Helpful for: MBA Applicants

Read Time: 10 minutes

Quick Facts:

  • Scoring the GMAT AWA is done in half-point intervals from 0 to 6. A response receives two scores, one of which may be conducted by a computer, and at least one response is read and scored by a GMAT essay reader.
  • The AWA does not count towards your total GMAT score, and that is why it is considered the least important section.
  • Understanding and following directions is the most important tip on how to approach the GMAT essay question. Hayley explains:

Chosen Quote:

The AWA section specifically asks you to critique an argument on its strengths and weaknesses. AWA graders aren’t looking for a well-written, thoughtful opinion piece about the topic discussed in the prompt. They’re looking for you to analyze whether or not the argument itself was sound, and to back up that analysis with evidence from the text, and they’ll judge you on how well you accomplished that specific task. If you don’t follow the directions, you won’t achieve a high score.

  • Setting up and sticking to a clear structure is another tip to keep in mind. Don’t get carried away by attempting to write a captivating and long essay. Rather, make your essay easy to follow. Your introduction should restate the argument and the body paragraphs that follow should focus directly on addressing its specific flaws. Finally, the conclusion should summarize your points and how they invalidate the argument.
  • Become aware of the common AWA flaws. Identifying the flaws of an argument quickly will make writing your essay easier. The most common flaws are: causality, vagueness, and overconfidence. In causality, there is a wrong effect to a wrong cause. In vagueness, the argument may contain unclear terms and statistics that are used incorrectly to prove a point. AWA arguments that are written in overconfident language often use words like “definitely,” “of course,” and “undoubtedly.”
  • Practicing with old GMAT AWA prompts will help your brain pick up on patterns in different arguments and help you master writing a strong essay in under 30 minutes. Spending between three to six hours a study session is enough to achieve a great AWA score.

Useful Information:

  • Before starting your essay on exam day, spend about five minutes to outline a few bullet points for each paragraph. This will reassure you that you are giving a well thought out and full answer to the question.

Do you have some tips on the AWA section that you find effective?

For more advice, read Tips for GMAT's Analytical Writing Section. Want to delve in deeper on how the section is scored? Read How the GMAT AWA Section is Scored.

Source: Prep Scholar GMAT