How to score that perfect 6.0 on GMAT AWA
Anyone with an average hold on English can actually score a 6 on GMAT's Argument essay without putting too much time into it. One just needs to know how.
This guide is meant for essay-phobes who dread the blank screen with the blinking cursor and/or people who simply want to score well (or full) on the GMAT. As far as my qualifications are concerned, I recently gave the GMAT and with good confidence scored a full 6 on my GMAT AWA, despite being an essay-phobe myself.
To get started, you should read Chineseburned's article on AWA Writing here -http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html. The idea of his article is to form a "template" and it suggests some supporting words for you to use while writing your essay. This idea forms the meat of my strategy, and there's no point in me reproducing the material in this already well-known reference article. Also, note that the Issue essay has been discontinued much to my relief, and this guide will focus exclusively on the Argument essay. I actually waited a whole year so I could give the Next-Gen GMAT rather than the old GMAT with 2 essays, and I must say this "pathetic" strategy paid off - 780 + 6 AWA + 8 IR on my first attempt. I do believe the Quant and Verbal scores would have been negatively affected due to the energy drain caused by the 2 essays.
I'm only going to build on the tips given by Chineseburned, add some more tips and make it EASIER for you to follow.
Now that you've read the article, it's time to jump into some more tricks:
Three things to remember:
1) Remember that the argument essay is more science than art. You need to use connecting words to "build up" your argument. ("Moreover", "for example", "to illustrate", ...; do not use "etc..." unless absolutely necessary, it looks like an open ending - make your argument sound robust and confident) People suggest writing about 500 words per essay - the reason being unless you're a good writer, it's difficult to convey what you want to say minimally. Take a look at the score 6 essay in the Official Guide - can you pull off an essay like that? If yes, you don't need this guide - I should be taking tips from you. If you can't, read on. A good 500+ word essay usually shows that you can whip up ideas and write atleast well about your ideas in the 30 mins. It's also useful to remember that the GMAT asks for a "draft" version, not a very awesome finalized essay. So, a bit of structure, good grammar and 3 argument loopholes (2 or 4 is fine, but 3 is a good number to stick to) are all the things that you need to write your essay.
2) It's also useful to keep in mind that one of your raters is an algorithmic e-rater. You can test yourself against the official e-rater by buying the "GMAT Write" pack from mba.com. I did do this because I wasn't feeling too sure about my scores, and I feel more confident if I know what to expect beforehand. I do suggest you do the same, because it's one thing to write an essay and another to see your actual score. The thing here is - good structure and grammar with connecting words in a 500+ word essay is almost guaranteed to give you a 6 - it's how the e-rater seems to be programmed. On top of that, from what I've read, the human graders seem to be so overburdened with essays to check that they too follow an "algorithm" almost the same as the e-rater; a longer essay is sure to score better than a shorter one.
3) Don’t worry about making too much sense in the essay. The e-rater can’t validate your facts and figures – it can only read structure. And the reader cannot verify any of them either – trust me, he doesn’t have the time or the inclination nor is he supposed to do so. All they need is structure, grammar and a well substantiated argument. Feel free to conjure examples out of thin air so long as they substantiate your argument. As I’ll explain later, the examples form the bulk of the essay.
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