GMAT Tutorial: Scoring Well in the Essay Section
We begin a new series on the Analytical Writing Assessment ("AWA") portion of the GMAT, otherwise known as "the essays."
Because they do not feed into the overall score out of 800 (they are scored separately, on a scale of 6 points), they are often neglected. They do serve a purpose, though, and you need to take them seriously, even if they do not warrant the bulk of your study time.
The essays are the first section of the exam. You have 30 minutes for each of two essays, for a total of one hour before the quantitative section begins. So if you do not write essays during at least one of your practice exams, you will probably find it surprisingly tiring the day of the exam when you have to head into the math section after an hour of writing.
First, you should be aware of the two types of essay you will be required to write. One is known as "Analysis of Issue." The other is known as "Analysis of Argument." They demand different approaches and need to be understood in their particularities.
Let's talk first about "Analysis of Issue."
In "Analysis of Issue", you will given a statement (the "issue"). For example,
"Responsibility for preserving the natural environment ultimately belongs to each individual person, not to government."(This is an actual GMAT topic and is property of GMAC® which is no way affiliated with Manhattan GMAT.)
Your task now is to decide whether you agree with the statement. There is no "right" answer to this: either position (pro or con) is perfectly valid. The only reaction that is not valid is to sit on the fence. You must take a side and defend it. If you waffle or remain uncommitted, you will lose points.
The point of "Analysis of Issue" is to see how well you can defend a policy position. You must state a clear opinion, but you must also back it up with relevant evidence. In other words, your opinion does not speak for itself. You must show how you arrived at that opinion.
You may use facts or experiences (either your own or those you have observed elsewhere) to explain your position. A good "Issue" essay brings up three or so reasons in favor of OR against the statement and explains why each of those reasons is grounded in fact or experience.
What if you do not have any relevant experience or do not know any relevant facts? Make them up. The exam readers are not going to verify that your facts are correct and they have no way to know whether your experiences are true. Moreover, they do not really care.
They simply want to see that you understand the nature of the task at hand. You must also acknowledge the merits of the other side, all the while maintaining your commitment to your own position. This is basically a polite nod to your opponent. Even though the other side may have some validity, it is still the wrong side.
Why is the "Issue" essay on the GMAT? The primary reason is that B-schools want to see whether you can write coherently under time pressure without the help of an editor. But beyond that, the "issue" essay specifically allows you to demonstrate your ability to learn from experience, either your own or someone else's.
Good businesspeople learn their lessons and carry that knowledge into their future endeavors. By the time you have been working for 20 or so years, you will have accumulated a wealth of experience that can guide you through complicated situations. Business schools want to see upfront that you have at least a glimmer of this skill. People who do not learn from mistakes are destined to repeat them.
Analysis of Argument
This essay differs significantly from the other type (Analysis of Issue) and needs to be approached in a very different way.
In Analysis of Argument, you will be presented with - what else? - an argument and asked to evaluate its merits. The argument will resemble a Critical Reasoning argument: it will have premises and a conclusion. Your task is to determine whether the premises (think of these as pieces of evidence) logically support the given conclusion.
Once you make your determination, you must explain your stance. These arguments are always written so that one can argue that the premises do NOT support the conclusion. In fact, it is wiser to take that position rather than argue that the argument is valid.
The test writers specifically created their arguments to see whether you could spot the flaws. If you declare the argument valid, you are basically admitting that you have not evaluated the argument critically.
As mentioned previously, the basic flaw in all these arguments is that the premises do NOT support the given conclusion. The difference from one argument to another is in the specifics of why not.
The flaws generally fall into two categories: that the author has made a suspect assumption - i.e., he relies on unstated information that cannot be taken for granted; or that he misinterprets the information that he does explicitly include. Your job is to figure out which of these scenarios - possibly both - is going on in the given argument.
Once you figure out the flaws, you must explain how they affect the argument and how they can be remedied. It is not enough simply to point them out.
Imagine that your boss gives you a business plan for your company and asks for your opinion. If you come back and simply say "No good", you probably will not be seeing too many bonuses or promotions in your future there.
Instead, your boss will expect you to explain what the problems are and to offer ways to fix them. This is exactly what is behind the Analysis of Argument essay. Business schools want to see whether you can pick apart a flawed proposal and suggest improvements to it. Stating only that a proposal (i.e., argument) is flawed without explaining why and how to fix it does not demonstrate the skills that make businesspeople successful.
Here is an example of an actual AWA argument from the GMAT. (This argument is property of the Graduate Management Admissions Council which is in no way affiliated with Manhattan GMAT.):
The Kumquat Cafe began advertising on our local radio station this year and was delighted to see its business increase by 10 percent over last year's totals. Their success shows you how you can use radio advertising to make your business more profitable.
Is this a logical argument? No, of course not. If it were, it would not be useful for the AWA. But what specifically is wrong with it?
There are many flaws in the above argument. There are many flaws in the above argument. One of them is that the author assumes that the increase in business was the direct result of the radio ads. We cannot know this from the information given. We need to know whether the cafe also ran ads in local papers or on local television.
One way to find out whether the increase in business is the result of the radio ads would be to ask customers where they heard about the cafe. You get the point. Success on the Argument Essay hinges on your ability to evaluate and rectify, not just criticize.
How to Back Up Assertions with Evidence
Failure to do so is one of the main reasons test takers lose points on the AWA.
It is not enough simply to state a claim. You must also explain why that claim is valid. Keep in mind that your final position on the issue or argument is not the totality of the task. The GMAT is more interested in your thought process - how did you arrive at your conclusions?
In Analysis of Issue, your task is to decide whether you agree or disagree with a given statement. It does not matter which position you take - in favor of or against - as long as you are able to explain why you have chosen that side.
You will be expected to justify your position "using relevant reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading" (quoted from the Official Guide for GMAT Review). In other words, back up what you say.
If you cannot think of anything in your life that seems relevant to the given issue, make something up. It is only an exercise; no one really cares whether what you say is factually true. Try not to go crazy with it (do not claim you were once Prime Minister of New Zealand, for example), but feel free to create relevant evidence if you need to.
Let's say the topic is "Employees should not be allowed to smoke in the workplace." Whatever your stance on the issue, you will have to explain how you came to that position.
It would not be enough to claim that it is "just rude," for example. If your main objection to smoking at work is a perceived lack of consideration on the part of the smokers, you could explain that you once worked with someone who smoked all day despite your complaints and that it affected your productivity. Or you could cite a study from the Royal Tobacco Institute of Copenhagen that pointed out the harmful effects of secondhand smoke and perhaps even claim you know of a nonsmoker who developed lung cancer from working in a smoke-filled environment.
If you disagree with the issue, your main contention may be that workers who feel oppressed by management are less productive. But this would be a mere assertion. How do you know this is so? You could claim that you once worked someplace where smokers were required to stand outside in the cold in the winter and they all ended up resenting the management, resulting in lower productivity and decreased revenues.
Or you could claim that smokers are addicts and forcing them to abstain during work hours is medically harmful, as shown by an experiment conducted by the University of West Podunk. The key here is to select examples from your experience (or imagination) that directly and persuasively support your position.
In Analysis of Argument, by contrast, your task is a little simpler in that you do not have to draw from your own life to support your assessment of the argument. Instead, you must identify the flaws of the argument and explain how they fail to support the conclusion.
You cannot simply state that the author has made a false assumption, or misconstrued the meaning of a key term, or whatever else may be wrong with the argument. If the author has made a false assumption, you must explain what that assumption is, how it harms the argument, and what could be done to rectify the problem.
Very often, people who receive low scores on this essay fail to explain and correct the problems they point out. Remember, part of your task is to strengthen the argument. If all you do is critique it, you will not maximize your score. You must give the reader enough information to understand why the assumption is flawed or why the term has been misconstrued.
If the readers has to guess at your intent, you have fallen short of the mark. Argument essays that receive 5's and 6's are those that allow readers to draw the same conclusions that the essay writers do, based on the writers' skill in pointing out, explaining, and rectifying the arguments' shortcomings.
So, to maximize your AWA score, remember to back up all your claims with reasons and/or examples. Do not let the reader wonder how you came to your conclusions!
Common Grammatical and Structural Mistakes
Remember that your score on the AWA does not depend solely on your ability to craft a persuasive argument (though that is the primary criterion); you will also be judged on your essay's grammar and structure. There are several common mistakes test takers make, all of which can be avoided.
Let's start with grammar. A very common error is the use of "they", "them", and "their" to designate a person of unknown gender, as in "Someone who enjoys their job will be a good worker." Here, "someone" is singular, yet "their" must refer to a plural noun.
A better sentence would be "Someone who enjoys his or her job will be a good worker." This sentence is longer, but grammatical. Although this use of "they" is rampant in English speech, it is not acceptable in formal business writing.
Another common grammar mistake is the incorrect use of modifiers. For example, "For such a powerful company, Fizzy Cola's directors have been timid in their plans for expansion." This sentence probably seems fine, because its error is subtle.
The opening phrase "for such a powerful company" is a modifier. That is, it serves to describe the subject of the clause that follows it. However, the subject of the main clause is "Fizzy Cola's directors," which clashes with the intended subject of the modifier: the company itself.
A better sentence would be "For such a powerful company, Fizzy Cola has been timid in its plans for expansion." Always pay attention to the relationship between modifiers and their intended subjects. Often, test takers do not set up this relationship properly.
Test takers also misuse certain idiomatic phrases. A common example is the use of "less" in contexts where "fewer" is needed. Remember that "less" is used only for nouns that cannot be counted. "Fewer" is used for nouns that are countable.
For example, "The new regulations offer less opportunities for growth." Since opportunities can be counted, we must use "fewer" instead: "The new regulations offer fewer opportunities for growth." Keep in mind also that "amount of" and "number of" are not interchangeable. "Amount of" is used for nouns that cannot be counted, while "number of" is used for countable nouns.
For example, "The amount of bankruptcies this year is expected to set a new record." Since bankruptcies can be counted, we must use "number of" instead: "The number of bankruptcies this year is expected to set a new record."
As for structure, remember that your essay will be scored by a computerized grading program that cannot use logic to deduce your intended meaning if the structure of your essay does not make the flow of your argument clear.
You need to break your essay into easily digestible paragraphs that have a clear flow from one to the next. You must have an introductory paragraph, two or three main paragraphs where you make your case, and a concluding paragraph. By far the most common mistake in structure is to cram everything into one giant paragraph. Do not worry if it seems that your paragraphs are not very long; they do not need to be.
Another common structural mistake is to list examples in a way that does not clearly set them apart from the rest of the argument. This does not mean you should list them bullet-point style, just that you should advise the reader that he or she is about to read a list of examples.
Compare the following paragraphs:
There are three principal reasons that the proposal will not work. It is costly. It is laborious. It offends the sensibilities of those who are fond of cheese.
There are three principal reasons that the proposal will not work. First, it is costly. Second, it is laborious. And third, it offends the sensibilities of those who are fond of cheese.
The second version offers the reader a clearer roadmap of the argument and is thus preferable to the first version. The second version clearly ties each assertion back to the original claim that there are three principal reasons that the proposal will not work. The first version requires that the reader make the connection unaided.
Pay attention to your grammar and structure on the AWA. Good grammar and clear structure are simple ways to maximize your score.
The essay portion of the GMAT, or the Analytical Writing Assessment, is unlike most of the essays you’ve written for college. You’re given a single, one-paragraph prompt containing some kind of argument, and rather than picking a side and building your own case, you have to critique how that argument is made.
Luckily, we’ve done the hard work of analyzing GMAT essay questions for you. In this post, we’ll tell you where to find the best GMAT essay prompts and give you our in-depth breakdown of the essay task, including an analysis of examples from each type of prompt you’ll encounter. Finally, we’ll give you some tips for how to practice with GMAT essay topics for maximum improvement on your own essays. With this expert analysis, you’ll know how to tackle any GMAT essay prompt that comes your way on test day.
The GMAT Essay Task
As stated above, the GMAT AWA section gives you a brief one-paragraph prompt containing some kind of argument. While the prompt changes from test to test (more on this below), the directions are always the same, so you should memorize them in advance. I’ve pasted them for you below:
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
What It’s Really Asking You to Do
In other words, you have only one task for the GMAT essay: to write a critique of the given argument. Invariably, every single GMAT argument will have flaws. Here are the most common types of flaws embedded within the arguments:
- Faulty assumptions: The most common type of argumentative flaw in GMAT prompts.
- Inadequate evidence: If an argument gives you a piece of evidence, it almost certainly has some kind of issue with it—perhaps simply that it doesn’t necessarily support the ultimate conclusion.
- Sampling or statistical issues: For instance, an argument might state that a certain population is representative of a larger whole when that can’t be claimed for certain.
- Vague words, such as “many” or “few.”
- Unsuitable comparisons: Stating that just because something applies in one situation, that it will apply in another situation by default.
- Presumed causation over correlation: Concluding that one thing caused another, without proof that they’re not merely correlated.
- Information or considerations that have been overlooked: other considerations that haven’t been discussed.
Many GMAT essay prompts will contain more than one of these flaws. Your critique should consist of an in-depth analysis that exposes them, and suggests ways to improve.
The best approach is to pick apart the prompt bit-by-bit: point out each flaw the author makes, challenge it using your own reasoning and specific counterexamples that support your claims, and suggest ways the author could fix the flaw and thereby improve the validity of their conclusion.
Do not present your own views on the argument at hand. Regardless of the prompt, you should always make the case that the given argument is flawed—not whether or not you “agree.”
You don’t need to know any formal logic to write a top-scoring essay, but it helps to be familiar with a few terms related to the construction of an argument:
- Claim: The claim is the assertion or conclusion of the argument. In GMAT essay prompts, the main claim is often spelled out for you, preceded by a term like “thus” or “therefore.” There can also be sub-claims that support the broader, overall claim.
- Evidence: Claims are often supported in turn by evidence—facts, statistics, and other data that the author brings up to support their perspective.
- Warrant: The warrant is the reasoning that connects the evidence to the claim. This term can be used as a verb as well, EG: “The evidence doesn’t warrant the claim” (if the evidence provided doesn’t logically support the author’s argument).
- Counterargument: A counterargument is an argument that the “opposing side” might make in a debate. It can have its own sub-claims, warrants, and evidence, just like the original argument.
- Rebuttal: A rebuttal goes a bit further—it engages directly with the first argument, arguing against or deconstructing it.
You don’t have to use these exact terms in every essay, but being familiar with the concepts they represent is crucial for both understanding the GMAT prompts and formulating your critique.
How Your GMAT Essay Is Graded
You’re graded on a scale of 0-6 in half-point increments, once by a human reader (usually an English or Communications professor) and once by a computerized grading program called E-Rater. If the two different scores differ by less than one point, the two scores will be averaged to get your final scaled score. If they differ by greater than one point, a second human reader will step in and grade the essay.
Both the human reader and E-Rater grade holistically, giving one final score under these guidelines:
6 = outstanding
5 = very good
4 = good
3 = adequate
2 = less than adequate
1 = poor
0 = no substantive response
Four general skill areas are taken into account: content (relevant, persuasive ideas, reasoning, and examples); organization (using an organized and cohesive structure to present your argument); languageuse (diction and syntax), and grammar.
It’s hard to assess the six-point scale in abstraction, so be sure to check out this official sample AWA prompt and top-scoring essay to see what kind of an essay gets a 6. You’ll see that the essay loosely follows a five-paragraph essay structure, with each body paragraph focusing on one logical flaw of the prompt. This is a perfectly good structure to replicate in your own essays. We recommend that you spend a 20 minutes or so studying what else this essay did well, so that you can replicate it in your own writing.
The GMAT Essay Topics Pool: How It Works
Fortunately, the GMAC releases a list of most of the official GMAT essay topics you’ll encounter on the Analytical Writing section. These prompts often center on debates from the business or political worlds and are sourced from the editorial and op-ed sections of magazines and newspapers, annual company reports, memorandums, proposals and the like.
You should use this list of official GMAT AWA topics in your prep, as they’re far better than any imitation prompts for a few reasons. Firstly, official practice prompts are by definition more realistic than any imitations. Second, there’s a (small) chance that you’ll encounter a prompt you’ve practiced on already on the real test. It’s a less than 1% chance, as there’s over 140 prompts on this list, and you still could get one that doesn’t appear here—but that’s better than no chance at all! Plus, with so many to choose from, it’s unlikely that you’ll run out of prompts to practice with.
Types of GMAT AWA Topics: Analysis of Examples
Now that we’ve gone over what the essay task is asking of you, let’s go over a few example GMAT Essay topics from the official list.
There aren’t any clear “categories” of prompts that would affect your analysis, but for a representative sample, I’ve picked one prompt from the business world (which is the most common) and one prompt from the political world (which is the second most common). Note that the way in which each argument is constructed doesn’t fall within such boundaries—”political” prompts can use the same flawed argumentative strategies as “business” prompts or “health and science” prompts, and so on.
Example 1: Megamart’s Business Plan
The following is part of a business plan created by the management of the Megamart grocery store:
“Our total sales have increased this year by 20 percent since we added a pharmacy section to our grocery store. Clearly, the customer’s main concern is the convenience afforded by one-stop shopping. The surest way to increase our profits over the next couple of years, therefore, is to add a clothing department along with an automotive supplies and repair shop. We should also plan to continue adding new departments and services, such as a restaurant and a garden shop, in subsequent years. Being the only store in the area that offers such a range of services will give us a competitive advantage over other local stores.”
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
The first step is to identify the conclusion or main claim of the argument: in this case, the conclusion is that Megamart should add a clothing department, automotive department, and more one-stop shopping conveniences in order to increase profits.
Next, identify the supporting evidence and reasoning for this conclusion. One piece of evidence is “that total sales have increased this year by 20 percent since we added a pharmacy section to our grocery store.” An adjacent piece of reasoning is that “the customer’s main concern is the convenience afforded by one-stop shopping.” The author also states that “Being the only store in the area that offers such a range of services will give us a competitive advantage over other local stores.”
Finally, identify the logical flaws buried within the conclusion and the supporting evidence/reasoning.
For starters, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation: the author takes it for granted that the addition of the pharmacy caused the increase in sales, which may or may not be true.
Next, the author presumes that, because of this increase, the customer’s main concern is the convenience of one-stop shopping. This conclusion doesn’t logically follow—even if we do assume that the pharmacy caused the increase in sales, there could be many other reasons for this other than convenience: perhaps their pharmacy is less expensive than other competitors in the area, for example.
Moreover, even if customers do enjoy the convenience of a pharmacy in their grocery store, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they also want to get their car fixed there, to buy clothing there, to eat at a restaurant there, etc—they may have loyalty to other businesses for these services, or they may doubt the level of quality, and so on.
Plus, the expense is high for any business to install such new and varied arms: the cost of renovating their space, hiring and training new employees, ensuring that each sub-business is up to code, etc. How would they be able to keep costs low enough to entice shoppers to try out a new service and still cover the cost of the expenditure, let alone increase profits?
Overall, being the only store in the area that offers such a range of services may not give them a competitive advantage over other local stores at all, and certainly might not lead to increased profits. There are other flaws you could point out
You should also employ some counterexamples to back up your argument: for example, how even Target and Walmart stores—the epitomes of one-stop shopping—don’t have automotive repair shops within them, as this has no overlap with their core business (whereas groceries, for example, have a lot of overlap, so it made sense for them to start selling those). And while they do sometimes have restaurants within them, those are separate chain restaurants like Pizza Hut, with their own brand identity, operated independently and sharing the space by contractual agreement. This offers customers the opportunity to eat before or after shopping, and the potential for increased profits for both companies—while minimizing risk and expenditure for each.
Finally, you should suggest ways the author could fix the flaws in their argument: in this case, the management of Megamart could discuss why factors other than convenience are not at play in the 20% increase of sales since adding the pharmacy, to make a better case for causation over correlation.
Example 2: Waymarsh State College Protestors
The following appeared in the editorial section of a local newspaper:
“This past winter, 200 students from Waymarsh State College traveled to the state capitol building to protest against proposed cuts in funding for various state college programs. The other 12,000 Waymarsh students evidently weren’t so concerned about their education: they either stayed on campus or left for winter break. Since the group who did not protest is far more numerous, it is more representative of the state’s college students than are the protesters. Therefore the state legislature need not heed the appeals of the protesting students.”
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
Like many GMAT prompts, the conclusion is more or less spelled out for us, identified by the use of the word “therefore.” In this case, the conclusion is that the state legislature doesn’t need to heed the 200 protesting students.
There are three main faulty assumptions in the reasoning: first, the author assumes that just because the other 12,000 students did not protest, this means they don’t share the same concerns. Next, the author uses this tenuous conclusion to claim that the group of non-protestors is more representative of the college student body as a whole—even though it’s still unproven that they have different beliefs that the protestors. Finally, the conclusion itself is a jump in reasoning: even granting that the protesting students are alone in their beliefs, that’s not sufficient grounds for the state legislature to ignore their appeals.
The issue with the first assumption is that just because the 12,000 students didn’t show up to protest does not necessarily mean that they “don’t care about their education” or that they agree with the funding cuts. Many of them could have been unaware of the cuts, or of the planned protests. Some might have been unable to attend the protests for a variety of reasons—difficulty of traveling to the state capital, the expenses associated with such travel or of getting out of any previously planned winter break trips, not being able to take time off from an on-campus job, and so on. It’s difficult to imagine that such a large percentage of the student body is truly uncaring when there are so many potential extenuating circumstances barring them from attending the protests.
It’s far more likely that there’s a diversity of opinion among the non-protesting group: for all the reasons stated above, they can’t be taken as a single, homogenous collective that shares one viewpoint just based on the fact that they didn’t (or couldn’t) attend the protest. So, even though only 1 in 60 students protested, that doesn’t mean that the other 59 are “representative” of the opinion that the budget cuts don’t matter.
Lastly, even if we grant that the protestors are a non-representative minority, that certainly doesn’t mean that the legislature should simply ignore their concerns. A better basis for judgment is not how representative of the student body they are, but how justified their concerns are about the funding cuts to their school and how much of an impact these cuts will have. Will it make a significant impact on the quality of the education they receive? On the students’ preparedness for the world beyond? On their job prospects? Even if the rest of the students truly don’t care (which is already an outlandish presumption), that doesn’t justify the state legislature undercutting their education.
In fact, there are many forms of expressing one’s opinion other than in-person protesting, none of which are discussed here. The state legislature should take a poll of the student body for a truly “representative” sample of viewpoints. An online poll emailed out to all students is neither financially nor time-commitment prohibitive, like a protest at the state capitol is, and would thus be a much fairer way of measuring student opinion.
GMAT Essay Topics: 3 Excellent Tips
No matter which of the GMAT essay questions you encounter on test day, the following tips will help you prepare.
#1: Time Your GMAT Practice Essays
When you’re working on practice GMAT essay topics, make sure you stick to a strict 30-minute time limit for your essay.
If you need to build up to writing within this time limit, you can start out by giving yourself extra time and then working your way down to 30 minutes. However, try not to only practice with extra time, or you’ll be unprepared for the real GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment.
#2: Type Your GMAT Practice Essays
To simulate the conditions of the computer-based GMAT, you should write all of your practice essays on a computer.
If possible, use the simple word processor in the free official GMATPrep Software to do every practice essay, or a very simple word processor like NotePad that doesn’t give you very much functionality. Though you will be able to use the normal copy, paste, undo, and redo shortcuts, you’ll still need to get used to the lack of other features that you may be accustomed to from Microsoft Word, Pages, or Google Docs, such as bolding and italics.
#3: Grade Your GMAT Practice Essays
Once you’ve written your practice GMAT essays, try to score them with the 6-point grading rubric and by comparing your writing to the sample essay provided by the GMAC. The point of grading your essays is not to feel bad that you didn’t live up to the ideals of a perfect essay score but instead to hone in on your weaknesses so you can improve. Whether it’s disorganized writing, not varying your sentence structure enough, running out of time, insufficient analysis, or some other issue entirely, you should identify the main issues with your essay, then focus your practice on improving those areas.
If you find yourself struggling to reach the same level of writing and analysis as the sample top-scoring essay, one additional option available to you is the official GMATWrite subscription. Each subscription includes two real GMAT essay prompts and the opportunity to write four essays. Your practice essays will be scored using E-Rater, the same automated essay-scoring engine used by the official GMAT exam. Once you submit an essay, you will receive a score, suggestions for improvement, and other relevant feedback.
Keep in mind that the AWA is the least important part of your GMAT score, and most people do well on the essay anyway, so budget your time (and money) accordingly.
Check out our more in-depth guide to the format, scoring, and other tips for the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment. Once you feel comfortable with the basics, head to our guide on GMAT essay templates that can help you get a top score on the AWA (coming soon). If you’re just getting started with your overall GMAT prep, you may want to go over what to expect on the all the other sections of the GMAT as well.
Author: Jess Hendel
Jess Hendel is a Brooklyn-based academic advisor, test prep tutor, and content writer for PrepScholar. A graduate of Amherst College, she has several years of experience writing content and designing curricula for the top e-learning organizations. She is passionate about leveraging new media and technology to help students around the world achieve their potential. View all posts by Jess Hendel