Many test takers don’t spend much time studying for the AWA, but this is not necessarily justified. It’s true that schools generally care more about your Quant and Verbal scores than they do about the essay, but that’s only part of the story. On the minus side, a low AWA score can raise doubts about your critical thinking and writing abilities, important skills for any degree. On the plus side, at the top schools, where admission is most competitive, a high AWA score can be a tie-breaker of sorts that helps the admissions board choose amongst otherwise-similar candidates. Plus, for non-native English speakers who do better on the Quant than on the Verbal, the AWA score can be a place schools look to for assurance of the candidate’s level of language proficiency, and a good score can go a long way. In addition, studying for the AWA is cost effective: as essays do tend to be somewhat formulaic, the amount of work necessary to write a great one is manageable, and may be a far more efficient way to spend those hours than the negligible effect a little extra Verbal practice will probably have. Finally, studying for the AWA has added benefits for the applications process: by increasing your vocabulary and honing your writing skills, you are giving yourself a leg up on the admissions essays you’re going to have to write.
Think of your essay as a building, one you have only half an hour to erect. The foundation is your understanding of the argument presented – this is the basis for everything, so take a few minutes and make sure you have a clear answer to the following questions: what is the main claim of the argument? How is it supported? What are the assumptions and what are the logical inferences? The next step is constructing the scaffolding: this is your essay’s structure. Know, before you write a word, what your points of critique are, and what each paragraph is going to say. Lastly, build the doors, the windows and put in the floors: turn your points into sentences that connect logically to each other, and form full paragraphs that make your point clearly and convincingly.
One reason to get the AWA essay review is simply to know where you stand, through getting your essay scored. But the main benefit, and the focus of our review, is its tools to help you improve. Even the most basic service, Score only, provides a breakdown of the different criteria by which your essay is graded, while the most advanced, Full Review, goes over and comments on your every word. The Summary Notes (provided in both the Scores and Notes and Full Review services) both review your performance and leave you with the main points you can improve on. And whichever option you choose, the review will provide you with comments that you can then translate into real improvement. Need to work on your argument analysis skills? Re-watch the AWA Lesson. Need to work on your essay structure? Practice reading many essay questions and only writing essay outlines, not full essays. Phrasing need some elaboration? Do some relevant reading of newspapers and magazines to get used to the proper register. Vocabulary need a boost? Go to our Vocabulary and Memorization Lesson.
a score from 1 to 6 that represents the quality of the essay, just like you will get on your official score report.
A numerical score from 1 to 6 is accompanied by a detailed sub-ranking of your essay according to five criteria: Argument Comprehension, Logical Development, Supporting Arguments, Language Level, and Control of Standards of Written English.
- a detailed summary that discusses your essay in general, including tips.
A detailed summary reviews your essay and critiques its strengths and weaknesses, with a breakdown of your argument’s quality, your essay structure and your use of mechanics. Special focus is given to avenues for improvement, and notes include not only an evaluation of your work but tips for future essays as well.
- Our experts will provide in-line notes, fixing spelling issues, grammar, phrasing, structure, and more.
Our experts will go over every word of your essay, providing in-line notes, fixing spelling issues, grammar, phrasing, structure, and commenting on the meaning, accuracy and effectiveness of your writing. These notes take your review to the next level, pinpointing the exact claim, clause, turn of phrase or idiom that, if improved, could make your argument far more convincing. Notes will often include suggestions for rephrasing.
Interested in learning how to write the perfect GMAT essay?
We curated a bunch of perfect-score AWA essays for you to read and learn from. These are essays that received a 6 out of 6 score from our experts, and whose authors went on to score a perfect 6 on the GMAT itself as well – so we know it’s no fluke!