Soluyanov, you are definitely right,
I remember having heard about a guy at MIT finding an extremely high correlation between the essay lengh and the essay score. You can find the whole article at http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/04/educa ... wanted=all
Theorically, we should be graded by humans, but I also doubt it. Well, ETS are really swindlers to charge so much even for preps.I wonder how they justify ethically that you can pay more to get toefl genuine exams for prep. If you're rich, it's ok, if you're poor, go die, but anyway, we're non profit because it's written on the web site. And of course, printing a paper sheet and sending it via USPS is astonishingly expensive (but they don't make profit on it, it's just the quality of the paper and of the printer).