Easy Preparation Tips for GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)


7 mins read49.8K Views
Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Oct 7, 2022 15:39 IST

The Graduate Management Aptitude Test or GMAT's Analytical Writing Assessment helps business schools analyse a candidate's writing skills. It is scored separately from your 200-800 point score, on a scale from 0-6. Essays are scored by a human-grade and a computer grading system, and the two scores are averaged for your final score. Even though, GMAT AWA score is not included in your main GMAT score, GMAT AWA can act as a tiebreaker in case if the B-School needs to decide between two candidates. Some top B-Schools also have a cut-off for GMAT AWA. It is always good to score at least 4.5 on it.

Duration: 30 minutes

Format: 1 essay

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Tests: Ability to analyse an argument

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment gives clear instructions on how to plan and write the essay. Due to the time limit, it is difficult to go through the complete instructions. So, it is best to learn these instructions before the test day that will help in saving your time in the GMAT Analytical Writing test. GMAT AWA measures the candidate's ability to analyse the argument and communicate their thoughts and ideas.


Apart from the GMAT AWA sample papers, you also need to follow these tips to have a great Analytical Writing Assessment.

  • Keep it organized: Your essay must be organized. There should be a clear introduction, body, and a conclusion. Each paragraph must seamlessly integrate itself with the next paragraph so that there is smooth transition between ideas. Your thoughts and written work must have coherence and logic.
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of an argument: The Analytical Writing Assessment measures the ability of a candidate to think critically and communicate his/her ideas. Analyse the reasoning behind a given argument and write a critique of that argument within the given time frame.
  • Become familiar with the possible essay prompts: More and more practice will help you in preparing for the AWA GMAT. You can go for the GMAT Official AWA Practice essay writing practice tool and improve your score
  • Prepare Analytical Writing Assessment Strategies: Before starting with your response and evaluate the argument and plan your response first. Once you organize your ideas, you can utilize your time in such a manner that you have the time to revise your response.

While organizing the response ask these questions:

  • Can other counter-examples be raised?
  • What questionable assumptions underlie the thinking?
  • Which further evidence could strengthen the argument?
  • Does the response read like a discussion having coherent organization and full sentences?

Use well-developed illustrations and examples. Do not just list examples. Develop your thoughts. Make your response in such a way that it reads like a discussion. Your essay response should be coherent with logical transitions, full sentences, and appropriately introduced and developed examples.

AWA Scores and Percentile Rankings

The table given below provides details of GMAT Analytical Writing Scores and their respective percentiles:


AWA Score





















Analysis of an Argument

This question type presents a brief argument similar to a statement you would find in a critical reasoning question. Your task is to write an essay that critiques the structure of the argument and explains how persuasive or unpersuasive you find it. Consider the following questions:

  • What's the conclusion?
  • What assumptions does the writer make in moving from evidence to conclusion?
  • What evidence is used to support the conclusion?
  • What alternative explanations might weaken the conclusion?
  • What sort of evidence could help strengthen the argument?
  • Is the argument persuasive?
  • What would make it stronger? Weaker?

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment: 5 Tricks

The first section of the AWA GMAT requires you to type an original analytical writing sample. To make the most of your essay, follow these recommendations:

  • Choose your stance immediately. There is no right answer to the question prompts, so do not waste time trying to find it.
  • Spend 2-5 minutes constructing a rough sketch of your ideas. Make sure you have a general thesis for the essay and a topic statement for each paragraph.
  • Include an introductory paragraph and a conclusion.
  • Be specific with your supporting evidence. Draw from your own knowledge.
  • Leave a couple of minutes near the end to proofread your essay and correct any errors.

GMAT AWA: Scoring Parameters

The GMAT AWA essay is scored on these 4 parameters:

  • Analysis of the issue
  • Supports ideas
  • Organizes coherent idea
  • Language control

You can go through some AWA GMAT examples to prepare for writing an essay. A well-written essay should:

  • Identify and analyze important flaws in the argument
  • Support the critique using significant supporting examples
  • Be organized and should be a comprehensive response
  • Showcase good command over the language and grammar including syntax, diction, and rules of standard written English

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Template

Once you are aware of the factors to make a perfect essay, create a template.

  • Intro - Point out the flaws and write your views that you will discuss further
  • First Para - Write the first critique of the argument and support your view with an example
  • Second Para - Continue from the first para and give your view with an example
  • Third Para - Give few questions for the argument
  • Conclude - Mention that the argument is flawed and give reasons that support your argument. Also mention briefly how this argument could have been strengthened

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The following appeared in a memorandum from the business department of the Apogee Company:

“When the Apogee Company had all its operations in one location, it was more profitable than it is today. Therefore, the Apogee Company should close down its field offices and conduct all its operations from a single location. Such centralization would improve profitability by cutting costs and helping the company maintain better supervision of all employees.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

(Source: mba.com)

GMAT AWA Sample Solution:

The argument in the memorandum from the business department of the Apogee Company claims that conducting all operations from a single location will improve the profitability of the company. The argument is flawed and inconclusive for multiple reasons as there is insufficient data to support its hypothesis. In addition, the argument presents a distorted view of the reality and is a leap of faith reasoning without clear outcomes. The argument could have been stronger, had it been supported by relevant data and facts.

First, the argument assumes that historical performance can be replicated in the current economic scenario. The current economic scenario might not be favorable for any company that operates in the same segment as that of Apogee. In addition, there could have been several market indicators based on which Apogee Company had expanded its market presence by opening its offices at new locations. In such a scenario, centralization will not result in an improved profitability. The argument could have been more convincing if it had provided revenue, profit, loss, and other operational data.

Second, the argument claims that centralizing the workforce by closing down the field offices will improve profitability. This is an unsupported claim as there is no evidence that demonstrates that an increase in cost or having more employees has reduced the profitability of the company. For instance, opening a new field office requires investment; however, as the period rolls on, the field office starts generating revenue thus leading to profits. Moreover, closure of all the field offices might lead to a loss in talent and human resource that might move to competitors. The argument could have been stronger if the individual data of each of its field offices was provided, and it should have indicated how expansion had an impact on the profitability.

Finally, the argument should answer questions such as; what is the current economic scenario for the segment in which Apogee Company operates? Why did the profitability reduce? How have the field offices performed so far? What revenue could be lost if all the field offices were closed? Without precise answers to these questions, the claim seems to be more of a leap of faith than a well-reasoned inference based on data and logic.

In summary, the argument is flawed for the above-mentioned reasons and the fact that the assumptions have been made without concrete evidence and data. The argument would have been more convincing if the author had defined profitability, mentioned the financial impact of the field offices on the profitability, and investigated into why the profitability was reduced. In order to assess the merits or demerits of any decision, it is necessary to have a holistic picture and full knowledge of the deciding factors. Without this information, the argument remains open to debate.

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About the Author
Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert

With a plethora of knowledge of the education domain, Piyush Kohli has been involved with study abroad for over 5 years and counting. He comes with prior experience on the complexities of the study abroad applicatio... Read Full Bio



5 years ago

how long this essay should be?

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