EA Verbal Reasoning section
Posted on
23
Dec 2021

EA Verbal Reasoning Section – Everything You Need To Know About It

If you are planning on applying for an MBA or EMBA program, and are a busy professional, you probably had the chance to familiarize yourself with the EA exam. Today, we are going to focus on the EA verbal reasoning section. It includes categories such as sentence correction, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning. The verbal section can seem to be a formidable struggle for non-native English speakers. However, non-native English speakers may actually have a leg-up on the competition.

The verbal reasoning part of the EA is designed to measure your ability to read and comprehend written information, reason and evaluate arguments, and write in standard written English. This can seem intimidating as you may not be used to comprehending and reasoning arguments in languages other than your native language. 

The EA Verbal Section: Layout 

To begin with, you will be given only 30-minutes to answer 14 questions. This gives you approximately 2 minutes for each question. Just like the GMAT, the EA is a computer adaptive exam. This means, by answering a question correctly, the succeeding questions will be harder – and vice versa. The Executive Assessment test is also shorter than the GMAT. As mentioned above, there are three question types on the EA verbal reasoning section:

    • Critical Reasoning
    • Reading Comprehension
    • Sentence Correction

EA Verbal Section – Critical Reasoning 

During critical reasoning, the question will provide you with a textual stimulus, often a brief paragraph of 100 words or less, followed by a question and five answer options. The question will always require you to choose one of the five response options and the correct answer is logically related to the input in some way. 

EA Verbal Section – Reading Comprehension

During the reading comprehension, the question will present you with a short or long passage, as well as two or three related questions. You’ll choose one of five response options for each question relating to a passage. Those will be very similar to what you have already learned from probably the SAT, TOEFL, or other standardized tests. 

In the reading comprehension, the passages and question types include a large range of topics. From science and social science to business. Specific detail and inference questions, just like on the GMAT, are by far the most common. Additional Primary Purpose or Main Idea question types also appear on the test. You will be asked to draw a conclusion based on the argument by detecting the flaws, assumptions, and any discrepancies that might be discernible. 

EA Verbal Section – Sentence Correction

The last part is sentence correction. These questions test your knowledge of English grammar and overall written English. A sentence will be partially or completely underlined in response to a question. You must state which version of the statement is the most logical, straightforward, and free of grammar faults by selecting the proper version of the underlined section from a list of five options. There can be idioms, comparisons, parallelisms, subject-line agreement, etc. Even for native English speakers with a good understanding of syntax, these sentences are typically fairly long with a lot of extra description, which can be perplexing. 

EA Verbal Section – Tips

Now that you have some basic understanding of the EA verbal section and what it consists of, it is time to gain some tips and tricks that will definitely aid you during the preparation process and the exam as well. 

1. Try to nail down your thoughts in English

First, we start off by mentioning that you should train your brain to read and grasp the English language. Try to nail down your thoughts in English. When reading a passage try to understand what the writer is trying to convey and focus on the main idea, try to find out whether the author is presenting a point, argument, telling, or criticizing someone. Even though the EA verbal section is not something that you may encounter every day, you can still find daily sources of practice: like an academic journal or podcast produced by major news outlets such as the New York Times or Wall Street Journal.  

Another approach is to surround yourself with a lot of different words, whether that means doing a daily crossword puzzle or watching English news. Even when you have some leisure time, immerse yourself in English literature. Those can include fiction, magazines, or just stories. You might think that the process can be overwhelming and time-consuming, however, these skills will stick with you throughout your professional and academic careers. It is true that mastering the language comes naturally rather than learning words and idioms by heart, but remember that you are not learning the language from scratch, you are adapting to the format and academic English. Before preparing for the Executive Assessment you should already know the language and be able to recognize all common question types with focused attention and analysis. 

2. Work on your memorization skills

Besides being a good reader and being able to absorb information, work on your memorization skills. Navigate through the words quickly and effectively. Even if you do not understand a certain word or a phrase, being able to navigate through it will strengthen your abilities to feel the language and comprehension skills. When you first start studying, concentrate on one idea at a time. For example, first, focus on your vocabulary and reading, then focus on the grammar and sentence correction. For sentence correction, you can begin with your basic high school materials and some simple rules. 

If English is not the language you frequently use, then take the time to practice EA-related questions. Stick to one concept for a few days before moving to another subject.  Be sure to REVIEW, REVIEW, and REVIEW! No matter what you are planning to study at this point make sure to get back to it and review. Be realistic in the time you are setting aside to study, but never forget to return and fill in the gaps again time after time.

3. Learn how to skim

Learn how to skim. Rapid eye movement during the EA verbal reasoning section is vital. Skimming will help you detect the crucial keywords and get a general idea of the text. Another tip is to look at the answer choices before skimming through the passage so that you know what to be on the lookout for while reading the text. In the beginning, go at your own pace, then start skimming, keeping the time constraints in mind, with this technique the overall experience will be more easily adaptable and accessible for you. 

4. Try to understand something in your own words

The last piece of advice that we are going to give for your EA verbal preparation, is to try to understand something in your own words. If there is a passage or question that you cannot get through just try to put things in your own words and figure out what the answer is in your words and then transform it to an academic language. You are maybe in a word labyrinth, but there is always a way out. The EA verbal section can be baffling with convoluted questions, however, you are able to rephrase everything according to your own convenience and get out of the labyrinth easily. 

 

Final Thoughts 

In this article, we covered the EA verbal reasoning basics. Be sure to develop a study regimen with appropriate time allocation based on your lifestyle. For most people, the Executive Assessment requires an average of about 80-100 hours for most people to adequately prepare for a top score of 155 or above. Remember that by familiarizing yourself with the most fundamental content areas you will expedite the process of acing the verbal section. You secure a good score on the EA verbal portion by putting in hours of focused, targeted practice. Do whatever it takes to truly grasp the subject. Do not be scared of the unfamiliar, make it familiar.

 

Contributor: Ruzanna Mirzoyan

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GMAT AWA - 4 Tips To Succeed
Posted on
16
Sep 2021

How-To GMAT AWA: 4 Tips To Succeed & Get a High GMAT AWA Score

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Nemrout Safarian
Date: September 16, 2021

What Is The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) All About?

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) component of the GMAT assesses your ability to express your thoughts and ideas. All you have to do is critically examine the reasoning of a specific argument. You have 30 minutes to finish the AWA part of the GMAT, by analyzing an argument in the format of a newspaper editorial or a corporate statement. Because of the nature of this debate, you may typically argue for either side, and your choice of backing has little bearing on your final score. You’ll have 30 minutes to read the prompt and write your response. In the end, your essay will be assessed on a scale of 0 to 6 by both a machine and a human; your final GMAT AWA score will be the average of these two scores.

How to Improve Your GMAT AWA Score: 4 Tips

Find Out the Hidden Assumptions

What’s the best way to spot concealed assumptions? There are two key phases to this process. To begin, determine whether or not the argument is valid. If the argument is sound, the conclusion follows from the premises, and the premises have plainly stated the assumptions needed to reach the conclusion, then you can conclude that the argument is a good one. There are no hidden assumptions in this case. However, if the argument is invalid, you should carefully consider what extra premises should be added to make it legitimate. Those are the unspoken expectations. Then you may ask things like: 

1) What do these assumptions mean?
It is really important to fully understand what the assumptions you are given truly represent. In other words, figuring out which motives and “root” of the assumptions will help you come up with more reasonable conclusions.

2) Why would the argument’s proponent agree to such assumptions?
Another important aspect is to ask yourself why a specific assumption is valid,
and how it could possibly be supported. Think of reasonable, well-thought-out reasons and supporting arguments, and make sure you elaborate on them.

3) Is it reasonable to accept these assumptions?
Finally, as mentioned above, the final and most important part is to understand if it is reasonable and meaningful to accept those assumptions in the first place. It doesn’t matter how fancy they sound, or how they can support your main idea – it is all worthless unless it is reasonable to be accepted!

Avoid These Common AWA Mistakes

Ambiguous Language: Without a numerical qualification, the terms much, any, few, many, more, less, and some can be vague. When comparing amount or size, always consider the spectrum of possibilities included in vague terms.

Biased Conclusions: Bias is something you will need to avoid at all costs. Oftentimes, the reason for this is overconfidence. Being confident in what you’re writing is always good. However, being overconfident – that is, claiming things you don’t have sufficient evidence for – will hurt your AWA score. Always remember that on the GMAT, you want to be more balanced and thoughtful, rather than come up with extreme conclusions that can ruin the whole assessment. 

Incoherent Comparisons: Making comparisons in your essay might be tempting, as it seems to support your arguments and convince the reader. However, you need to be cautious when choosing this strategy. The reason for this being that sometimes you will see statements that seem to be very similar, and you may compare them, and use that similarity in your conclusions. Nevertheless, chances are, it is just a “trap” that you need to avoid at all costs. Read the statements carefully and be sure they are reasonable to compare. 

Read What You Have Written!

You need to go over what you have written at least once before you will submit it! Save some time for proofreading your essay for several reasons. First, you will be able to check the spelling and grammar, which is very important. Second, you will be confident that the flow of your essay is well thought out and that the statements flow logically. Finally, you will have the chance to make corrections or add new ideas you believe make your essay much stronger. 

Have a Good Structure for Your Essay

Write a Strong Introduction: You don’t have to start from scratch with each GMAT AWA introduction. Begin by mentioning the source of the passage. After that, concentrate on two primary tasks: summarizing the argument and explaining why it is wrong (or right). Keep it brief and sweet; three sentences should do to establish your key arguments!

Write Your Body Paragraphs: You need to have a clear and thoughtful structure when it comes to your body paragraphs. First of all, you need to understand which part you want to focus on and analyze. One way to do this is by simply summarizing the premise. Later, you will need to identify the flaw and explain why it is a flaw in the first place. One of the best ways to do this is by giving a strong example. Finally, the most fun and important part is to state and explain why exactly that specific section hurts – or supports – the argument. Make sure you are considerate and logical when you’re working on this part. 

Conclude Your Essay: When concluding your argument, keep in mind that you should not spend too much time on the conclusion. The body paragraphs are the most fundamental and important parts of your essay, and they are what determine your grade. Whereas your substantive paragraphs should be full and comprehensive, the conclusion should be succinct and to the point. Wrap things up as soon as possible so you can get back to editing and reworking your essay. Don’t go into too much detail to make things manageable and concise. You just need to summarize the argument’s key flaws. It’s sometimes enough to just state that the argument has serious flaws. Ignore the need to restate all of the key ideas from the body paragraphs. This will just take up additional space and time.

If you enjoyed this article about how to improve your GMAT AWA score, “Master the GMAT AWA section with this comprehensive template” is another insightful and helpful article to read. 

Good luck and remember to believe in yourself!

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How To Ace The GMAT Verbal Reasoning Section
Posted on
14
Sep 2021

How to Ace The GMAT Verbal Reasoning Section

By: ApexGMAT
Contributor: Ruzanna Mirzoyan
Date: September 14, 2021

     If you are planning to apply for an MBA program, you probably got the chance to familiarize yourself with the GMAT exam and its overall format. Today, we are going to focus on the GMAT verbal reasoning section specifically. It includes categories such as sentence correction, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning. And each requires a careful analysis and sophisticated approach.

The verbal section can be a formidable struggle as there are some tiny nuances that you must draw your attention to. The verbal reasoning part of the GMAT is designed to assess your ability to read and comprehend written information, reason and evaluate arguments, and edit writing for clarity in standard written English. 

Besides learning all the skills and tools you need to ace the verbal section, we will also provide you with an overview and with the basic knowledge that you should be aware of before starting the preliminary preparation.

Overview

      To begin with, there are 36 questions and you will be given only 65 minutes. This gives you approximately 2 minutes for each question. After the GMAT verbal preface, you might be scared to learn that you will have only 2 minutes. But once you master the techniques and relevant features, the “only 2 minutes” concern is not a concern anymore. If you have taken the TOEFL exam, you might know that there is additional reading or listening and you have no clue which one is counted towards your score. The same principle applies to the GMAT verbal part as well. There are six experimental questions, and there is no way to determine which ones are scorable and which are not. Consequently, you should account for each question equally significant during the test.

3 Types of Questions

Another thing that you should be informed about is that each question is adaptive, meaning that it is designed based on your difficulty level and whether you did well on the previous question. As it is mentioned above, there are three question types on the GMAT verbal reasoning section which are reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. During the first two, you will be given a passage and asked some questions regarding the information on the passage. Those will be very similar to what you have already learned from probably the SAT, TOEFL, or other standardized tests.

Reading Comprehension

There are mainly three categories on the reading comprehension question types. Such as asking you about the main idea of the passage, some details, differentiation between ideas, analyzing, inferring, and some logical shaping questions.

Critical Reasoning

The critical reasoning section will also be much alike, but it will be presented in an argument format. You will be boiling down the information by finding points that either weaken or strengthen the given argument. Finally, you will draw a conclusion based on the argument by detecting the flaws, assumptions, and any discrepancies that might be discernible.

Sentence Correction

The last part is sentence correction type of questions. Here all your knowledge of English grammar and overall written English will be tested. You should actually expect 11-16 sentence correction questions, each containing from 0 to 2 errors. You will be given multiple choice answers below to select the best fitting answer. There can be idioms, comparisons, parallelisms, subject-line agreement, etc. Even for native English speakers with a good understanding of syntax, these sentences are typically fairly long with a lot of extra description, which can be perplexing.

As a result, if you haven’t practiced these questions in advance, they may appear to be challenging. Hence, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with the overall structure and start elaborating tools and plans for acing this section and overcoming the fear of verbal English.

GMAT Verbal Reasoning Section – Tips

     Now that you have some basic understanding of the GMAT verbal section and what it consists of, it is time to gain some tips and tricks that will definitely aid you during the GMAT prep and the exam as well.

Try to nail your thoughts in English

First, we start by mentioning that you should let your brain read and grasp the English language. Try to nail your thoughts in English. When reading a passage try to understand what the writer is trying to convey and focus on the main idea, try to find out whether the author is presenting a point, arguing, telling, or criticizing someone. Even though the GMAT verbal section is not something that you can encounter every day, as it is academic and rough to digest, your brain will become stronger and stronger on absorbing such worldly-wise information.

The beginning phase can be mentally draining however you will get used to it after mastering the main important details. As previously mentioned, it is worldly-wise, meaning academically sophisticated. And what is the best approach for this? It is surrounding yourself with a lot of different words. Even when you have some leisure time, immerse yourself in English literature. Those can include fiction, magazines, or just stories. You can start with easy ones to train your brain on acquiring those types of context, then enrich it.

You might think that the process can be overwhelming as consuming that information continuously will not bring the most desired outcome. Indeed, mastering the language comes naturally rather than learning words and idioms by heart, but remember that you are not learning the language from scratch, you are adapting to the format and academic English. Before preparing for the GMAT you should already know the language. 

Work on your Memorization Skills

     Besides, being a good reader and being able to absorb information, work on the words and your memorization skills. Navigate through the words quickly and effectively. Even if you do not understand a certain word or a phrase, being able to navigate through it will strengthen your abilities to feel the language and grasp the overall meaning of a certain word or sentence.

When you first start studying, concentrate on one idea at a time. You’ll be able to make significant progress in one area this way. For example, first, focus on your vocabulary and reading, then on the grammar and sentence correction. For sentence correction, you can begin with your basic high school materials and some simple rules. If English is not the language you frequently use, then take some time to practice GMAT-related questions. Stick to one thing for a few days until you are moderately comfortable with that then move to another type of question.

And REVIEW, REVIEW, and REVIEW! No matter what you are planning to study at this point make sure to get back to it and review. Be realistic to the time you are setting aside to study, but never forget to return and fill in the gaps again time after time. 

Learn how to skim

Rapid eye movement during the GMAT verbal reasoning section preparation is vital. Skimming will help you detect the crucial keywords, get an idea of the overview and find some specific facts. Sometimes you even need to be able to forecast the answer choices from the answer choices. Looking at the answer choices and skimming through the passage or sentence will help you identify the correct definition of the passage or find out what phrase or word fits in a certain sentence in the sentence correction part. In the beginning, go at your own pace, then start skimming because of time constraints. With this technique, the overall experience will be more easily adaptable and accessible for you. 

Explain Something in your own Words

     The last piece of advice that we are going to give for your GMAT verbal preparation, is to try to explain something in your own words. If there is a passage or question that you cannot get through just try to put things in your own words and figure out what the answer is in your words and then transform it into an academic language. You are maybe in a word labyrinth, but there is always a way out, right?

GMAT verbal section is designed to be baffling with convoluted questions. However, if you can rephrase everything according to your own convenience then you can get out of the labyrinth easily. The same principle applies to the elimination strategy. For the answer choices not to come out tricky for you, come up with an answer using your own words. By doing this, you will be able to eliminate some of the answer choices and be left with a few that you can even guess with your gut feeling. 

Conclusion

In this article, we tried to cover all the basics of the GMAT verbal reasoning section – its question types, timing, difficulty level, and some tips. Be sure to develop a study regimen with a timeline of approximately 30 hours of verbal prep only, and if you are a non-native speaker we recommend twice the amount, meaning something like 60 hours. We know that it might seem a lot but you need to put in the effort to pull through. 

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GMAT or GRE? Which Should You Take For An MBA Application?
Posted on
20
Jul 2021

GMAT or GRE? Which Test Should You Take If You Seek An MBA And Why

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Elizabeth Valcheva
Date: 20 July, 2021

If you are planning to advance your career with an MBA and have already started your research, you have probably encountered one of your first dilemmas: GMAT or GRE. While all business schools accept the GMAT, to encourage diversity and give aspiring MBAs more flexibility, more than 1200 business schools worldwide nowadays accept the GRE as well. The key to the dilemma then rests on two important considerations: admissions committee exam preference and personal thinking style.  

Talk to the admissions office

The most important factor to consider is which exam is accepted and preferred by your schools of choice. Once you have identified the business schools you plan to apply to, contact them to find out whether they accept both exams and if so, which one their admissions committees assign more value to. According to a 2016 survey among 224 business schools, 26% of admissions officers report giving advantage to applicants who have submitted a GMAT score, 2% consider GRE applicants with priority, while the vast majority assign equal weight to the two exams. If your school of choice does not express a clear preference, choose the test you are more likely to get a better score at.

Play to your strengths

Is math your forte? Do you impress everyone with your English vocabulary? Each exam uses specific question types to test different cognitive skills, so it is best to identify which question types are naturally easier for you and can therefore help you get a higher score. With its 62-min quantitative section focusing on Data Sufficiency, the GMAT is traditionally considered better suited for math lovers, while the GRE – whose two 35-min quantitative sections feature Quantitative Comparison questions and allow the use of a calculator – is preferred by more versatile thinkers. Meanwhile, the two exams’ respective verbal reasoning sections seem to divide applicants into two other categories: grammar police and vocabulary wizards. The GMAT focuses on Sentence Correction, while the GRE’s Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions require the skilled command of highly sophisticated vocabulary, which may be particularly challenging to non-native English speakers. 

If you are not sure which exam is better aligned with your brain’s wiring, it is worth giving each one a try with a practice test or two. Importantly, when comparing the results, have in mind that MBA admissions committees pay special attention to the quantitative section scores as they are generally considered a key predictor of academic success, given the quantitative focus of the program.

Preparation is key

While determining your brain’s natural predilection for one of the two exams is crucial to your success, it does not in itself guarantee a high score. Whether you choose the GMAT or GRE, being among the top scoring applicants requires rigorous test preparation. To make the best use of your prep time, develop a plan that builds on your strengths to help you achieve even better scores at the sections you are already good at, while also dedicating enough resources to improve your performance at the question types you find more challenging. 

If the solution to your test dilemma is the GMAT, we are here to help you prep for a 700+ score and get into your dream MBA program. Schedule your free consultation call and speak to an instructor today.

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The Advantages of Being a Non-native Speaker on the GMAT
Posted on
13
Jul 2021

The Advantages of Being a Non-native Speaker on the GMAT

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Svetozara Saykova
Date: 13th July 2020

GMAT Non Native Speaker Advantages:

The GMAT is a challenging exam to all, but it can be particularly difficult for non-native speakers. Since it is administered in English only, which is an additional obstacle one needs to consider when preparing for the GMAT exam. If you aren’t secure in your English language skills don’t hurry to get frustrated. Being aware that this is your weak spot is the first step towards improving and we advise you to not stop here. Be sure to research small habits that can immensely improve your English language skills. Watching tv series and movies in English with subtitles, reading English or American literature or listening to a podcast are all leisurely activities that can help you polish your English. If your English is already excellent, that is a win. This article will provide you with tips and insights on how to utilize your bilingual (or multilingual) background to excel in your GMAT preparation. 

Grammar is Your Best Friend 

The GMAT is specifically designed to test native English speakers. A majority of native speakers have not spent years memorizing grammar rules and enriching their vocabularies by writing down or repeating words and phrases. They have learned English through hearing people around them speak, just like you have learned your native language. Due to this lack of thorough grammatical knowledge, native speakers can get confused by the pitfalls intentionally placed throughout the GMAT exam, especially in the Verbal section. For them the hidden traps remain unnoticed but for non native speakers they can often be easily spotted since non-native speakers know the grammar rules. By contrast, most non-native speakers have learned English through repetition and mastering grammar rules. Such familiarity with English grammar prior to any GMAT preparation is an invaluable asset. It might cut short your prep time and allow you to concentrate and work on areas that are more difficult for you. 

You Know What Dedication Means

Learning a language is a demanding and long undertaking. Countless hours of studying words and collocations, memorizing grammar rules, reading, listening, writing, and doing practice exams are all more or less part of the journey to mastering any language. Your English proficiency did not appear overnight, but once you know your learning style, the journey accelerates. Learning a new skill is a process, which requires personalization and an approach that suits your character and studying style. Similarly, the GMAT requires one to develop techniques, approaches to problems, and most importantly a proper mindset over a period of time in order to achieve a great score. You might already be aware of what works for you and what definitely doesn’t in terms of learning and this will provide you with a vantage position for successfully kick starting your GMAT prep. 

You Have a Bilingual Brain 

Back in the days bilingualism was considered to be a drawback, which slowed down one’s cognitive development. Those beliefs were disproved long ago and to the contrary, it has been confirmed that being bilingual/multilingual is beneficial to one’s brain and to their cognitive abilities. For instance, the effort and attention needed to switch between languages triggers more activity in the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex. This part of the brain plays a main role in executive function, problem solving and focusing while filtering out irrelevant information. Those are some of the essential skills that the GMAT is testing: 

are some of the GMAT challenges that you should have an easier time tackling as a bilingual individual. 

These are some of the advantages a non-native English speaker could have when it comes to the GMAT. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses is a vital component to achieving a remarkable score on the GMAT. Here at Apex GMAT we have a team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals eager to provide excellent guidance to non native speakers. We take great pride in our personalized approach and this can be the exact strategy that will help you turn your background and previous experience into an invaluable advantage.

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4 techniques to ace gmat sentence correction questions
Posted on
29
Apr 2021

4 Techniques to Ace GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Andrej Ivanovski
Date: 29th April 2021

The GMAT Sentence Correction questions are one of the three question formats that comprise the Verbal section, with the other two being Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. Test takers should expect to come across anything between 11 and 16 sentence correction questions on the exam. Each GMAT Sentence Correction question contains a part that is underlined, and you will be prompted to identify the mistake in the sentence and replace it with one of the five options provided. Even though this might sound like a piece of cake at first glanceglimpse, there is a catch. The reason that most GMAT test takers find the Sentence Correction questions challenging is the fact that the sentences provided are usually several lines long and the grammatical mistakes are not very apparent. If you follow these 4 GMAT Sentence Correction techniques you will find it a lot easier to spot the mistakes and ace the GMAT Sentence Correction questions.

Get rid of the extra information

The GMAC intentionally makes the GMAT Sentence Correction problems long by including a lot of fluff and descriptive information which very often covers up the error and makes it very difficult to spot. Therefore, getting rid of that extra information would not only make the sentence shorter and simpler, but it would also make it easier for you to uncover the mistake. But, how do you know which part of the sentence to get rid of?

  • Look for parts of the sentence set off by commas. Oftentimes, the part that is set off the comma only serves to better explain or give more details about the subject, and when removed it would not affect the meaning of the sentence. Here’s what extra information looks like in a sentence (note that there are no mistakes in the given example):

Maria, Stephen’s youngest and most talented daughter, moved to Sweden. 

Maria, Stephen’s youngest and most talented daughter, moved to Sweden. 

In the sentence above, the part set off by commas is not necessary to convey the meaning of the sentence. So, even if you get rid of that part, you would still be left with a complete sentence. However, one caveat to keep in mind is that the extra information does not necessarily have to be separated by two commas, as it can come at the beginning or the end of the sentence (a modifier), in which case it would only be set off with a single comma.

  • Look for adjectives and adverbial phrases. These could be a little more challenging to find, as they are not set off by commas and one needs to understand the meaning of the sentence in order to identify them.

A group of young men coming from Dubai held a conference in New York.

The sentence above can exist without the two underlined parts: of young men and coming from Dubai. Even though they make the sentence more descriptive, they do not convey the main meaning of the sentence, and can therefore be taken out of the sentence for the sake of simplicity and spotting the mistake more easily.

Pay attention to the meaning

We have already established that grammar is vital if you want to do well on the GMAT Sentence Correction problems. Is grammar necessary? Absolutely! Is grammar everything that you need? Definitely not! No matter how good you are at grammar, solely relying on it is guaranteed to get you stuck at one point or another.

It is often the case that GMAT Sentence Correction problems are free of grammatical errors, but contain logical ones. GMAT test-makers are actually hoping that test-takers will only rely upon grammar and would not pay attention to less formal errors, so if you want to do well on this type of question you absolutely need to pay attention to the meaning of the sentence.

In order to do so, you first need to read the sentence carefully and try to understand the meaning behind it. Oftentimes, it might seem that the sentence is perfectly correct and free of grammar mistakes, and you would not be able to find a logical gap or an inconsistency. In that case, you will want to look through the answers provided and try to assess the message that they are trying to convey. When doing that, you might get an idea of what could be wrong with the original sentence and in that way find the correct one.

Use “splits”

Another strategy which includes using the answer choices in order to successfully answer the GMAT Sentence Correction problems is the so-called “splits” strategy. This strategy involves trying to find similarities and dissimilarities, or any kind of patterns in the answer choices. In order to explain this strategy, we will use a GMAT Sentence Correction problem from the GMAT Official Guide.

The overall slackening of growth in productivity is influenced less by government regulation, although that is significant for specific industries like mining, than the coming to an end of a period of rapid growth in agricultural productivity.

  • the coming to an end of
  • the ending of
  • by the coming to an end of
  • by ending
  • by the end of

In a question like this, the mistake might not be apparent at first. Therefore, in order to get an idea of what the mistake could be, we will have a look at the answer choices. In there, we can see two patterns: C, D and E all contain “by”, whereas A and B do not. If we look at the sentence, we can see that the first part of it says “is influenced less by”, which implies that the second part of the questions has to begin with “…than by”. Therefore, the split AB, and we continue looking for the answer in the CDE split. If we try to plug each of these three answers into the sentence, we can see that E is the only one that is grammatically correct and therefore we get E as an answer.

The “splits” technique is especially useful in helping you narrow down the choices and find the right answer more easily.

Learn the most common GMAT idioms

In order to do well on the Sentence Correction GMAT questions, you need to have a good command of idioms. If you have already started preparing you might have come across a GMAT idiom list in the prep materials. So, you might be wondering why it is important to learn them and how they will be tested on the GMAT.

First, let us begin by explaining what an idiom is. Chances are, if you are not a “grammar freak” you might not be sure what the exact meaning of an idiom is. An idiom is a common expression or a grammatical structure in a given language, in this case – English. Oftentimes, the term idiom is used to describe a saying such as “let the cat out of the bag” or “a piece of cake”. Even though these are important to know if you want to sound more fluent and natural in English, they are not tested on the GMAT. In the context of the GMAT, an idiom is a formation of two or more words that are often used together, such as “invest in” or “indicate that”.

So, now that we have gotten the definition out of the way, you might be wondering why it is important to learn some of the most common GMAT idioms, and how they will be tested. In the GMAT Sentence Correction problems, oftentimes you will come across an incorrectly used idiom. The mistake can take several different forms. 

  • Preposition

Take, for instance, the expression invest on. Here, the preposition used is on when in fact it should be in. Even though it could be apparent in this case, on the GMAT the mistake can often be subtle and a little more difficult to spot. 

  • Word choice 

This is also a common mistake, especially when it comes to words that are close in meaning. Examples of such words are among/between, fewer/less, whether/if, like/as, and so on.

  • Correlatives

Correlatives are words that are used together to serve a single function in a sentence. Some examples include both/and, either/or and neither/nor. A mistake in correlative pairs is also common, especially when it comes to longer and more complex sentences, as these mistakes could be more difficult to spot in those cases.

Conclusion

Here’s a summary of all of the techniques that we discussed here:

gmat sentence correction

These techniques are not mutually exclusive and they can be used in combination with one another. Applying them and putting them into practice can save you a whole lot of work and help you do better on the GMAT Sentence Correction problems. And if you feel like you could use some more guidance, please make sure to check out our highly personalized one-on-one GMAT tutoring. Our tutoring sessions are delivered by 770+ scoring tutors and are available both online and in-person, no matter where in the world you are.

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4 Best Practices to help you master the GMAT AWA section
Posted on
27
Apr 2021

4 Best Practices to Master the GMAT AWA Section

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Altea Sulollari
Date: 27th April 2021

When preparing for the GMAT most people neglect the GMAT AWA section, and even though this section is scored separately, it is important that you spend some time focusing on performing well on it.

The section is specifically designed to test your ability to impartially analyze an argument and to state your ideas with precision – skills that will be invaluable in your future career.

Another reason to pay attention to this section of the GMAT is the fact that the schools you apply to will get to see your essays, and impressing them with your writing skill can only help your application.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll go over all you need to know about:

  • The GMAT AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment)
  • How the AWA is scored
  • Five best practices to follow when preparing for the AWA section

The GMAT AWA Explained

When it comes to the AWA, keep in mind that this section is not as important as the others as it does not contribute to the all important 800 score. That being said, your essay is sent to the schools that you are applying to and the recruiters will get to see how you structure an argument. Even though the GMAT AWA section is not the most important, it still showcases your writing skills and that is a good enough reason to put some effort into it.

The section is a timed 30-minute essay writing task. You will be presented with a passage and your task will be to analyze the author’s argument to the best of your abilities. You will be expected to provide a thorough analysis of the strong points as well as to point out the weaknesses of the argument. Similar to the critical reasoning section, you will have to speak about an argument construction using abstract language and to show how it can potentially be weakened or strengthened. Your ability to successfully express your ideas in a precise manner will be crucial in this process. A good way to do this is to constantly ask yourself the question: “What if?”, to show you the methods that an argument can be strengthened and weakened. 

The GMAT AWA Scoring System

Now that you know what this section is all about, let’s focus on the scoring system for this part of the GMAT.

Your analysis will be scored separately from the other sections of the GMAT and the score you get will not count towards your final combined score, which ranges from 200 to a maximum of 800. Rather the AWA score range is from 0 to 6 in half point increments, where 6 is the maximum score for a well-structured analysis.

The second thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that your essay will be checked twice: once by a human reader and once by a computer algorithm. The scores from both are taken into consideration and your final score will be the average of those two. However, if the scores from the human reader and the computer algorithm differ from one another significantly, another human reader has to check your argument analysis.

This information is important because although you do not have an idea about how the human reader will check your essay, the computer algorithm uses certain criteria to base its final decision on, and this criteria includes keywords related to the topic, grammar, punctuation, structure, etc. This is useful insight into what is asked of you and where you should focus when preparing for the section in order to succeed. 

What’s a good GMAT AWA score?

Consider the AWA to be pass/fail, where the task in question is whether you can construct a coherent argument, as compared to your peers. In this light, a passing grade would be a 4.5 or greater.  While it is always good to aim high, it’s important to keep in mind that once you’ve achieved a 4.5, there’s very little use of worrying about obtaining a higher score, and you’d do better focusing on the other parts of your application to distinguish yourself.

Pro tip: There is a simpler way to improve your GMAT AWA score without putting too much effort into preparing for this specific section: master the GMAT Verbal section! Both the Verbal section and the AWA section require you to have good critical reasoning skills and for you to be able to analyze arguments impartially. As both of these sections require the same set of skills, you won’t have to work harder, only smarter!

4 Best Practices to Help You Ace the GMAT AWA Section

Now that you’re familiar with the GMAT AWA section and its scoring system, here are some best practices to follow that will assure you master this section.

Remember that you are dealing with an analysis! 

Do what is asked of you and do not deviate from that. You’ll need to focus on analyzing the arguments that are presented to you in the passage. Concentrate on identifying the strong points as well as the weaknesses of the argument. This is not, however, an opportunity to express your own opinion on the matter or topic, so be careful not to cross that line and risk losing points. Also, try to stir away from personal views and irrelevant outside information that can potentially affect the way you structure and phrase your analysis. Instead, try to focus on the logic of the argument and stick to that.

Do NOT focus too much on the word count!

The number of words you use does not matter as much as the structure and quality of your work. However, there’s a catch! The computer algorithm that checks your essay is more likely to give you a higher score if you write a longer essay with more complex sentence structure. Ultimately, you’ll have to make sure that you have a clearly laid out argument in an easy-to-follow structure, and if you do so well, generally the length will be sufficient and you won’t have any problems regarding word count. Bottom line: if your essay is a bit short, there’s probably something you’ve missed, so go back and look for additional features of the argument to deconstruct. 

Pro tip: Mind your grammar and punctuation! Grammar and punctuation are just as important as structure. A well-written essay should not have grammatical mistakes or sentences that are out of place or do not make sense. Use your Sentence Correction skills! 

Practice is key!

Practice makes perfect. Writing a few practice essays is particularly important when it comes to acing the AWA section of the GMAT as it familiarizes you with the process of writing an analysis of argument under a time constraint. Reading many arguments in different formats and on varying subjects will certainly help you improve your overall skills and make you ready for any argument presented come test day.

That being said, do not overdo it. If you graduated from University in an English speaking country with a liberal arts or social sciences degree under your belt, this should be enough for you to make the 4.5 mark in the AWA without much further preparation.

Finally, make good use of ready-made templates to structure your essay. There are plenty of templates that you can download for free so make sure to take advantage of that.

Don’t stress it too much!

There is nothing worse than stressing out on exam day as it can affect your overall performance on the exam. Working on the GMAT AWA section can be especially stressful and overwhelming because you have to come up with your own explanations rather than rely on provided answers. Try to take it easy and remember that the AWA’s role on the GMAT is as much about grinding down your stamina as it is about writing. You’ve practiced a lot and are prepared to ace this section and the exam as a whole, so don’t worry about it.

Now that we went over everything, you’ve got an ace up your sleeve and you’ll be able to tackle the GMAT AWA with confidence.

Good luck with your exam! 

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GMAT 3 Month Study Plan
Posted on
04
Feb 2021

GMAT 3-Month Study Plan

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Uerda Muca
Date: 4th February, 2021

When should you start GMAT preparation? 

One of the most crucial decisions to make before you start preparing for the GMAT test is to decide when is the latest and/or earliest time to start preparing in order to do well on the exam. Giving an answer to this question is not as straightforward and easy as it might sound. There are various factors that need to be taken into account, such as your current skill set in English and Math, your target GMAT score, the amount of time per week you are planning to allot to studying, etc. However, with a sensible preparation strategy, one should be able to reach their target score on the GMAT in a 3 month timeframe. 

University requirements

Most business schools consider the GMAT to be a crucial data point in the admissions process and your goal GMAT score depends on which universities you want to gain acceptance into. Every university has its own GMAT score requirement. So, begin your GMAT journey by researching the schools or programs that you are interested in applying to and note the average GMAT score for their recent admitted candidates. Following this, gather information regarding their application deadlines. This will give a better idea of when to schedule your exam and how to adjust your study plan accordingly. 

GMAT Study Plan
Week 1: GMAT Basics

Become familiar with the GMAT format and content. Prepare yourself for what you are about to encounter during the next 3 months and on the day of your GMAT exam. All you need to know about the GMAT, its structure, sections, timing, scoring, and more can be found Here

Take a diagnostics test. You haven’t studied at all for the GMAT? That’s totally fine, you can still take the test. As the name itself suggests, the point of this test is to diagnose, based on your Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning scores, your strengths and weaknesses. Something to keep in mind; You should take the exam under the same exact conditions as the actual GMAT exam. This is an excellent representation of how the GMAT exam is conducted. To take the GMAT practice exam click Here

Analyze your results. As you are in the process of reviewing the results of your diagnostics test, it would be helpful to ask yourself some questions to better understand the difficulties you encountered. When analyzing the solutions of some questions you got wrong or maybe you weren’t totally confident about, take note of any patterns. What section/s did you find most challenging? Which types of questions within each section were you struggling most with? Also, don’t forget to ask yourself questions about the “bigger picture” like: Were you able to finish every section? Did you feel anxious? How did you feel at the end of the test?

Week 2: Quant Section

Familiarize yourself with the GMAT quant section. Read about which types of quantitative questions and content that you are most likely to come across during your 3 months of preparation, mock tests, and the GMAT test.

Review GMAT Math. Before diving deeper into preparing for this section, take some time to brush up on some of the formulas, definitions, and topics of the Maths section. 

Learn the underlying concepts related to each topic (percents, ratios, exponents, statistics, etc). In this section, you will come across some specific wording that can be fundamental to finding the solution to the problems. In order to not get stuck during the exam and waste your precious time, learning about the most frequently used concepts is helpful.

Week 3: Verbal Section 

Make yourself acquainted with the GMAT verbal section. A great way to start working with the verbal section is to become familiar with the overall structure of this section. To learn more about this section, how it is scored, and some insights about its subsections click Here.

Learn how to tackle each type of question. There are three types of questions in the verbal section and their purpose is to test certain skills. This means that for each of them you have to use particular strategies. 

Tip. It’s more effective to concentrate on one area at a time. So, while preparing for this section, choose one subsection and stick with it for a couple of days.

Week 4: Monthly Progress Check 

Take a mock test. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect.” The more you get yourself exposed to GMAT practice exams, the more likely you are to achieve your desired score.

Review your results. While looking at the answer explanations, pay attention to the solutions of the questions you got incorrectly.  

Practice the type of questions you are having difficulties with. Identify the questions where you are spending more time than you should. Read some articles that recommend tips, strategies, and tactics that can assist in solving them faster. 

Week 5: Quant Review

Practice and enhance your knowledge of data sufficiency questions. Now that you are familiar with this term it’s a good time to start reading some strategies on how to tackle these types of questions. After doing that, practicing what you just learned by solving problems focused particularly on these types of questions is extremely beneficial to your progress. 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of problem solving questions. These are other types of questions that you will need to do some research and then solve some problem sets on. 

Week 6: Verbal Review 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Critical Reasoning questions. You can find articles about tips specifically about these types of questions and while practicing you be sure to make use of them. Another practical thing to do is read about articles related to common mistakes and how to avoid them. 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Sentence Correction questions. Additionally, as was mentioned above, these types of questions concentrate on reviewing a few basic grammar concepts and skills.

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Reading Comprehension questions. Besides reading articles related to tips and common mistakes, reading Reading Comprehension-like writing is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the style and content of Reading Comprehension passages.

Week 7: Integrated Reasoning Section

Become familiar with the GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section. Get informed about how long this section lasts, what is its total number of questions, and what types of questions you will encounter. Then you can move on to learn more about its purpose and what makes this section different from the others. 

Brush up on your graph reading skills. For the most part, this section depends on the same math, verbal, and critical reasoning skills that you need for the other sections of the GMAT. Keeping in mind that the inclusion of diverse graphs is what gives this section its uniqueness. You can spend some time getting comfortable with interpreting data from various sources.

Week 8: Monthly Progress Check 

Take mock tests. After studying for almost every section, taking some mock tests will assist in keeping track of your progress. 

Review your results. This time try to identify the topics you are still not comfortable with. Solely taking mock tests without analyzing the explanations to questions is not going to be much help. 

Practice the type of questions you are struggling with. After analyzing these practice tests and understanding the patterns of your weaknesses, working more on the questions you find challenging leads to score improvements.

Week 9: Integrated Reasoning Review

Practice and enhance your knowledge of all four types of questions. As you might have noticed a pattern already, reading about tips, tricks, common mistakes, strategies, tactics, etc. for each type of question and putting them into practice is what you can do when reviewing every section of the GMAT exam. 

Week 10: AWA Section 

Make yourself acquainted with the GMAT AWA section. This is the step that, as you have seen so far, applies to every section. You can’t anticipate doing well on a task without knowing what is expected from you. An introductory article regarding the AWA section can be read Here

Review sample AWA templates. This is something that might come in handy when you need to format your essays. With some modifications, these templates can be used on test day. 

Practice. Practice. Practice. Writing a couple of essays in a day will help you master your timing and get used to the structure you may use on your GMAT essay.

Week 11: Time and Stress Management 

Some other significant factors to consider while working on preparing for the GMAT test are time and stress management. A good start is reading a handful of blogs and articles that suggest many tips and strategies that can help you improve your time and stress management skills. If you want to learn more about how to master stress, how a private GMAT Tutoring can assist you with that, and more click Here.

Week 12: Review and Relax. 

During the last week don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. Instead, try to take care of your mind and body as much as you can. One last brief review focused primarily on the sections or type of questions you struggled most with is going to be enough.  Finally, the most important tip, don’t forget to enjoy your GMAT preparation journey.

We at the Apex team hope that you find this GMAT study plan helpful. If you want to discuss your progress and possibly having some one on one preparation sessions with us, we would be happy to help, set up a complimentary consultation call with a GMAT instructor here

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master the gmat awa section
Posted on
23
Oct 2020

Master the GMAT AWA template with this comprehensive template

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Altea Sulollari
Date: 23rd October, 2020

GMAT AWA Template For Success

One of the easiest ways to succeed in the GMAT AWA section is by preparing beforehand for the essay that awaits. Having a ready-made template in mind can be extremely helpful, especially because you can use that same template for every single topic you’ll come across in the exam. Also, it will be easier and less time-consuming for you to simply fill in the missing information once you read the passage.

Check out our ready-made GMAT AWA essay template that will make your life easier and will help you get the score you’re aiming for!

The first step

Before going in to write your essay, there is one major thing that you need to consider. This step will not be the most time-consuming one as the actual writing of the essay will take the greatest portion of your time, however, it is crucial to the final essay that you’ll be producing. Your very first step after reading the passage is a mental analysis of the construction of the argument presented to you in the passage. To do that, you’ll need to consider 3 main points:

  1. Understanding what the author of the text is inferring/ claiming
  2. Pointing out how the argument is flawed as it relies on premises that are based on assumptions rather than actual facts
  3. Deciding how the argument can be strengthened in order to make it more viable, or how it can be weakened if certain counterexamples are introduced.

1. Understanding the Author’s Claim

This is a crucial step to the whole process, as it leads the way for the analysis to follow. After reading the passage, you should be able to carefully consider the argument that the author is introducing, and you’ll also be able to evaluate the logical reasoning behind it. Try answering these questions: Is the conclusion reasonable and logical, or otherwise, can it be weakened or strengthened if other information is presented?

After you’ve answered those questions, you can identify the key points of the argument and you can rank them in order of importance. You will have to discuss every single one in detail in the body paragraphs when you write the essay.

2. Pointing out how the author’s argument is flawed

After pinpointing the premises of the argument, you can easily decide how they are flawed, and if they do not flow logically. The fact that you can identify things in the argument that do not make sense and are not logical, make the argument flawed and unconvincing, and that is basically your thesis statement that you’re going to discuss in detail in your body paragraphs.

3. Deciding how to strengthen/weaken the argument

As your final step in your initial analysis, you’ll have to come up with ways to either strengthen the author’s claim in order to make it more convincing and sound or to weaken the author’s argument by using certain counterexamples or other evidence that claims otherwise. You’ll have the opportunity to draw examples or point out information that is missing in the passage in order to further support your analysis.

The Final Step

Once you have taken the 3 above-mentioned steps and have analyzed the argument in detail, you’ll have a ready-made outline in mind that you can easily follow in order to write your final essay as all you’ll need to do is put everything down in a written form.

Introduction:

This section is essentially where you’ll be able to clearly state that the argument in the passage is flawed. You can state the different flaws that you were able to point out and then make sure to state your clear intention of discussing them, what evidence they are lacking and how they can be made more convincing. Here are a few expressions you can use:

  • The argument/ author claims that…
  • In this state, the argument seems flawed/unsound/unconvincing because…
  • The argument will not be deemed convincing until further evidence is presented to prove the assumption that…
  • As it is, the argument also fails to mention… and further discuss…

Body paragraphs:

In these body paragraphs, you’ll get the opportunity to discuss in detail every single flaw you were able to point out in the argument. Make sure to clearly state what is wrong with said flaw and discuss how it fails to be convincing and use counterexamples and other details to prove your point. Suggest ways the flaw can be improved in order to make the argument more plausible at the end of every paragraph. 

  • Initially/ Firstly/ To begin with…
  • Secondly/ To add more/ In addition…
  • Thirdly/ Finally…
  • That claim is unlikely/flawed/unconvincing because…
  • Something else that undermines the argument is the lack of supporting evidence like…
  • The argument can be strengthened by mentioning… (another possible scenario, another example, other supporting evidence)
  • The argument assumes that…
  • That is a weak claim as it assumes that…
  • To further illustrate, the claim does not clearly state that…
  • The lack of supportive evidence makes the claim…
  • If further evidence that… was provided, then…
  • In order to make the argument more convincing, the author should have mentioned… (suggestion, supporting example, etc.)
  • The author concludes that …
  • The lack of supporting evidence that…, is proof of the poor reasoning on the side of the author.
  • The insufficient evidence and the conflicting claims that… are also an indication that…
  • To further strengthen the argument, the author should provide evidence that…

Conclusion:

The last paragraph is your chance to recap the thesis statement and acknowledge once again that the argument is flawed because of what you mentioned in the body paragraphs. You can also briefly mention that even though in the current state the argument is unconvincing, it can be strengthened by providing supporting evidence and more specific information.

  • In conclusion/ To conclude/ In summary…
  • The argument that… is flawed because… (briefly mention Flaw 1, Flaw 2 and Flaw 3)
  • In order to make the argument fully convincing and sound, the author would have to provide further details and evidence that…
  • In the current state, the argument that the author makes remains weak and flawed because of the lack of evidence that…

For more GMAT AWA information read: 4 Tips for success of the AWA Section. 

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4 practices to master the gmat awa section
Posted on
20
Oct 2020

4 Best Practices to Help You Master the GMAT AWA Section

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Altea Sulollari
Date: 20th October, 2020

When preparing for the GMAT most people neglect the GMAT AWA section, and even though this section is scored separately, it is important that you spend some time focusing on performing well on it.

The section is specifically designed to test your ability to impartially analyze an argument and to state your ideas with precision – skills that will be invaluable in your future career.

Another reason to pay attention to this section of the GMAT is the fact that the schools you apply to will get to see your essays, and impressing them with your writing skill can only help your application.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll go over all you need to know about:

  • The GMAT AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment)
  • How the AWA is scored
  • Five best practices to follow when preparing for the AWA section

The GMAT AWA Explained

When it comes to the AWA, keep in mind that this section is not as important as the others as it does not contribute to the all important 800 score. That being said, your essay is sent to the schools that you are applying to and the recruiters will get to see how you structure an argument. Even though the GMAT AWA section is not the most important, it still showcases your writing skills and that is a good enough reason to put some effort into it.

The section is a timed 30-minute essay writing task. You will be presented with a passage and your task will be to analyze the author’s argument to the best of your abilities. You will be expected to provide a thorough analysis of the strong points as well as to point out the weaknesses of the argument. Similar to the critical reasoning section, you will have to speak about an argument construction using abstract language and to show how it can potentially be weakened or strengthened. Your ability to successfully express your ideas in a precise manner will be crucial in this process. A good way to do this is to constantly ask yourself the question: “What if?”, to show you the methods that an argument can be strengthened and weakened. 

The GMAT AWA Scoring System

Now that you know what this section is all about, let’s focus on the scoring system for this part of the GMAT.

Your analysis will be scored separately from the other sections of the GMAT and the score you get will not count towards your final combined score, which ranges from 200 to a maximum of 800. Rather the AWA score range is from 0 to 6 in half point increments, where 6 is the maximum score for a well-structured analysis.

The second thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that your essay will be checked twice: once by a human reader and once by a computer algorithm. The scores from both are taken into consideration and your final score will be the average of those two. However, if the scores from the human reader and the computer algorithm differ from one another significantly, another human reader has to check your argument analysis.

This information is important because although you do not have an idea about how the human reader will check your essay, the computer algorithm uses certain criteria to base its final decision on, and this criteria includes keywords related to the topic, grammar, punctuation, structure, etc. This is useful insight into what is asked of you and where you should focus when preparing for the section in order to succeed. 

What’s a good GMAT AWA score?

Consider the AWA to be pass/fail, where the task in question is whether you can construct a coherent argument, as compared to your peers. In this light, a passing grade would be a 4.5 or greater.  While it is always good to aim high, it’s important to keep in mind that once you’ve achieved a 4.5, there’s very little use of worrying about obtaining a higher score, and you’d do better focusing on the other parts of your application to distinguish yourself.

Pro tip: There is a simpler way to improve your GMAT AWA score without putting too much effort into preparing for this specific section: master the GMAT Verbal section! Both the Verbal section and the AWA section require you to have good critical reasoning skills and for you to be able to analyze arguments impartially. As both of these sections require the same set of skills, you won’t have to work harder, only smarter!

4 Best Practices to Help You Ace the GMAT AWA Section

Now that you’re familiar with the GMAT AWA section and its scoring system, here are some best practices to follow that will assure you master this section.

1. Remember that you are dealing with an analysis! 

Do what is asked of you and do not deviate from that. You’ll need to focus on analyzing the arguments that are presented to you in the passage. Concentrate on identifying the strong points as well as the weaknesses of the argument. This is not, however, an opportunity to express your own opinion on the matter or topic, so be careful not to cross that line and risk losing points. Also, try to stir away from personal views and irrelevant outside information that can potentially affect the way you structure and phrase your analysis. Instead, try to focus on the logic of the argument and stick to that.

2. Do NOT focus too much on the word count!

The number of words you use does not matter as much as the structure and quality of your work. However, there’s a catch! The computer algorithm that checks your essay is more likely to give you a higher score if you write a longer essay with more complex sentence structure. Ultimately, you’ll have to make sure that you have a clearly laid out argument in an easy-to-follow structure, and if you do so well, generally the length will be sufficient and you won’t have any problems regarding word count. Bottom line: if your essay is a bit short, there’s probably something you’ve missed, so go back and look for additional features of the argument to deconstruct. 

Pro tip: Mind your grammar and punctuation! Grammar and punctuation are just as important as structure. A well-written essay should not have grammatical mistakes or sentences that are out of place or do not make sense. Use your Sentence Correction skills! 

3. Practice is key!

Practice makes perfect. Writing a few practice essays is particularly important when it comes to acing the AWA section of the GMAT as it familiarizes you with the process of writing an analysis of argument under a time constraint. Reading many arguments in different formats and on varying subjects will certainly help you improve your overall skills and make you ready for any argument presented come test day.

That being said, do not overdo it. If you graduated from University in an English speaking country with a liberal arts or social sciences degree under your belt, this should be enough for you to make the 4.5 mark in the AWA without much further preparation.

Finally, make good use of ready-made templates to structure your essay. There are plenty of templates that you can download for free so make sure to take advantage of that.

4. Don’t stress it too much!

There is nothing worse than stressing out on exam day as it can affect your overall performance on the exam. Working on the GMAT AWA section can be especially stressful and overwhelming because you have to come up with your own explanations rather than rely on provided answers. Try to take it easy and remember that the AWA’s role on the GMAT is as much about grinding down your stamina as it is about writing. You’ve practiced a lot and are prepared to ace this section and the exam as a whole, so don’t worry about it.

Now that we went over everything, you’ve got an ace up your sleeve and you’ll be able to tackle the GMAT AWA with confidence.

Good luck with your exam! 

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