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GMAT Essay Section Guide
The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is how business schools evaluate your writing skills with one 30 minue section essay.
Your essay will be evaluated by an “E-rater” (a computer bot grading program that scans essays). If the GMAT essay grader and E-rater agree on a score, that’s the grade your essay will receive. If they disagree, then a second GMAT grader will grade the essay to resolve any differences.
How to Tackle the Analytical Writing Assessment
The AWA section is the one GMAT section where a small amount of preparation can make a large difference on test day. You don’t want an embarrassing AWA grade coming up in a business school interview.
1. Be particularly concerned with structure. Clearly divide your essay into the introductory paragraph, two to three content paragraphs and a conclusion. Take time out before you start writing to set up an organizational structure. Our Essay Guide includes sample essay templates.
2. Use transitional phrases. Words and phrases like first”, “on the other hand,” and “therefore” help the computer identify concepts between and within the paragraphs.
3. Be a conformist. The E-rater is not programmed to appreciate individuality, humor, or poetic inspiration; computers aren’t known for their sense of humor. It will be comparing the style and structure of your essay to those of other high-scoring essays. Our Essay Guide and sample essays have over 50 sample high-score essays to give you a sense of the proper writing style for the AWA.
4. Clearly state your critique. The essat question will show you an essay loaded with logical fallacies, such as the unwarranted assumption or fallacy of equivocation.
5. Know the essays and how to answer them. The 800score Essay Section Guide shows you all of the 275 actual GMAT essay questions with 20 sample essay answers to those questions.
6. Practice, Practice, Practice. The best preparation is practicing under real conditions within the 30-minute time frame. 800score offers 5 free practice timed essays with complete explanations and an additional 10 timed essays in the 800score Complete Prep Course. If you need personalized feedback and scoring, 800score has graded over 10,000 practice essays through our Essay Grading Service.
Essay Section Guide Contents
The Essay Section Guide is based on feedback from our essay graders and interviews with the developers of computerized-essay grading technology.
Ch. 1: Analytical Writing Basics
- Analysis of Argument: how to identify logical fallacies commonly used in essay questions, such as the unwarranted assumption or the fallacy of equivocation.
Ch. 2: How the E-Rater Works
- Logic of how the E-rater works.
Ch. 3: How to Structure Your Essay
- Pace schedules for both essay types so that you get everything done on time.
Ch. 4: How to Write Effectively
- Basic rules of grammar that you must know.
Ch. 5. Answers to the Real Essay Questions
- See all of the 275 real AWA questions beforehand.
Ch. 6. Application Essay Writing Guide
- 50-page guide for writing applications to MBA programs. Learn how to write an appealing application essay, explain your past failures and highlight your career successes.
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