably was just looking for an excuse to freak out. As it stands I mailed the whole thing in today with the 19 FOG score, and all. At least I don't have to wait, I'll know by the afternoon of June 24th....
For the moment though, it's killing me. Now that is is in the mail, I have NOOOO control over the process!!!

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#31088 - 06/11/05 12:07 PM Re: Readability indexes??
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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Heh ~ I know exactly what you mean, Molly Malone. Nothing is more stressful than that awful waiting period after sending in an application or proposal. (I'm waiting to hear about a conference proposal, but the accept/reject letters don't get sent until September! Argh.) Best wishes!

[Edited because my fingers seem to be staging a protest against typing correctly...]

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