Help with the GMAT AWA

It can be easy to forget that the GMAT has a writing component, but you still want to make a good showing on even this "side" component, so don't let it be ignored! :) What can you do to prepare?

Before you practice anything, take a moment to digest the directions for the AWA: For this exam question, you will discuss how well reasoned you find these arguments and will be asked to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. This is not a persuasive essay or an opinion piece. You should be ruthlessly evaluating the quality of the argument presented and demonstrating your ability to use evidence and reason in writing.

1. Take a look at these essay topics.

This is the nearly complete list of topics from the official GMAT—this means that you are very likely to see one of these topics on the exam. Knowing what you're up against makes the entire task much simpler!

2. Practice writing sample essays from these topics.

Your practice should be under timed conditions (just like the GMAT). The more you can simulate your test environment, the better prepared you will be on the day of the test! So forgo spell check, breaks, and extra time to make the most authentic practice you can.

3. Get feedback in some way.

Feedback is a great thing. To get your essays actually scored, you can do a few things:

  • Have a trusted friend (that person who always got top marks in class and loves editing would be a perfect choice!) read your essay and provide feedback. Make sure they understand the point of the essay (instructions above).
  • Post your essay on one of the lively GMAT communities, like beatthegmat. Many times you will find incredibly helpful students or GMAT veterans to help!
  • Purchase's scoring software (found here).

If you are ready to take a crack at it yourself, check out the scoring guidelines. If you take the time to look at your work through the lens of what GMAC asks for, you will be surprised how good you can be at giving yourself feedback!

4. Make an effort to at least brainstorm for all of the topics on the list.

You probably don't have the time to devote to actually writing a practice essay for each topic on the list, but thinking through some key points and brainstorming will help you tackle the essay on test day. Even if you don't face one of those topics, you will be a seasoned veteran who is able to immediately come up with critiques and counter points!

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