The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Section
- Time: 60 minutes
- Format: 2 thirty-minute essays
- Tests: Ability to analyze an issue and an argument
The Analytical Writing Assessment on the GMAT helps business schools analyze your writing skills. It's scored separately from your 200-800 point score, on a scale from 0-6 in increments of 0.5. Essays are scored by a human grade and a computer grading system, and the 2 scores are averaged for your final score.
Analysis of an Argument
This question type presents a brief argument similar to a statement you would find in a critical reasoning question. Your task is to write an essay that critiques the structure of the argument and explains how persuasive or unpersuasive you find it. You should not try to present your own point of view on the topic; instead present a critique of the author's argument. Consider the following questions:
- What's the conclusion?
- What evidence is used to support the conclusion?
- What assumptions does the writer make in moving from evidence to conclusion?
- Is the argument persuasive?
- What would make it stronger? Weaker?
Analysis of an Issue
Expect the Analysis of an Issue question to present a broad, general issue with several facets—sometimes 2 points of view are asserted and other times you will see only one explicitly stated. Your task is to explore the issue's complexities, formulate and opinion, and express yourself clearly and convincingly.
There is no "correct" answer; consequently, it doesn't matter which side of the argument you advocate. What does matter, however, is that you develop an opinion and express yourself in grammatically correct English and provide concrete examples to support your ideas and make them clear to the reader.
Watch the video on the right for more detailed information. Also, watch a Kaplan strategy of the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment section.