GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) – What is it?


On the GMAT, you only have one opportunity to really flaunt your analytic capabilities. The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is the essay portion of the GMAT, and it accounts for the first 30 minutes of the exam, and like the score of the Integrated Reasoning section, the AWA does not count toward your total multiple choice score out of 800. This section of the exam is important not only for the purpose of establishing your ability to think analytically, but also because the AWA acts as a writing sample. As mentioned, this won’t impact your composite GMAT score; however, many schools will factor your writing abilities into any admission decision. While you will have other opportunities to showcase your writing in other parts of your application, the AWA is particularly valuable because it is timed; it shows admissions officers how well you write under pressure.

How is the AWA scored?

Scoring on the AWA is done twice: by a human grader and by a computer scorer. Should these two differ in their grades of an essay, a second human reader will grade the AWA. The final total will be anywhere between 0 and 6 points, and unlike the Integrated Reasoning score, you can get half points. So, for example, your AWA score could be 4.5 while the Integrated Reasoning section is only scored in whole numbers.

What else do I need to know about the AWA?

To really stand out on the AWA, you will want to demonstrate your ability to write as a college-educated individual while addressing certain fallacies within a particular argument. Your essay needs to be clear and well-organized to receive the maximum score. If you would like help on your AWA, contact the GMAT gurus at Testmasters. We’ve been helping students to succeed on the GMAT and other exams for decades. With the right approach and some practice, you can score well on the Analytical Writing Assessment when you take your GMAT.

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