Last Updated: March 08, 2021
GRE - Analytical Writing section (AWA)
The Graduate Record Examination, better known as the GRE, is one of the most common standardized tests for students completing their undergraduate degrees. It is much like the SAT or ACT exams that are required to gain entry into undergraduate programs. The difference is that the GRE is not for students to gain entry into undergraduate programs but to enter post-graduate programs. This is a test that gives equal importance to quantitative reasoning along with language skills when exams like SAT or ACT focus only on the proficiency of language that the student has.
GRE scores are considered as a pointer that can supplement undergrad grades and provides the student an increased chance of getting admission in the college of their choice, be it even business or law, along with the recommendation letter and other qualifications the student might offer. It is available in more than 160 countries
around the world and ETS also offers the option of giving the test at home if there are no computer-based test centers in that area. The three sections in the exam are Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.
The AWA is scored on a six-point scale, with six being the highest possible score that can be achieved; the lowest possible score is a zero. The scoring range is displaying in half points, meaning it starts at the lowest, zero, and rises by 0.5 of a point until a six (the highest) is reached.
If a student receives a zero, it means the essay was completely off-topic or if it was not legible. A six is described as a well-articulated essay that addresses the issue at hand and strongly supports the stance on the issue with clear, understandable facts.
The markers that are measured for scoring are:
- Supporting ideas with reasons and examples.
- Examining claims made in the text and their evidence.
- Articulating ideas coherently and effectively.
- Giving instruction-related answers.
The student has the option of deciding whether or not to send their scores on the test day after viewing the scores. They can send their most recent score or all the scores they have received in the last 5 years. Students can also choose to decide what to do with their scores after the test day. They can send additional score reports for a fee if they apply online. The schools the student chooses will only be able to view the scores that have been selected by the student and the scores are valid for a total of 5 years which gives people ample time to ponder over their future.
AWA Score Chart
|Score Level||General Description|
|5.5-6||Essay is insightful; provides reasons and examples to support claims; has complex ideas; sentence variety and vocabulary|
|4.5-5||Essay deals with complex ideas; well-organized; uses diverse vocabulary; has minor inaccuracies that do not affect meaning. |
|3.5-4||Essay analyzes ideas; is organized; has control on sentence structure; lacks clarity. |
|2.5-3||Essay has limited development; no organization; has decent sentence structure but lacks clarity. |
|1.5-2||Essay is not organized; bad sentence structure; lacks development in content. |
|0.5-1||Essay is fundamentally flawed; incoherent; grammatically inaccurate. |
|0||Essay is unrelated to the topic; is indecipherable; attempted in a foreign language. |
|NS||No text produced for evaluation. |
AWA Average Score
In the AWA section, any score above 4 is considered to be great for procuring admissions. A 4 or 4.5 are decent grades depicting the efficiency the student has in language and in organizing content. A 3.5 is also a passable grade as long as the student performs better in the other sections to increase overall scores in GRE. Any score below 3 will imply that the student is not well-equipped in using the language and that the student has a lot to improve.
Time Management in AWA
Managing time to write the essay after reading the text provided is the most difficult part of taking the AWA writing task. The order that is recommended for the best time managing experience is to follow RITE which is a mnemonic for Read, Ideate, Type, and Edit. But when these steps are followed, it is essential that the student spends only a specific amount of time for each of these steps.
- Read: Spend an initial 2 minutes for reading the content that has been provided. This may seem to be an extremely low figure in comparison to the time that an examinee might take in the verbal section of the test. But at the same time, it is to be expected that within the 30 minutes provided for writing the entire essay, only 2 minutes can be spared for reading the content. This may require the student to skim along the lines noting down important perspectives and ideas they can find.
- Ideate: Brainstorm for ideas after reading the text taking less than 5 minutes. Jot down the immediate perspectives that come to mind and organize the content that is slowly taking shape. Choose the main idea that the essay will focus on and move on to finding examples and evidence that can justify the idea. While gathering information for the essay, roughly organize the same by drawing diagrams connecting the points that have been noted. Fixate a 3-4 paragraph structure and add the information into the respective paragraphs starting with the introduction followed by the body paragraphs and then the conclusion.
- Type: Typing will require the maximum amount of time in the section. Take around 20 minutes to transfer information from the scratch paper to the document. Start with the introduction. Summarise the idea that is to be presented in a sentence or two and move on to justify the claims that have been made. If starting with the introduction seems time-consuming, start with the conclusion and work the way up in the essay. The essay should contain at least 500 words with paragraphs of uneven length explaining the content. Paragraph breaks after writing about each idea even if the paragraphs are short provide a better structure for the essay.
- Edit: If everything goes as planned, the student will have another 3 minutes left to edit what has been written. Focus on bettering the phrases and vocabulary. If there is not enough time, always focus on correcting grammatical irregularities and other inconsistencies in the language used. The goal is to convey thoughts in a coherent, effective way rather than proving language proficiency.
AWA Prep Tips
The general tips that are followed for AWA are:
- Do NOT attempt both the essays in first-person. Always use the third-person format.
- Use a paragraph each for every different idea.
- Provide proofs and evidence for every claim that is made.
- Avoid grammatical errors and inconsistencies in language that may recur.
- Do NOT use vocabulary if the meaning remains unclear. High-sounding words do not necessarily fetch better grades.