GMAT

GMAT essay topics: Expert tips for a high-scoring performance

By Edvoy• Last updated: Jul 17, 2023
GMAT essay topics: Expert tips for a high-scoring performance
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The GMAT essay, also known as the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), is a section of the GMAT exam that can often be intimidating for test-takers. However, with the right preparation and understanding of the essay topics, test-takers can excel and achieve a high score.

The AWA section is designed to evaluate the test-taker's ability to analyse arguments, express ideas clearly and concisely, and support their viewpoints with evidence. This section consists of two types of essay prompts, an Analysis of an Issue and an Analysis of an Argument, each of which requires specific skills and strategies.

In this article, we will provide expert examples of both types of GMAT essay topics and tips on how to approach them to help you achieve a high-scoring performance in the AWA section.

GMAT essay

The GMAT essay, also known as the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), is a section of the GMAT exam that requires you to write two essays within a total of 60 minutes.

There are two types of essay prompts in the GMAT AWA section:

  • Analysis of an Argument
  • Analysis of an Issue

1. Analysis of an argument

In this type of essay prompt, you will be given an argument that you need to analyse and critique. You will be required to identify the assumptions that the argument makes and evaluate the evidence that it provides. You will need to explain why the argument is flawed or weak and suggest ways to improve it.

2. Analysis of an issue

In this type of essay prompt, you will be given a statement or question related to a social or political issue, and you will be asked to take a stance on the issue and support your position with evidence and examples. You will need to provide a clear argument and present evidence that supports your viewpoint.

Also read: 5 IELTS Sample Essays

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GMAT Analytical Writing Section

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section assesses your ability to analyse arguments and communicate your thoughts effectively in written form. In this section, you are presented with an argument or an issue prompt and are required to critically evaluate and provide a well-structured response within a given time frame.

Although the AWA section is not as heavily weighted as the Quantitative and Verbal sections, it still plays a role in showcasing your analytical abilities and written communication skills to business schools. A well-written essay in the AWA section can leave a positive impression on the admissions committee and contribute to your overall application.

GMAT essay topics for Analysis of an argument

  1. The construction of a new highway through the rural town of Pineville is essential to improve connectivity and drive economic growth. Discuss the validity of this argument and evaluate its potential impact on the community.
  2. The introduction of a mandatory recycling program in our city is necessary to combat the growing environmental concerns and promote sustainable practices. Analyse the reasoning behind this argument and assess its potential effectiveness.
  3. Expanding the public library's operating hours in the urban neighbourhood of Riverton will provide greater access to educational resources and foster a culture of lifelong learning. Evaluate the logic behind this proposal and its potential benefits for the community.
  4. Establishing stricter regulations on the use of single-use plastics is crucial to mitigate the environmental damage caused by plastic pollution. Assess the reasoning behind this argument and discuss its potential impact on businesses and consumers.
  5. The implementation of a tax incentive program to encourage the adoption of solar energy systems in residential areas will promote renewable energy usage and reduce carbon emissions. Evaluate the logic behind this proposal and its potential long-term effects.
  6. Constructing a new sports stadium in the city centre will not only revitalise the local economy but also enhance the city's reputation as a sports destination. Analyse the soundness of this argument and its potential implications for the community.
  7. Implementing stricter gun control measures is necessary to address the rising concerns of public safety and reduce gun-related violence. Evaluate the reasoning behind this argument and discuss the potential challenges associated with its implementation.
  8. The introduction of a comprehensive sex education curriculum in schools is vital to promote safe and responsible behaviour among adolescents. Assess the validity of this argument and discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of such an initiative.
  9. Investing in the development of affordable housing units in urban areas is essential to address the housing crisis and ensure social equity. Analyse the rationale behind this proposal and evaluate its potential impact on both residents and the local economy.
  10. The implementation of stricter regulations on the advertising and sale of unhealthy food products will contribute to improving public health and combating the obesity epidemic. Discuss the validity of this argument and its potential implications for businesses and consumers.
  11. Increasing funding for arts and culture programs in schools can have a positive impact on students' creativity, critical thinking skills, and overall academic performance. Evaluate the logic behind this proposal and discuss its potential benefits for the education system.
  12. Enforcing mandatory financial literacy courses in high schools will equip students with essential skills to make informed decisions and achieve long-term financial stability. Assess the reasoning behind this argument and discuss the potential outcomes of such an educational initiative.
  13. The adoption of telecommuting policies in organisations can lead to improved work-life balance, increased employee satisfaction, and enhanced productivity. Analyse the reasoning behind this proposal and discuss its potential advantages and challenges for both employers and employees.
  14. Investing in the development of public parks and green spaces in urban areas can have numerous benefits, including improved mental and physical well-being, enhanced community cohesion, and increased property values. Evaluate the soundness of this argument and its potential impact on urban environments.
  15. Introducing a universal basic income program can help alleviate poverty, reduce income inequality, and provide individuals with a safety net in an increasingly automated world. Analyse the reasoning behind this proposal and discuss its potential implications for society and the economy.

GMAT essay topics for Analysis of an issue

  1. Discuss the impact of social media on interpersonal communication and relationships.
  2. To what extent should governments prioritise funding for space exploration?
  3. Explain your views on the role of artificial intelligence in shaping the future of work.
  4. Discuss the ethical considerations of genetic engineering and its potential impact on society.
  5. Explain your perspective on the effectiveness of affirmative action policies in promoting equality.
  6. To what extent should the government regulate the sharing economy platforms such as Uber and Airbnb?
  7. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the globalisation of markets and its impact on local economies.
  8. Explain your views on the role of government in promoting sustainable development.
  9. Discuss the ethical implications of data privacy and the use of personal information by technology companies.
  10. Explain your perspective on the importance of arts and humanities education in today's society.
  11. Discuss the impact of climate change on global food security and the role of international cooperation.
  12. Explain your views on the ethical considerations surrounding animal testing in scientific research.
  13. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of remote work for employees and organisations.
  14. Explain your perspective on the role of the government in regulating the use of social media platforms.
  15. Discuss the implications of income inequality and the role of government in addressing this issue.

GMAT essay practice questions

GMAT practice questions provide an opportunity to develop and refine your critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills. By engaging with a variety of prompts, you can familiarise yourself with different argument structures, evaluate evidence, and effectively express your ideas within the given time constraint.

We have listed ten GMAT sample questions that cover a range of topics and argument types to challenge you to analyse arguments, identify flaws, consider counterarguments, and develop well-structured responses.

GMAT sample question #1

The following appeared in a company memo:

Our new advertising campaign was a great success. The number of customers visiting our website increased by 50% in the first month after the campaign's launch. Therefore, the campaign should be credited with attracting new customers and boosting sales.' Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, analyse the argument's assumptions and evidence.

GMAT sample question #2

The following appeared in a research paper:

Implementing a four-day workweek will significantly enhance employee productivity. A survey conducted among companies that adopted a shorter workweek showed a 20% increase in employee output and a 15% decrease in absenteeism rates. Therefore, all organisations should consider adopting a four-day workweek to boost efficiency.' Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, analyse the argument's assumptions and evidence.

GMAT sample question #3

The following appeared in a political campaign speech:

Increasing the minimum wage will improve the economy and reduce income inequality. Studies have shown that when the minimum wage is raised, low-income workers experience a rise in their earnings, leading to increased consumer spending. As a result, businesses thrive, unemployment rates decrease, and the wealth gap narrows. Therefore, it is imperative to raise the minimum wage to stimulate economic growth.' Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, analyse the argument's assumptions and evidence.

GMAT sample question #4

The following appeared in a blog post:

Investing in early childhood education is crucial for fostering future academic success. Research has consistently shown that children who receive quality early education perform better academically and are more likely to graduate from high school and pursue higher education. Therefore, policymakers should prioritise funding and expanding early childhood education programs.' Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, analyse the argument's assumptions and evidence.

GMAT sample question #5

The following appeared in a marketing presentation:

Social media marketing is the most effective strategy for reaching and engaging with the target audience. A survey conducted among consumers revealed that 75% of respondents made a purchase based on social media ads or recommendations from influencers. Therefore, companies should allocate a significant portion of their marketing budget to social media campaigns to maximise their reach and sales.' Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, analyse the argument's assumptions and evidence.

GMAT sample question #6

Prompt: Evaluate the argument that increasing taxes on sugary beverages will effectively reduce the prevalence of obesity and improve public health. Discuss the key assumptions and evidence used to support this claim, and identify any potential counterarguments or limitations that may challenge the effectiveness of this approach.

In your analysis, you should consider the relationship between sugary beverage consumption and obesity rates, as well as the potential impact of higher taxes on consumer behaviour. Additionally, assess the strength of the evidence presented to support the argument and examine any potential flaws or biases in the data. Consider alternative approaches to tackling obesity, such as education campaigns or regulations on advertising, and discuss their potential advantages or disadvantages. Ultimately, evaluate the argument's overall persuasiveness and suggest any additional evidence or considerations that could strengthen or weaken the case for increased taxes on sugary beverages.
 

GMAT sample question #7

Prompt: Analyse the argument that social media platforms should be held legally responsible for moderating user-generated content. Evaluate the reasons and evidence presented to support this viewpoint, and discuss the potential consequences of imposing legal obligations on these platforms. Consider issues such as freedom of speech, platform liability, and the challenges of content moderation at scale. Additionally, explore alternative approaches to addressing harmful or illegal content online and discuss their potential advantages or drawbacks. Finally, assess the feasibility and potential effectiveness of different regulatory or self-regulatory measures in ensuring a safe and responsible online environment.
 

GMAT sample question #8

Prompt: Evaluate the argument that increasing access to higher education will lead to greater socioeconomic mobility and reduce income inequality. Analyse the evidence and reasoning used to support this claim, and consider potential counterarguments or limitations to this approach. Assess the impact of factors such as rising tuition costs, disparities in educational quality, and the relevance of certain degrees in the job market. Explore alternative strategies for promoting social mobility, such as vocational training or income redistribution, and discuss their potential advantages or disadvantages. Ultimately, critically examine the argument's validity and provide recommendations or additional considerations that may strengthen or weaken the case for increasing access to higher education.

GMAT sample question #9

Prompt: Analyse the argument that the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture is essential for ensuring global food security. Evaluate the evidence and reasoning presented to support this claim, and discuss any potential counterarguments or concerns related to the environmental, health, or socioeconomic impacts of GMOs. Assess the effectiveness of current regulations and labelling practices in addressing these concerns, and explore alternative approaches to achieving food security, such as organic farming or agroecology. Finally, critically evaluate the overall persuasiveness of the argument and provide recommendations or additional considerations that may enhance or challenge the case for GMO usage.

GMAT sample question #10

Prompt: Evaluate the argument that implementing a universal basic income (UBI) would be an effective solution to address poverty and income inequality. Analyse the evidence and reasoning used to support this viewpoint, and consider potential counterarguments or limitations of a UBI system. Assess the economic implications, including funding mechanisms and potential effects on workforce participation and productivity. Explore alternative policies or approaches to poverty alleviation, such as targeted welfare programs or job creation initiatives, and discuss their potential advantages or disadvantages. Ultimately, critically examine the argument's validity and provide recommendations or additional considerations that may strengthen or weaken the case for implementing a universal basic income.

GMAT essay topics

Some common topics that may be covered in the GMAT essays include:

1. GMAT essay topics for Analysis of an argument

  • The research indicates that the success of a shopping mall is directly related to its location. Therefore, we should build a new shopping mall in the small town of Oakville, which has a growing population and no competition from other shopping malls. Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument.
  • To remain competitive, companies need to embrace new technologies, including artificial intelligence and automation. Employees who resist these changes are hindering progress and putting their jobs at risk.' Evaluate the argument presented in the editorial.
  • Our company should offer tuition reimbursement to all employees who want to pursue a degree or certification. This will increase employee loyalty, productivity, and skill level, which will benefit the company in the long run.' Discuss the validity of this recommendation.
  • Our new cleaning products are environmentally friendly and safe for use around children and pets. You can trust our products to not only clean effectively, but also protect your family and the planet. Evaluate the claims made in the advertisement."
  • The city should ban all smoking in public parks. Secondhand smoke is a health hazard to all park visitors, and it is unfair to subject non-smokers to this danger. Evaluate the argument presented in the letter.

Also read: TOEFL sample essays

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2. GMAT essay topics for Analysis of an issue

  • It is better to be practical than to be creative when it comes to problem-solving.
  • Governments should prioritise funding for space exploration over other scientific endeavours.
  • The widespread use of social media has had a negative impact on society.
  • The pursuit of happiness should be considered a fundamental human right.
  • The use of technology has had a more positive than negative impact on society.
  • Businesses have a responsibility to prioritise environmental sustainability over profit.
  • The government should provide free healthcare for all citizens.
  • The increasing popularity of e-books will eventually lead to the end of traditional bookstores.
  • Individuals have a responsibility to prioritise their own health and well-being over their career ambitions.
  • The benefits of globalisation outweigh the drawbacks.

Also Read: GMAT Self-Study Plan

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Tips for a high-scoring performance

Here are some expert tips to help you achieve a high-scoring performance on the GMAT essay.

1. Understand the prompt and task

The first step to writing a successful GMAT essay is to understand the prompt and the task. Take the time to read the prompt carefully and make sure you understand what is being asked of you. Pay close attention to the specific instructions, such as the length requirement, the number of examples you need to provide, and the time limit.

2. Plan your essay

Before you start writing, take a few minutes to plan your essay. This will help you organise your thoughts and ensure that your essay is well-structured and easy to follow. Create an outline that includes your main points and supporting evidence, and make sure that your essay has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.

3. Analyse the argument or issue

For the Analysis of an Argument task, carefully analyse the argument presented in the prompt. Identify the assumptions and evidence used to support the argument, and consider whether these are valid and sufficient. For the Analysis of an Issue task, consider both sides of the issue and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each argument.

4. Use specific examples

To support your arguments, use specific examples from your own experiences or the world around you. These examples should be relevant and support the points you are making in your essay. Be sure to explain how each example supports your argument.

5. Write clearly and concisely

The GMAT essay is not a test of your writing ability per se, but rather a test of your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments and express your ideas in a clear and concise manner. Use simple and straightforward language, avoid overly complex sentences or jargon, and be sure to proofread your essay for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

6. Follow the standard essay format

The GMAT essay should follow a standard essay format, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Your introduction should provide an overview of your argument, while your body should provide supporting evidence and examples. Your conclusion should summarise your main points and restate your thesis statement concisely.

7. Practice, practice, practice

Like any skill, the ability to write a successful GMAT essay takes practice. Take advantage of the practice exams and sample essays provided by GMAC, the organisation that administers the GMAT exam. Consider working with a tutor or taking a prep course to help you improve your essay writing skills.

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Conclusion

The GMAT essay is an important part of the GMAT exam and requires careful preparation and planning. By following these expert tips, you can improve your chances of achieving a high score on the GMAT essay and increase your chances of being accepted into your dream MBA program.

Frequently asked questions

What is the GMAT essay?

The GMAT essay, also known as the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), is a section of the GMAT exam that assesses a candidate's ability to think critically and communicate ideas in written form.

How is the GMAT essay scored?

The GMAT essay is scored on a scale of 0-6 in half-point increments. Two independent readers will score the essay, and if their scores differ by more than one point, a third reader will be brought in to resolve the discrepancy.

How do I prepare for the GMAT essay?

To prepare for the GMAT essay, candidates can practise writing essays using free GMAT essay prompts available online, develop a plan before writing, use specific examples to support their arguments and practise good grammar and syntax.

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