The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section measures your ability to analyze an argument and communicate your thoughts or ideas. What you simply need to do is to critically analyze the reasoning given behind a given argument. To complete the AWA section of the GMAT you are allotted 30 minutes.
Here is the outline of the article:
- How to create a well rounded Analytical Writing Assessment essay?
- ‘GMAT Write’ – An AWA practice tool by GMAC
- GMAT AWA tips – GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Template
- Sample GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment essay
How to create a well rounded Analytical Writing Assessment essay?
Let’s discuss now how you can score a perfect 6 on the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section. Here are a few tips to prepare you for the GMAT AWA section.
Step 1 – Understand the process of creating a well-rounded analysis of an argument. You can do that in two ways or rather with the help of two tools.
- GMAT Write
- AWA template by Chineseburned from gmatclub
Step 2 – Practice! Practice! Practice! the AWA questions. Here is a list of practice questions for you.
GMAT Write – An AWA practice tool by GMAC
GMAT Write is a writing tool provided by GMAC. It gives you access to 2 unique essay prompts and a chance to write 4 essays. The good thing about this tool is that it scores your essay based on the scoring algorithm used by the official GMAT exam. But, it costs $29.99 to subscribe to this tool.
Take a look at this article to know the importance of AWA and IR sections for business school admissions.
How does the ‘GMAT Write’ analyze your GMAT AWA essay?
Once you submit an essay, it scores you on 4 categories:
- Analysis of the issue
- Supports ideas
- Organizes coherent idea
- Language control
Based on these 4 categories it gives you an overall score for the essay.
Even if you don’t buy this tool, you still get to know what GMAT considers an ideal essay to be from it. An ideal essay should:
- Identify and analyze significant flaws in the argument
- Support the critique using relevant supporting reasons and/or examples
- Be a clearly organized and coherent response
- Demonstrate control of language, including diction, syntax, and conventions of standard written English
Once you know what factors make a perfect essay, the next thing you should do is creating a template. The most popular template for AWA is the one provided by ‘Chineseburned’ user on the gmatclub forum.
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GMAT AWA tips – GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Template
Here are the details of his template:
Structure of the essay
- Introduction: Restate the argument and point out the flaws. Now, state your views which you’ll discuss in the next paragraphs.
- First paragraph: State your first critique of the argument and support your view with an example.
- Second paragraph: State your first critique of the argument and support your view with an example.
- Third paragraph: Pose a few questions for the argument. The absence of information in the argument to answer your questions weaken it further.
- Fourth argument: State information that you feel would have strengthened the argument but is absent. (This is an extra paragraph which is not in Chineseburned template)
- Conclusion: State that the argument is flawed because of the above reasons and which reasons could have strengthened the argument.
Sample GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment AWA essay
Here is a sample AWA essay question for practice. We have also provided the answer to this question based on the template.
The following appeared in an Excelsior Company memorandum.
“The Excelsior Company plans to introduce its own brand of coffee. Since coffee is an expensive food item, and since there are already many established brands of coffee, the best way to gain customers for the Excelsior brand is to do what Superior, the leading coffee company, did when it introduced the newest brand in its line of coffees: conduct a temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reductions, and discount coupons for the new brand.”
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
GMAT AWA essay
The Excelsior company wants to introduce its own brand of coffee since coffee is an expensive food item and might have good profit margins. However, as there are several established brands of coffee already, it needs to work out a way to gain a foothold in the market. For this purpose, the company plans to pursue the same marketing strategy that the leading coffee company Superior had used. However, I think there are several flaws in that line of reasoning. And hence this argument seems a little weak.
First, Superior is already an established brand and the market leader. No data is given as to how long back it entered the coffee market. Without this information, it is difficult to ascertain the utility of the marketing strategy for Excelsior. A brand might take decades to establish, and what worked a decade back, need not work today. For example, when Google was initially set up, it depended on word of mouth, rather than any communication media, for its marketing. As it was initially just an internal product for the University, this approach worked for them. However, it might not work for any company now. We see these days that most new web companies do advertise heavily when they initially launch a product for the masses.
Second, no information has been provided about the target market for the coffee or the pricing strategy. It might be that the coffee produced by Superior is one of the cheaper products in the market. And that they earn their profits from volume sales rather than having a niche market. Whereas, Excelsior might be aiming at the niche market of expensive and luxury coffee. If that were the case, then the same marketing strategies might not be relevant for Excelsior. Can Hyundai apply the same approach towards the market as does a luxury brand like Ferrari?
Without some of the relevant and contextual details, it is difficult to judge the efficacy of using the same marketing strategy that a competitor applied some unknown years back. If we were to get some more details in this regard, we could have judged the situation better.
Although all the factors being the same, it might not be a bad idea to follow the same approach as that of a leading brand in the market. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with sticking to the tried and the tested. In the absence of any other better idea, Excelsior might not have much to lose if it pursues the same methods as did Superior. It’s better to have some plan rather than no plan.
Conducting a temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reductions and discount coupons might not be such a bad idea. It could be a good ploy to get users to try out the product. And discounts and other monetary incentives are usually very effective in this regard. If the quality of the product is good enough and the pricing is appropriate, introducing enough customers to the product through such offers might give a significant push to consumer interest in the product. While customer satisfaction might leverage word of mouth marketing.
Therefore, depending on the context the approach might or might not be a beneficial one.
This essay question has been taken from gmatclub and the answer has been judged as a perfect 6 by the GMAT Write tool. The answer was written by the user ‘rish2jain’ from gmatclub forum.
To score a perfect 6 on the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section, it is important that you learn the AWA template and practice as much as you can. Just don’t overdo it. It is a good practice to devote 10% of your preparation time to GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section.