How to Score high in AWA GMAT
The AWA GMAT is the first task of the GMAT that a student has to appear for. The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) tests the aspirant’s analytical and critical thinking and consists of two essays to be written in 30 minutes each. They are graded on a level of 0-6, where 0 stands for a highly deficient and flawed essay and a 6 stands for a perfectly well argued and supported essay. What needs to be understood by the test taker is that the test is not a test of his grasp and control over the English Language. Instead, it measures how well the test taker can analyse a problem/argument, organize ideas to defend or support his ideas and lastly, how effectively he communicates those supportive ideas. It has two kinds of essays that a student has to write:
- - Analysis of an issue: this requires an analysis of an issue and the test taker’s point of view on that issue, supported with more than one perspective drawn from the test taker’s own experiences.
- - Analysis of an argument: this requires the candidate to analyze an argument which has been presented and give a critique of it, without falling prey to his own point of view. This critique has to be balanced not biased and this is the only key differentiating factor between the two essays.
Often websites advertise about successful essay writers or students who have scored a 5 or a 6.0 in essays. It could be helpful to read their experiences and how they prepare their essays. Some websites which could be helpful are http://www.beatthegmat.com/argument-essay-template-if-anyone-wants-it-t38032.html and http://www.platinumgmat.com/about_gmat/awa_essay_template .
Analysis of an Issue
This AWA test essay is a little simpler than the other one, as it allows the test taker to depend on his point of view while writing the essay. Within a period of 30 minutes the test taker needs to first and foremost understand the task. Reading the question carefully and breaking it into parts to understand it better is a good idea. After you have understood what is expected of you, it is best to make a rough draft of ideas you want to talk about. Any ace essay writer will agree with this point of having a rough draft of ideas before he finally pens his essay. As this task requires you to state your point of view, be very clear in stating it. Respect both the time and the structure of your essay. Always have an introduction, body and conclusion with transition words like “therefore”, “hence”, “finally” and so on. One pitfall of this task is, students might get carried away into writing too much about their point of view. Avoid that, and be rational in expressing your opinion. Downloading practice essay topics or templates from websites could also help you improve your essay writing skills. A sample from the official website for GMAT could be quite helpful http://www.mba.com/the-gmat/schedule-a-gmat-appointment/pay-for-the-test/test-structure-and-overview/analytical-writing-assessment-section/sample-analysis-of-an-issue-question.aspx
Analysis of an Argument
The analysis of an argument can be a tricky one, as it clearly requires an analysis and not an opinion. Test takers should always and at all times be aware of this and not fall prey to their own opinions and experiences. This task measures your capability of fully comprehending an argument, understanding the reasoning behind it and after having done that presenting a well-balanced critique of the argument. As is known, an argument will have two sides so the test taker should strive to understand both and seek out a balanced critique of the argument keeping in mind both sides. Time and structure need to be respected here as well and practice essay topics would further sharpen your skill at attempting this task. Going through sample essays of students who have already taken the test or of experts is a good way to tune yourself to the requirements of this section. The official website also renders help for students; you could have a look at http://www.mba.com/the-gmat/schedule-a-gmat-appointment/pay-for-the-test/test-structure-and-overview/analytical-writing-assessment-section/sample-analysis-of-an-argument-question.aspx
A Final Word
Lastly, the AWA test need not be a sore point in your GMAT only because it requires so much writing in limited time. An important thing to always remember is to practice, practice and practice more. This is the only way you can respect both time and structure of your essay and score well in the test.