GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

11 mins

If you're planning on pursuing a graduate management program, you're probably already familiar with the GMAT exam. The GMAT is a standardized test that holds a lot of importance in the admissions process for many prestigious business schools around the world. The GMAT exam assesses your abilities in various areas, such as analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. In this blog post, we will specifically focus on the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus to provide you with a thorough understanding of its syllabus.

By the end of this guide, you will have the knowledge and insights required to excel in this crucial component of the GMAT exam. To do well in the GMAT exam, it's essential to have a clear understanding of its format and structure. The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test that is administered worldwide and is widely accepted by business schools as a reliable measure of an applicant's readiness for graduate management programs.

An Overview of the GMAT Exam Structure

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative Reasoning (QR), and Verbal Reasoning (VR). The order in which these sections appear may vary, as the exam follows a computer-adaptive format that tailors the difficulty level of the questions based on your performance. However, the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus is typically the first section you will encounter.

Moreover, in the different sections of the GMAT exam, it's important to be aware of the time constraints and scoring system. The total duration of the GMAT exam is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes, but the exact time may vary slightly. Each section has a specific time limit, and it's crucial to manage your time effectively to complete all the questions within the allotted timeframe.

Mastering GMAT AWA: Your Ultimate Guide

Understanding the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) assesses your ability to analyze and articulate complex ideas effectively. The AWA consists of two essays: the Issue Essay and the Argument Essay. Here's a brief overview of the GMAT AWA syllabus for each essay:

Issue EssayIn the Issue Essay, you’re presented with a contentious topic or statement. Your task is to take a firm stance, either in agreement or disagreement.
Argument EssayThe Argument Essay requires you to critique an argument provided in the prompt, identifying logical fallacies and gaps in evidence.

Evaluation Criteria

In both essays, clarity reigns supreme. Your ability to articulate ideas cogently, construct compelling arguments, and present your thoughts persuasively is paramount. It’s important to note that your opinions aren’t under scrutiny; rather, it’s the quality of your analysis and the coherence of your arguments that are evaluated.

Scoring Demystified

Scores range from 0 to 6, with increments of half-points. The scores from both essays are averaged to calculate your overall AWA score. Remember, it’s not about being right or wrong; it’s about demonstrating your analytical prowess and communication skills.

Elevate Your AWA Game

Mastering the AWA section is within your reach. By understanding the nuances of each essay type, honing your analytical skills, and practising articulating your thoughts effectively, you’ll be well-equipped to ace this crucial component of the GMAT.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) is the organization behind the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), a widely recognized standardized test for admission to graduate business programs. 

Format of GMAT AWA Syllabus

It is important to note that the GMAT syllabus of AWA does not require specialized knowledge of any particular subject. The focus is on your ability to analyze arguments effectively, regardless of the topic. Therefore, it is essential to approach each prompt with a critical mindset and to provide a balanced and well-supported analysis.

Additionally, the Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus assesses your analytical thinking skills. You must critically evaluate the given argument, examining its logical reasoning, assumptions, and evidence. By dissecting the argument and highlighting its strengths and weaknesses, you demonstrate your ability to think critically and evaluate complex information.

1. AWA Structure

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GMAT exam evaluates your ability to analyze and critique arguments, as well as your skills in expressing your thoughts effectively through writing. The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus consists of one essay prompt, and you are required to write a coherent essay in response to the given prompt within a specific time limit.

The questions in GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus typically present an argument on a specific topic, and your task is to analyze the argument by critically evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. It is important to carefully read and understand the prompt, identify the main points of the argument, and develop a clear and logical response.

2. Scoring system and evaluation

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus of the GMAT exam is scored on a scale of 0 to 6, with 0.5-point increments. Two different evaluators independently assess each essay, providing a score based on the overall quality of your writing, critical thinking skills, and ability to support your ideas with relevant examples and reasoning.

If there is a significant difference in the scores assigned by the two evaluators, a third evaluator may be involved to provide a final score. The final score for the AWA section is the average of the two independent scores or the single score given by the third evaluator, if applicable.

GMAC offers research insights, data-driven solutions, and collaborative platforms that foster a deeper understanding of global business education trends and facilitate meaningful interactions between aspiring students, business schools, and employers. 

3. Skills tested

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus tests a range of skills that are valuable in business and management.

  • Firstly, it assesses your ability to express ideas effectively and coherently. You should strive to present a well-structured essay with a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
  • Additionally, the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus evaluates your capacity to provide examples and develop those examples to support your ideas. Illustrating your points with relevant and specific examples enhances the persuasiveness of your argument and demonstrates your ability to apply real-world scenarios to strengthen your position.
  • Furthermore, the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus tests your analytical skills in analyzing the given argument. You need to critically examine the argument, identify its strengths and weaknesses, and provide a balanced and well-reasoned analysis. This requires the ability to evaluate the logical soundness of the argument and consider alternative perspectives.

Components and Scoring Criteria

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section comprises two distinct components: the Issue Essay and the Argument Essay. In the Issue Essay, test takers are presented with a thought-provoking topic and are required to express their perspective on it. They must provide relevant reasons and examples to support their position effectively.

The Argument Essay, on the other hand, tasks candidates with critiquing the reasoning, assumptions, and evidence presented in a given argument. Each essay is scored on a scale of 0 to 6, with half-point increments, and the scores from both essays are averaged to derive the overall AWA score. The evaluation criteria include assessing the clarity of ideas, the organization and structure of the response, the effective use of language, and the depth of development in presenting arguments. 

ComponentDescription and Scoring Criteria
Issue Essay

Express your perspective on a given topic and provide relevant reasons and examples to support your position. Scoring: 0-6 (in half-point increments)

Argument EssayCritique an argument's reasoning, assumptions, and evidence provided.
Scoring: 0-6 (in half-point increments)
Time Allocation30 minutes for each essay (total of 60 minutes for AWA)
Overall AWA ScoreAverage of the Issue and Argument essay scores. Scored on a scale of 0-6 (in half-point increments)

Tips and Strategies for GMAT AWA Syllabus

Mastering the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section requires a blend of strategic preparation and careful execution. Here are some effective strategies and common mistakes to avoid, ensuring you tackle this section with confidence.

Strategies for GMAT AWA Syllabus

Mastering the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section is essential for achieving a competitive score. This guide provides proven strategies to navigate the AWA syllabus effectively. From understanding prompts to structuring responses, these strategies will elevate your performance and help you succeed on the GMAT. Let's Discuss 

1. Practice Under Timed Conditions

Dedicate specific study sessions to writing essays within the time constraints of the exam. This habituates you to the pressure and helps refine your time management skills.

2. Analyze GMAT Sample Papers

Delve into high-scoring AWA essays found in GMAT preparation materials or online resources. Analyze their structure, coherence, and argumentative prowess to glean valuable insights.

3. Pay Attention to Essay Structure and Coherence

Effective essays boast a clear structure, logical flow, and coherent arguments. Strive to emulate these qualities in your practice essays, emphasizing strong arguments supported by relevant examples.

4. Develop a Template for Essay Writing

Crafting a standardized essay template can streamline your writing process. Include sections for introduction, body paragraphs with arguments and evidence, and a succinct conclusion.

5. Introduction, Body, and Conclusion Structure

Start with a concise introduction that outlines your stance on the topic. Follow this with well-developed body paragraphs that present your arguments coherently. Finally, wrap up with a summary of your main points in the conclusion.

Common Mistakes for GMAT AWA Syllabus

Avoiding common pitfalls is crucial for success in the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section. This guide highlights key mistakes to steer clear of, ensuring that your essays are clear, coherent, and impactful. By understanding these pitfalls, you can enhance your performance and maximize your score on the GMAT.

1. Use of Informal Language and Colloquial Expressions

Maintain a formal tone throughout your essay, avoiding slang or informal language. Opt for precise vocabulary and sentence structures to convey your ideas effectively.

2. Grammatical Errors and Typos

Carefully proofread your essays to eliminate grammatical errors and typos. Attention to detail reflects your professionalism and enhances the clarity of your arguments.

3. Deviation from the Given Prompt

Stay focused on addressing the specific argument or topic provided in the prompt. Straying off-topic can lead to disjointed arguments and lower scores.

4. Straying off-Topic

Ensure your essay remains tightly aligned with the prompt. Tangential discussions detract from the coherence of your argument and may impact your score negatively.

The table below showcases Strategies vs. Mistakes:

StrategiesCommon Mistakes
Practice Under Timed ConditionsUse of Informal Language and Colloquial Expressions
Analyze GMAT Sample PapersGrammatical Errors and Typos
Pay Attention to Essay Structure and CoherenceDeviation from the Given Prompt
Develop a Template for Essay WritingStraying off-Topic
Introduction, Body, and Conclusion Structure 

Resources for GMAT AWA Syllabus Preparation

When it comes to preparing for the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section, having the right resources at your disposal can make a significant difference. The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus evaluates your ability to construct well-reasoned arguments and communicate effectively through writing. To help you excel in this section, we have compiled a comprehensive list of resources that will aid in your GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus preparation.

From GMAT prep books to online courses and practice tests, these resources offer valuable insights, strategies, and practice materials to enhance your essay-writing skills. Whether you're a beginner or looking to fine-tune your existing abilities, these resources will equip you with the necessary tools and techniques to tackle the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus with confidence. is the official website for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), the globally recognized entrance exam for graduate business programs. Managed by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), serves as a comprehensive resource hub for aspiring business school students. 

GMAT AWA Syllabus preparation

1. GMAT Prep Books

Books like "The Official Guide for GMAT Review" and "GMAT Advanced Quant" by GMAC provide practice essay prompts and tips for tackling the AWA section. GMAT prep books specifically dedicated to AWA can provide valuable insights and guidance. Look for books that offer strategies, essay prompts, and sample essays for practice.

2. Online Courses

Online courses designed for GMAT preparation often include specific modules or sections focusing on the AWA section. These courses provide video lessons, interactive exercises, and practice essay prompts. They also offer personalized feedback on your essay writing skills, helping you identify areas for improvement.

3. Practice Tests

Practice tests are essential for familiarizing yourself with the AWA section and simulating the actual exam experience. Many GMAT prep providers offer full-length practice tests that include AWA essay prompts. Taking these tests under timed conditions will help you manage your time effectively and develop a comfortable writing pace. When you click on the link, it will take you to the GMAT practice page. Explore the GMAT practice page here. 

4. Online Writing Platforms

Utilize online writing platforms such as Grammarly or Hemingway to improve your writing skills, grammar, and sentence structure.

5. GMAT Prep Courses

Many GMAT prep courses, like those offered by Kaplan, Manhattan Prep, and Veritas Prep, include guidance and practice for the AWA section.

6. Essay Writing Guides

Explore writing guides and books focused on essay writing techniques, such as "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White.

7. AWA-Specific Prep Services

Specialized AWA prep services like Magoosh AWA Guide and others provide tips, sample essays, and strategies tailored to this section.

Ready to excel in the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)? You can consult an expert to craft impactful essays that can set you apart. Take the first step toward mastering your AWA performance – connect with us today!


The GMAT AWA syllabus evaluates your ability to think critically, express ideas clearly, and construct persuasive arguments in a written format. The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus consists of one essay prompt, and you have 30 minutes to analyze and respond to it. Make sure your plan is up to mark and aligns with your preparation goals. 

The AWA section tests various skills, including effective expression of ideas, use of examples to support arguments, and critical analysis of given arguments. To ace the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus, it is essential to practice writing essays under timed conditions, analyze sample essays, and develop a template for structuring your essays.

Mentr Me
Follow us on:
Reach Out to us:
MentR-Me Education Pvt. Ltd.
Fourth Floor, Vijay Tower, Panchsheel Park North, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110049
Copyright © 2021 MentR-Me. All rights reserved.