Practicing for the Analytical Writing Assessment is probably one of the most time-consuming and demanding part of the GMAT test preparation. There are several reasons why studying for this section of the test risks to be very time consuming or ineffective, above all: the limited knowledge of GMAT’s expectations for this section, the difficulty of an easy assessment of one’s AWA level and the self-confidence in one’s own writing skills.
It has to be considered that the GMAT AWA essay is rated on a 1.0 to 6.0 scale according to certain standards, which lack of knowledge can seriously harm the possibility of obtaining a high mark even if the essay is, in principle, well-written. The GMAT AWA optimal essays characteristics can be summarized as follows: length comprised between 300 and 500 words, 5 paragraph structure (Introduction, three paragraphs and conclusion) and the presence all over the essay of the so called “structural words” (i.e., supporting examples, contrasts, Ying-Yang etc.). Knowing in details these few guidelines for the AWA section, and constantly practicing accordingly, is of outmost importance to obtain a high score.
While practicing for GMAT AWA is important to learn how to write an essay in a perfect GMAT Style, assessing one’s own initial AWA level and quantifying the progress during the preparation for the test, is very difficult due to the lack of an automatic rating system that can fully substitute the role of the human grader.