GMAT Analytical Writing

GMAT Analytical Writing Section – A Comprehensive Guide

Often considered by many aspirants as a vestigial section of the GMAT, the Analytical Writing section is probably the only way for an admission committee to get an insight into the critical and analytical thinking skills of an aspirant. It is anything but vestigial. Core to the test, it holds a lot of importance but receives minimal attention from many aspirants because of its understated value to the final score. But what many aspirants fail to envision is that it holds a much far-reaching impact to their test scores. The analytical writing essays go to the admissions committee of all the B-schools that your score goes to. It is the only part of the answers that reach the admission committee and serve the purpose of helping them understand better whether or not it was you who actually authored your admission essays. Assuming that your score in the analytical writing section is very low but your admission essays are extremely well written, it will show you in a suspicious light and put a question on their authorship. Therefore, aspirants need to pull up their socks about the analytical writing section and shower enough attention and preparation on it. Read on to know more.

About GMAT Analytical Writing Section

The analytical writing section is the first section that the aspirant attempts on the test day. It is a 60-minute, two-part section of two essays, with each essay a part of one section and 30 minutes allotted to each part/essay. The first part involves an analysis of an issue and requires the aspirant to depend on his point of view which can be drawn from his personal experiences and observations. The second part is about an analysis of an argument and the aspirant is expected to write out a balanced critique of this argument without taking sides or giving his personal point of view. It cannot be altered in matters of time; if a section has been allotted 30 minutes then the aspirant has to finish within the given time in order to move to the next part of the section.

Scoring of GMAT Analytical Writing Section

The scores of the analytical writing section are not made available immediately after the test is over, unlike the Quantitative and Verbal section scores. It is a subjective test and hence is scored on various aspects like sentence formation, grammar, organisation of ideas and language usage. This section is scored on a scale of 0-6 with 0 being the least score representing a deeply flawed essay and 6 being the best score representing a well thought-out balanced essay. These essays are scored by an electronic machine or E-rater and then by a university expert. Both the scores are averaged to derive the final score. In case of a major discrepancy, a third person marks the essays for the final score.

Preparation for GMAT Analytical Writing Section

Before preparing for the analytical writing section, aspirants can have a look at a list of previously asked essay topics and their sample answers to better understand the format, structure and exactly what is expected of them from the analytical writing section. These can be accessed from the official website at . Reading through these topics and their responses makes for sufficient practice for an aspirant. This along with practice in these topics against time would be a good way to prepare for the test. As time is of essence here, the aspirant needs to practise the art of condensing his thoughts and ideas within the time frame so as to answer the topics adequately and precisely.