The GMAT Writing Section: Tips and Other Info

What is the GMAT Writing Section?

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is a standard component of the GMAT and consists of a 30-minute essay that requires students to analyze an argument and assess its effectiveness. The student is given a short one-paragraph stimulus, much like a critical reasoning question from the verbal part of the GMAT. The stimulus makes a conclusion based on a set of premises (stated evidence) and assumptions (unstated evidence), and the student is required to determine how valid that conclusion is based on the evidence presented. Unlike your standard college expository essay, the GMAT writing section task is not interested in your own opinion but requires you to evaluate the strength of an argument based on the evidence presented. How to prepare for the GMAT writing section should be an important part of one’s GMAT online test preparation, and one should be prepared to explore the many GMAT writing section examples that are available.

How is the AWA Essay Scored?

The GMAT writing section is scored on a scale of 1 to 6 in ½ point increments by one trained human reader and by a machine algorithm (or e-reader). It is assessed on 4 main categories, and one’s preparation for the GMAT writing section should incorporate these items:

  1. Analysis of the Issue
  2. Support for the claims made in the analysis
  3. Organization
  4. Facility in the use of language

In short, preparing for the GMAT writing section will involve understanding fully the prompt you are given, recognizing how its conclusion is drawn, clearly delineating the flaws in that conclusion according to the rules of logical reasoning, and organizing those ideas while using proper grammar, diction, syntax and idiom. There are many GMAT writing section sample essays available with which one can practice.

GMAT Writing Section Tips:

In order to best prepare for the essay, keep in mind the following writing section tips:

  • Read the prompt thoroughly and identify both its conclusion and the premises that drove to that conclusion.
  • Identify 2 – 3 flaws in the reasoning, realizing that some prompts are more difficult to decipher than others, but there are usually at least two potential flaws. These will constitute your body paragraphs.
  • Identify how the argument could be strengthened by correcting these flaws and how they should be corrected.
  • Sandwich these body paragraphs between a brief introduction that summarizes the author’s conclusion and line of reasoning and a brief concluding paragraph that confirms how the argument could be made more sound.
  • It is always a good tip for the GMAT writing section to be as clear and concise as possible in your writing, and one should strive to avoid wordiness and redundancy.

How Important is the GMAT Writing Section?

As compared with the two main sections of the GMAT – verbal and quantitative – the GMAT writing section is not quite as important. It is one of two supplementary scores (along with the Integrated Reasoning Section) that is not factored into the main composite score of 200 – 800. Because it is a part of your score report, however, many business schools will notice a sub-par score on the GMAT writing section. It will also reflect on your general writing abilities (as do your business school application essays), so its impact on your candidacy should not be minimized.

Inspirica’s Approach to the GMAT Writing Section

A key feature of Inspirica’s GMAT online prep programs is to outline the essentials of an effective GMAT analytical writing assessment. This will include analyzing actual GMAT writing section examples and attacking them under actual test conditions. Our tutors will also provide practical strategies and insightful tips for the GMAT writing section, demystifying the process and providing a formula for success every time.

Inspirica’s Approach to GMAT Test Prep Online

Inspirica’s approach to GMAT test prep starts with recognizing the differing needs of students applying to graduate programs. We’ve seen every type of student, from those who are in college and want to enroll in business school immediately upon graduation to those who have been out of college and working full-time for years. Our team will work with you to find a tutor who fits your availability, and your tutor will focus on teaching content, strategy, and technique. The tutor will also help you guide your independent preparation as you practice those techniques and review content on your own, in whatever proportion is optimal for you.

More than most other standardized tests, there are certain aspects of taking the GMAT that are impossible to replicate through homework alone, which is one of the reasons that regular practice tests are a staple of our GMAT test prep online programs. Your tutor will help you set up a schedule of periodic mock tests that will give you the opportunity to practice the techniques you’ve learned in the context of a full test while also familiarizing you with the experience of taking the full test straight through. This practice with the test-taking experience is particularly important in GMAT programs, as students need to become comfortable with the question-adaptive computer interface. After each mock test, you and your tutor will go over the results together in detail, using them to revise your practice plan; you’ll be able to see the product of your hard work and determine what part of the test to attack next.

For GMAT test prep online programs, you’ll take official practice tests released by the GMAC using the same software that you’ll use when you take the real test. The practice version of the software scores the test in the same way the actual GMAT is scored but still allows you to review each question individually, giving you and your tutor the opportunity to deconstruct your results in order to pinpoint exactly why and how your right answers were right and your wrong answers wrong.

Get Started Today on Your GMAT Test Preparation Online

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