Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) consists of one 30-minute writing task of analysis of an argument. The new GMAT replaced analysis of an issue by Integrated Reasoning section.

Analysis of an Argument

In this section, you must read a brief argument, analyze the reasoning behind it, and then write a critique of the argument. You are not asked to state your opinion but rather to analyze the one given. You are supposed to critique the way someone else reaches an opinion. You may, for example, consider what questionable assumptions underlie the author’s thinking, what alternative explanations or counter examples might weaken the conclusion, or what sort of evidence could help strengthen or refute the argument.

For this task, you will use the computer keyboard to type your response. You will be able to use typical word-processing functions - you can cut, copy, paste, undo, and redo. These functions can be accessed either by using the keyboard or by using the mouse to click on icons on the screen. You will be able to take notes when planning your response.

Some of the word-processing features you may be accustomed to won’t be available like automatic corrections, spelling & grammar check and synonym finder.

What is Measured

The Analytical Writing Assessment is designed as a direct measure of your ability to think critically and communicate your ideas. The Analysis of an Argument task tests your ability to formulate an appropriate and constructive critique of a prescribed conclusion based upon a specific line of thinking.

Readers look for two things when they take on your essays: clear analysis and good writing. For an essay to earn a score of 5 or 6, it must clearly analyze the argument, demonstrate good organization, and provide specific, relevant examples and insightful reasoning. The essay must demonstrate clear control of language and apply a variety of sentence structures. It can have some minor flaws in the way you use standard written English but not too many.