Ace GMAT AWA | GMAT AWA Practice Questions

Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
Study Abroad Expert

The Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT is an online examination. The primary goal of GMAT is to assess the verbal, writing, reading, quantitative, analytical skills of students who want to get into a good graduate management program. One of the most crucial sections of GMAT syllabus is the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (GMAT AWA) section.

GMAT AWA

GMAT AWA examines the ability of students to think critically and effectively communicate their ideas in writing. You will be expected to analyze the reasoning behind a presented argument and provide a critique of that argument. The time duration allotted to write your essay is 30 minutes.

GMAT AWA Strategies

GMAT AWA can be a tricky section to score well. This is why you need to employ certain strategies.

  1. Evaluate the given argument

Spend a little time to evaluate the argument given to you and plan your response accordingly.

  1. Ask yourself a few questions

While you are planning your response, you need to ask yourself the following questions –

  • What are the questionable assumptions that underlie your thinking?
  • What are the counter-examples that could be raised?
  • What extra evidence can you give to strengthen or weaken the argument?
  • How can I make my response seem like a discussion with full sentences and a coherent organization?
  1. Make use of examples and illustrations that are developed well

It is necessary that you do not simply list out examples. Develop thoughtful evidence to support your argument. You could make use of an erasable note-board to organize your thoughts.

  1. Structure your essay in a manner that makes it look like a discussion

Ensure that your essay response is easily comprehensible with logical transitions and neatly introduced examples.

Preparation tips to master GMAT AWA

You will have to follow four preparation tips in order to ace GMAT AWA.

These are –

  1. Review GMAT AWA samples

Making yourself familiar with GMAT AWA samples is a very crucial step. Doing so will provide guidance as to how best you can format your essays. GMAT AWA sample essays take into consideration every scoring rubric, thus proving to be very reliable for your GMAT preparation.

  1. Take a look at GMAT AWA practice questions

One of the most important preparation tips to follow is going through practice questions for GMAT AWA. These practice questions will give you an idea of the kind of essay topics you will be given while answering GMAT. You can look up material and prepare yourself accordingly.

  1. Divide your time smartly

The GMAT AWA section has a set time duration of 30 minutes. During this period, it is highly recommended that you spend about 5 minutes to outline your argument. The remaining 25 minutes can be spent on writing the essay. While preparing, you can choose different types of GMAT AWA practice questions. Allot 5 minutes for every argument and then write your analysis. If it is an argumentative essay topic, think about the evidence you can offer for your case and a few examples to validate your thesis in the 5 minutes allotted for outlining.

  1. Get feedback for your work

After you write your practice essays, ask your mentor or peers for their feedback. This can go a long way in improving your writing, thereby increasing your chances of acing the GMAT AWA section.

Don’ts for GMAT AWA

  1. Do not give your opinion

You must understand that the essay prompt of GMAT AWA does not ask for your opinion. What you need to focus on is how you can unpack the argument and use alternate situations, examples, and counterexamples to show why the logic of the given argument is flawed.

  1. Do not rush into submission

Ensure that you make time to proofread your essay for any spelling and grammatical errors. Although you will not be graded for spelling, the clarity of your essay must not be compromised.

  1. Do not use double negatives

In deductive reasoning, “double negative” refers to the usage of two negative words in one sentence. Double negatives are not considered incorrect from a grammatical standpoint. However, using them in your GMAT AWA essay can make it very difficult for the evaluator to understand what you have written.

GMAT AWA Samples

Here is a list of a few GMAT AWA practice questions with GMAT AWA sample essays –

Practice question 1

The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen foods:

“Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day service in 1970 to 20 cents for a one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and thus maximize profits.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

Sample Response

The author concluded that Olympic Foods should be able to increase profits and reduce costs with a long experience of 25 years as the production costs in the color film industry have declined. The line of thinking is that the same approach will extend to other industries of the film production industry. Nonetheless, this claim is not valid, because the same thing need not happen to the food industry. A lot of other factors are related to that.

Firstly, the argument assumed the food industry is similar to the color film industry. One must know that Olympic Foods is a frozen food industry or a perishable commodity industry.

These goods need fast transportation, and special equipment to stay fresh. These specifications will require considerable costs, and they are most likely never to be cut. Color film, on the other hand, is a consumer commodity that lasts a lot longer and is not perishable. The cost-cutting strategy may not be applicable to the food industry.

Secondly, the author neglected to discuss certain factors that are critical to the success of a business. It is well known that the maximization of income happens in the long run due to low production costs. But, they do not find it to be the only factor. Other variables like product demand, sales price, and overall market competition should also be taken into account. Today, buyers are becoming market leaders. If goods from other companies are available with the same quality at a cheaper price or at a comparable price with better quality, then people will not purchase products from Olympic Foods. Consequently, if most customers prefer the goods of certain firms, then the goals of higher income and lower prices cannot be achieved.

Finally, the speaker did not provide any details about the Olympic approach to management. Rather, it merely mentioned 25 years of long experience in the food industry. Although there is a rough association between long experience and benefit maximization capacity, this is not always the case. If Olympic Foods fails to gain useful management experience, such as time-consuming strategic partnerships, learning from loss, etc., then the long experience will not enable it to reduce costs and optimize profits.

In summary, the claim is not convincing as it omitted several other considerations that need to be discussed in order to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. The argument would be more convincing if the author had considered the difference between color film and food industry, selling price, and quality of the products.

Practice question 2

The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts:

“In a recent citywide poll, 15 percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago. During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city’s art museums has increased by a similar percentage. Since the corporate funding that supports public television, where most of the visual arts programs appear, is now being threatened with severe cuts, we can expect that attendance at our city’s art museums will also start to decrease. Thus some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

Sample Response

The author argues that the city will devote some of its arts support to public television so as to not reduce attendance at the city art museums. The statement is based on the two hypotheses: 1) the number of viewers of art programs on public television is equal to that of local art museums, and 2) public television is facing significant cutbacks in funding. Although this statement is quite persuasive, it is not valid because there is no clear line of reasoning in it.

First, the author commits a fallacy called "Confused Cause and Effect." The statement relies on the fact that increased public television access to the visual arts has prompted a significant rise in the attendance of local art-museums in recent years. However, the poll that higher attendance of art-museums is statistically associated with a comparable increase in visual-arts television viewing does not automatically mean that increased television viewing of arts is the reason for a rise in museum attendance. Other reasons could be responsible for the growing interest in the local art museum over the past few years. Some broader social or cultural factors, for example, may cause greater public interest in municipal art museums.

Second, the argument does not address the efficacy of the citywide poll carried out five years ago. The sample is inherently biased. If the respondents do not accurately represent the residents as a whole, then the poll is unclear. Moreover, the figures can become unreliable because the survey was performed five years ago, and can no longer be used as potential forecasts.

In conclusion, the claim is not entirely compelling and would be strengthened if the author excluded other important factors that may have induced a rise in visits to the local art museum and discussed the soundness of the survey carried out five years ago.

GMAT AWA practice questions

Practice question 1

The following appeared in a memorandum from the business department of the Apogee Company:

“When the Apogee Company had all its operations in one location, it was more profitable than it is today. Therefore, the Apogee Company should close down its field offices and conduct all its operations from a single location. Such centralization would improve profitability by cutting costs and helping the company maintain better supervision of all employees.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

Practice question 2

The following appeared in a memorandum issued by a large city’s council on the arts:

“In a recent citywide poll, 15 percent more residents said that they watch television programs about the visual arts than was the case in a poll conducted five years ago. During these past five years, the number of people visiting our city’s art museums has increased by a similar percentage. Since the corporate funding that supports public television, where most of the visual arts programs appear, is now being threatened with severe cuts, we can expect that attendance at our city’s art museums will also start to decrease. Thus some of the city’s funds for supporting the arts should be reallocated to public television.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

Practice question 3

The following appeared in an announcement issued by the publisher of The Mercury, a weekly newspaper:

“Since a competing lower-priced newspaper, The Bugle was started five years ago, The Mercury’s circulation has declined by 10,000 readers. The best way to get more people to read The Mercury is to reduce its price below that of The Bugle, at least until circulation increases to former levels. The increased circulation of The Mercury will attract more businesses to buy advertising space in the paper.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

Practice question 4

The following appeared in a report presented for discussion at a meeting of the directors of a company that manufactures parts for heavy machinery:

“The falling revenues that the company is experiencing coincide with delays in manufacturing. These delays, in turn, are due in large part to poor planning in purchasing metals. Consider further that the manager of the department that handles purchasing of raw materials has an excellent background in general business, psychology, and sociology, but knows little about the properties of metals. The company should, therefore, move the purchasing manager to the sales department and bring in a scientist from the research division to be manager of the purchasing department.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

Practice question 5

The following appeared as part of an article in a magazine devoted to regional life:

“Corporations should look to the city of Helios when seeking new business opportunities or a new location. Even in the recent recession, Helios’s unemployment rate was lower than the regional average. It is the industrial center of the region, and historically it has provided more than its share of the region’s manufacturing jobs. In addition, Helios is attempting to expand its economic base by attracting companies that focus on research and development of innovative technologies.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.

Gmat Awa Practice Questions

Verbal Section

Reasoning and Data Sufficiency

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