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Gmat essay: format, scoring, and tips for the awa.

gmat awa essay template

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) can be one of the most intimidating sections of the exam for test-takers. Many students feel unsure of what is expected of them on the GMAT essay or how it’s scored. But there’s nothing to fear as long as you prepare!

In this article, I’ll go over the basics of the GMAT essay, the structure of the prompt, and how the Analytical Writing Assessment is scored. I’ll also give you plenty of GMAT essay tips and strategies to help you ace the Analytical Writing on test day.

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), frequently called the GMAT essay, consists of a single question. The AWA prompt will ask you to read a brief passage that presents an argument. In your essay, you will explain and critique the argument and the reasoning behind it. The GMAT AWA measures your ability to communicate clearly and effectively in written English, to think critically, and to analyze an argument.

The AWA is always the first section of the GMAT. It is the only section of the GMAT that is not multiple choice. You have 30 minutes to complete your writing sample, and there is no specific word count minimum or maximum.

You'll have 30 minutes to complete your GMAT essay.

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The GMAT AWA Prompt

The basic structure of the GMAT essay prompt is the same on every test. You will always be given an argument and asked to analyze it. You won’t be asked to give your own opinion.

GMAT AWA prompts don’t require any business know-how or any outside knowledge of a specific topic. They cover subjects such as economics, politics, leadership, education, social issues, marketing, and the environment, among many others.

Here’s a sample AWA essay prompt:

In this section, you will be asked to write a critique of the argument presented. You are NOT being asked to present your own views on the subject.

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.

Note that the directions and the two paragraphs after the quoted section will appear on every AWA prompt. They won’t change at all from test to test. The passage in quotes is the argument itself that you’re being asked to critique. Remember, you’ll never be asked for your personal opinion on the subject at hand, only your critique of the flaws in the argument being presented.

You can find a successful sample response here. Note that the author of the high-scoring sample response begins by paraphrasing the original argument and explaining its basic reasoning and conclusion. The author analyzes a different specific flaw in the argument in each body paragraph (four in total). He examines several false assumptions in the original argument that render it invalid. In the conclusion, the author restates the major flaws in the given argument. This writing sample is a great template for your own practice essays.

You can find a lengthy list of actual past GMAT essay prompts here. I highly recommend practicing with them! Analysis of an Argument prompts are very similar from test to test, so past prompts perfect for GMAT prep.

Practicing with official past AWA prompts at home will help prepare you for the real thing.

How Is the GMAT AWA Scored?

For the Analytical Writing Assessment , you’ll receive a score between 0 and 6, scored in half point intervals (so you could get a 5.5, for example, or a 5.0). You’ll be scored on your ability to express ideas effectively, to give examples to develop those ideas, to analyze the given argument accurately, and to demonstrate your grasp of written English.

Your final score is based on the average of two independent scores, one from a reader and one from an electronic scoring engine. The essay-scoring engine analyzes structural features (related to essay organization, such as having an intro, conclusion, and body paragraphs) and linguistic features (which may include the vocabulary, grammar, spelling, key words, and sentence structure used in the essay). The other reader is a trained expert GMAT essay scorer, usually a university faculty member. If there is a disparity of more than one point between the two scores, a third reader will score the essay as well.

The Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) defines a score of six as ‘outstanding,’ a score of five as ‘strong,’ a score of four as ‘adequate,’ a score of three as ‘limited,’ a score of two as ‘seriously flawed,’ and a score of one as ‘fundamentally deficient.’ A score of zero is ‘unscorable,’ which you’ll only get if you don’t write in English or write a clearly off-topic essay.

So what does it take to get a perfect score on the GMAT writing section? Here are the official GMAC scoring guidelines for an essay that should receive a perfect score of six:

A cogent, well-articulated critique of the argument, demonstrating mastery of the elements of effective writing, and displaying the following characteristics:

  • Clearly identifies and insightfully analyzes important features of the argument
  • Develops ideas cogently, organizes them logically, and connects them smoothly with clear transitions
  • Effectively supports the main points of the critique
  • Demonstrates superior control of language, including diction and syntactic variety and the conventions of standard written English. There may be minor flaws.

As you can see, the four main aspects of your essay that will be evaluated by your reader are the quality of your analysis, the development of your ideas, the effectiveness of your support (i.e., the examples you give you back up your ideas), and your mastery of writing in English. An essay scoring 5.0 or 5.5 might clearly explain and analyze the argument at hand, for example, but demonstrate a less sophisticated ability to communicate that analysis, or one idea may not flow logically into the next.

The rest of the GMAT AWA scoring guidelines can be found here.

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The business schools you select on exam day will receive your AWA writing sample itself as well as your AWA score, if they so choose. You can learn more about how business schools will use your AWA scores here.

Your AWA score will depend partly on your mastery of written English.

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Word Processor

On test day, you’ll use a basic word processor to write your essay. If you’re familiar with any standard text editor like Word or GoogleDocs, it should feel fairly comfortable to you.

You’ll see the prompt at the top of the screen as you write. You’ll be able to type with a standard keyboard, cut, paste, and undo your previous action.  However, there are no keyboard shortcuts. (Control +X won’t allow you to cut text, for example.)

I recommend that you write as many practice AWA responses as you can using the actual GMAT word processor, available in the GMATPrep software or GMATWrite , both provided by GMAC. This will help you to prepare for the actual circumstances of exam day and to feel more confident with any AWA prompt you get. If you don’t want to use the official materials, at least try to type your practice essays rather than writing them out by hand in order to simulate test conditions as closely as possible.

You'll use a word processor to complete your AWA essay.

How to Study for the Analytical Writing Assessment: 6 Strategies

  • Study logical fallacies. Every argument in a GMAT essay prompt will have several flaws in its premise, or its underlying reasoning, which you’ll need to be able to diagnose in order to score well on the essay. These flaws in reasoning are known as logical fallacies. Familiarize yourself with the most common kinds of logical fallacies ( here’s a great list ), so you can identify and discuss them on test day. Common logical fallacies in GMAT AWA prompts include the straw man, the insufficient sample, ad hominem, non sequitur, and circular reasoning, but you’ll find many others.
  • Practice writing timed AWA samples with real topics under simulated test conditions. Use the GMATPrep software or the official list of real former GMAT essay prompts to practice writing essays as a regular part of your exam prep. Try to simulate testing conditions as much as possible: take no more than 30 minutes, don’t use any outside sources, and use a basic text editor. If you want to go a step further and have your practice essays scored by expert readers, you can use GMAC’s official writing tool, GMATWrite.
  • Learn the art of breaking down arguments. Your job in the GMAT writing section is to break down a given argument into its various parts. What is the foundational reasoning of the argument, and what’s the conclusion that the author reaches? Why is that reasoning flawed, and/or why doesn’t it logically lead to the author’s conclusion? What would need to change about the argument in order for it to be logically sound? You can practice doing this with any kind of argument. Read editorials, newspaper articles, and other forms of persuasive writing and try to analyze them. Find the holes in their logic, if you can. Here’s a good guide to the parts that make up an argument.
  • Have someone proofread your practice essays.  This tips is particularly if you are a non-native English speaker or have trouble with technical errors, since you want to spot these issues and resolve them. Don’t just learn from your corrections on a single practice essay. Instead, try to find patterns. Do you repeatedly spell a certain word incorrectly? Do you regularly have trouble with run-ons or fragments? Take note of these issues, brush up on any grammar concepts you need to, and make sure you routinely correct your mistakes as you write practice essays.
  • Read sample essays by fellow GMAT test-takers. You can find and learn from plenty of high-scoring sample GMAT AWA responses at blogs like the GMAT Club .  Evaluate the essays honestly as you read. Why do you think they scored well? What is lacking in your own writing samples that these essays achieve? The more you understand about what readers look for when scoring your essay, the better you’ll be able to plan your approach to writing it.
  • Create a template for how you plan to format your essay. The GMAT essay is not the time for creativity, especially since one of your graders is an automated essay-scoring engine. Choose a template and stick to it every time you practice, including the number of body paragraphs you want to use and how you want to structure your introduction and conclusion.

Have a friend help you proofread your essays as you practice (maybe an age-appropriate one, though!).

5 Top GMAT Essay Tips for Test Day

  • Create an outline. You may feel like an outline is a waste since your time is so limited, but a brief outline will save you time and energy in the long run. Write your outline on either the provided GMAT scratch paper or in the AWA text editor itself (but make sure to erase when you’re done!). Take notes as you read the prompt on the logical fallacies you see in the argument. Next, choose the topics of your 2-4 body paragraphs and list them. Select a supporting example to back up your ideas in each body paragraph. This will be your blueprint for yourself as you write.
  • Stay on topic. The AWA rubric requires you to stay on topic and respond to the specific question. This may seem obvious, but it can be easy to stray under time pressure. You can make it clear to your readers that you are staying on topic by directly quoting or using key words or phrases from the prompt.
  • Use standard essay structure. Your GMAT essay should follow standard 4-5-paragraph essay structure: introduction, 2-4 body paragraphs, and conclusion. Each body paragraph should clearly address a specific (and different) aspect of the prompt. For example, you might address a different logical fallacy in each body paragraph. Also, every GMAT AWA response should contain an introduction, in which you should explain the main points of the argument at hand (without a too-extensive summary) and introduce the flaws you’ll be discussing in your critique, and a conclusion, in which you restate and paraphrase your main points, linking all your ideas together. Your introduction and conclusion should both be more concise than your body paragraphs, which should be more developed.
  • Use transition words and phrases to give examples or to move on to a new concept. Each time you provide an example, shift between ideas or body paragraphs, or introduce an idea, it’s a good idea to use a transition word or phrase such as ‘for example,’ ‘similarly,’ ‘in the same vein,’ ‘in conclusion,’ or the like. Practice using them in your essay prep. Here is a good list of effective transition words and phrases.
  • Leave time to proofread. Leave at least three minutes, but preferably five, to proofread your GMAT essay for technical errors in spelling, grammar, or structure before you submit your writing sample.

Make sure to leave time to check over your essay!

Review: Everything You Need to Know About the GMAT Essay

Let’s review the key points you need to know about the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment.

  • The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment requires you to write an essay, using a basic word processor, that critiques a provided argument. It is the first section of the GMAT and is to be completed in 30 minutes.
  • The AWA is scored by two readers in half-intervals on a scale of 0-6. You’ll be scored on your analysis, the examples you use, the development of your ideas, and your ability to write cleanly and effectively in English.
  • To prepare for the AWA, you should familiarize yourself with logical fallacies, practice writing timed AWA responses under simulated test conditions with real GMAT prompts, practice breaking down arguments in other forms of persuasive writing, have someone you trust proofread your work, read sample high-scoring essays, and create a template for how you plan to format your essay on exam day.
  • In order to do your best on test day, try the following GMAT essay tips: create an outline before writing, stay on topic, use standard essay structure, use transition words and phrases in your essay, and leave time to proofread.

You can do it!

What’s Next?

To learn more about the format of all the GMAT sections, check out our complete  guide to the GMAT format .

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Want to understand all the ins and outs of how your test will be scored? Our expert explanation GMAT scoring  is a great resource.

If you’re nervous about the AWA and Verbal sections of the GMAT, our articles on GMAT verbal question types and GMAT vocabulary will definitely help you prepare.

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gmat awa essay template

Author: Laura Dorwart

Laura Dorwart is a Ph.D. student at UC San Diego. She has taught and tutored hundreds of students in standardized testing, literature, and writing. View all posts by Laura Dorwart

GMAT AWA Writing Tips: 5 Steps for a 6.0 Score

Last Updated on May 12, 2023

GMAT test-takers tend to get a bit nervous about the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) because preparing for it doesn’t seem quite as straightforward as preparing for GMAT Quant or Verbal. Is it even possible to “study” how to write a high-scoring essay on an unknown topic with 30 minutes on the clock?

In truth, there is a formula to performing well on the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment, and you don’t have to be Ralph Waldo Emerson to earn an enviable AWA score. In this article, I’ll give you 5 essential GMAT writing tips for scoring well on the Analytical Writing Assessment, including a 5-paragraph structure that will allow you to tackle any GMAT AWA question that gets thrown your way.

First things first, let’s review what exactly the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment is and how it’s scored.

What Is the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment?

How is the analytical writing assessment scored, how do i interpret my awa score, paragraph 1: intro, paragraphs 2-4: supporting points, paragraph 5: conclusion, tip #2: include transition words, tip #3: don’t neglect the basics, tip #4: don’t expect time to revise, tip #5: practice formulating supporting points.

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is a 30-minute section of the in-person GMAT that consists of one essay task, an “analysis of an argument.” Depending on what section order you choose for your exam, you’ll complete the AWA section either first or last when you sit for your GMAT. If you choose the default section order, the AWA section will appear first. If you choose to complete either the Quant or Verbal section first, the AWA section will appear last.

In AWA, an argument is presented to you that you must critique in an essay that can be any length. Your job is to analyze the argument’s reasoning, point out flaws and assumptions in the argument, and assess how evidence is used to support the argument’s conclusion, all while logically organizing and clearly communicating your ideas. AWA questions typically focus on business-related topics and are presented in the form of an excerpt from a hypothetical magazine or newspaper article, editorial, company memo or report, corporate or organization newsletter, or business plan, to name a few examples. The given argument in an AWA question is always accompanied by the following instructional statement:

“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.”

Generally speaking, your AWA essay is evaluated on the basis of the overall strength of your analysis of the given argument, the relevancy of the points you make, how your essay is organized, and the effectiveness with which you communicate your ideas.

So, for example, an AWA question might present a short paragraph from a company memo. The paragraph explains the company’s reasoning behind a recent decision to change some aspect of the company’s operations. Your job is to find any flaws in the company’s reasoning, explain why they are flaws, and point out any further information that would be useful in assessing whether the company’s reasoning was valid. Fortunately, you are not required to give your personal views on the subject matter or have any specific knowledge of the given topic.

AWA questions do not require that you give your personal views on or have any specific knowledge of the given topic.

Now that we’ve reviewed the basics of what the GMAT AWA is, let’s take a look at how the section is scored.

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment is scored in half-point increments on a scale of 0 to 6. Your AWA score is not factored into your total GMAT score and is not included in the unofficial score report that you see on test day immediately after you finish your exam. The reason the AWA score is not included in your unofficial report is that, unlike the other sections of the GMAT, which are scored by the computer, the AWA is scored by both a computer and a human scorer. A trained human reader scores your essay using whole points from 0 to 6, and a computer algorithm scores your essay using half-point increments from 0 to 6.

Then, the two scores are averaged to produce your final score. If there is a large disparity between the human score and the computer score, a second human scorer evaluates your essay, and your score may be adjusted. Additionally, if you feel that your AWA score does not accurately reflect your essay, you can submit a request to have your essay rescored by an independent reader, for a fee of $45. Rescoring requests can be made only once per essay and must be submitted within 6 months of your test date.

Since the AWA takes longer to score than the other sections of the GMAT, you and any score recipients you select on test day will receive your AWA score when your Official Score Report is available, about two weeks after your test date. In the case of revised AWA scores, your new score will be sent to you and any designated schools about 20 days after you submit your rescore request.

Now let’s look at how to interpret AWA scores.

As with other GMAT section scores , every possible AWA score is associated with a percentile ranking. Here are the current percentile rankings, as compiled by GMAC:

These percentile rankings tell us, for example, that if you earn a perfect score of 6.0 on the AWA section, then you have scored better than 88% of all GMAT test-takers. According to GMAC, the mean AWA score was 4.45 for all test-takers who sat for the GMAT during the period from January 2017 through December 2019. As you can see in the table above, that mean is just below the 46th percentile. In general, schools consider a score of 4.5, or better than 46% of all test-takers, about average and consider a score of 5.0, or better than 56% of all test-takers, “good.” For most programs, your AWA score is likely to raise some eyebrows if it’s below 4.0.

Most schools generally consider an GMAT AWA score of 4.5 about average and a score of 5.0 “good.”

So, we know what the GMAT AWA section tests, how it’s scored, and what those scores mean. Now let’s take a look at the 5 essential GMAT AWA writing tips for earning a great score.

Tip #1: Use a 5-Paragraph Template

As I’ll discuss in further detail later, there are dozens and dozens of possible essay topics that can appear on the GMAT, and you have no way of knowing which topic will appear on your test. Thus, it is not a realistic or efficient strategy to try to game out answers to all of the possible essay prompts or memorize what the prompts are (a full list of the possible AWA questions is published by GMAC here ).

The great news is that you don’t need to know which argument you’ll be presented with on test day in order to write a well-organized response to it within the 30-minute time limit. Instead, you can apply a simple 5-paragraph structure to any GMAT essay topic in order to write a logically organized response containing the elements necessary to earn a high AWA score.

The standard 5-paragraph essay structure consists of the following:

  • An introductory paragraph
  • Three supporting points (paragraphs 2, 3, and 4)
  • A conclusion (paragraph 5)

Although there is no required word count for a GMAT AWA essay, a wise strategy is to shoot for around 500 words , give or take.

No matter the topic or argument, the basic template above will provide you with a logical framework for organizing your essay.

Apply a simple 5-paragraph structure to any GMAT essay topic to write a logically organized and complete argument analysis.

Let’s take a look at each part of the 5-paragraph structure in greater detail.

The purpose of your introductory paragraph is to restate the argument that has been presented to you and state your intention for critiquing it. In stating your intention, you should mention the flaws in the argument that you plan to address. Essentially, this prepares the reader for the points that they will encounter in paragraphs 2 through 4, without providing the specific details that those later paragraphs will include. In fact, your intro paragraph should accomplish everything it needs to in around 5 or 6 sentences.

The purpose of your introductory paragraph is to restate the argument that has been presented to you and state your intention for critiquing it.

The first sentence of the intro paragraph should always restate the given argument. So, you might start off your essay in one of the following ways, for example:

The argument states that … The argument claims that … The argument makes the claim that …

No need to get creative with the jumping off point for your AWA essay; you simply want to show that you understand what the argument is. When restating the argument, you can repeat much of the same language that is used in the question stem, but you should aim to rephrase the argument in as concise a manner as possible. You want to encapsulate the crux of the argument, not just rewrite the entire essay prompt. In particular, if the argument provides supporting evidence, that evidence is not necessary to repeat in your restatement of the argument. You’ll address the given evidence later, in your supporting points.

To better understand how to restate an argument, let’s look at an example of an actual GMAT AWA example that a test-taker could see on the exam:

The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen foods:

“Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day service in 1970 to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and thus maximize profits.”

So, your essay might start off with the following restatement of the given argument:

The argument claims that Olympic Foods’ nearly 25 years of experience in food processing will enable the company to minimize costs and thus maximize profits. This conclusion is based on the premise that the costs of processing go down over time because organizations become more efficient as they learn how to do things better.

As you can see, much of the exact same language used in the essay prompt is repeated in the restatement of the argument above. However, the information is reorganized somewhat; in this case, the premise and conclusion are in the reverse order, with the conclusion of the argument stated first, and the premise on which the conclusion is based stated afterward.

Furthermore, the perspective of how the argument is stated has changed. In the essay prompt, the perspective was that of a statement in an annual report sent to stockholders. Clearly, your essay response would not be written from such a perspective, so some changes to the wording of the prompt are necessary. Notice also that the somewhat conversational tone of the prompt has been eliminated in the restatement and that extraneous words are left out. Lastly, notice that the supporting example given in the prompt is not included in the restatement that begins our response.

Of course, how you restate a given argument will depend largely on what the argument is. In some cases, you may be able to restate an argument in one sentence. In other cases, as above, you may need two sentences. The goal is to clearly and succinctly state what the argument is, distilling it down to its essence using the language used in the prompt, but not including any of the “filler.” The good news is that no matter what AWA question you encounter, the first sentence or two of your response will essentially already be written for you!

Always begin a GMAT AWA with a restatement of the given argument.

Let’s continue with our Olympic Foods example above. Your next task in the intro paragraph, after you restate the argument, is to outline on what grounds you plan to attack the argument. For example, you might say that the argument fails to take several key factors into account in reaching its conclusion, and then list the 3 such factors that you will address in the paragraphs that follow. Or you might say that the argument makes faulty assumptions and bases its claims on insufficient evidence, and then mention what those assumptions are that you plan to critique. Again, your job here is to highlight only those weak points in the argument that you will critique in your supporting points, so you should not include any argument flaws in your intro that you won’t address later on. Quickly jotting down on your scratch pad which flaws you plan to address, before you start writing your essay, can help you organize your thoughts and pinpoint exactly what you want the focus of each supporting paragraph to be.

Remember, you may be able to find a dozen flaws in an argument, but you won’t have time to critique them all. Furthermore, you shouldn’t waste time finding more flaws than you need and trying to decide which are the “best” ones to write about. The flaws that are most obvious to you — in other words, the ones you notice first — are likely the ones that will be easiest for you to expound on. After all, you noticed them right away, so there are probably relatively clear reasons why they represent weak points in the argument.

So, your restatement of the argument should be followed by a brief summary or overview of what your response to the argument will be. Let’s take a look at how we might do that in the case of the Olympic Foods question:

However, the argument lacks relevant and sufficient evidence, making several assumptions that ignore key factors that could affect its conclusion. For example, the argument assumes that an organization becomes more efficient as time passes. Furthermore, the argument assumes that cost savings achieved in tandem with increased efficiency must be the result of increased efficiency. Finally, the argument assumes that the downward trend of costs that was observed in one sector of processing will replicate in another, unrelated sector of processing.

In total, our sample intro paragraph is 6 sentences: 2 sentences restating the argument, and 4 sentences laying out what our critique of the argument will be. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on the essay prompt, but this basic framework can apply to whatever GMAT AWA question you see.

In the intro paragraph, follow your restatement of the argument with a brief summary or overview of what your critique of the argument (supporting points) will be.

After you’ve introduced the points you’ll touch on in your AWA essay, you’ll need to expand on those points in the next 3 paragraphs. Let’s talk about that now.

Paragraphs 2 through 4 represent the “meat” of your essay, with each paragraph elaborating on one of the points of critique you summarized in your intro. At the beginning of each of these paragraphs, you’ll want to state what aspect of the argument you’re critiquing in that paragraph, and then why that aspect is flawed. You may want to use real-world examples to support your critique, particularly if the word count of your essay is a little light. At the end of each supporting paragraph, you may want to mention a way that the aspect of the argument you’re discussing could’ve been strengthened.

Let’s take for example the second flaw that we set out to critique in our Olympic Foods essay, which will be the focus of the essay’s third paragraph: the argument assumes that cost savings achieved in tandem with increased efficiency must be the result of increased efficiency. In this paragraph, you might start off by saying that the argument supports its conclusion with an example of a decrease in cost and coinciding increase in processing speed that was realized after a number of years. You might then go on to say that the argument provides no evidence to demonstrate that this correlation is actually a causal relationship. Then, you might provide the real-world example of increased automation over those years as a factor that could simultaneously cut the labor costs associated with processing (and therefore reduce the total processing cost) and increase processing speed. Of course, automation and other technological advancements may or may not be readily available at any point in time and can be implemented at an organization regardless of how long it has been in existence, and both of those facts undermine the argument’s conclusion that Olympic Foods can expect to minimize costs because of its long experience. Thus, the argument would have been more convincing if it presented evidence that established that the observed cost savings were actually the result of faster processing times as opposed to some other factor, such as increased automation.

Each of the 3 paragraphs between your intro and your conclusion should elaborate on 1 of the supporting points you summarized in your intro.

Before we move on to the conclusion paragraph, I want to address a common question among GMAT students: whether writing 2 supporting paragraphs instead of 3 is a score-killer in AWA. The truth is, you may be able to earn a decent AWA score by including just 2 supporting points in your essay. And if for some reason you are running seriously low on time or absolutely can’t come up with a third supporting point, then I would say that a completed essay with just 2 supporting points is certainly better than an essay with 2 and a half supporting points and no conclusion, or 3 supporting points and no conclusion. However, there is really no way to say for sure what exact score difference 2 vs. 3 supporting paragraphs makes. So, to be on the safe side — unless you are truly stumped for ideas — plan to write 3.

Your conclusion paragraph is similar to your intro paragraph in that it should summarize the ways that the given argument is flawed. However, your conclusion should also summarize how the argument could be strengthened or the argument’s conclusion could be more accurately assessed. So, essentially, your conclusion paragraph pulls from all of the paragraphs that came before it, providing a tight summary of the main points of your critique and “wrapping a bow” around what you have stated about the validity of the argument’s reasoning.

A conclusion paragraph often begins with a phrase such as “In conclusion,” or “In summary,” but depending on how you organize your thoughts, you may choose to begin your conclusion paragraph differently. Additionally, you may decide to include a “concession” as part of your conclusion. A concession is a statement recognizing that some aspect of a given argument may be valid. For example, a concession could be phrased as such:

Although the argument rightly acknowledges that increased efficiency is one way that an organization can achieve cost savings …

Similar to the intro paragraph, the conclusion paragraph should accomplish its aims in around 4 or 5 sentences. This is not the place to reiterate details, give examples, or introduce new information.

In about 4 or 5 sentences, your conclusion paragraph should provide a tight summary of the main points of your critique and “wrap a bow” around what you have stated about the validity of the argument’s reasoning.

Before we move on to tip #2, take a look at the GMAT analytical writing example question, along with an essay response that received the highest possible AWA score, 6.0, at the bottom of this page . Notice that the essay follows the basic structure of introduction, 3 supporting points with real-world examples, and conclusion. In this case, the writer broke the introductory paragraph into two paragraphs, with the first paragraph restating the argument, and the second paragraph summarizing the intended response, but you can see that the component parts of the essay remain the same as those in our standard 5-paragraph structure.

An important part of scoring well on GMAT Analytical Writing is demonstrating logical organization and clear communication of your thoughts from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph. If your essay seems to jump randomly from one idea to the next, then the reader scoring your essay will have a harder time following your train of thought. Thus, your analysis of the given argument may seem confusing and poorly thought out.

The fact is, even if your ideas are laid out in a logical order, in order to make your essay more readable and understandable, you need to create smooth transitions between paragraphs and between different ideas within the same paragraph. One of the main ways to create smooth transitions is to introduce new ideas using transition words and phrases. For example, the phrase “for example” is a transition phrase that we can use any time we want to shift from talking about a concept to talking about an example that illustrates that concept. Such words and phrases form the “connective tissue” that brings together all of the different parts of an essay into a cohesive whole.

Transition words and phrases form the “connective tissue” that brings together all of the different parts of an essay into a cohesive whole.

Transition words are commonly used to introduce new paragraphs, but you should also seek to incorporate them within the paragraphs of your essay in order to introduce examples or opinions, indicate contrast or support, help sum up your thoughts, show a result, or add emphasis to an important idea. Here are some key transition words and phrases that often come in handy in writing GMAT AWA essays:

  • For example
  • For instance
  • Additionally
  • In addition
  • Furthermore
  • In contrast
  • On the other hand
  • As a result
  • Consequently
  • In conclusion

The point is not to memorize this list but to be aware of the importance of transition words for clarifying your ideas and showing the logical progression of your analysis. In short, transition words make your essay more readable! Remember, there will eventually be a person reading and scoring your essay, a person who likely has to evaluate many, many GMAT essays. So, you want to make your essay as clear and engaging as possible. Transition words can help you do just that.

Use transition words throughout your essay to introduce new paragraphs, link different ideas within paragraphs, and show the logical progression of your thoughts.

Although the AWA section is primarily scored with an eye toward the overall structure, cohesiveness, and clarity of your essay, technical aspects such as grammar, spelling, and word choice are still factored into your AWA score. In this respect, the knowledge you’ve gathered while training for GMAT Sentence Correction should come in handy. Are your sentences well-structured, clear, and concise, or are they wordy and circular? Does your essay contain any run-on sentences, redundant words, or incorrect idioms? While you shouldn’t expect to have time to make sure that your essay is grammatically perfect, you do want to make sure that you don’t turn in sloppy, rushed writing.

Keep in mind that a few errors here and there are not going to sink your AWA score, but your essay will appear more polished and “finished” if you’re mindful of basic grammar rules and spelling. If a sentence is becoming overly long and winding, break it into two sentences. Demonstrate a broad vocabulary by varying your word choice. Most importantly, be aware that, even if your analysis is sound and your essay is well-organized, if you completely neglect the basics of grammar and spelling, your ideas will be less clear and your essay will be less readable overall.

Vary your word choice, break up overly long sentences, and be mindful of basic grammar and spelling in order to create a more polished essay.

You may be surprised at how quickly the time flies by when you’re writing your essay. So, don’t expect that you’ll have time at the end of the section to do significant revisions of what you wrote. In fact, you’re likely to find that you have no more than a minute or two — if that — to do a quick read-through of your completed essay. So, it’s important to construct your essay carefully and methodically as you’re writing it , because you probably won’t have time to go back later and do a major cleanup of your work or flesh out a bunch of half-formed ideas.

As you’re writing, make each sentence a “finished product” before you move onto the next one. Does that mean writing and rewriting the same sentence four times until you think it’s perfect? No. You will never be able to write a full and complete essay in the allotted time if you’re agonizing over every sentence. You don’t have time to seek perfection, nor do you need to in order to earn a great AWA score. If possible, use the last 2 minutes or so of your time to do a quick check for any spelling errors or glaring grammatical mistakes in your essay. Just don’t expect to have the last 10 or even 5 minutes of the section time to revise your work.

If possible, use the last 2 minutes of your time to do a quick check for spelling and grammar errors, but don’t expect to have 5 or 10 minutes to make significant revisions to your essay.

One of the most challenging and time-consuming aspects of the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment is coming up with 3 supporting points. Your supporting points make up the bulk of your essay, and also the portion of your essay that requires the most critical thinking, creativity, and original thought. A great way to prepare yourself for this challenge is to practice thinking up supporting points for the actual essay topics published by GMAC. As a side benefit, this method of practice will also give you a chance to get acquainted with what AWA questions look like, the types of arguments they present, and how those arguments may be flawed.

Browse the topics list and choose a few at random for which you can practice coming up with 3 supporting points with real-world examples. You could also do a full practice essay or two, but I don’t recommend preparing for AWA by writing numerous, complete practice essays. The fact is, if you have the 5-paragraph template down, and you’ve reviewed the types of arguments presented in AWA questions, writing many practice essays really isn’t necessary in order to prepare for GMAT AWA. There is plenty to learn and practice for the GMAT , so you don’t want to waste valuable study time doing more than is actually needed to earn a high score. Thus, I also don’t recommend reading through the entire AWA question list (or attempting to memorize the essay prompts) as a productive use of your time.

Choose random essay prompts from the AWA question list published by GMAC, and practice coming up with 3 supporting points and real-world examples for them.

Now that you know these 5 key GMAT writing tips for scoring 6.0 on the Analytical Writing Assessment, check out these 8 tips for conquering GMAT Sentence Correction and these 8 GMAT Reading Comprehension dos and don’ts .

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How to Structure your GMAT AWA Essay for Maximum Impact

How to Structure your GMAT AWA Essay for Maximum Impact

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GMAT is one that many students find the most intimidating. The fact that it asks candidates to write a free-form essay – in contrast to the multiple-choice natures of the Quant and Verbal sections – can seem overwhelming, particularly to the many non-native-speaking candidates of the GMAT.

But the fact is that the AWA is, deceptively, almost as structured as its multiple-choice counterparts. Sure – you can theoretically write anything on that paper. But the fact is that, due to the constraints of long-form-essay structures, and the general format followed by AWA questions and answers, your answer will generally follow a very specific structure.

Mastering that structure will give you a strong chance of getting the score that you want on the AWA. This means that with the right preparation, the right GMAT essay length and the right kind of formatting, you can tackle pretty much any question you’re likely to face.

Table of Contents

What is the GMAT AWA?

The Analytical Writing Assessment (often simply called the “GMAT essay”) comprises one single question. You’ll be presented with a single argument and a supporting paragraph that will detail how you should approach analyzing and critiquing that argument. You’ll then have 30 minutes in which to craft your response.

The AWA can either be the first or last section of the overall test, depending on your particular preference. If you find that you’re a confident and strong essay writer, it may be best to tackle the AWA first thing, so you can get it out of the way and go into the multiple-choice sections on a high. Conversely, if you find essay writing difficult or you have trouble organizing your thoughts, it may be a good idea to do the AWA last, after you’ve got the Verbal and Quant sections out of the way and you’ve built your confidence up a little more.

You have 30 minutes to complete the AWA. This includes reading the argument and supporting text, and any time you take to prepare your answer. There is no official word count, but the nature of the 30-minute time limit will inevitably limit how much you write.

The GMAT AWA Prompt  

The AWA always features a prompt, which is an argument of some kind related to marketing, education, social issues, politics, the environment, economics, and other areas of general social interest. You’re not required to have specialist knowledge of esoteric fields of study, but you are expected to have reasonably strong general knowledge.

The prompt is always flawed in some way, and it will be your task to identify and analyze these flaws. We’ll get into the exact nature of these flaws a little later.

Following the prompt itself are the directions you’ll need to follow. These directions are always the same, and can be found in the verbatim below:

“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 fact that these directions are always the same is a massive boost when it comes to preparing for the AWA and thinking about how to structure your response. It means that the underlying structure of your essay will always be the same: analyze the argument, identify any flaws in its reasoning, and expose them. You may also offer examples that counter the argument, and make suggestions as to how the argument might be made stronger.

What You Need to Know About the GMAT AWA Prompt

How is the GMAT AWA Section Scored?

The AWA is scored from 0-6 , in half-point increments. Thus you may get a score of 2.0 or 2.5, but never 2.6, 2.7 etc.

The test is marked both by a human examiner and a computer. The human examiner is usually a university professor with extensive experience of marking essays. The computer, on the other hand, uses a sophisticated algorithm to analyze and mark any given essay. This algorithm enables the machine assessor to recognize and assess typical features of any given essay (such as having introductory, body and conclusion paragraphs) and assesses the suitability of your choice of grammar and vocabulary, as well as your syntax, sentence structure and use of keywords.

If there is more than a point of discrepancy between the human and machine examiner, a second human examiner will be brought in to re-mark the essay. In this way, the scoring is as rigorous and fair as possible.

What is a Good Score on the GMAT?

The GMAC defines their scores as follows:

  • 6: outstanding
  • 4: adequate
  • 2: seriously flawed
  • 1: fundamentally deficient

Thus, a 4.5 or higher is generally considered to be a ‘good’ score on the test.

How do you get an Outstanding Score on the GMAT AWA?

If you’re shooting for a perfect 6.0, it’s a good idea to look at how the AWA rubric defines such a score.

The GMAC describes a 6.0-scoring essay as being “cogent” and “well-articulated”. It will display a mastery of the various elements of strong writing, and will take steps to do the following:

  • Clearly identify the key features of the argument, and write about these features with insight and intelligence.
  • Present ideas and critiques clearly and in a logically organized manner. These should be seamlessly connected with fluid and clear transitions.
  • Demonstrate a near-flawless command of the English language, with excellent use of syntax, grammar and punctuation. There may be a few minor flaws.
  • Effectively supports their ideas and critiques with corroborating evidence.

All told, then, a good essay will feature strong analysis, well-developed ideas that are backed up with strong supporting evidence, and a masterful command of written English. Check out our article on how you can prepare to get a full 6.0 score for the AWA section of the GMAT .

Establishing an AWA Template

As previously mentioned, the structure of your GMAT AWA essay will always take the same basic format. It’s therefore a good idea to establish an essay template and stick to that template throughout all of your practice runs at the AWA. That way, by the time you step into that test room, writing your response should almost be a case of muscle memory.

While your AWA template can’t help out with effective use of grammar and vocabulary, it can really streamline the process of crafting your essay. A good template will feature the following:

  • A paragraph-by-paragraph structural outline of your essay;
  • What the general content of each paragraph will be;
  • Pre-written sentence stems that can be plugged in as and when needed.

Your essay doesn’t need to be particularly creative or innovative; remember that there is a standardized rubric followed by both the human and machine examiners, so they’re not particularly interested in being wowed by fresh new approaches. In fact, most of the top-scoring essays are very formulaic in their approach, having very similar structures and arguments throughout. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel with yours.

A good template, used effectively, takes a lot of the mental busywork out of writing your AWA essay, allowing you more time to think about the actual content of your response, rather than its structure.

Examples of AWA Essay Templates  

There are a number of approaches you can take when deciding upon the best AWA essay structure for you. Whatever approach you choose, be sure to get plenty of practice by answering lots of sample AWA questions . 

The “Flaw-by-Flaw” Template

This template identifies a number of flaws in the argument, then dedicates a paragraph to fully breaking down each of those flaws. Suggestions for improving each argument are found within each of those body paragraphs, rather than summarized elsewhere.

The basic structure is as follows:

Introduction (2-3 Sentences)

  • Restate the argument (e.g. “the argument claims that…”)
  • State the ways in which you find the argument flawed, in the order in which you’ll discuss them
  • Optional: acknowledge parts of the argument that work in spite of the flaws

Body Paragraphs (2-3 Paragraphs, Each of 4-5 Sentences)

  • Restate one of the flaws you introduced in your first paragraph
  • Explain the nature of the flaw (e.g. insufficient evidence, correlation does not equal causation, etc.)
  • Optional: offer counterexamples that work to undermine the argument
  • Suggest improvements that may work to strengthen the argument

Conclusion Paragraph (3-4 Sentences)

  • Restate the fact that the argument is flawed (“all in all, we can see from the flaws in this argument that…”)
  • Optional: restate any merit the argument has despite its flaws
  • Restate your line(s) of reasoning, ensuring not to use the same wording.

Pros and Cons of the “Flaw-by-Flaw” Template

This template is great for providing a detailed breakdown of the argument in a clear, controlled and well-organized manner. However, it can be easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of each paragraph to the detriment of the overall essay – particularly due to the fact that you’ll be offering suggestions for improvements as you go, rather than summarizing them elsewhere.

It’s therefore a tricky template if you’re already struggling with the strictures of the 30-minute time limit, and requires a considerable amount of practice to use properly and efficiently.

The “Summarized Improvements” Template

With this template, you’ll summarize any improvements that can be made to the argument in a separate paragraph, rather than addressing them on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis.

This essay template takes the following format:

Introductory Paragraph (2-3 Sentences)

  • Summarize the argument
  • Enumerate the ways in which the argument is flawed, in the order in which you’ll discuss the flaws
  • Optional: acknowledge parts of the argument that work despite its flaws

Body Paragraphs (2-3 Paragraphs of 4-5 Sentences)

  • Introduce one of the flaws
  • Identify the nature of the flaw (e.g. which specific logical fallacy it’s an example of)
  • Optional: offer counterexamples that weaken the argument

Concluding Paragraph (5+ Sentences)

  • Recapitulate the argument and the flaws thereof
  • Restate your analysis of the flaws
  • Summarize the ways in which the argument could be improved or strengthened
  • Optional: restate that the argument may not be completely without merit

If you cannot find three or more flaws in the argument, you can instead dedicate the third paragraph to potential improvements, moving them up from your concluding paragraph and leaving that dedicated to recapitulating the argument and your critiques thereof.

Pros and Cons of the “Summarized Improvements” Template 

This template is much better for giving your essay a laser focus that the “flaw-by-flaw” template can lose if you’re someone who gets bogged down in the details. It ensures that you have a clear and focused essay finished by the time your thirty minutes are up.

On the other hand, it may lack the specificity and detail of the other essay template. If you’re an accomplished and speedy essay writer with an eye for detail, it may be best to eschew this template in favor of the “flaw-by-flaw” one. 

Creating your own GMAT AWA Essay Template

The abovementioned essay templates are suggestions only, and you may indeed find that they don’t work for you or your needs. If this is the case, then you should take a stab at crafting your own template.

This can be a little difficult if you don’t have much experience with the format of the AWA, however, and so it’s probably best to practice with the given templates to start with. You can then grade your practice tests (whether self-grading or using other methods ) and see what’s working for you and what isn’t.

Once you’ve finished and have graded your essay, analyze the essay on both a macro and micro level. What worked about the essay as a whole? What didn’t, and why? Was your conclusion weak because you spent too much time on each individual paragraph? Did you forget to include suggestions for improvements because you ran out of time?

Once you have an idea of the areas you need to work on, you can work on a template that works for you. Perhaps you’d do better to offer counterexamples and improvements in each paragraph as you go. Perhaps these details are distracting and you’re getting bogged down trying to think of clever ways to end each paragraph; in this case, it might help to have a few more canned sentence stems so you don’t waste too much time on this.

Whatever the case, once you’ve established a template, stick with it for a few practice tests, then reassess the situation. If you find that something still isn’t working, you can alter your template as you see fit. Keep going until you’ve found an approach that works for you and your essay-writing habits.

Altering Your Template on the Fly

While having a template is a massive help in giving you a general outline of how your essay is going to be structured, in rare instances you’ll find that your predetermined template simply doesn’t work.

For instance, some arguments that crop up on the AWA are so weak that they don’t really have flaws as such to examine. They may, for instance, be all conclusion with no assumptions to analyze at all. In this case, rather than analyzing weaknesses in the argument, you may instead need to base the entire essay on what information you might need before you could even begin to assess the effectiveness of the argument.

This could be done by simply expanding your “improvement” paragraph into 3-4 paragraphs, with each paragraph introducing an improvement that could be made to the argument, and why that improvement would help the argument better make its point.

The general point here is that your template should be robust and flexible enough to survive a structural change or two and still work; if it’s too rigid and you’ve geared it towards one particular approach to the exclusion of all others, you could run into trouble on test day.

Using Canned Sentence Stems

Pre-written sentence stems are of use in any essay, and can be massively useful when it comes to the GMAT AWA essay structure. There are a number of phrases that are readily associated with formal essay writing, and they remove the headache of trying to come up with new and inventive ways to introduce, expound upon, and conclude your ideas.

For a great list of useful sentence stems, check out our guide on what to do to get 6.0.

Knowing how to structure your GMAT AWA essay can’t get a 6.0 for you, but it does put you on the right path. It can speed up your response time, increase your GMAT essay length (as you’ll spend less time worrying about the structure) and help to present your ideas in a coherent and clear manner.

Even if you’re a non-native speaker, sticking to a template and using pre-written discourse markers ensure that you are equipped with all the tools necessary to acing the AWA. It’s just a case of making effective use of them. 

The GMAT AWA: Understanding the Format and How to Prepare

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GMAT AWA Topics – Sample Prompts

Before you start.

Remember that the AWA is testing your ability to effectively critique an argument being presented. There will be some common fallacies used in the prompts that you will need to address. Familiarize yourself with these flawed arguments so that you can quickly identify them as you write your essay:

Inappropriate Comparisons – comparing two things which are not necessarily similar, thus leading to a flawed conclusion. You will notice that in an inappropriate comparison, the argument will only note the similarities between two things with no explanation of why the differences do not change the outcome.

Example: "Dogs are highly motivated by food, which is a useful tool for training. Using this same method, you can help to encourage your children to repeat positive behaviors." This argument does not address early childhood development, nor does it address dog psychology – the person assumes that if a solution worked in one situation, it will work in the other.

Vague Language – using words such as "many", "few", "some", "more", or "less" without further qualification is often too vague to make a cogent point.

Example: "In Chicago, more people voted to add bike lanes than people did in Aurora, so it is clear that the citizens in Chicago are more pro-bike than the citizens in Aurora." This argument does not explain what 'more' means. Is it by percentage? Does it refer to raw number of votes, and if so, does it take into account the number of voters in Chicago vs. the number of voters in Aurora?

Correlation vs Causation – this common fallacy asserts that because something occurred, it must be a consequence of some specific variable observed before the result.

Example: "Students in Neighborhood A have higher test scores on average that students in Neighborhood B. Therefore, it is clear that the schools in Neighborhood A are better than the schools in Neighborhood B." This argument is flawed because it assumes the only meaningful variable in test scores was the school the children attend. This argument does not consider other various factors, such as poverty, school resources, home situations, and the parents' abilility to supplement educational opportunities, etc.

Sampling Issues – a case in which statistics are used inappropriately to compare unlike populations or to draw broad conclusions using a small sample.

Example: "56% of the reviews of Company A are negative, which shows that most customers are very unhappy with the service provided." The problem with this argument is that it does not address the percentage of overall customers who have written reviews. How do we know that this is representative of all customers vs. those who are upset about an issue and take the time to write a review?

Now that you have reviewed some common flawed arguments you may encounter, it is time to get started practicing!

Sample Prompt 1

The following appeared in the health section of a magazine on trends and lifestyles:

"People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame are better off consuming sugar, since aspartame can actually contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss. For example, high levels of aspartame have been shown to trigger a craving for food by depleting the brain of a chemical that registers satiety, or the sense of being full. Furthermore, studies suggest that sugars, if consumed after at least 45 minutes of continuous exercise, actually enhance the body’s ability to burn fat. Consequently, those who drink aspartame-sweetened juices after exercise will also lose this calorie-burning benefit. Thus, it appears that people consuming aspartame rather than sugar are unlikely to achieve their dietary goals."

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.

Sample Prompt 2

The following appeared in the opinion column of a financial magazine:

"On average, middle-aged consumers devote 39 percent of their retail expenditure to department store products and services, while for younger consumers the average is only 25 percent. Since the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically within the next decade, department stores can expect retail sales to increase significantly during that period. Furthermore, to take advantage of the trend, these stores should begin to replace some of those products intended to attract the younger consumer with products intended to attract the middle-aged consumer."

Sample Prompt 3

The following appeared as part of an editorial in an industry newsletter:

"While trucking companies that deliver goods pay only a portion of highway maintenance costs and no property tax on the highways they use, railways spend billions per year maintaining and upgrading their facilities. The government should lower the railroad companies’ property taxes, since sending goods by rail is clearly a more appropriate mode of ground transportation than highway shipping. For one thing, trains consume only a third of the fuel a truck would use to carry the same load, making them a more cost-effective and environmentally sound mode of transport. Furthermore, since rail lines already exist, increases in rail traffic would not require building new lines at the expense of taxpaying citizens."

Sample Prompt 4

The following was excerpted from the speech of a spokesperson for Synthetic Farm Products, Inc.:

"Many farmers who invested in the equipment needed to make the switch from synthetic to organic fertilizers and pesticides feel that it would be too expensive to resume synthetic farming at this point. But studies of farmers who switched to organic farming last year indicate that their current crop yields are lower. Hence their purchase of organic farming equipment, a relatively minor investment compared to the losses that would result from continued lower crop yields, cannot justify persisting on an unwise course. And the choice to farm organically is financially unwise, given that it was motivated by environmental rather than economic concerns."

Sample Prompt 5

The following is part of a business plan created by the management of the Megamart grocery store:

"Our total sales have increased this year by 20 percent since we added a pharmacy section to our grocery store. Clearly, the customer’s main concern is the convenience afforded by one-stop shopping. The surest way to increase our profits over the next couple of years, therefore, is to add a clothing department along with an automotive supplies and repair shop. We should also plan to continue adding new departments and services, such as a restaurant and a garden shop, in subsequent years. Being the only store in the area that offers such a range of services will give us a competitive advantage over other local stores."

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Homepage > Prepare for GMAT > GMAT Essay – List of AWA Topics – 50 Practice Questions on GMAT AWA 2023

GMAT Essay – List of AWA Topics – 50 Practice Questions on GMAT AWA 2023

Posted by Suheb Hussain | Jan 25, 2023 | GMAT IR and AWA , Know the GMAT , Prepare for GMAT

GMAT Essay – List of AWA Topics – 50 Practice Questions on GMAT AWA 2023

This document contains practice questions that will help you improve the AWA section or the GMAT essay section. Discuss in your GMAT essay how well-reasoned you find the argument. Here are some ways you can do that while writing your GMAT essay for the AWA section. 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.

We also recommend you read this article on how to score a perfect 6 on the GMAT AWA.

GMAT Essay AWA Practice Questions

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GMAT Essay practice question 1

  • The following appeared as part of an article in a trade magazine:

“During a recent trial period in which government inspections at selected meat-processing plants were more frequent, the number of bacteria in samples of processed chicken decreased by 50 percent on average from the previous year’s level. If the government were to institute more frequent inspections, the incidence of stomach and intestinal infections throughout the country could thus be cut in half. In the meantime, consumers of Excel Meats should be safe from infection because Excel’s main processing plant has shown more improvement in eliminating bacterial contamination than any other plant cited in the government report.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

GMAT Essay practice question 2

2. The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen foods:

“Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day service in 1970 to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and thus maximize profits.”

GMAT AWA practice question 3

3. 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.”

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GMAT Essay practice question 4

4. The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts:

“In a recent citywide poll, 15 percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago. During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city’s art museums has increased by a similar percentage. Since the corporate funding that supports public television, where most of the visual arts programs appear, is now being threatened with severe cuts, we can expect that attendance at our city’s art museums will also start to decrease. Thus some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television.”

GMAT Essay practice question 5

5. The following appeared in an announcement issued by the publisher of The Mercury , a weekly newspaper:

“Since a competing lower-priced newspaper, The Bugle , was started five years ago, The Mercury ’s circulation has declined by 10,000 readers. The best way to get more people to read The Mercury is to reduce its price below that of The Bugle , at least until circulation increases to former levels. The increased circulation of The Mercury will attract more businesses to buy advertising space in the paper.”

Attention test takers! GMAC has recently announced a new version of the GMAT test called the GMAT Focus edition. This new test will be launched in the latter part of 2023, while the current version of the test will be available till at least early 2024.

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GMAT Essay practice question 6

6.  The following appeared in a report presented for discussion at a meeting of the directors of a company that manufactures parts for heavy machinery:

“The falling revenues that the company is experiencing coincide with delays in manufacturing. These delays, in turn, are due in large part to poor planning in purchasing metals. Consider further that the manager of the department that handles purchasing of raw materials has an excellent background in general business, psychology, and sociology, but knows little about the properties of metals. The company should, therefore, move the purchasing manager to the sales department and bring in a scientist from the research division to be manager of the purchasing department.”

GMAT Essay practice question 7

7. The following appeared in a research paper written for an introductory economics course:

“For the past century, an increase in the number of residential building permits issued per month in a particular region has been a reliable indicator of coming improvements to that region’s economy. If the monthly number of residential building permits issued rises consistently for a few months, the local unemployment rate almost always falls and economic production increases. This well-established connection reveals an effective method by which a regional government can end a local economic downturn: relax regulations governing all construction so that many more building permits can be issued.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . .etc.

GMAT Essay practice question 8

8.  The following appeared in a memorandum to the work-group supervisors of the GBS Company:

“The CoffeeCart beverage and food service located in the lobby of our main office building is not earning enough in sales to cover its costs, and so the cart may discontinue operating at GBS. Given the low staff morale, as evidenced by the increase in the number of employees leaving the company, the loss of this service could present a problem, especially since the staff morale questionnaire showed widespread dissatisfaction with the snack machines.

Therefore, supervisors should remind the employees in their group to patronize the cart—after all, it was leased for their convenience so that they would not have to walk over to the cafeteria on breaks.”

GMAT Essay practice question 9

9. The following appeared in a memorandum written by the chair of the music department to the president of Omega University:

“Mental health experts have observed that symptoms of mental illness are less pronounced in many patients after group music-therapy sessions, and job openings in the music-therapy field have increased during the past year. Consequently, graduates from our degree program for music therapists should have no trouble finding good positions. To help improve the financial status of Omega University, we should, therefore, expand our music-therapy degree program by increasing its enrollment targets.”

GMAT Essay practice question 10

10. The following appeared in a memorandum from the vice president of Gigantis, a development company that builds and leases retail store facilities:

“Nationwide over the past five years, sales have increased significantly at outlet stores that deal exclusively in reduced-price merchandise. Therefore, we should publicize the new mall that we are building at Pleasantville as a central location for outlet shopping and rent storage space only to outlet companies. By taking advantage of the success of outlet stores, this plan should help ensure full occupancy of the mall and enable us to recover quickly the costs of building the mall.”

11. The following appeared in a memorandum from the business planning department of Avia Airlines:

“Of all the cities in their region, Beaumont and Fletcher are showing the fastest growth in the number of new businesses. Therefore, Avia should establish a commuter route between them as a means of countering recent losses on its main passenger routes. And to make the commuter route more profitable from the outset, Avia should offer a 1/3 discount on tickets purchased within two days of the flight. Unlike tickets bought earlier, discount tickets will be nonrefundable, and so gain from their sale will be greater.”

12. The following appeared in a speech by a stockholder of Consolidated Industries at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting:

“In the computer hardware division last year, profits fell significantly below projections, the product line decreased from 20 to only 5 items, and expenditures for employee benefits increased by 15 percent. Nevertheless, Consolidated’s board of directors has approved an annual salary of more than $1 million for our company’s chief executive officer. The present board members should be replaced because they are unconcerned about the increasing costs of employee benefits and salaries, in spite of the company’s problems generating income.”

13.  The following appeared as part of a business plan by the Capital Idea investment firm:

“In recent years the worldwide demand for fish has grown, and improvements in fishing technology have made larger catches and thus increased supply possible: for example, last year’s tuna catch was 9 percent greater than the previous year’s. To capitalize on these trends, we should, therefore, invest in the new tartfish processing plant on Tartfish Island, where increasing revenues from tourism indicate a strong local economy.”

14. The following appeared as part of an article in a weekly newsmagazine:

“The country of Oleum can best solve the problem of its balance of trade deficit by further increasing the tax on its major import, crude oil. After Oleum increased the tax on imported crude oil four months ago, consumption of gasoline declined by 20 percent. Therefore, by imposing a second and significantly higher tax increase next year, Oleum will dramatically decrease its balance of trade deficit.”

15. The following appeared in a memorandum from the human resources department of HomeStyle, a house remodeling business:

“This year, despite HomeStyle’s move to new office space, we have seen a decline in both company morale and productivity, and a corresponding increase in administrative costs. To rectify these problems, we should begin using a newly developed software package for performance appraisal and feedback. Managers will save time by simply choosing comments from a preexisting list; then the software will automatically generate feedback for the employee. The human resources department at CounterBalance, the manufacturer of the countertops we install, reports satisfaction with the package.”

16. The following appeared in a memorandum written by the managing director of the Exeunt Theater Company:

“Now that we have moved to a larger theater, we can expect to increase our revenues from ticket sales. To further increase profits, we should start producing the plays that have been most successful when they were performed in our nation’s largest cities. In addition, we should hire the Adlib Theater Company’s director of fund-raising, since corporate contributions to Adlib have increased significantly over the three years that she has worked for Adlib.”

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17. The following appeared in a memorandum from a regional supervisor of post office operations:

“During a two-week study of postal operations, the Presto City post office handled about twice as many items as the Lento City post office, even though the cities are about the same size. Moreover, customer satisfaction appears to be higher in Presto City, since the study found fewer complaints regarding the Presto City post office. Therefore, the postmasters at these two offices should exchange assignments: the Presto City postmaster will solve the problems of inefficiency and customer dissatisfaction at the Lento City office while the Lento City postmaster learns firsthand the superior methods of Presto City.”

18. The following appeared in a memorandum from the human resources department of Diversified Manufacturing:

“Managers at our central office report that their employees tend to be most productive in the days immediately preceding a vacation. To help counteract our declining market share, we could increase the productivity of our professional staff members, who currently receive four weeks paid vacation a year, by limiting them to a maximum of one week’s continuous vacation time. They will thus take more vacation breaks during a year and give us more days of maximum productivity.”

19. The following appeared in a memorandum from the marketing department of a children’s clothing manufacturer:

“Our HuggyBunny brand is the bestselling brand of children’s clothing. Parents everywhere recognize the HuggyBunny logo as a mark of quality, and most of our customers show great brand loyalty. Sales reports have shown that parents are more likely to buy children’s clothes with the familiar HuggyBunny brand and logo than otherwise identical clothes without it. Therefore, if we use the HuggyBunny brand name and logo for the new line of clothing for teenagers that our company will soon be introducing, that clothing will sell better than it would if we labeled it with a new brand name and logo.”

20. The following appeared in a memorandum from the president of Aurora, a company that sells organic milk (milk produced without the use of chemical additives):

“Sales of organic food products in this country have tripled over the past five years. If Aurora is to profit from this continuing trend, we must diversify and start selling products such as organic orange juice and organic eggs in addition to our regular product line. With the recent increase of articles in health magazines questioning the safety of milk and other food products, customers are even more likely to buy our line of organic products. And to help ensure our successful expansion, we should hire the founder of a chain of health-food stores to serve as our vice president of marketing.”

21. The following appeared as part of an article in a newsletter for farmers:

“Users of Solacium, a medicinal herb now grown mainly in Asia, report that it relieves tension and promotes deep sleep. A recent study indicates that a large number of college students who took pills containing one of the ingredients in Solacium suffered less anxiety. To satisfy the anticipated demands for this very promising therapeutic herb and to reap the financial benefits, farmers in this country should begin growing it.”

22. The following appeared as part of the business plan of the Capital Idea investment firm:

“Across town in the Park Hill district, the Thespian Theater, Pizzazz Pizza, and the Niblick Golf Club have all had business increases over the past two years. Capital Idea should, therefore, invest in the Roxy Playhouse, the Slice-o’- Pizza, and the Divot Golf Club, three new businesses in the Irongate district. As a condition, we should require them to participate in a special program: Any customer who patronizes two of the businesses will receive a substantial discount at the third. By motivating customers to patronize all three, we will thus contribute to the profitability of each and maximize our return.”

23. The following appeared in a memorandum from the owner of Carlo’s Clothing to the staff:

“Since Disc Depot, the music store on the next block began a new radio advertising campaign last year, its business has grown dramatically, as evidenced by the large increase in foot traffic into the store. While the Disc Depot’s owners have apparently become wealthy enough to retire, profits at Carlo’s Clothing have remained stagnant for the past three years. In order to boost our sales and profits, we should, therefore, switch from newspaper advertising to frequent radio advertisements like those for Disc Depot.”

24. The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a River City newspaper:

“The Clio Development Group’s plan for a multilevel parking garage on Dock Street should be approved in order to strengthen the economy of the surrounding area. Although most of the buildings on the block would have to be demolished, they are among the oldest in the city and thus of little current economic value. Those who oppose the project should realize that historic preservation cannot be the only consideration: even Athens or Jerusalem will knock down old buildings to put up new ones that improve the local economy.”

25. The following appeared in a memorandum from the publisher to the staff of The Clarion , a large metropolitan newspaper:

“During the recent campaign for mayor, a clear majority of city readers who responded to our survey indicated a desire for more news about city government. To increase circulation, and thus our profits, we should therefore consistently devote a greater proportion of space in all editions of The Clarion to coverage of local news.”

26. The following appeared in a corporate planning memorandum for a company that develops amusement parks:

“Because travel from our country to foreign countries has increased dramatically in recent years, our next project should be a ‘World Tour’ theme park with replicas of famous foreign buildings, rides that have international themes, and refreshment stands to serve only foods from the country represented by the nearest ride. The best location would be near our capital city, which has large percentages of international residents and of children under the age of 16. Given the advantages of this site and the growing interest in foreign countries, the ‘World Tour’ theme park should be as successful as our space-travel theme park, where attendance has increased tenfold over the past decade.”

27.  The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a River City newspaper:

“The Clio Development Group should not be permitted to build a multilevel parking garage on Dock Street since most of the buildings on the block would have to be demolished. Because these buildings were erected decades ago, they have historic significance and must, therefore, be preserved as economic assets in the effort to revitalize a restored riverfront area. Recall how Lakesburg has benefited from business increases in its historic downtown center. Moreover, there is plenty of vacant land for a parking lot elsewhere in River City.”

28. The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper:

“Our city council’s neglect of the impoverished Railroad Flats neighborhood has left businesses with little incentive to locate there. Building a new professional football stadium in the neighborhood would solve this problem. Thousands of football fans would travel to the area to see games, and they would buy from local merchants, encouraging new businesses to open. So our city council should move quickly to fund the construction of a professional football stadium in Railroad Flats in order to help the neighborhood develop a thriving economy.”

29. The following appeared in a memorandum from the director of marketing for a pharmaceutical company:

“According to a survey of 5,000 urban residents, the prevalence of stress headaches increases with educational level, so that stress headaches occur most often among people with graduate-school degrees. It is well established that, nationally, higher educational levels usually correspond with higher levels of income. Therefore, in marketing our new pain remedy, Omnilixir, we should send free samples primarily to graduate students and to people with graduate degrees, and we should concentrate on advertising in professional journals rather than in general interest magazines.”

30. The following appeared as part of an editorial in the Waymarsh city newspaper:

“Last year the parents of first graders in our school district expressed satisfaction with the reading skills their children developed but complained strongly about their children’s math skills. To remedy this serious problem and improve our district’s elementary education, everyone in the teacher-training program at Waymarsh University should be required to take more courses in mathematics.”

31. The following appeared in a memorandum from the business office of the Lovin’ Cupful, a national restaurant chain:

“The Lovin’ Cupful franchises in our northeast region have begun serving customers Almost, a brand new powdered instant tea, in place of brewed tea. Waiters report that only about 2 percent of the customers have complained and that customers who want refills typically ask for ‘more tea.’ It appears, then, that 98 percent of the customers are perfectly happy with the switch, or else they cannot tell powdered instant from brewed tea. Therefore, in order to take advantage of the lower price per pound of Almost, all of our restaurants should begin substituting it for brewed tea.”

32. The following appeared as a memorandum from the vice-president of the Dolci candy company:

“Given the success of our premium and most expensive line of chocolate candies in a recent taste test and the consequent increase in sales, we should shift our business focus to producing additional lines of premium candy rather than our lower-priced, ordinary candies. When the current economic boom ends and consumers can no longer buy major luxury items, such as cars, they will still want to indulge in small luxuries, such as expensive candies.”

33. The following appeared in a memorandum from the director of research and development at Ready-to-Ware, a software engineering firm:

“The package of benefits and incentives that Ready-to-Ware offers to professional staff is too costly. Our quarterly profits have declined since the package was introduced two years ago, at the time of our incorporation. Moreover, the package had little positive effect, as we have had only marginal success in recruiting and training high-quality professional staff. To become more profitable again, Ready-to-Ware should, therefore, offer the reduced benefits package that was in place two years ago and use the savings to fund our current research and development initiatives.”

34. The following appeared in a memorandum from the assistant manager of Pageturner Books:

“Over the past two years, Pageturner’s profits have decreased by 5 percent, even though we have added a popular café as well as a music section selling CDs and tapes. At the same time, we have experienced an increase in the theft of merchandise. We should, therefore, follow the example of Thoreau Books, which increased its profits after putting copies of its most frequently stolen books on a high shelf behind the payment counter. By doing likewise with copies of the titles that our staff reported stolen last year, we too can increase profitability.”

35. The following appeared in a memorandum to a team developing accounting software for SmartPro Software, Inc.:

“Currently, more professional accountants use SmartPro accounting software than any other brand. However, in the market for personal accounting software for non-professionals to use in preparing their income tax returns, many of our competitors are outselling us. In surveys, our professional customers repeatedly say that they have chosen SmartPro Software because our most sophisticated software products include more advanced special features than competing brands. Therefore, the most effective way for us to increase sales of our personal accounting software for home users would clearly be to add the advanced special features that our professional software products currently offer.”

36. The following appeared in a memorandum written by the assistant manager of a store that sells gourmet food items from various countries:

“A local wine store made an interesting discovery last month: it sold more French than Italian wine on days when it played recordings of French accordion music, but it sold more Italian than French wine on days when Italian songs were played. Therefore, I recommend that we put food specialties from one particular country on sale for a week at a time and play only music from that country while the sale is going on. By this means we will increase our profits in the same way that the wine store did, and we will be able to predict more precisely what items we should stock at any given time.”

37. The following appeared in a memo to the Saluda town council from the town’s business manager:

“Research indicates that those who exercise regularly are hospitalized less than half as often as those who don’t exercise. By providing a well-equipped gym for Saluda’s municipal employees, we should be able to reduce the cost of our group health insurance coverage by approximately 50 percent and thereby achieve a balanced town budget.”

38. The following appeared as part of a letter to the editor of a local newspaper:

“Bayview High School is considering whether to require all of its students to wear uniforms while at school. Students attending Acorn Valley Academy, a private school in town, earn higher grades on average and are more likely to go on to college. Moreover, Acorn Valley reports few instances of tardiness, absenteeism, or discipline problems. Since Acorn Valley requires its students to wear uniforms, Bayview High School would do well to follow suit and require its students to wear uniforms as well.”

39. The following appeared as part of a memorandum from the loan department of the Frostbite National Bank:

“We should not approve the business loan application of the local group that wants to open a franchise outlet for the Kool Kone chain of ice cream parlors. Frostbite is known for its cold winters, and cold weather can mean slow ice cream sales. For example, even though Frostbite is a town of 10,000 people, it has only one ice cream spot—the Frigid Cow. Despite the lack of competition, the Frigid Cow’s net revenues fell by 10 percent last winter.”

40. The following appeared in a letter from a staff member in the office of admissions at Argent University:

“The most recent nationwide surveys show that undergraduates choose their major field primarily based on their perception of job prospects in that field. At our university, economics is now the most popular major, so students must perceive this field as having the best job prospects. Therefore, we can increase our enrollment if we focus our advertising and recruiting on publicizing the accomplishments of our best-known economics professors and the success of our economics graduates in finding employment.”

41. The following appeared as part of a business plan created by the management of the Take Heart Fitness Center:

“After opening the new swimming pool early last summer, Take Heart saw a 12 percent increase in the use of the center by its members. Therefore, in order to increase membership in Take Heart, we should continue to add new recreational facilities in subsequent years: for example, a multipurpose game room, a tennis court, and a miniature golf course. Being the only center in the area offering this range of activities would give us a competitive advantage in the health and recreation market.”

42. The following appeared as part of an article in the book section of a newspaper:

“Currently more and more books are becoming available in electronic form—either free-of-charge on the Internet or for a very low price-per-book on compact disc.* Thus literary classics are likely to be read more widely than ever before. People who couldn’t have purchased these works at bookstore prices will now be able to read them for little or no money; similarly, people who find it inconvenient to visit libraries and wait for books to be returned by other patrons will now have access to whatever classic they choose from their home or work computers. This increase in access to literary classics will radically affect the public taste in reading, creating a far more sophisticated and learned reading audience than has ever existed before.”

*A compact disc is a small portable disc capable of storing relatively large amounts of data that can be read by a computer.

43. The following appeared as an editorial in a magazine concerned with educational issues:

“In our country, the real earnings of men who have only a high-school degree have decreased significantly over the past 15 years, but those of male college graduates have remained about the same. Therefore, the key to improving the earnings of the next generation of workers is to send all students to college. Our country’s most important educational goal, then, should be to establish enough colleges and universities to accommodate all high school graduates.”

44. The following appeared in an editorial from a newspaper serving the town of Saluda:

“The Saluda Consolidated High School offers more than 200 different courses from which its students can choose. A much smaller private school down the street offers a basic curriculum of only 80 different courses, but it consistently sends a higher proportion of its graduating seniors on to college than Consolidated does. By eliminating at least half of the courses offered there and focusing on a basic curriculum, we could improve student performance at Consolidated and also save many tax dollars.”

45. The following appeared as part of an article in a trade magazine for breweries:

“Magic Hat Brewery recently released the results of a survey of visitors to its tasting room last year. Magic Hat reports that the majority of visitors asked to taste its low-calorie beers. To boost sales, other small breweries should brew low-calorie beers as well.”

46. The following appeared in a memorandum sent by a vice-president of the Nadir Company to the company’s human resources department:

“Nadir does not need to adopt the costly ‘family-friendly’ programs that have been proposed, such as part-time work, work at home, and job-sharing. When these programs were made available at the Summit Company, the leader in its industry, only a small percentage of employees participated in them. Rather than adversely affecting our profitability by offering these programs, we should concentrate on offering extensive training that will enable employees to increase their productivity.”

47. The following appeared in a letter to prospective students from the admissions office at Plateau College:

“Every person who earned an advanced degree in science or engineering from Olympus University last year received numerous offers of excellent jobs. Typically, many graduates of Plateau College have gone on to pursue advanced degrees at Olympus. Therefore, enrolling as an undergraduate at Plateau College is a wise choice for students who wish to ensure success in their careers.”

48. The following was excerpted from an article in a farming trade publication:

“Farmers who switched from synthetic to organic farming last year have seen their crop yields decline. Many of these farmers feel that it would be too expensive to resume synthetic farming at this point, given the money that they invested in organic farming supplies and equipment. But their investments will be relatively minor compared to the losses from continued lower crop yields. Organic farmers should switch to synthetic farming rather than persist in an unwise course. And the choice to farm organically is financially unwise, given that it was motivated by environmental rather than economic concerns.”

49. The following appeared as part of an article in a computer magazine:

“A year ago Apex Manufacturing bought its managers computers for their homes and paid for telephone connections so that they could access Apex computers and data files from home after normal business hours. Since last year, productivity at Apex has increased by 15 percent. Other companies can learn from the success at Apex: given home computers and access to company resources, employees will work additional hours at home and thereby increase company profits.”

50. The following appeared in the editorial section of a local paper:

“Applications for advertising spots on KMTV, our local cable television channel, decreased last year. Meanwhile, a neighboring town’s local channel, KOOP, changed its focus to farming issues and reported an increase in advertising applications for the year. To increase applications for its advertisement spots, KMTV should focus its programming on farming issues as well.”

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  • Analytical Writing Assessment

GMAT AWA Essay Template and Tool (Quick Reads)

 are you looking for a formula for the perfect gmat essay there are many tools you can use to prepare for the analytical writing section that make the process easy and rewarding. e-gmat shares a couple of ways to increase your chances of scoring a perfect 6 on the gmat awa section..

GMAT AWA Essay Template and Tool (Quick Reads)

Helpful for: GMAT Test Takers

Read Time: 8 minutes

Quick Facts:

  • GMAC, the creators of the GMAT, offer a great AWA practice tool, GMAT Write . This tool lets you access 2 essay prompts and you can write 4 essays and receive a score for each. The scoring algorithm used is the same as the one in the official GMAT. The tool costs $29.99
  • The GMAT Write tool evaluates your essay in four ways: analysis of the issue, whether it supports ideas, is sufficiently structured around a coherent idea, and your language control.
  • Even if you decide not to use GMAC’s tool, it gives you an understanding of what a great essay should look like. e-GMAT explains:

Selected Quote:

An ideal GMAT essay should identify and analyze significant flaws in the argument. It should support the critique using relevant supporting reasons and/or examples.  Of course, it should be clearly organized and have a coherent response. Finally, it should demonstrate control of language, including diction, syntax, and conventions of standard written English.
  • Chineseburned, a user on GMAT Club’s forum shares a great free AWA template that you can use to structure your essay each time.
  • The introduction should restate the argument of the essay prompt and point out its flaws. Subsequently, let the reader know what you plan to discuss in the following paragraphs.
  • The first paragraph should include your first critique along with a supporting example.
  • The second paragraph should include your second critique along with a supporting example.
  • The third paragraph should pose some questions for the argument which you will answer, in order to strengthen your argument.
  • In the fourth paragraph, you should add any final missing information that would strengthen the argument.
  • The final paragraph should restate that the argument is flawed because of your reasons cited above and also restate the reasons which could have strengthened it.

Useful Information:

  • Search the web and find an AWA essay template that works for you. Make sure you learn and practice with the template, but don’t waste all of your GMAT prep time for the AWA. With the right discipline and motivation, 10% of your total GMAT study time should be devoted to the AWA section in order to get a high score.

       Source: e-GMAT

gmat awa essay template

Video: The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Section

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Article: How to Create Your Own GMAT Essay Template (Quick Reads)

gmat awa essay template

Article: GMAT AWA Essay Template and Tool (Quick Reads)

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How to write your GMAT AWA Essay [Effectively]

gmat awa essay template

INTRODUCTION

Hello there!

If you’ve found your way to this blog, we assume that you have begun to think about that often-neglected section of the GMAT – the AWA!

If wishes could come true, we’re guessing that GMAT aspirants would have wished away the AWA section away by now!

The AWA involves staring at a blank page and cursor and thinking up stuff to write, not an easy task for many people.

It also consumes a lot of mental bandwidth at the very beginning of the test.

To top it off, it does not even add to your final score!

We can understand why it isn’t your favorite section on the GMAT 🙂

But here’s the good news! There are not many shortcuts to mastering GMAT Quant and Verbal, but there are shortcuts to cracking the AWA section.

By the time you finish reading this guide, you will know what these hacks are. You will learn how to write an effective AWA essay that gets you a good score and leaves you charged for the real test that lies ahead.

This blog will teach you –

  • What you need to know BEFORE you start preparing for the AWA
  • How to use the 30 minutes allotted to AWA to maximum effect
  • How to use a template to make the AWA writing process simpler

Besides this, you will find 8 sample AWA essays to observe and learn from.

Happy reading! 🙂

7 Things to remember before you start prepping for the AWA

gmat awa essay template

Before you dive into AWA preparation, there are a few things you should know about the AWA. Many of these facts will ease your AWA fears and bring a smile to your face!

1. Why is the AWA section on the GMAT?

Each section of the GMAT is carefully constructed ( at the expense of millions of dollars, we kid you not!), to test your readiness for an MBA program and for your post-MBA career. One of the skills you will definitely need post-MBA is an ability to analyze an argument impartially and convey your perspective clearly.

This is what the AWA tests you on.

2. On the AWA, you need to be a lawyer, that is, you need to find faults with the given argument. You do not need to be a journalist, that is, you do not need to write about all possible perspectives of an issue.

Also remember, that this is an analysis, not an opinion piece. Do not bring YOUR perspective and your opinions into the essay. Your only goal is to analyse the given argument.

3. Unlike the Quant and Verbal sections, where your thumb-rule should be to get as high a score as possible, we’d suggest that you do not expend too much mental energy on the AWA, trying to score a 6 on 6.

Getting a perfect 6 will look good on your GMAT score card, and will sound great as you’re telling your friends about it. But it will not be the make-or-break factor in your application. A 4 or a 5 is good enough.

4. The AWA is graded by an E-reader application and by a human reader. Since there is an element of automated grading, you can rig the test to an extent. We’ve found that if you write a substantial essay of over 500 words, and if you structure the argument well ( check our CrackVerbal template in the following chapter), you are almost guaranteed to get a 4+ score!

5. Assuming that you prepare for the GMAT over a course of three months, we recommend that you practice writing 5 to 10 essays, and make sure you get feedback for all of them. If you cover this much practice ground, you’re good to go!

6. One of the best things about the AWA section is that you know all of the questions beforehand (yes, they’re all up there on the GMAC site – Analytical Writing Section ). So you do not have to go hunting for ‘authentic’ AWA essay questions.

7. Now you can choose the order in which you want to take up the sections before starting the test. It is advisable to keep in mind the order that would be helpful for you and prepare for the AWA based on that strategy. This is a recent change to the GMAT test structure. It was introduced in July 2017. We have done a detailed analysis of what this means to an Indian GMAT test-taker in the this blog

8. We saved the coolest point for last 🙂

The AWA lends itself very easily to the use of an essay template. No matter what the argument prompt is, you can bet that there will be at least 3 glaring errors of logic in it. You can, therefore, use a template to structure your AWA essay. Using a template takes most of the stress away from the AWA section.

In the few minutes before you start, you can jot down the template on your scratchpad, so that you don’t have to remember it anymore. Also, because you can plan many of your sentences beforehand, you can get at least a 100 words down before you even read the question!

There are a lot of templates on the internet – probably the most famous one being the Chineseburned AWA template.

At CrackVerbal, we have our own template for the AWA, a modified version of the Chineseburned template. We call it the CrackVerbal AWA Template on Steroids! 🙂

The AWA Writing Process

MBA Essay Writing

1. Write your templatized response

This should take you about 5 minutes:

Type out your prepared template response. Below is a sample. We definitely do not recommend that you use the same words. What you can do, however, is read a few templates on the net, and then write your own. Since you have written it yourself, it will be that much easier to memorise it.

CRACKVERBAL AWA TEMPLATE

The argument claims that < restate the argument >. Stated in this way the argument fails to take into account a few key factors which could call the conclusion to question. It rests on some assumptions, for which there is no clear evidence. Therefore, the argument is unconvincing and falls apart at the seams.

Paragraph 1:

1. Firstly, ( ) 2. This statement is a stretch and not substantiated in any way. 3. The argument would have been much clearer if ( )

Paragraph 2:

1. Second ( ). This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument ( ). 2. For example, 3. This argument would have sounded a lot more convincing if 4. In addition, it would have been strengthened ever further if the argument provided evidence that

Paragraph 3:

1. Finally, the argument concludes that 2. However, what is not clear here is ( ) 3. If there had been evidence to support ( )

In summary, the argument fails to convince because of the faulty assumptions aforementioned. If the argument had drawn upon examples as suggested, and thereby plugged in the holes in the reasoning, it would have been far sounder on the whole.

2. Brainstorm

Now that you have put the pre-planned portion of the essay down, it’s time to read the AWA prompt and wear your thinking hat. GMAT, in its politically correct, non-partisan way, says ‘Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument’. Remember however, that an AWA argument is never well-reasoned!

There are always a couple of glaring flaws in logic you can pounce on. If these flaws do not occur to you immediately, because of test-day stress, do not assume that you have been given a particularly sound argument. There is no such thing on the AWA!

If you’re unable to be critical, imagine that the author of the argument is somebody you dislike..a teacher you hated at college, or that guy who overtook you and almost dented your car this morning! There, now you’re in the right frame of mind to attack the argument 🙂

Before you do so, you need to understand the three elements of the argument – Conclusion, Premise and Assumptions.

Let us look at an example, and detect these three elements.

“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.”

The conclusion is the decision/statement that the author has arrived at. In this case, the conclusion is the last sentence – “Hence it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer: they could thus reduce their payroll expenses and save money.”

The premises are the building blocks of facts on which the conclusion rests. In other words, a premise is what is offered as support for the conclusion. In this case, the premise is – Most companies would agree that as the risk of physical injury occurring on the job increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase.

Assumptions are the unstated, unwritten premises that plug the gap between the written premises and the conclusion. It is the assumptions that you need to attack on the AWA!

How do you attack assumptions?

Remember that an assumption can be incorrect for a variety of reasons. Here are a few types of incorrect assumptions –

1. The Sampling Assumption – The sampling argument assumes that a small group is representative of a much larger group to which it belongs.

2. The illogical analogy assumption – The illogical analogy states that because something applies to A, it applies to B also.

3. The Causal Assumption – The Causal Assumption confuses correlation with causation. That means, just because ‘A’ usually occurs after ‘B’ occurs, does not necessarily imply that B happens because of A.

4. The Data Bias – This occurs when the data for a statistical inference itself is drawn from a sample that is not representative of the population under consideration. This is a case of faulty data leading to faulty assumptions.

5. The Non Sequitur – This simply means, finding a connection where there is none. Non Sequitur means “does not follow,” which is short for: the conclusion does not follow from the premise.

Don’t let these categories overwhelm you. We’ve put them down here to get you thinking. However, you can find faulty assumptions with ease, even if you have no clue what a non sequitur is!

As you brainstorm, you will need to jot down your thoughts on the scratchpad. Keep it crisp and brief. Make sure you have these things down –

1. Conclusion + Premise: 2. Flawed Assumption #1: 3. Flawed Assumption #2: 4. Flawed Assumption #3:

For each assumption, also make a cursory note of why it is flawed, an example that talks about why it is flawed, and what additional data would strengthen the argument ( or if you are convinced that you can remember these additional details without having to make a note of them, you can get on with the writing! )

This should take you about 15 minutes:

Here is where you fill in your templatized response with specific details.

The only detail you need to add to the first paragraph is a summary of the argument that is presented. In the above template, your summary should go here ->

1. Start off by pointing out the first flawed assumption. 2. Explain why this assumption is flawed. 3. Give an example that supports the flaw. 4. Explain what further information could have strengthened this argument.

1. Start off by pointing out the second flawed assumption. 2. Explain why this assumption is flawed. 3. Give an example that supports the flaw. 4. Explain what further information could have strengthened this argument.

Paragraph 4:

1. Start off by pointing out the third flawed assumption. 2. Explain why this assumption is flawed. 3. Give an example that supports the flaw. 4. Explain what further information could have strengthened this argument.

Paragraph 5:

This is the concluding paragraph. You already have it down in your template! 🙂

4. Proofread

Are you wondering if three minutes is really enough time to proof-read a 500 word essay?

Here’s the deal – The AWA section is about whether you can analyse an argument and discuss it in an articulate manner. It is not a test of grammar and spelling. Hence, the GMAT will excuse minor errors in spelling and grammar.

However, you should understand that a human reader is going to be reviewing your work, and any human reader will have an unconscious bias against bad grammar and spellings. Hence, you want to keep your essay as error-free as possible, without worrying about it too much.

Three minutes should be able time for you to quickly glance through the document and make sure you haven’t made any obvious errors.

Voila! 🙂 Your AWA essay is ready!

Also Read: GMAT Section Selection – Everything you need to know

Sample AWA Essays

gmat awa essay template

Sample Essay 1

”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 underlying the thinking and what alternative explanations or counter examples 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.

Introduction:

This argument states that it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer because lower wages could then be paid to employees. This conclusion is based on the premise that as the risk of physical injury increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. However, this argument makes several unsupported assumptions. For example, the argument assumes that the costs associated with making the workplace safe do not outweigh the increased payroll expenses due to hazardous conditions.

Body Paragraph 1

The first issue to be addressed is whether increased labor costs justify large capital expenditures to improve the work environment. Clearly one could argue that if making the workplace safe would cost an exorbitant amount of money in comparison to leaving the workplace as is and paying slightly increased wages than it would not make sense to improve the work environment. For example, if making the workplace safe would cost $100 million versus additional payroll expenses of only $5,000 per year, it would make financial sense to simply pay the increased wages. No business or business owner would pay all that extra money just to save a couple dollars and improve employee health and relations. To consider this, a cost benefit analysis must be made. I also feel that although a cost benefit analysis should be the determining factor with regard to these decisions making financial sense, it may not be the determining factor with regard to making social, moral and ethical sense.

Body Paragraph 2

Finally one must understand that not all work environments can be made safer. For example, in the case of coal mining, a company only has limited ways of making the work environment safe. While companies may be able to ensure some safety precautions, they may not be able to provide all the safety measures necessary. In other words, a mining company has limited ability to control the air quality within a coal mine and therefore it cannot control the risk of employees getting black. In other words, regardless of the intent of the company, some jobs are simply dangerous in nature.

In conclusion, while at first it may seem to make financial sense to improve the safety of the work environment sometimes it truly does not make financial sense. Furthermore, financial sense may not be the only issue a company faces. Other types of analyses must be made such as the social ramifications of an unsafe work environment and the overall ability of a company to improve that environment (i.e., coal mine). Before any decision is made, all this things must be considered, not simply the reduction of payroll expenses.

Sample Essay 2

The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts.

“In a recent citywide poll, fifteen percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago. During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city’s art museums has increased by a similar percentage. Since the corporate funding that supports public television, where most of the visual arts programs appear, is now being threatened with severe cuts, we can expect that attendance at our city’s art museums will also start to decrease. Thus some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television.”

Discuss how well reasoned… etc.

Introduction

In this argument the author concludes that the city should allocate some of its arts funding to public television. The conclusion is based on two facts: (1) attendance at the city’s art museum has increased proportionally with the increases in visual-arts program viewing on public television, and (2) public television is being threatened by severe cuts in corporate funding. While this argument is somewhat convincing, a few concerns need to be addressed.

To begin with, the argument depends on the assumption that increased exposure to the visual arts on television, mainly public television, has caused a similar increase in local art-museum attendance. However, just because increased art-museum attendance can be statistically correlated with similar increases in television viewing of visual-arts programs, this does not necessarily mean that the increased television viewing of arts is the cause of the rise in museum attendance.

Moreover, perhaps there are other factors relevant to increased interest in the local art museum; for instance, maybe a new director had procured more interesting, exciting acquisitions and exhibits during the period when museum attendance increased, in addition, the author could be overlooking a common cause of both increases. It is possible that some larger social or cultural phenomenon is responsible for greater public interest in both television arts programming and municipal art museums.

Body Paragraph 3

To be fair, however, we must recognize that the author’s assumption is a special case of a more general one that television viewing affects people’s attitudes and behavior. Common sense and observation tell me that this is indeed the case. After all, advertisers spend billions of dollars on television ad time because they trust this assumption as well.

In conclusion, I am somewhat persuaded by this author’s line of reasoning. The argument would be strengthened if the author were to consider and rule out other significant factors that might have caused the increase in visits to the local art museum.

Sample Essay 3

The following appeared in a report presented for discussion at a meeting of the directors of a company that manufactures parts for heavy machinery.

“The falling revenues that the company is experiencing coincide with delays in manufacturing. These delays, in turn, are due in large part to poor planning in purchasing metals. Consider further that the manager of the department that handles purchasing of raw materials has an excellent background in general business, psychology, and sociology, but knows little about the properties of metals. The company should, therefore, move the purchasing manager to the sales department and bring in a scientist from the research division to be manager of the purchasing department.”

In response to a coincidence between falling revenues and delays in manufacturing, the report recommends replacing the manager of the purchasing department. The grounds for this action are twofold. First, the delays are traced to poor planning in purchasing metals. Second, the purchasing manager’s lack of knowledge of the properties of metals is thought to be the cause of the poor planning. It is further recommended that the position of the purchasing manager be filled by a scientist from the research division and that the current purchasing manager be reassigned to the sales department. In support of this latter recommendation, the report states that the current purchasing manager’s background in general business, psychology, and sociology equip him for this new assignment. The recommendations advanced in the report are questionable for two reasons.

To begin with, the report fails to establish a causal connection between the falling revenues of the company and the delays in manufacturing. The mere fact that falling revenues coincide with delays in manufacturing is insufficient to conclude that the delays caused the decline in revenue. Without compelling evidence to support the causal connection between these two events, the report’s recommendations are not worthy of consideration.

Second, a central assumption of the report is that knowledge of the properties of metals is necessary for planning in purchasing metals. No evidence is stated in the report to support this crucial assumption. Moreover, it is not obvious that such knowledge would be required to perform this task. Since planning is essentially a logistical function, it is doubtful that in-depth knowledge of the properties of metals would be helpful in accomplishing this task.

In conclusion, this is a weak argument. To strengthen the recommendation that the manager of the purchasing department be replaced, the author would have to demonstrate that the falling revenues were a result of the delays in manufacturing. Additionally, the author would have to show that knowledge of the properties of metals is a prerequisite for planning in purchasing metals.

Sample Essay 4

The following appeared in an announcement issued by the publisher of The Mercury, a weekly newspaper.

“Since a competing lower-priced newspaper, The Bugle, was started five years ago, The Mercury’s circulation has declined by 10,000 readers. The best way to get more people to read The Mercury is to reduce its price below that of The Bugle, at least until circulation increases to former levels. The increased circulation of The Mercury will attract more businesses to buy advertising space in the paper.”

A newspaper publisher is recommending that the price of its paper, The Mercury, be reduced below the price of a competing newspaper, The Bugle. This recommendation responds to a severe decline in circulation of The Mercury during the 5-year period following the introduction of The Bugle. The publisher’s line of reasoning is that lowering the price of The Mercury will increase its readership, thereby increasing profits because a wider readership attracts more advertisers. This line of reasoning is problematic in two critical respects.

While it is clear that increased circulation would make the paper more attractive to potential advertisers, it is not obvious that lowering the subscription price is the most effective way to gain new readers. The publisher assumes that price is the only factor that caused the decline in readership. But no evidence is given to support this claim. Moreover, given that The Mercury was the established local paper, it is unlikely that such a mass exodus of its readers would be explained by subscription price alone.

There are many other factors that might account for a decline in The Mercury’s popularity. For instance, readers might be displeased with the extent and accuracy of its news reporting, or the balance of local to other news coverage. Moreover, it is possible The Mercury has recently changed editors, giving the paper a locally unpopular political perspective. Or perhaps readers are unhappy with the paper’s format, the timeliness of its feature articles, its comics or advice columns, the extent and accuracy of its local event calendar, or its rate of errors.

In conclusion, this argument is weak because it depends on an oversimplified assumption about the causal connection between the price of the paper and its popularity. To strengthen the argument, the author must identify and explore relevant factors beyond cost before concluding that lowering subscription prices will increase circulation and, thereby, increase advertising revenues.

Sample Essay 5

The following appeared as part of an article in a magazine devoted to regional life.

“Corporations should look to the city of Helios when seeking new business opportunities or a new location. Even in the recent recession, Helios’s unemployment rate was lower than the regional average. It is the industrial center of the region, and historically it has provided more than its share of the region’s manufacturing jobs. In addition, Helios is attempting to expand its economic base by attracting companies that focus on research and development of innovative technologies.”

In this argument corporations are urged to consider the city of Helios when seeking a new location or new business opportunities. To support this recommendation, the author points out that Helios is the industrial center of the region, providing most of the region’s manufacturing jobs and enjoying a lower-than-average unemployment rate. Moreover, it is argued, efforts are currently underway to expand the economic base of the city by attracting companies that focus on research and development of innovative technologies. This argument is problematic for two reasons.

To begin with, it is questionable whether the available labor pool in Helios could support all types of corporations. Given that Helios has attracted mainly industrial and manufacturing companies in the past, it is unlikely that the local pool of prospective employees would be suitable for corporations of other types. For example, the needs of research and development companies would not be met by a labor force trained in manufacturing skills. For this reason, it’s unlikely that Helios will be successful in its attempt to attract companies that focus or research and development of innovative technologies.

Another problem with the available work force is its size. Due to the lower than average unemployment rate in Helios, corporations that require large numbers of workers would not find Helios attractive. The fact that few persons are out of work suggests that new corporations will have to either attract new workers to Helios or pay the existing workers higher wages in order to lure them away from their current jobs. Neither of these alternatives seems enticing to companies seeking to relocate.

In conclusion, the author has not succeeded in providing compelling reasons for selecting Helios as the site for a company wishing to relocate. In fact, the reasons offered function better as reasons for not relocating to Helios. Nor has the author provided compelling reasons for companies seeking new business opportunities to choose Helios.

Sample Essay 6

The following appeared in the health section of a magazine on trends and lifestyles.

“People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame are better off consuming sugar, since aspartame can actually contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss. For example, high levels of aspartame have been shown to trigger a craving for food bydepleting the brain of a chemical that registers satiety, or the sense of being full. Furthermore, studies suggest that sugars, if consumed after at least 45 minutes of continuous exercise, actually enhance the body’s ability to burn fat. Consequently, those who drink aspartame-sweetened juices after exercise will also lose this calorie-burning benefit. Thus it appears that people consuming aspartame rather than sugar are unlikely to achieve their dietary goals.”

In this argument the author concludes that people trying to lose weight are better off consuming sugar than the artificial sweetener aspartame. To support this conclusion the author argues that aspartame can cause weight gain by triggering food cravings, whereas sugar actually enhances the body’s ability to burn fat. Neither of these reasons provides sufficient support for the conclusion.

The first reason that aspartame encourages food cravings is supported by research findings that high levels of aspartame deplete the brain chemical responsible for registering a sense of being satedHidden text (sated, sating ), or full. But the author’s generalization based on this research is unreliable. The research was based on a sample in which large amounts of aspartame were administered; however, the author applies the research findings to a target population that includes all aspartame users, many of whom would probably not consume high levels of the artificial sweetener.

The second reason that sugar enhances the body’s ability to burn fat is based on the studies in which experimental groups, whose members consumed sugar after at least 45 minutes of continuous exercise, showed increased rates of fat burning. The author’s general claim, however, applies to all dieters who use sugar instead of aspartame, not just to those who use sugar after long periods of exercise. Once again, the author’s generalization is unreliable because it is based on a sample that clearly does not represent all dieters.

To conclude, each of the studies cited by the author bases its findings on evidence that does not represent dieters in general; for this reason, neither premise of this argument is a reliable generalization. Consequently, I am not convinced that dieters are better off consuming sugar instead of aspartame.

Sample Essay 7

The following appeared in the editorial section of a corporate newsletter.

“The common notion that workers are generally apathetic about management issues is false, or at least outdated: a recently published survey indicates that 79 percent of the nearly 1,200 workers who responded to survey questionnaires expressed a high level of interest in the topics of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs.”

Based upon a survey among workers that indicates a high level of interest in the topics of corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs, the author concludes that workers are not apathetic about management issues. Specifically, it is argued that since 79 percent of the 1200 workers who responded to survey expressed interest in these topics, the notion that workers are apathetic about management issues is incorrect. The reasoning in this argument is problematic in several respects.

First, the statistics cited in the editorial may be misleading because the total number of workers employed by the corporation is not specified. For example, if the corporation employs 2000 workers, the fact that 79 percent of the nearly 1200 respondents showed interest in these topics provides strong support for the conclusion. On the other hand, if the corporation employs 200,000 workers, the conclusion is much weaker.

Another problem with the argument is that the respondents’ views are not necessarily representative of the views of the work force in general. For example, because the survey has to do with apathy, it makes sense that only less apathetic workers would respond to it, thereby distorting the overall picture of apathy among the work force. Without knowing how the survey was conducted, it is impossible to assess whether or not this is the case.

A third problem with the argument is that it makes a hasty generalization about the types of issues workers are interested in. It accords with common sense that workers would be interested in corporate restructuring and redesign of benefits programs, since these issues affect workers very directly. However, it is unfair to assume that workers would be similarly interested in other management issues—ones that do not affect them or affect them less directly.

In conclusion, this argument is not convincing as it stands. To strengthen it, the author would have to show that the respondents account for a significant and representative portion of all workers. Additionally, the author must provide evidence of workers’ interest other management topics—not just those that affect workers directly.

Sample Essay 8

The following appeared in the opinion column of a financial magazine.

“On average, middle-aged consumers devote 39 percent of their retail expenditure to department store products and services, while for younger consumers the average is only 25 percent. Since the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically within the next decade, department stores can expect retail sales to increase significantly during that period. Furthermore, to take advantage of the trend, these stores should begin to replace some of those products intended to attract the younger consumer with products intended to attract the middle-aged consumer.”

Based on an expected increase in the number of middle-aged people during the next decade, the author predicts that retail sales at department stores will increase significantly over the next ten years. To bolster this prediction, the author cites statistics showing that middle-aged people devote a much higher percentage of their retail expenditure to department-store services and products than younger consumers do. Since the number of middle-aged consumers is on the rise and since they spend more than younger people on department-store goods and services, the author further recommends that department stores begin to adjust their inventories to capitalize on this trend. Specifically, it is recommended that department stores increase their inventory of products aimed at middle- aged consumers and decrease their inventory of products aimed at younger consumers. This argument is problematic for two reasons.

First, an increase in the number of middle-aged people does not necessarily portend an overall increase in department-store sales. It does so only on the assumption that other population groups will remain relatively constant. For example, if the expected increase in the number of middle-aged people is offset by an equally significant decrease in the number of younger people, there will be little or no net gain in sales.

Second, in recommending that department stores replace products intended to attract younger consumers with products more suitable to middle-aged consumers, the author assumes that the number of younger consumers will not also increase. Since a sizable increase in the population of younger consumers could conceivably offset the difference in the retail expenditure patterns of younger and middle- aged consumers, it would be unwise to make the recommended inventory adjustment lacking evidence to support this assumption.

This argument is unacceptable. To strengthen the argument the author would have to provide evidence that the population of younger consumers will remain relatively constant over the next decade.

We hope that our strategies help you conquer GMAT AWA with enough and more energy to spare for the sections that follow!

Now that you’ve figured out how to tackle the AWA section, do you want to put theory to practice and get your AWA essay graded?

Our experts here at CrackVerbal will evaluate and grade your AWA essay and give you specific, actionable feedback.

gmat awa essay template

gmat awa essay template

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Home » Free GMAT Prep » GMAT Essay Template

Experience (Optional)

GMAT Essay Template

Are you preparing for the GMAT AWA section? Are you not familiar with the GMAT essay template? Worry not! We will help you acquaint yourself with the GMAT essay template and how it can help you when attempting the AWA section.

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is the only section in the GMAT that requires you to draft an essay, which is why it is also known as the “essay section”. Before we begin, let us take a quick look at the GMAT AWA section. 

GMAT AWA  

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment tests your ability to critically analyse an argument. Once you have critiqued the argument, you need to articulate your analysis in the form of a coherent, logically sound essay in standard written English.  The AWA section consists of a task — Analysis of Argument, which you have to complete within 30 minutes. The Analysis of Argument requires you to analyse if the argument is logically sound or not. To do so, you must analyse the reasoning and the evidence used in the given argument. Hence, attempting the AWA section requires you to brush up on your critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. Since you have only 30 minutes to complete this writing task, you need to plan how to draft your essay. Having a GMAT essay template in hand will help you plan how you want your AWA essay to look. Let us have a look at how a GMAT essay template helps you with the same. 

GMAT Essay Template: How it Helps?

The GMAT essay template refers to a rough outline of your AWA essay. Since you have to complete the writing task within a limited time frame, having a template in hand will help you draft an effective essay. The GMAT essay template also serves as a blueprint for your actual AWA essay. With a readymade blueprint in hand, you can approach the writing task with much ease. Additionally, an essay template helps you jot down all the main ideas of your essay before you begin your essay. Putting down your main ideas helps you organise them better and ensures your trail of thought isn’t disrupted. All in all, a GMAT essay template is a tool that ensures that you have drafted an effective and coherent essay. 

GMAT Essay Template: A Sample Template  

Most AWA essays that are scored between 5 to 6, have followed a similar template. Keeping this in mind, let us take a look at what an ideal GMAT essay template should contain. The ideal or effective GMAT essay template should contain the following: 

  • Structure of the essay: The template must entail how you are going to structure your essay and should follow a paragraph-by-paragraph format. 
  • Content: The template must mention the ideas or points that each paragraph must contain. Ideally, each paragraph should be limited to one main idea. 
  • Pre-written phrases: The template must also contain certain phrases, keywords or sentence stems that you are planning to use in the paragraphs. You can use them to make a note of the flaws you have stumbled upon in the argument. 

Now, let us take a look at a sample GMAT essay template. The sample GMAT essay template is as follows: 

  • Introductory Paragraph: The introduction should not be longer than two to three lines. You have to quickly summarise the argument in your introduction and state your opinion on the same. Additionally, you can choose to state that the author’s argument is not all that bad. 
  • Body Paragraph: The essay can have around two to three body paragraphs. Each paragraph must discuss one flaw that you have recognised in the argument. You need to support the claims you make with proper evidence. You can also explain how the flaw undermines the argument. 
  • Conclusion Paragraph: You must conclude your essay by stating that the argument is flawed. You must also give a brief recap of your analysis and support it with a concluding statement. Additionally, you can also specify what the author could have done to improve their case and suggest ways for them to rectify the flaws in the argument. 

The idea behind the GMAT essay template is to assist you in drafting an effective AWA essay. While this is a sample essay template, you can always use your own essay template. You can attempt a few AWA writing prompts and formulate your essay template to understand which one works for you. Additionally, you can go through various sample essays with high scores and mimic the essay template used in them as well. 

We hope to have acquainted you with the GMAT essay template. Now that you are aware of how to use an essay template to draft an effective AWA essay, what are you waiting for? Start practising today and ace the AWA section.

All the best!

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Master The GMAT AWA Template with This Comprehensive Template

Oct 23, 2020 | GMAT , Verbal

GMAT AWA Template For Success

One of the easiest ways to succeed in the GMAT AWA section is by preparing beforehand for the essay that awaits. Having a ready-made template in mind can be extremely helpful, especially because you can use that same template for every single topic you’ll come across in the exam. Also, it will be easier and less time-consuming for you to simply fill in the missing information once you read the passage.

Check out our ready-made GMAT AWA essay template that will make your life easier and will help you get the score you’re aiming for!

The First Step

Before going in to write your essay, there is one major thing that you need to consider. This step will not be the most time-consuming one as the actual writing of the essay will take the greatest portion of your time, however, it is crucial to the final essay that you’ll be producing. Your very first step after reading the passage is a mental analysis of the construction of the argument presented to you in the passage. To do that, you’ll need to consider 3 main points:

  • Understanding what the author of the text is inferring/ claiming
  • Pointing out how the argument is flawed as it relies on premises that are based on assumptions rather than actual facts
  • Deciding how the argument can be strengthened in order to make it more viable, or how it can be weakened if certain counterexamples are introduced.

1. Understanding the Author’s Claim

This is a crucial step to the whole process, as it leads the way for the analysis to follow. After reading the passage, you should be able to carefully consider the argument that the author is introducing, and you’ll also be able to evaluate the logical reasoning behind it. Try answering these questions: Is the conclusion reasonable and logical, or otherwise, can it be weakened or strengthened if other information is presented?

After you’ve answered those questions, you can identify the key points of the argument and you can rank them in order of importance. You will have to discuss every single one in detail in the body paragraphs when you write the essay.

2. Pointing out How the Author’s Argument is Flawed

After pinpointing the premises of the argument, you can easily decide how they are flawed, and if they do not flow logically. The fact that you can identify things in the argument that do not make sense and are not logical, make the argument flawed and unconvincing, and that is basically your thesis statement that you’re going to discuss in detail in your body paragraphs.

3. Deciding How to Strengthen/Weaken the Argument

As your final step in your initial analysis, you’ll have to come up with ways to either strengthen the author’s claim in order to make it more convincing and sound or to weaken the author’s argument by using certain counterexamples or other evidence that claims otherwise. You’ll have the opportunity to draw examples or point out information that is missing in the passage in order to further support your analysis.

The Final Step

Once you have taken the 3 above-mentioned steps and have analyzed the argument in detail, you’ll have a ready-made outline in mind that you can easily follow in order to write your final essay as all you’ll need to do is put everything down in a written form.

Introduction:

This section is essentially where you’ll be able to clearly state that the argument in the passage is flawed. You can state the different flaws that you were able to point out and then make sure to state your clear intention of discussing them, what evidence they are lacking and how they can be made more convincing. Here are a few expressions you can use:

  • The argument/ author claims that…
  • In this state, the argument seems flawed/unsound/unconvincing because…
  • The argument will not be deemed convincing until further evidence is presented to prove the assumption that…
  • As it is, the argument also fails to mention… and further discuss…

Body Paragraphs:

In these body paragraphs, you’ll get the opportunity to discuss in detail every single flaw you were able to point out in the argument. Make sure to clearly state what is wrong with said flaw and discuss how it fails to be convincing and use counterexamples and other details to prove your point. Suggest ways the flaw can be improved in order to make the argument more plausible at the end of every paragraph. 

  • Initially/ Firstly/ To begin with…
  • Secondly/ To add more/ In addition…
  • Thirdly/ Finally…
  • That claim is unlikely/flawed/unconvincing because…
  • Something else that undermines the argument is the lack of supporting evidence like…
  • The argument can be strengthened by mentioning… (another possible scenario, another example, other supporting evidence)
  • The argument assumes that…
  • That is a weak claim as it assumes that…
  • To further illustrate, the claim does not clearly state that…
  • The lack of supportive evidence makes the claim…
  • If further evidence that… was provided, then…
  • In order to make the argument more convincing, the author should have mentioned… (suggestion, supporting example, etc.)
  • The author concludes that …
  • The lack of supporting evidence that…, is proof of the poor reasoning on the side of the author.
  • The insufficient evidence and the conflicting claims that… are also an indication that…
  • To further strengthen the argument, the author should provide evidence that…

Conclusion:

The last paragraph is your chance to recap the thesis statement and acknowledge once again that the argument is flawed because of what you mentioned in the body paragraphs. You can also briefly mention that even though in the current state the argument is unconvincing, it can be strengthened by providing supporting evidence and more specific information.

  • In conclusion/ To conclude/ In summary…
  • The argument that… is flawed because… (briefly mention Flaw 1, Flaw 2 and Flaw 3)
  • In order to make the argument fully convincing and sound, the author would have to provide further details and evidence that…
  • In the current state, the argument that the author makes remains weak and flawed because of the lack of evidence that…

For more GMAT AWA information read: 4 Tips for success of the AWA Section . 

Contributor: Altea Sulollari Date: 23rd October, 2020

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Gmat analytical writing assessment.

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GMAT contains one essay prompt and is 30 minutes long. The AWA tests your ability to analyze a logical argument and then write a coherent and convincing essay, evaluating the argument.

The topic on the argument essay can be extracted from a wide range of topics related to business. However, prior knowledge about the topic would not be required. The AWA only tests your ability to analyze the argument and write a cogent essay.

The AWA score would be published within 20 calendar days from the day of your exam and would be a part of your Official GMAT Score Report. If you feel that the score obtained on the AWA does not reflect your performance, you can choose to request rescoring your essay. Rescoring the essay is possible only once and requires additional payment. For rescoring, you need to make a request within 6 months from the date of your exam. AWA rescoring requests can result in a score increase or decrease.

Topics Tested on the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Section

The AWA section tests a candidate’s ability to analyze a given argument, identify the inherent flaws in it, and provide logical and reasonable solutions in the form of an essay. The clarity in reasoning and coherence of thought are major assessment criteria for the AWA. The essay also needs to conform to elements of standard written English.

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GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Scoring Pattern

The Analytical Writing Assessment section is scored on a range of 0 to 6, in increments of 0.5 points.

The essay is evaluated by a human and also by a machine algorithm. If there is a difference between the way the human and the machine have scored your essay, a second human evaluator is brought in, and your essay score may be adjusted. You will receive only one essay score, which is an average of the evaluations.

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gmat awa essay template

gmat awa essay template

gmat awa essay template

What is the GMAT analytical test?

In the Analytical Writing Assessment section or the essay section, you have to analyze an argument, identify the flaws in the argument and write an essay about it. Prior specific knowledge is not required.

Is analytical writing important in GMAT?

Analytical writing assessment (AWA)is important on the GMAT. Even though the AWA does not contribute to the composite GMAT score ( 200-800), it is used by different universities and departments during the application selection process. The writing skills tested in the AWA would prove beneficial even during your actual course as many programs require students to submit essays as a part of their coursework.

What should I study for GMAT Analytical?

In the Analytical Writing Assessment section or the essay, you have to analyze an argument, identify the flaws in the argument and write an essay about it. Prior specific knowledge is not required. You should practice evaluating arguments, understanding and working using relevant templates for these essays and writing the essays, all within 30 minutes (time available for this section on the GMAT).

What is the syllabus for the GMAT Analytical section?

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GMAT AWA Templa...

GMAT AWA Template: Know Everything About AWA Template of GMAT

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The Analytical Writing Assessment is an important part of the GMAT exam that mainly evaluates your critical thinking and writing skills. With a wide range of topics to cover, this section equally demands your time and dedication to score well. Although there is only one essay to write here, you need to back all your arguments with valid and convincing pointers.

Students often have a lot doubts and confusions about structuring a GMAT AWA essay. And, to clear all your queries, we have discussed an GMAT AWA template in details in this blog. Here we have covered everything from the AWA template to the GMAT essay structure.

What is GMAT AWA Template?

Let’s start our discussion by trying to have an in-depth understanding of the GMAT essay template.

The GMAT AWA template is the key to having a closer view of what the GMAT expects on you in the AWA section. Considering that you have just 30 minutes time to finish the writing assignment, having a template on hand will assist in crafting an efficient essay. The substantive AWA essay you write will follow the guidelines in the GMAT analytical writing template.

Your GMAT AWA essay doesn't need to be necessarily creative. The AWA template is a very helpful prerequisite for achieving that you complete the required written and analytical assignments and handle every key aspect of the argument. To compose an essay that knocks all the key elements and saves brain power for the other portions of the GMAT exam— Integrated Reasoning , Quantitative Reasoning , and Verbal Reasoning—the GMAT writing template provides you with a tried-and-true strategy.

Suggested: GMAT AWA Essay Preparation Tips

Components of a GMAT AWA Template

Both a computer and a person will examine and grade your essay in terms of compelling ideas and examples, an organisational framework to communicate your argument, vocabulary & phrasing, and grammatical correction. The following components are what a good GMAT essay sample should include:

  • Essay Structure: The template should include your intended essay's structure and should adhere to a para-by-para-arrangement.
  • Content: Each paragraph's required notions or points must be specified in the template. Each paragraph needs to contain no more than one primary theme.
  • Pre-Used Words and Phases: The format must also include particular words and statements that you intend to incorporate in the segments. You can use these to jot down any weaknesses you find in the argument.

Now that we are aware of the components that are incorporated in a GMAT AWA template, let us try and create or write our very own AWA template. Not to panic! We’ll be learning how to make your template in the next section together!

Suggested: GMAT AWA Topics

How to Write an AWA Template?

You should use a GMAT essay template to help you create a strong AWA essay. Using your essay template is always an option. To choose which AWA writing prompt works best for you, try a couple of them and create an essay template. Your very own essay template will have the following structure:

  • The Introductory Para: The opening paragraph should not be more than two or three lines long. In your introduction, you must briefly outline the argument and provide your viewpoint on it. Furthermore, you may claim that the author's argument presented isn't all that weak.
  • The main body of the essay: The essay's core paragraph count can range from two to three. Each paragraph must address a different weakness you have seen in the thesis. You must provide sufficient evidence to back up your assertions. You might also clarify how the argument is compromised by the error.
  • The Ending: In your essay's conclusion, you must demonstrate how the reasoning is flawed. Additionally, you must provide a succinct summary of your evaluation and back it up with a thesis declaration. You may also point out how the writer could have strengthened their argument and offered solutions for them to fix the weaknesses in their reasoning.

Suggested: Complete Guide to GRE AWA

Now that you know how you can prepare your very own template, let’s get to work! There are many sample GMAT AWA template pdf available online for you to get familiar with how to create your templates. Subscribe to Yocket Premium right now for any advice or support!

Frequently Asked Questions GMAT AWA Template

Why do we need to make an GMAT AWA template?

If you have a template on hand, it will assist in crafting an efficient essay faster.

How much time is provided to complete the AWA section?

You are required to complete your essay well within 30 minutes.

What is the score range for the GMAT AWA section?

The score of the AWA section ranges between 0-6.

What are the three structural requirements while writing your own template?

Your template should have an introduction paragraph, a core body, and a concluding paragraph.

What are the key components of a good template?

Structure, content, and usage of pre-existing words and phrases in the author’s argument.

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