GMAT AWA - GMAT Essay
In this section, you will be assigned two topics, the Analysis of Issue
and the Analysis of Argument. You will have 30 minutes for each of them.
There is no break between them. About two weeks after you take the GMAT,
you will receive a grade from 1 to 6.
The AWA is scored separately from quantitative and verbal section, but
it is rather important to score as high as possible since the top MBA
programs consider it highly essential for graduate business education.
So, do not postpone AWA preparation until the last several days.
The good news is that AWA can be fully prepared. The test-maker, GMAC
has published all of its essay topics in advance. You can easily
download them on the GMAC websites. To get full advantage, you should
become very familiar with the topic of real essay questions.
1. Visit the GMAC website at www.mba.com, and download the 280
2. The essay topics are in PDF files, which need Acrobat Reader. You can
download this software for free at www.adobe.com website.
3. Quickly read through all of the essay questions. Think about how you
could respond to these essays. If you get time, respond to at least 5
essays for each section.
How essays are scored?
Your essays will be graded by both e-rater and a human grader. The
e-rater is a computer program, designed to evaluate your writing
according to the pre-programmed criteria. If the computer and human
grader differ greatly in their assessments, a second human is brought
into the mix to referee and make the final call. The final step is to
average all four scores (two for each essay and round the result to the
nearest half point. This becomes the AWA score included on the score
report sent to the programs you applied for.
What is a good essay? A good essay will be persuasive in content, well
organized in structure, and clear in English language with, if any, very
few grammar errors.
The E-rater's main impact is to put more value on highly structured
writing and the use of keywords and phrases that it recognizes.
do not write your essay in the proper format for the E-rater it could
lead to a lower score. So, be careful for the following Do and Don't.
Clearly show your essay organization by using transitional words or
phrases, such as “first”, “finally”, “therefore”, etc to make your essay
Carefully read our tens of sample responses to Real Essays to get
informed how an E-rater-friendly essay can be.
Respond to at least five essays each in limited 30 minutes. Make sure
you are able to cover every necessary paragraph on the test day.
Write an essay like a prose or story. The E-rater simply doesn’t like
this. Rather, your essay should be logically clear, and succinct in
content, more like a summary of strategy report from McKinsey.
Never type “threefore” for “therefore”. If you do that, the e-rater will
assume there is no such word.
Prepare very carefully for each of the 280 questions. There is one point
you should keep in mind. That is, no one can prepare carefully for
everything. Remember, GMAT is only one of the criteria that the business
schools consider. (Other factors such as work experience, and
application essays are also very important.)
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