Learn about the GMAT AWA or Essay Scoring

    GMAT or Graduate Management Aptitude Test is a renowned entrance exam for MBA. Over 2000 business schools accept GMAT scores opening doors to more than 7000 management programs. The dream of every candidate to become a leader in the corporate world gets fulfilled by sitting for the GMAT exam first, securing a 700+ score, and seeking admission in one of those reputed business schools. It is a computer adaptive test having multiple choice questions where the GMAT syllabus is distributed among four categories – verbal ability, quantitative aptitude, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing assessment. Each of them has been further broken down into certain subject wise topics. The GMAT eligibility criteria also need to be followed properly for seeking admission in a reputed business school. The last segment or the GMAT AWA is slightly different from the three, for, it analyses the candidate’s proficiency in English writing, understanding, and vocabulary skills.

    An introduction to the GMAT AWA section

    The GMAT AWA section examines the test taker’s ability to analyze, comprehend, and put their own views in an essay. The first thing that will appear after a few screens will be the GMAT AWA section where the candidate has to write an analytical writing assessment of an argument. There you will find few of the directions according to which you have to make it work and then an argument which is majorly a flawed one. here, one has to discuss the reason behind the prompt having poor arguments and work on that. 

    • Scrutinizing the given argument
    • Recognizing the motif behind an argument and placing the views accordingly
    • Drawing a structured way of presenting the answer
    • Take into account the distinct point of views
    • Pillaring the answers with proper examples and facts
    • Lastly, effective grammar usage is needed

    Now, it can be understood how vital the preparation tips for GMAT are.

    How to assess the GMAT AWA score?

    Understanding the calculation of the GMAT AWA score range will take you no time. The process of checking the GMAT AWA score is based on a grading scale of 1-6 in half-point increments. According to GMAC, 

    • Point 6 is termed ‘outstanding’. Here, the candidate has intricately placed all their viewpoints, supported the argument with the needed reasons, displayed their skill of vocabulary, made no grammar mistakes.
    • Point 5 is termed ‘strong’. Here, the writing will have clear sentences to support the argument if not something extra. The ideas are precise as well as the transitions and thereby the structure is clear. The overall essay is demonstrated well along with proper English grammar usage. Though, it might have very minor flaws.
    • Point 4 is considered ‘adequate’. This means that the test taker has presented their ideas explicitly in a logical way. But the problem here is, the ideas might not be connected very well and have some flaws.
    • Point 3 is considered ‘limited’. This can be termed as a majorly flawed one but at least is slightly competent. The ideas developed here are mostly flawed and cannot be connected though few of the analysis parts are fine. The sentences lack diversity and the command of the language also is incompetent. 
    • Point 2 ‘seriously flawed’ and it really is. If the GMAT AWA score is marked 2 then the sentence construction and understanding of the argument – both are seriously flawed. The supporting points are also not connected and they are also very less in number. The command of language is negligible. The problems in the grammar and sentence construction are also problematic. 
    • Point 1 ‘fundamentally deficient’. If the score is 1 then the writer has no idea of what they are writing. Their ability to come up with an argument is invisible. 

    The GMAT AWA score is first graded by a human then a developed computer grading program named E-Rater. Now, if the scores of both the graders are similar or different by one point then the average of both of them are considered. But if the difference is more than one point then another scholarly person reads it to finally assess the number. 

    What all factors are considered by the graders?

    To calculate the GMAT AWA score, there are few crucial factors studied by the graders.

    • The versatility of the issues displayed by the test taker along with their presentation of the argument
    • The test taker’s capability to establish facts, structure them and finally implement them
    • The admissible pillaring reasons and examples placed
    • The ability to make full use of the stand English 

    Along with all of the above, a percentile score will also be provided to the candidate and that will match to the percentage of the test takers whom you scored better than. To simplify it, if somebody scores a 85th percentile this states that the test taker has scored better in that section than 85% of other candidates who took the exam. The scaled scores are stagnant ones but the percentile scores are not and they change. The percentile scores help the candidates understand their scores in comparison to others. 

    Understanding GMAT AWA score averages and percentiles

    Most of the test takers score a 5 or above in their grades with the average GMAT AWA score range standing at 4.37. Let us understand the GMAT percentile with the help of this table –

    GMAT Writing ScorePercentile

    What is termed as a proper GMAT AWA score?

    This is one of the main questions which comes across the majority of the candidate’s minds. Though it must be noted at first that the AWA score is comparatively less important than the other sections. This definitely doesn’t mean that the section should be overlooked. A good GMAT AWA score helps in highlighting the candidate’s scorecard. The majority of the test takers score really well in the exam and therefore it is really tough to select a score that stands out. In fact, GMAC always advises the business schools not to discriminate between a point or so when it comes to GMAT AWA score checking because there is hardly any difference. It needs a bit of preparation for scoring a5 or above in the GMAT AWA section. 

    One very important thing to be considered is, there are business schools which don't entertain a score of 4 or alike. In fact, if any candidate is getting the same, they will question their ability of their English knowledge, vocabulary, and grammar. Also, because of this, their application essay will also be in question and the authority might not consider the application of the concerned applicant. GMAC though states the universities to not depend on the AWA section blindly because it is a result of a 30 minutes test and the application letter they write for their universities is prepared with more time in hand. As per GMAC, the AWA section must only be tested as a diagnostic tool in recommending or requiring additional instructions in English. GMAT practice papers in this regard help the candidates to score high. 

    Does GMAT AWA score matter?

    After all these, we can understand though the GMAT AWA score is not equally important as the GMAT quant or GMAT verbal sections it creates a huge impact on the candidate’s future ventures. An MBA student will definitely have to meet new clients, organize meetings, and generate leads, and more. Here, there will be different kinds of clients who the candidate will only know virtually, maybe somebody staying out of the country. During these times, it is the person’s writing skills that will generate the client’s optimistic answer on the deal maybe. How the employee writes, how convincing is their style of writing, grammar, vocabulary – everything will be determined by how high the GMAT AWA score is. It might be the candidate’s first impression with the client and that is via email where all the clients will notice is how hard the company has tried to build the companionship with them. Here, you might be the person behind writing it, and therefore the writing skills are important enough for the long run.

    If you are someone who is not a native English speaker, then this is a more challenging job for you. Here, your capability in English, writing, and understanding is tested. Also, how serious you have been in your high school English classes will also be noticed. So, if you are in school doing the English classes and also desiring to pursue an MBA then do not forget to do these sections well. 

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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