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How much should I bother with AWA?

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How much should I bother with AWA?

by myohmy » Thu May 14, 2009 10:59 am
I am retaking the GMAT. Though I wasn't pleased with my previous score (620), I did get a 6.0 on the essay. Most schools I'm looking at, though, only take the highest GMAT score from one sitting (ie, not "superscored"). I know b-schools don't really look that much at the AWA portion of the GMAT, but I'm wondering if I can just put forth a lot less effort and concentrate on later parts of the exam?

I'm an English major (still in college) so I don't think adcoms will seriously doubt my writing ability. I've noticed that I do much better on the exam if I relax a little during the essay and make it less sophisticated and developed, than I do if I try my hardest at the essay. I've been doing the AWAs on my practice exams to up my stamina, but if I don't do it, I generally do much better on both Q and V. I don't think it's a time issue (I'm usually done with my essay by the 20 minute mark, always by the 25 minute). I think it's probably just that my mind is more clear going into Q if I'm not trying to transition from essay writing.

I'm sure I can get over 4, even with a half baked effort, but is it worth it for me to try and go for the 6, or should I just put something decent and not great in and save my energy for the rest of the test?

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by wgrau » Thu May 14, 2009 12:42 pm
I was in a similar situation. I scored a 680 with a 6 for AWA. On my retest, I decided to go for a more relaxed attitude towards the AWA, since I figured I had already demonstrated my writing ability with the previous test.

On the Argument essay, I got a really interesting one that didn't take much effort to come up with 3 good points. On the Issue essay, I was struggling to come up with more than one good supporting point, so I bagged it with 10 minutes left. I ended up with a 720 and 5.5 for AWA. I was surprised with my score as I had thought the last essay totally sucked, but oh well, I'm not complaining.

Just be sure you do the essays. If you totally ignore them and do nothing for them, you run the risk of having your score cancelled by GMAC.

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by canada_sms » Thu May 14, 2009 1:21 pm
I really don't know what's up with the AWA. I got a 6.0 but I left the exam thinking I was going to get maybe a 4.5. I think the sample essays in the back of the official guide aren't totally representative of what it takes to get certain scores. As long as you have ultra specific examples I think you can get away with some BS supporting arguments for your position.
MBA Candidate 2012
MIT Sloan School of Management