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.

Good luck and remember to believe in yourself!

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.

### 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.

Posted on
23
Oct 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.

## 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…
• 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

Contributor: Altea Sulollari
Date: 23rd October, 2020