FAQs On The Importance of GRE AWA and How to Ace it

Written by Pareeshti Rao

"You can make anything by writing" - a great man once proclaimed. On both a professional and personal level, I'd regard it as fuel for my soul.

April 25, 2021

While writing any exam, the first set of questions decide your confidence levels. If you’re confident about the first section; you know you’ve got it right. So, even if you may have problems in cracking the other sections, you will get enough time to work on it because you must have already aced your first section. Whether you write a paper-based GRE exam, or give an online test; the analytical section is what you’ll come across first. It is popularly known as the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) and you’ll be given 60 minutes to solve it. Now you may want to know how important a GRE AWA is, and how you can possibly ace it within a short span of time. We are here to boost your confidence levels by giving you tips on how to write AWA and how to ace GRE’s AWA.

FAQ 1: What Is GRE AWA?

Before learning about AWA writing tips, you need to understand what a GRE AWA is.   The GRE exam consists of 3 parts: Analytical writing assessment (AWA) which is the essay section; GRE – Verbal reasoning section, and the GRE – Quantitative Reasoning section. The AWA is the essay section of your GRE test that comprises of 2 parts:

  • The Issue Essay
  • The Argument Essay

You’ll have 30 minutes to finish each part and both the parts test your ability to be able to write a cognitive thesis statement. Sounds scary? Not as much. We’ll tell you how to go about it with some useful AWA writing tips and you’ll know then that this is no rocket science after all!

FAQ 2: Why Is The GRE’s Essay Section So Important?

The GRE AWA assesses the critical reasoning and analytical writing capabilities. Both the parts of this section i.e. The Issue Essay as well as The Argument Essay are crucial indicators to your critical approach to situations. As opposed to most essay questions, these essay questions do not test how much knowledge you have on the particular subject. It evaluates your ability to communicate and support complicated ideas, design and test arguments, and engage in a clear discussion of an issue. And a great score gives validation to your critical thinking and logical capabilities, hence, the importance. Writing a GRE analytical essay within the 60 minute slot (30 minutes each for 2 parts) may seem a little daunting initially but it will give you an idea about your time management skills.

FAQ 3: What Is The Minimum GRE AWA Score Requirement?

Usually, the degree of importance given to the AWA score is based on your course and university and how much they stress upon it. The essay sections are not a part of the total GRE score. They are assessed separately on a scale of 0 – 6. Ideally, if you receive a score above 4, it means that you have done well. However, for getting into the top universities, you will have to have a full score of 6 or at least a 5.5. 

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FAQ 4: What Are The 2 Parts Of The Essay Section?

The GRE AWA is divided into 2 parts, both of which are allotted 30 minutes each. 

The Issue Essay: To put it in simple words, the Issue essay deals with your ability to pose and present an argument about the given prompt or topic. You will have to convince the reader of your perspective. You can substantiate your stand with valid reasons and examples from your own experience. As such, there is no right or wrong answer but you will have to show your convincing skills on whether you support the statement or refute it. 

The Argument Essay: In this part, you will be asked to analyze an argument. A short passage will be presented to you and you will read it, and judge the arguments made in the passage from a logical and an analytical perspective rather than a creative one. You do not have to take stands and prove points, but you will be evaluating the perceptions of the author. 

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FAQ 5: How To Prepare For  GRE’s AWA?

How to write AWA and prepare for it? Here are a few things to do before your GRE AWA test i.e handy GRE AWA tips for you. This will help you understand your essay pattern and following them will give you a hold on how it goes

  • Read sample essays
  • Follow the strategies of the sample essays and write your own essays
  • Get your essays checked by an expert so that you can understand your shortcomings
  • Download or print the best GRE AWA answer sheets and go through them

Also read: How to write winning scholarship essays.

FAQ 6: What Are The Top Strategies To Ace GRE’s AWA?

Yes, you now have strategies to ace your test. A few things to keep in mind while approaching and writing your tests, and you’re sorted! Keep reading to learn how to improve analytical writing skills for GRE   with handy GRE AWA tips.

Analyze your topic: In both your essays, you’ll be given a topic which could be one sentence or a paragraph. Read it and understand what category it falls under. Most topics come under 7 major categories. They are: 

  • Education
  • Technology
  • Cities
  • Arts
  • Government and Power
  • Intellectual Endeavors
  • Philosophy

For Issue essays, analyze your topic and categorize it so you know on what grounds you can support/argue with. As for Argument essays, you analyze your problem by identifying the assumptions and logical fallacies mentioned in the statement/passage. 

Start writing: Since you have only 30 minutes time, start writing once you analyze your problem. Remember to state your dissertation early (probably in the end of the first para itself) otherwise it may give the reader a chance to guess and that could be misleading. Remember never to agree with your argument in the case of argument essays. Challenge your argument in your thesis statement. 

Support it with examples:  how to improve analytical writing skills for GRE?    

 While writing both an Issue Essay as well as an Argument Essay, give evidence for every important and necessary statement. Experiences from your own lives count, so do make sure to give such references.

List down the pros/cons: For Issue essays, you will have to either agree or disagree with the topic. So, list down the pros and cons of both the sides, and pick a side. You either support or refute your statement, so think wisely about what you can write the best about.

Develop a tone and strategy: It is advisable to write your essays in a paragraph format. So make sure to fill your paragraphs with facts, opinions, examples, observations, and anecdotes when required. That will make your paragraphs look systematic and strategically thought through.

Final Word

If you start preparing for your GRE AWA well in advance, say at least 30 days prior to your test day, you’ll get the hang of it. Constantly remind yourself that your time is limited, plan accordingly, and start early. But this again does not mean that you write in haste. That could lead to grammatical errors, wrong implications to your sentences and it will cost you. So, start early, write carefully, and conclude strategically. All the best!

I hope this blog on The Importance Of GRE’s AWA And How To Ace It was useful to you. If you wish to read similar such guides, these blogs might be of use to you:

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