How do the scores of GMAT AWA matter?

The GMAT AWA is probably the only way to judge an aspirant’s thought process, critical and analyzing skills and the quality of writing. This automatically means that it should not be taken lightly, even though the scores do not add up to the final percentile of your GMAT score. The GMAT AWA is a task which is divided into two parts, each requiring the aspirant to attempt an essay. The aspirant is given 30 minutes for each part and this is the first section that the aspirant attempts on the day of the test. The first part is about the analysis of an issue, requiring the aspirant to rely on his judgment and point of view to express his ideas. The second part, on the other hand, requires the aspirant to present a balanced analysis of an argument, without any personal bias or personal experience being stated.


The GMAT AWA score is not made available immediately to the aspirant and is received within three weeks with the official test report. Both the essays are graded between 0-6 with 0/1/1.5-2 being quite poor scores, signifying deficient or flawed essays, 2.5/3-3.5 as mediocre and can-be-worked upon kind of essays and 4/4.5-6 being good and well thought-out essays. These essays are scored first by an electronic E-rater and then by a university expert and the scores are averaged for the final score. In case there is a discrepancy then a third person evaluates and scores them. Although many universities do not directly use the GMAT AWA scores as admission criteria, these essays form a good grading measure for the admission committee to measure the writing skills of the applicant and sometimes if the application essays are flawless and the GMAT AWA score of the same applicant is 3/3.5 it might raise a suspicion if he was the author of his application essays or not. The GMAC website states that the GMAT AWA scores are good for the admission committee to select applicants to their B-schools or as a diagnostic tool

Where it Matters

It is true that the GMAT AWA score may not be a key deciding factor for all B-school admission committees. It clearly matters, where the aspirant is applying and whether or not the aspirant is a non-native English speaker. These factors matter because the admission committees do not want to levy undue disadvantage to a non-native English speaker, considering his GMAT AWA score is not so high, but his final GMAT score meets the university’s admission requirement. Although, it does not at all mean that a native speaker of English needs to score a 5/6 to ensure his admission application is considered by the admission committee. Here, what needs to be understood is the ‘not accruing’ of unfair advantage of the native speaker over the non-native speaker. At times it so happens that your GMAT AWA score might be a 4 or a 3.5 (which is not too high) but your GPA is between 4 and 5 and your final GMAT score is 720 – here, the overall picture is what matters and not individual score inputs. It can be said with utmost confidence that no B-school uses any one score as an admission criteria, it’s always the entire package because each score reflects a different skill of the applicant.

Lastly, it’s essential for the aspirant to prepare well for the GMAT AWA and write it with full honesty, because although the scores may not directly affect his admission but they may serve a different purpose during his admission process.

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