May 26, 2017

AWA Decoded

  • What is the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)?

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), frequently called the GMAT essay, consists of a single question. The AWA prompt will ask you to read a brief passage that presents an argument. In your essay, you will explain and critique the argument and the reasoning behind it. The GMAT AWA measures your ability to communicate clearly and effectively in written English, to think critically, and to analyze an argument.

  • AWA General Tips

  1. Manage the time properly. Spend initial 2-3 minutes preparing the rough outline.

  2. Divide the essay into paragraphs

  3. Give the essay a proper and logical structure

  4. Use relevant examples to support the points

  5. Avoid unnecessarily long sentences

  6. Check for use of appropriate transition words

  7. Include an introductory paragraph & conclusion

  8. Leave time to proof your essays thoroughly

  • Writing Tips

  1. Avoid Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Errors

You are required to demonstrate a good control of standard written English. Without proper punctuation, your reader won’t know where one thought ends and another begins.

  1. Pick a Side of Argument

Even if you can’t identify a side you agree with, pick one, stick to it and focus on that side exclusively. Being able to support your argument successfully is more important.

  1. Use Specific Examples

Pick specific examples that are relevant and support your argument.

  1. Contradict Other Side of Argument

Contradict the opposing argument before concluding. It’s an opportunity to establish your argument and further discredit the other side with authority.

  • How is the AWA scored?

  1. For the Analytical Writing Assessment, you’ll receive a score between 0 and 6, scored in half point intervals (so you could get a 5.5, for example, or a 5.0). You’ll be scored on your ability to express ideas effectively, to give examples to develop those ideas, to analyze the given argument accurately, and to demonstrate your grasp of written English.

  2. Your final score is based on the average of two independent scores, one from a reader and one from an electronic scoring engine. The essay-scoring engine analyzes structural features (related to essay organization, such as having an intro, conclusion, and body paragraphs) and linguistic features (which may include the vocabulary, grammar, spelling, key words, and sentence structure used in the essay). The other reader is a trained expert GMAT essay scorer, usually a university faculty member. If there is a disparity of more than one point between the two scores, a third reader will score the essay as well.

  3. The scores out of six are defined as: a score of six as ‘outstanding,’ a score of five as ‘strong,’ a score of four as ‘adequate,’ a score of three as ‘limited,’ a score of two as ‘seriously flawed,’ and a score of one as ‘fundamentally deficient.’ A score of zero is ‘unscorable,’ which you’ll only get if you don’t write in English or write a clearly off-topic essay.