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What’s a good gmat writing score does the essay matter.
How much does your GMAT writing score really matter? Business schools only release GMAT score data for their students’ Total scores, so it can be difficult to find information about what constitutes a “good” or “bad” GMAT writing score and how important your GMAT analytical writing score really is.
Luckily, we’ve done the research and figured out the answers for you. In this post, we’ll tell you what business schools have to say about the Analytical Writing Assessment, how they weigh it against other parts of your GMAT score and your overall application, and how your score stacks up against other test-taker worldwide. Finally, we’ll help you figure out what a good GMAT analytical writing score is for you .
How Is the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Scored?
The Analytical Writing section is graded on a scale of 0-6 in half-point increments . According to the GMAC AWA score guide, 6 is considered “outstanding,” 5 is “strong,” 4 is “adequate,” 3 is “limited,” 2 is “seriously flawed,” and a 1 is considered “fundamentally deficient.” Like the Integrated Reasoning score, the GMAT writing score does not factor into your Total GMAT score , which is why it’s generally considered to be less important.
Your AWA essay is graded once by a human and once by a sophisticated computer grading program called E-Rater . If the two scores are identical or differ by one point, they are averaged to obtain the final score for that essay. If the scores differ by more than one point, an expert human reader will step in and determine the final score.
Graders are trained to consider the following when assigning a score:
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- The overall quality of ideas about the issue and argument presented
- Your overall ability to organize, develop, and express those ideas
- The relevant supporting reasons and examples used
- Your ability to control the elements of standard written English (grammar and syntax), with a bit more leeway given to international ESL students
Along with your scaled score, you will also be given a percentile ranking , which corresponds to the percentage of test-takers whom you scored higher than. For example, if you scored in the 80th percentile on the AWA section, this means you did better on that section than 80% of people who took the exam. This percentile is based on the last three years of GMAT scores, so if you took the test in 2014, your 80th percentile score would encompass all GMAT-takers from 2012 through 2014.
Thus, while scaled scores are static, percentiles can (and do) change over time. Percentiles help contextualize your scores by comparing them with those of other applicants, and they are assessed by business schools along with the scaled score to see how you measure up.
GMAT Writing Score Averages and Percentiles
Most test-takers score highly on the Analytical Writing Assessment: almost half of all test takers score a 5 or higher. The average GMAT Analytical Writing score is a 4.37.
Below are the current percentile rankings for GMAT Analytical Writing scores.
What’s a Good GMAT Writing Score Overall?
Remember, there’s no score on any section of the GMAT—even an 800 Total score—that is guaranteed to get you into your top choice business school. Plus, your AWA score is certainly the least influential score one way or the other. Business schools definitely care far more about your Total score, and it’s likely that they care more about your IR score as well. While no part of the GMAT should be neglected , the AWA is the bottom of the GMAT totem pole in terms of your MBA application.
The ultimate takeaway is that a good GMAT writing score is is the one that doesn’t hinder your acceptance into the MBA program of your choice . We say “doesn’t hinder” rather than “gets you into” because the majority of test-takers do very well on the AWA, which makes it hard to get a score that truly stands out. Even if you score a perfect 6, that’s unlikely to be impressive enough to boost an otherwise so-so Total score , or a poor GPA , etc. In fact, the difference between a 5 and a 6 isn’t going to affect your application much, if at all.
Statements from the GMAC itself confirm this: they explicitly advise business schools to “not make distinctions among applicants on the basis of a small scoring distinction—one point or less apart.”
So while it’s hard to stand out, on the other hand, the fact that almost half of test-takers score a 5 or above is an encouraging sign: with just a little bit of prep , you can easily achieve a GMAT analytical writing score of 5 or higher.
One thing to note is that even though the AWA isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things, scoring below a 4 could raise a red flag . Business schools say very little about how they weigh the AWA, but a low score like a 3.5 might signal to them that your writing skills aren’t developed enough to handle the rigorous coursework of an MBA program. More importantly, a huge gap between the writing level reflected in your AWA and the writing level reflected in your application essay is disconcerting in that it calls into question your authorship of the latter.
The GMAC itself advises business schools to “consider that the scores are based on 30-minute, first-draft writing samples” and cautions that these essays “are not comparable to prepared essays that may be submitted with a school application.” The GMAC rather recommends that business schools use the AWA as a “diagnostic tool in recommending or requiring additional instruction in writing,” though it’s unclear how much universities actually carry this out.
In Summary: What’s a Good GMAT Writing Score for Me?
As a baseline, a 5 is considered a strong GMAT essay score. At a 5 or above, you’ll essentially be fine in that your GMAT essay score won’t hinder your application. For the vast majority of schools, a 5 is a good score.
However, if you’re applying to some top 10 business schools , you might want to push yourself further. To be safe, you should aim to score a perfect 6, or at least a 5.5. A 5.5 or above puts you in the top 20%, which is a safe area to be in for the AWA for an elite MBA program.
A 4.5 is generally an “okay” score. A 4 or below puts you under the average, which could hurt you if you’re an international applicant or if your application essay is far better. If you’re scoring 4.5s or below on practice tests, this signals that you could use a little extra AWA prep before taking the GMAT for keeps.
Looking to raise your GMAT essay score? Creating an AWA template is an excellent method.
Also, be sure to read through our essential AWA tips and guide to approaching every kind of GMAT essay prompt .
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Author: Jess Hendel
Jess Hendel is a Brooklyn-based academic advisor, test prep tutor, and content writer for PrepScholar. A graduate of Amherst College, she has several years of experience writing content and designing curricula for the top e-learning organizations. She is passionate about leveraging new media and technology to help students around the world achieve their potential. View all posts by Jess Hendel
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Select the tabs below to review detailed GMAT score information including format, what each section measures, score ranges, and percentile rankings for each type of GMAT score. Our benchmarking tool allows you to:
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Analytical Writing Assessment
Integrated reasoning, quantitative, the analytical writing section consists of one writing task—analysis of an argument..
One 30-minute written essay on the analysis of an argument.
What it Measures:
The test-taker's ability to formulate an appropriate and constructive critique of a specific conclusion based on a specific line of thinking. A specific knowledge of the essay topic is not necessary; only the capacity to write analytically is assessed.
Average scores range from 0 to 6 in half point intervals. AWA scores are computed separately from the scores for the multiple-choice sections of the exam and have no effect on the Integrated Reasoning, Verbal, Quantitative, or Total GMAT scores.
How it is Scored:
AWA essays are scored by a combination of a machine algorithm and professional human essay raters. All essays will be scored using an electronic system, which will evaluate the structural and linguistic features of the essay, including organization of ideas, syntactic variety and topical analysis. Some essays are then randomly selected for auditing to ensure the quality, consistency, and performance of the algorithm. The audit is conducted by trained and approved human raters to ensure the algorithm is constantly evaluating AWA essays in a manner that meets both GMAC and ACT standards and upholds the integrity of the AWA section score. If there is a disparity between the algorithm score and the human score for an audited essay, the score will be reviewed, and may be adjusted.
Analytical Writing Assessment percentile rankings are based on the previous three years of GMAT exams taken.
- AWA Overview View
The Integrated Reasoning section gives you another data point to differentiate candidates.
Consists of 12 questions covering four question types: Multi-Source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, and Table Analysis, to be completed in 30 minutes.
Test takers ability to analyze and synthesize data in different formats from multiple sources.
Scores range from 1-8 in single-digit intervals.
The Integrated Reasoning score is provided as a separate score and is not included in the Total GMAT Score.
Integrated Reasoning percentile rankings are based on the previous three years of GMAT exams taken.
- Integrated Reasoning Overview Video
The Verbal section allows candidates to showcase their verbal abilities.
36 questions comprised of reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction to be completed in 65 minutes.
The test taker's ability to read and comprehend written materials, reason and evaluate arguments, and correct written material to confirm to standard written English.
Verbal scores range from 6 to 51. Scores below nine and above 44 for the Verbal section are rare.
The Verbal score is included as part of the Total GMAT Score.
Verbal percentile rankings are based on the previous three years of GMAT exams taken.
The Quantitative section highlights data analysis and reasoning skills.
Consists of 31 questions on Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving, to be completed in 62 minutes.
The test taker's ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems, and interpret graphic data. Understand problems involving arithmetic, elementary algebra, and common geometry concepts. Evaluate the amount of information needed to solve quantitative problems.
Quantitative scores range from 6 to 51. Scores below 7 and above 50 for the Quantitative section are rare.
The Quantitative score is included as part of the Total GMAT Score.
Quantitative percentile rankings are based on the previous three years of GMAT exams taken.
Rely on GMAT scores to help you select the best applicants for your program.
The GMAT total score is composed of the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the exam.
What It Measures:
The GMAT exam measures the test taker's ability to assess higher-order reasoning skills: verbal, quantitative, analytical writing and integrated reasoning and has proven validity in predicting success in the first year of graduate management education.
Total GMAT Scores range from 200 to 800. Two-thirds of test takers score between 400 and 600.
The Official GMAT Score Report show five scores: Total, Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning, Verbal and Quantitative within the last five years, the most recent AWA essay responses, and the following background information: country of citizenship, gender, date of birth, telephone number, undergraduate institution, grade point average, major, date of graduation, intended graduate study, and highest level of education attained.
GMAT Test takers are provided with the ability to see their unofficial scores prior to making a decision to accept or cancel those scores. A self-canceled score will appear as a "C" on the official score report, along with all GMAT attempts for the previous five years. Test takers that self-cancel on test day have the opportunity to reinstate those scores within 60 days of the test date. In cases of repeat testing, the score report will show all of the test taker's GMAT scores for the past five years. Test takers make print an unofficial score report after they finish the exam, but this does not include the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) score and should not be accepted in lieu of an Official Score Report.
- GMAT Scores Overview Video
GMAT Total Score percentile rankings are based on the previous three years of GMAT exams taken.
What is a Good AWA Score on the GMAT?
Last Updated on May 13, 2023
A solid GMAT score goes a long way in increasing an applicant’s competitiveness for MBA admissions, so it’s not surprising that most MBA applicants recognize the importance of earning a competitive overall GMAT score .
However, many GMAT-takers wonder whether their scores on the essay portion of the GMAT, which is known as the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section, also affect their competitiveness in MBA admissions, and if so, what constitutes a good GMAT AWA score. In this article, we’ll answer these and other common questions about the GMAT essay.
Let’s begin by discussing what the GMAT AWA is.
The GMAT AWA
Gmat awa percentiles, how important is the gmat awa section for mba admissions, what is a good gmat awa score.
The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) measures your ability to examine and assess the underlying reasoning behind an argument, and then present your critique in the form of a written essay.
The GMAT AWA measures your ability to examine and assess the reasoning behind an argument, and then present your critique in the form of a written essay.
Specifically, for the GMAT AWA, you’ll be presented with a one-paragraph prompt that contains a scenario or argument, which is often presented in the context of a statement provided by a company or a newspaper editorial.
Regardless of which AWA prompt you’re given, the argument will be flawed in some way(s). For example, the argument may contain flawed logic, faulty assumptions, conclusions that are supported by inadequate evidence, issues in the way supporting data was collected, or unreasonable comparisons.
The goal of your essay is simple: expose these flaws!
The goal of your GMAT AWA essay is simple: in a well-organized essay, expose the flaws present in the argument prompt.
According to the GMAC, an ideal essay should:
- Identify and analyze significant flaws in the argument
- Support the critique using relevant supporting reasons and/or examples
- Be clearly organized and coherent
- Demonstrate control of language, diction, syntax, and conventions of written English
You’ll have 30 minutes to read the prompt and write your essay. The good news is that with some practice and the right strategies, earning a perfect score on the GMAT AWA section is within reach for most GMAT test-takers.
On the GMAT, you have 30 minutes to read the AWA prompt and write your essay.
Let’s now discuss how the AWA is scored.
How the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Section is Scored
Many GMAT-takers wonder whether the GMAT AWA counts toward their GMAT score. The GMAT AWA has its own unique score that does not count toward a test-taker’s overall GMAT score of 200 to 800 .
The GMAT AWA has its own unique score that does not count toward a test-taker’s overall GMAT score of 200 to 800.
The GMAT AWA is graded on a scale of 0 to 6, in half-point increments. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a score of 6, the highest possible score, is considered “outstanding,” 5 is “strong,” 4 is “adequate,” 3 is “limited,” 2 is “seriously flawed,” and 1, the lowest score possible, is considered “fundamentally deficient.”
Your GMAT AWA essay will be graded once by a human reader and once by a computerized grading program. If these two scores differ by one point or less, the two scores will be averaged to yield your final scaled score. So, for example, if the human grader gives you a 5 and the algorithm gives you a 6, your final scaled score will be 5.5. If the two scores differ by more than one point (for example, the human grader gives you a 4 and the algorithm gives you a 6), then a second human grader will step in to grade your GMAT AWA essay and help determine your final score.
Your GMAT AWA essay will be graded once by a human reader and once by a computerized grading program.
Now that we understand the basics of how the AWA is scored, let’s review the GMAT AWA percentiles.
Just as your other section scores are associated with percentile rankings, your AWA score will be associated with a score percentile. These percentile rankings allow you (and schools) to see how your GMAT AWA score compares to those of other GMAT test-takers.
Let’s now discuss how important the GMAT AWA is for MBA admissions.
Out of every scored section of the GMAT, the AWA section probably carries the least importance for admissions to business schools. However, it would be a mistake to assume that having the least importance is the same as having no importance. In fact, the GMAT analytical writing score does matter for MBA admissions.
The GMAT AWA score DOES matter for MBA admissions.
The reason that the GMAT AWA score matters is that the purpose of the AWA section is to determine how well you’re able to convey ideas in written form, a skill that will be of utmost importance in business school and beyond. After all, how clearly you’re able to communicate in written form will have a significant impact on your success as an MBA student and as a business professional.
So, don’t neglect preparing for the AWA section!
Now, how much the GMAT AWA section matters to you is a function of a number of variables, some of which are easy to quantify.
If you’re applying to an M7 MBA program, such a Harvard Business School or Stanford Graduate School of Business , or a top 10 MBA program, then your GMAT AWA score will be of greater significance than it will if you’re applying to, for example, a top 25 MBA program. Thus, if you have your sights set on a top school, you’ll want to earn a 5 or above on the GMAT AWA. In fact, to be safe, a score of 5.5 or 6 should probably be your goal. After all, why let a low AWA score jeopardize your chances of admission to a great MBA program, right?
If you’re a nonnative speaker of English, then your GMAT AWA score might be of greater significance than it would be if English were your first language. With a few notable exceptions, the language of business and business schools is largely English. Therefore, business schools seek to ensure that their students have a strong command of written English. The good news is that if English is your second language, you can lean into preparing for the AWA, earn a strong AWA score, and leverage this score to help you stand out among the pack of other applicants whose native language is not English. Thus, if you’re a nonnative English speaker, you’ll want to earn a 5 or above on the GMAT AWA section.
If English is your second language, earning a GMAT AWA score of 5 or above can help you stand out among the pack of other MBA applicants whose native language is not English.
If you’ve scored 4 or below on the AWA section, you might want to consider retaking the GMAT . Such a low score could raise some red flags and signal to MBA admissions committees that your writing skills are not developed enough that you’ll be able to handle the coursework in their programs.
In addition, a large disparity between the level of writing in your GMAT AWA essay and the level of writing in your MBA application essays could cause admissions to wonder who actually wrote — or helped you to write — your application essays. Of course, no one wants a situation like that when applying to business schools.
A large disparity between the level of writing in your GMAT AWA essay and the level of writing in your MBA application essays could cause admissions to wonder who actually wrote — or helped you to write — your application essay.
So then, what is a good GMAT essay score?
A good GMAT AWA score is one that serves as an asset for your applications to business school. For almost all GMAT test-takers reading this article, a good GMAT essay score is 5 or above.
Does that mean that an applicant will not be accepted to business school without an essay score of 5 or above? No, of course not. People are accepted to a wide range of MBA programs with AWA scores lower than 5, especially if their total GMAT scores and work experience are impressive. However, why risk giving admissions committees any reason to doubt your ability to thrive in an MBA program environment? Spending a bit of time to prepare yourself to earn a 5 or higher on the GMAT AWA is a small investment that could pay big dividends.
Spending a bit of time to prepare yourself to earn a 5 or higher on the GMAT AWA is a small investment that could pay big dividends.
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The GMAT AWA or GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section helps business schools examine your vocabulary and writing skills. You are presented with an argument, and you are required to analyse the reasoning behind it. This section assesses your capability to think critically and convey your ideas through an essay in the English language.
You are given 30 minutes to complete this section. The topics of the given argument are either business-related or might include a variety of other subjects, like current affairs, social science, etc. It is not important how much you know about the topic; only your ability to reason and write critically is assessed. Even though the AWA score does not affect your overall GMAT score and is included in a separate section on your report card, B-schools still judge the skills tested by the AWA, like logical flow, clarity of thought process, sentence construction, and reasoning on the basis of your AWA score. You should make it a point to read essays available in GMAT textbooks for reference, as they might have responses to previously asked AWA topics. This will help you understand what a good essay looks like.
The Analytical Writing Assessment of the GMAT exam evaluates your ability to think and communicate proficiently in English. This section consists of only one question – Analysis of an Argument. You are given an argument, and you are supposed to examine it critically. Then, you have to estimate the reasons behind it and express your views accordingly in writing. The views should comprise a critical analysis of the argument. Make sure you support your point of view with suitable examples, explanations and facts. Also, you need to be careful regarding your grammar and vocabulary while writing the answer. You will have 30 minutes to write this essay.
Your GMAT AWA article should address two important questions:
- What are the feasible suppositions behind the argument?
- What are the facts and examples that can help you form a detailed argument?
GMAT Analytical Writing Evaluation, Scoring and Percentile:
Your GMAT AWA score is evaluated on a scale of 0 to 6 by both a human and a computer algorithm designed to analyze such essays. Your final score will be an average of both these scores. However, if there is a difference of more than 1 point between your computer and human score, then the score is reviewed and adjusted by an additional human rater. First, the computer, known as an E-Rater, evaluates your writing based on syntax and analytical aspects, followed by a trained human. They will score your essay based on the development of your ideas and written expression.
This section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6, in half-point increments. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the official body that conducts the GMAT exam, earning a point 6 is ‘outstanding’, 5 is ‘strong’, 4 is ‘adequate’, 3 is ‘limited’, and anything below 3 is seriously and fundamentally deficient.
The average AWA GMAT score is 4.37. The cut-off for the analytical writing section in most universities is 4. Your GMAT AWA score also includes a percentile ranking. This number reflects the percentage of candidates who you performed better than. For example, if you score 5.5 points, your percentile is 79, which means that 21% of the total candidates performed better or as well as you, and 79% did not.
The factors that determine your AWA score are:
- Your ability to use proper grammar and vocabulary.
- Your ability to establish, structure, and implement facts.
- Your explanations and use of examples.
This section exhibits a variety of skills, along with the presentation of the argument. But what happens if you are not satisfied with your AWA score?
GMAT AWA: Rescoring:
If you are not satisfied with your AWA score, you can request rescoring by an independent AWA reader for $45. Your request for rescoring will only be accepted if it is made within six months of your test date.
A few things to know before you go for rescoring are:
- Rescoring results are final, which means you can request rescoring only once.
- It could either increase or decrease your AWA score.
- You will receive the revised results after 20 days of submitting your rescoring request.
- Your fee will not be refunded once your request has been processed.
- To request rescoring, contact GMAT Customer Service.
Let us now take a look at the importance of the AWA.
Importance of the GMAT AWA Section
Business schools do not accept AWA scores if they are less than 4. The competition is fierce; you need to aim for a score higher than 4.78. Your AWA score might not be as important as your quantitative and verbal reasoning scores, but if your score is 4 or less, it raises a lot of questions regarding your proficiency in the English language, vocabulary, and grammar. Your application essay might also be in question. In some cases, some authorities might not even consider your application at all.
Some Important Tips to Solve the A nalytical Writing Assessment Questions
- Read Thoroughly
Read the presented argument carefully and analyse it. Once you are done with your analysis, pick a side and take your stand. Make sure you are not diplomatic and do not end up sounding confused. Stick to your opinion till the end of the essay and write meaningful content on the same.
- Structure your Essay
Before you start writing, take a moment to gain some clarity about how your essay will develop. Draft a rough idea in your head with all the topics you want to cover in your article. Start with the introduction and explain your point of view. After that comes the body of the essay, which can be broken into three paragraphs. This should be followed by a conclusion. Make the conclusion interesting by penning down a summary of your thoughts. This will hold the reader’s attention till the end.
- Don’t Switch Sides
Once you have chosen a side, don’t think of switching. Your independent opinion cannot be ‘politically incorrect’ or make the admission committee think any less of you. There is no right or wrong in this section. Just make sure you can adequately communicate and express your viewpoint and sound confident in defending your stand.
- Provide Examples:
Using appropriate examples can prove to be effective in conveying your message to the reader. They don’t necessarily have to be from your personal life. You can make use of other sources like past events or current affairs. Also, do not get carried away while giving examples. Stay in touch with the key idea.
- Grammatically Correct:
Make sure there are no grammatical or spelling errors in your essay. Proofread at least twice from the beginning to the end to ensure that there are no mistakes.
Earning a high GMAT score will make you stand out during the admission process and will help you get into the business school of your choice. Since the Analytical Writing Score is not included in the overall GMAT score, it is taken lightly. What many candidates do not realise is that even though it does not directly affect your score, admission committees of almost all universities assess your critical reasoning and writing skills based on it.
GMAT Official AWA Practice will help you to gain confidence in your writing ability. It consists of 2 practice essay attempts. It allows you to identify and analyse flaws in your arguments. You will be able to easily score more than 5 points with the help of suitable study materials and some thorough practice.We hope this article on the GMAT AWA section has cleared any doubts you had regarding it.
All the best!
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What Is a Good GMAT Score? Everything You Need to Know
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- Many business schools use the GMAT to determine who gets into MBA programs.
- A 650, or somewhere around the 75th percentile, is generally considered a strong GMAT score.
- You can create your own target score by researching average GMAT scores at prospective schools.
Many business schools and MBA programs use the GMAT to help them make admission decisions. While a GMAT score isn't the only factor admissions officers look at, a strong result can significantly influence whether or not you get accepted into your dream school.
With the right preparation and knowledge, you can maximize your score and your chances of getting into business school. Read on to learn more about what constitutes a strong GMAT score.
What Is a Good GMAT Score Overall?
In general, a 650, or a score around the 75th percentile, can be considered a strong GMAT score. This score should make you a competitive applicant for many MBA and graduate business and finance programs .
That said, more selective programs typically want higher scores in the 700s, or the top 10% of test-takers.
If you're applying to less competitive business schools, consider aiming for the median score of 590. Earning a GMAT score in the 50th percentile means you outperformed most test-takers.
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which designs and administers the GMAT, calculates your total score on a scale of 200-800 by combining your scores on the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections.
The following table shows GMAT score percentiles for tests taken between 2018 and 2020 and how these correspond to GMAT scores.
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What Is a Good GMAT Integrated Reasoning Score?
Most consider a good Integrated Reasoning score a 6 or higher. Earning a 6 would put you in the 64th percentile, meaning you outperformed about two-thirds of test-takers.
A 7 would put you in the top 20% of test-takers, and a perfect 8 would put you in the top 10%.
The Integrated Reasoning section, which is scored on a scale of 1-8, asks you to use data to solve problems. This data can take the form of text, numbers, and graphs. Often, you'll need to integrate data from multiple sources.
Some questions consist of multiple parts, and you must answer each part correctly to get credit for that question.
While Integrated Reasoning scores aren't usually considered as important as your total GMAT score, business schools value being able to use large amounts of disparate data to solve problems and make decisions. A high Integrated Reasoning score indicates strength in those areas.
What Is a Good GMAT Analytical Writing Score?
A good GMAT score on the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is generally considered to be around a 5.0 or higher. This would mean you performed better than around 60% of test-takers. A score of 5.5 — just a half-point more — would put you in the top 20% of test-takers.
The AWA section is scored by both human graders and a machine algorithm. You'll get an AWA score on a scale of 1-6 in half-point increments.
This section asks test-takers to write an essay that analyzes a business-related argument. The AWA showcases your critical thinking skills and your ability to clearly and cogently communicate ideas. You'll have 30 minutes to write your essay.
Like Integrated Reasoning results, AWA scores are important because they measure your critical thinking skills. For most business schools, however, these scores will not be nearly as important as your total GMAT score.
Average GMAT Scores for 20 Popular Business Schools
The average GMAT score is 568.21 , but that doesn't mean such a score will cut it for most MBA programs. The following table shows the average GMAT scores for incoming students in 20 popular full-time MBA programs around the U.S.
*Indicates median GMAT score
What Is a Good GMAT Score Based on Your Programs?
When trying to determine what a good GMAT score is, it's easy to get caught up in percentiles. Instead, you should think about your own individual goals and circumstances.
For example, if you don't plan to apply to Harvard Business School, you probably don't need to try to earn a super-high GMAT score of 730.
Consider which business schools you want to apply to, and then find the average GMAT score of enrolled students for that program. You can typically find this data on schools' class profile pages. Alternatively, you can consult the table above.
After researching prospective programs' average GMAT scores, develop a target score based on the most competitive program you're applying to. This score will ultimately be a good GMAT score for you. If you can hit this, you raise your chances of getting admitted to all programs you're applying to.
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GMAT AWA: Effec...
GMAT AWA: Effective Ways to Tailor Your GMAT Analytical Writing Essay
GMAT’s Analytical Writing test can be a challenging task. Amidst the ongoing exam pressure, the simple activity of analysing a given argument could be clouded by chaotic thoughts. In order to successfully compose a mind boggling critical essay within 30mins you need to master argumentative essay writing. A simple method to do so is, READ, WRITE and PRACTISE!
News Alert! Analytical Writing Assessment has now been included as an integral part of the GMAT Online .
Analytical Writing Assessment section of GMAT:
The writing task in hand for the GMAT essay expects you to, (i) break down the presented argument and (ii) assess the reasoning of the given argument. Think about the setting of the argument, examine the possibility of execution of the given argument, will help you strengthen your analysis.
Decoding the GMAT AWA section:
Essential nuances of the Analytical Writing task are:
- No. of questions?
Ans: One argumentative piece
- What needs to be done?
Ans: Tailor a critique essay assessing the given arguments
- How much time to work?
Ans: 30 mins to complete the essay
- How is GMAT AWA scored?
Ans: Scored on a 0-6 score scale with a half point interval
The AWA topics for the given passage could be from any subject, be it Business, Politics, Science or World Affairs. But, you don’t need to possess complete knowledge on topics to write the essay. So, No Stress! All you need to know is to write a well-rounded English essay. Along with the ability to critically analyse the presented argument.
An effective structure to ace GMAT essay writing
A good quality essay has structure, crisp to-the-point phrases, maintains a vivid vocabulary and ensures grammatical correctness. As an individual, you might be well-versed in writing. But, to write the AWA essay in the stipulated time can put you in a tough spot. To avoid such lingual mishaps, prepare yourself well in advance. Refer to an effective essay structure and attempt to practice it thoroughly.
Introduction: Introduce the essay, mention the factors, observations, assumptions and flaws stated in the argument . Pose your views which will be discussed further.
First Paragraph: State your first critique of the argument and support your views with an example. Ensure to write your inferences with evidence and reasoning.
Second Paragraph: Progress to your next critical inference of the argument. Agree or disagree with the arguments made and justify.
Third Paragraph: Address the missing content or the essential factors that would have been ignored in the arguments. You can either pose questions or point out the deficiency to indicate the incompleteness.
Fourth Paragraph: Include additional pointers that you think might help strengthen the argument.
Conclusion: State your observations, infer the flaws of the argument and conclude by stating arguments that would have strengthened the piece . Ensure that your conclusion is complete and doesn’t miss out on important observations made through your essay.
You can write a well structured essay by applying the above structure. You could also tailor your own style of essay by adding or subtracting sections you wish to. Practise writing essays for as many GMAT AWA sample topics available online. This will help you polish your writing, organise your thoughts and curate a reader friendly essay.
How to make your Essay standout?
In order to make your GMAT AWA essay standout, you need to be different! Below are some of the effective ways to make your essay standout:
Use facts, stats in your essay. However, ensure that the information is accurate.
Using quotes might help you polish your inferences.
Style your essay writing with questions, exclamatory sentences and a rich vocabulary.
Ensure that you have a readable flow to your essay.
Improvise and play with your words.
Write short quality paragraphs.
Use headings and subheadings wherever necessary.
You could also add literary references, references from fiction and so on.
Make the essay an interesting read.
GMAT Analytical Writing Tips:
An effective way you could create an excellent essay is by following some of the basic rules of language. These rules might be the basics but are the most essential to form a magnificent essay:
Start with reading and understanding thoroughly.
Plan your essay.
Focus on the structure, flow and focus point of the essay.
Do not deviate from the topic.
Invest time in writing a good introduction and a strong conclusion.
Save some time to revise and edit your essay.
Time your writing so you’re able to cover everything you want to write.
How is the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) evaluated?
The GMAT Analytical writing score ranges from a 0-6 score scale, with a 0.5 interval. For evaluation, a trained human evaluator and a machine algorithm scores the essay. In any case of disparity among the two scores, another human evaluator checks your AWA essay.
What does your GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) score mean?
Based on your AWA score, you can identify the quality rating of your essay. According to GMAC score guide, scoring a
6 means you’ve written an ‘outstanding’ essay,
5 is ‘strong’,
4 is ‘adequate’,
3 is ‘limited’,
2 is ‘seriously flawed’, and
1 is ‘fundamentally deficient’
Sample GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) question:
The following appeared in the editorial section of a monthly business news magazine:
"Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money."
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion.
You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
The GMAT AWA essay scores are separately marked in the scorecard. This score reflects your ability to understand, interpret and articulate your thoughts and views. It is with this score, that universities judge your communicative capacity. Thus, critique and articulate!
Writing this essay is a crucial and challenging task. While, it is easily assumed that a writing task might be generic and easy. It really isn’t! You need to be sensitive to detail to successfully understand the author. Understanding the pointers and later, assessing the reasoning compels you to tune your interrogative skills. Close questioning the essay will lead you to the necessary observations and inferences you need to whip up your critical essay.
In the big picture, to be the crème de la crème, focusing all your efforts to prepare only for the Analytical Writing Assessment will be a dead loss. It is essential to focus on understanding the overall syllabus and pattern of the exam. It is also equally important for you to gauge the other GMAT sections, namely, Verbal Reasoning , Quantitative Reasoning and Integrated Reasoning . A tight study plan and preparation for GMAT will lead you to be in the elite of the batch!
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Why Does The GMAT AWA Section Matter?
- May 25, 2022
GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Section
- Is the GMAT AWA Section Important?
- Why do You Not See The GMAT AWA Score on The Exam Day?
How is The GMAT AWA Section Scored?
What determines the gmat awa score, what is a good gmat awa score, three tips to score a perfect 6 in awa.
The Analytical Writing Assessment or AWA section of the GMAT does not contribute to the total GMAT score. But it does not mean that the section has no relevance. Read on to know everything you need to know about the section, along with why business schools look at AWA scores.
The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), often termed the GMAT essay, is the first section of the GMAT. It consists of a single, one-paragraph prompt with an argument. The prompt can be about political, business, or current affairs, and is mostly sourced from editorials, company reports, op-ed sections, etc. You are expected to explain and critique the argument and the reasoning behind it within the stipulated time period of 30 minutes.
The GMAT AWA examines your ability to communicate coherently and effectively in the English language, think critically, and analyze an argument. It is important to note that while there is no specific word count recommended for this, it is wise not to exceed 500 words in the AWA section.
Is The GMAT AWA Section Important?
Just like the Integrated Reasoning score, the GMAT AWA score does not contribute to the total GMAT score. But between the two, the IR section has more importance – when the section was first introduced in 2012, the essay section was reduced by half. Consequently, the Analytical Writing Assessment score is considered to have little importance. But this does not mean that the section holds NO value. Here is why the GMAT AWA matters:
- While AWA may not explicitly help your case, a low AWA score definitely acts as a deterrent. Scoring less than 4 on the GMAT essay can damage your chances of admission to top business schools.
- Communication skills are vital in the business world: your ability to convey your ideas in clear and coherent written form will always be relevant in the business world and AWA helps gauge your ability to do just that.
- Business schools need the assurance that candidates are proficient in written English. Strong command of the English language is not only important for handling coursework but also for mingling with your cohort. For nonnative English speakers, the AWA score becomes even more important.
- The GMAT AWA section matters most when juxtaposed with the MBA application. Business schools expect the language competence demonstrated in the GMAT section to reflect in the application as well. A well-written application and poor AWA score raise serious questions about the authorship of the former, increasing your chances of being disqualified.
GMAC does recommend the b-schools to not directly compare the two, considering one is written after careful consideration and the other in a raw form within a 30-minute restriction. The comparison is still done to help with the elimination of doubt for external authorship of application and estimation of some similarities in terms of ability.
Why do You Not See the GMAT AWA Score on The Exam Day?
The unofficial score report seen after submitting GMAT does not show the Analytical Writing Assessment score. This is because the GMAT essay is scored by a human grader and computer grading program called E-Rater. If the two grades are the same or differ only by one point, their average becomes the final AWA score. If the scores differ by a wider margin, another human grader marks the essay to determine the final score. Receiving the AWA score after test day does not mean that the score is unimportant.
GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section is graded on a scale of 0 to 6. According to GMAC AWA score guidelines,
- 6 is outstanding
- 5 is strong
- 4 is adequate
- 3 is limited
- 2 is seriously flawed
- 1 is fundamentally deficient.
Along with this score, each candidate is also given a percentile ranking corresponding to the percentage of candidates you scored higher than. This percentile ranking is based on the last three years of GMAT scores. To know more about how GMAT scores are calculated, read How is GMAT Score Calculated
The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment score is determined on the basis of:
- Content : The content of the GMAT essay needs to be relevant and persuasive. You need to present an in-depth and accurate analysis of the flaws of the argument. This should be supported with logical reasoning, examples, and data points to prove it. Finally, present your suggestions for fixing the flaws of the author’s argument.
- Organization of the essay : The AWA section should offer a cohesive and structured write-up. The introduction, body, and conclusion should have a logical flow of thought.
- Command over language : If you want a perfect score, it is important to demonstrate an impeccable command of the English language, including grammar, diction, and syntax. Further, you should be able to showcase the knowledge and use of transition words, varying sentence structures, and a sophisticated vocabulary.
If you are targeting the top 10 business schools, you should try for a perfect 6. Conventionally, 5 and above is considered a strong GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Score. However, it is seen as a red flag for an international applicant to score below 4.
GMAC advises to “ not make distinctions among applicants on the basis of a small scoring distinction—one point or less apart .” A good GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment score is not one that is high enough to enhance your admission chances but rather one that is not low enough to hamper your chances. In other words, even if you score a perfect 6, it may not compensate for a low GPA or lack of experience. However, if your score is lower than 4, it will definitely raise questions about your ability to communicate well in the business world or even handle the MBA program’s coursework.
GMAT essay requires the candidate to critique the given argument. Here are simple tips to score a full 6 in GMAT AWA:
- Each argument has certain flaws: Any argument is embedded with flaws such as faulty assumptions, scanty evidence to support the hypothesis, vague words such as many or few, lack of consideration of all factors, flawed comparisons, incorrect correlations, etc. Try and identify which of these are present in the argument.
- Offer an in-depth analysis of the flaws of the argument and suggest possible improvements the author should make to validate the argument. Remember to follow a structured manner in elaborating on these points
- Do not offer your own opinions: It does not matter whether you agree or disagree with the given argument. Your only assignment is to show why and how the argument is flawed.
If you are unable to score 5 and above in your practice tests, allot some additional time to AWA in your GMAT prep journey. It is relatively easy to get a perfect score in this section with some practice. The good news is that no special knowledge is needed to ace the section, just clear and logical thinking.
If you are looking GMAT essay templates, read AWA Template for Getting the Perfect 6
If you have any other questions on AWA, drop them in the comments below!
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Related posts, 6 strategies for scoring 6.0 on gmat awa.
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AWA Template for Getting The Perfect 6 (2022)
GMAT essay writing can be broken down into simple components if only you use the right templates. Read the article to find 3 templates that will help you get the perfect 6 on the GMAT AWA section!
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How to get 6.0 AWA on GMAT ....my guide
Show tags hide tags.
- List of all AWA topics from GMAC
- Sample replies to all Essays or simply search - we have thousands of sample AWA essays
- Want to get your essay evaluated? Post it in the AWA subforum
- Overview of GMAT Write, the official essay grading tool
- How to memorize this template using text to voice feature by plaverbach
1. General Structure
2. Structural Word (should be all over the essays)
- Additional support - furthermore, in addition, similarly, just as, also, as a result, moreover
- Importance - surely, truly, undoubtedly, clearly, in fact, most importantly
- Contrast - on the contrary, yet, despite, rather, instead, however, although, while
- Decide against - one cannot deny that, it could be argued that, granted, admittedly
- Ying-yang - on the one hand/on the other hand
- Concluding - therefore, in summary, consequently, hence, in conclusion, ultimately, in closing
4. Going from the templates to full-fledged essays
5. Final tips
- During the tutorial type in a few sentences in the mock essay window to get used to the keyboard.
- Again during the tutorial, jot down on your notebook the basic structure of your essays or the opening sentences in case you get too nervous and forget them when the clock starts ticking.
- Write as much as you can. Try to write at least 500 words per essay.
- Always have the e-rater in mind as your potential reviewer. Remember that the human rater will make every effort to grade just like the e-rater. In that sense, keep your structure and volume in mind over actual quality/content.
- Be careful of spelling mistakes. Double check words that you normally know you misspell (e.g. exercise). Try to finish 2-3 minutes before time is up so you can slowly re-read your essay for the purposes of spell checking. Do not reorganize/delete sentences/paragraphs with less than 2 min left.
- No matter how great you thought your essays went, try to stay humble and focused - remember this was just a warm-up and the real stuff hasn't started yet!
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by Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
Homepage > GMAT IR and AWA > GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment tips – How to score a perfect 6 on GMAT AWA
GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment tips – How to score a perfect 6 on GMAT AWA
Posted by Suheb Hussain | Aug 6, 2020 | GMAT IR and AWA , Know the GMAT , Prepare for GMAT
The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section measures your ability to analyze an argument and communicate your thoughts or ideas. What you simply need to do is to critically analyze the reasoning given behind a given argument. To complete the AWA section of the GMAT you are allotted 30 minutes.
Here is the outline of the article:
How to create a well rounded Analytical Writing Assessment essay?
- How does ‘GMAT Write’ analyze your AWA essay?
GMAT AWA tips – GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Template
- Sample GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment essay
Let’s discuss now how you can score a perfect 6 on the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section. Here are a few tips to prepare you for the GMAT AWA section.
Step 1 – Understand the process of creating a well-rounded analysis of an argument. You can do that in two ways or rather with the help of two tools.
- AWA template by Chineseburned from gmatclub
Step 2 – Practice! Practice! Practice! the AWA questions. Here is a list of practice questions for you.
GMAT Write – An AWA practice tool by GMAC
GMAT Write is a writing tool provided by GMAC. It gives you access to 2 unique essay prompts and a chance to write 4 essays. The good thing about this tool is that it scores your essay based on the scoring algorithm used by the official GMAT exam. But, it costs $29.99 to subscribe to this tool.
Take a look at this article to know the importance of AWA and IR sections for business school admissions.
How does the ‘GMAT Write’ analyze your GMAT AWA essay?
Once you submit an essay, it scores you on 4 categories:
- Analysis of the issue
- Supports ideas
- Organizes coherent idea
- Language control
Based on these 4 categories it gives you an overall score for the essay.
Even if you don’t buy this tool, you still get to know what GMAT considers an ideal essay to be from it. An ideal essay should:
- Identify and analyze significant flaws in the argument
- Support the critique using relevant supporting reasons and/or examples
- Be a clearly organized and coherent response
- Demonstrate control of language, including diction, syntax, and conventions of standard written English
Once you know what factors make a perfect essay, the next thing you should do is creating a template. The most popular template for AWA is the one provided by ‘Chineseburned’ user on the gmatclub forum.
If you are planning to take the GMAT, we can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. Write to us at [email protected] . We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with more than 1950 reviews. Why don’t you take a free trial and judge for yourself?
Here are the details of his template:
Structure of the essay
- Introduction: Restate the argument and point out the flaws. Now, state your views which you’ll discuss in the next paragraphs.
- First paragraph: State your first critique of the argument and support your view with an example.
- Second paragraph: State your first critique of the argument and support your view with an example.
- Third paragraph: Pose a few questions for the argument. The absence of information in the argument to answer your questions weaken it further.
- Fourth argument: State information that you feel would have strengthened the argument but is absent. (This is an extra paragraph which is not in Chineseburned template)
- Conclusion: State that the argument is flawed because of the above reasons and which reasons could have strengthened the argument.
Learn how the IR section is scored.
Sample GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment AWA essay
Here is a sample AWA essay question for practice. We have also provided the answer to this question based on the template.
The following appeared in an Excelsior Company memorandum. “The Excelsior Company plans to introduce its own brand of coffee. Since coffee is an expensive food item, and since there are already many established brands of coffee, the best way to gain customers for the Excelsior brand is to do what Superior, the leading coffee company, did when it introduced the newest brand in its line of coffees: conduct a temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reductions, and discount coupons for the new brand.” Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
GMAT AWA essay
The Excelsior company wants to introduce its own brand of coffee since coffee is an expensive food item and might have good profit margins. However, as there are several established brands of coffee already, it needs to work out a way to gain a foothold in the market. For this purpose, the company plans to pursue the same marketing strategy that the leading coffee company Superior had used. However, I think there are several flaws in that line of reasoning. And hence this argument seems a little weak.
First, Superior is already an established brand and the market leader. No data is given as to how long back it entered the coffee market. Without this information, it is difficult to ascertain the utility of the marketing strategy for Excelsior. A brand might take decades to establish, and what worked a decade back, need not work today. For example, when Google was initially set up, it depended on word of mouth, rather than any communication media, for its marketing. As it was initially just an internal product for the University, this approach worked for them. However, it might not work for any company now. We see these days that most new web companies do advertise heavily when they initially launch a product for the masses.
Second, no information has been provided about the target market for the coffee or the pricing strategy. It might be that the coffee produced by Superior is one of the cheaper products in the market. And that they earn their profits from volume sales rather than having a niche market. Whereas, Excelsior might be aiming at the niche market of expensive and luxury coffee. If that were the case, then the same marketing strategies might not be relevant for Excelsior. Can Hyundai apply the same approach towards the market as does a luxury brand like Ferrari?
Without some of the relevant and contextual details, it is difficult to judge the efficacy of using the same marketing strategy that a competitor applied some unknown years back. If we were to get some more details in this regard, we could have judged the situation better.
Although all the factors being the same, it might not be a bad idea to follow the same approach as that of a leading brand in the market. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with sticking to the tried and the tested. In the absence of any other better idea, Excelsior might not have much to lose if it pursues the same methods as did Superior. It’s better to have some plan rather than no plan.
Conducting a temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reductions and discount coupons might not be such a bad idea. It could be a good ploy to get users to try out the product. And discounts and other monetary incentives are usually very effective in this regard. If the quality of the product is good enough and the pricing is appropriate, introducing enough customers to the product through such offers might give a significant push to consumer interest in the product. While customer satisfaction might leverage word of mouth marketing.
Therefore, depending on the context the approach might or might not be a beneficial one. This essay question has been taken from gmatclub and the answer has been judged as a perfect 6 by the GMAT Write tool. The answer was written by the user ‘rish2jain’ from gmatclub forum.
To score a perfect 6 on the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section, it is important that you learn the AWA template and practice as much as you can. Just don’t overdo it. It is a good practice to devote 10% of your preparation time to GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section.
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