All About the GMAT AWA

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is the neglected stepchild of the GMAT. No one (test-takers or business schools) considers it as important as the rest of the test, and it’s scored separately from the Quantitative and Verbal parts of the exam. Heck, it’s even relegated to the very back of The GMAT Official Guide.

It’s true: there’s no reason to spend nearly as much time preparing for the AWA as you do for the rest of the test. It’s a mistake to forget about it entirely, though:

  • A small amount of effort can translate into a big difference in score.
  • The schools you apply to can see your actual essays.

Focus on quality over quantity: a perfect 250-word essay is better (both for the AWA grader and for admissions officers) than a rough 400-word version.

Allow yourself plenty of time (at least five minutes) at the end of the half-hour in order to carefully proofread your essay for grammar and punctuation. The little things aren’t going to affect your score much, but if you know how to use a comma, you might as well let the AWA grader know that.


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