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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