Are you preparing for the GMAT? Struggling with the AWA section? Do not fret! We will help you by listing strategies to ace the GMAT AWA section. Before we begin, we will give you a brief on the GMAT AWA section. 

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Section

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is a section on the GMAT that aims to test your writing skills combined with your critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. It tests your ability to evaluate and critique an argument provided to you. You are also required to articulate your claims and support them by drafting an essay written in standard English language.  

The AWA section consists of a task that you are to complete within 30 minutes and is scored between 0 to 6. The scores of the AWA section do not contribute to the total GMAT score. However, this is no excuse to exempt yourself from preparing for the AWA section as it adds a significant value to university applications.  

The AWA tasks or questions are based on common topics such as politics, science, humanities, physical science, and arts. However, you need not have prior knowledge of these topics to attempt this section. Since the AWA requires you to think and analyse on the spot, it can be rather overwhelming for you. However, with practice and a few strategies at hand, you can easily ace the GMAT AWA section.

Three Strategies to Ace the GMAT AWA Essay

We will list a few strategies that will help you ace the GMAT AWA essay with ease. The three strategies to ace the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment is as follows: 

Read the Instructions 

The first foremost strategy you can use when attempting the GMAT AWA section is to read the instructions provided to you in the question. You must understand the instructions given to you. The AWA section marks you on how well you analyse and critique an argument, however, if you proceed to write an essay explaining your opinion on the given topic, you might not achieve the score you desire. Hence, if you are aiming to score high on the AWA section, you must read the instructions very carefully and adhere to them.

Create a Template 

The second strategy you can use to ace the AWA section is creating an essay template before you begin attempting to answer the question. An essay template is nothing but an outline of the essay you are planning to draft. There are a few things you must keep in mind when creating an essay outline or template.

The first thing to note is that you must have an introductory paragraph wherein you state the given argument in brief and state whether you think it is a logically sound argument or not. After your introductory paragraph, you need to have about 3 to 4 body paragraphs. Each paragraph must address a flaw you have identified in the argument. Finally, you must have a concluding paragraph, which states your take on whether the argument is logically sound or not. If you state the argument is a weak one, mention ways to rectify the flaws or ways in which the author could have improved it in your conclusion.

Additionally, when you create your template, make it a point to jot down the flaws you have identified. It is not enough to identify the flaws but you must also provide evidence to support your claim. Hence, when creating your essay template, make a note of both the flaws and the evidence you can use to support your arguments.

Acquaint Yourself with Common Flaws

As you might be aware, the GMAT AWA section tests your ability to analyse if an argument is logically sound or not. This requires you to critique the argument and recognise the flaws that weaken the argument. The GMAT AWA prompts usually have arguments with flaws that are predictable. Acquainting yourself with the common AWA flaws will help you identify flaws with ease and will help you analyse the argument efficiently. Let us take a look at the common flaws. 

There are three types of common flaws— overconfident language, vagueness, and causality. Let us discuss this in detail below. 

  • Overconfident Language: A common flaw in most AWA prompts is the usage of overconfident language. An argument should have well-thought phrases and must contain balanced language for it to be a logically sound one. Some arguments use overconfident phrases such as, “definitely”, “undoubtedly” or “of course”. These phrases indicate overconfidence from the author’s end. Hence, when you identify overconfident language, be sure to mark it as a flaw in the argument. 
  • Vagueness: Another common flaw found in most AWA prompts is vagueness. Some AWA prompts use vague data or statistics to confuse their readers. For example, an AWA prompt might suggest that 5900 people prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate, some of them prefer white chocolate over dark chocolate. The usage of the term “some” is extremely vague, neither does it indicate a number nor does it provide us with a fraction. This is an obvious flaw in the argument as you cannot make use of vague data to arrive at a conclusion. 
  • Errors in Causality: Yet another common flaw in most of the AWA prompts are errors in causality. This means that the argument connects or attributes the wrong cause to the wrong effect or it connects a vague cause to a definite effect and vice versa. This is a flaw in the argument as you are unable to draw a direct connection between the cause and effect. Hence, when presented with cause-effect arguments, make it a point to check if there is a direct connection between the cause and effect to avoid any errors in causality.

We have given you a brief of the GMAT AWA section and have listed three strategies to help you ace the GMAT AWA essay. If you incorporate these strategies into your GMAT study plan, you will ace the GMAT AWA essay without a doubt. So, begin your preparation for the GMAT AWA section and ace the GMAT.

All the best! 


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