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.
Table of Contents
- GMAT essay
- GMAT essay topics
- Tips for a high-scoring performance
- Frequently asked questions
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
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
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.
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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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.