Of all the questions given in GRE and GMAT, analytical writing questions or essays can be the trickiest. They not only judge your sense of understanding through this but also how good you are at playing with words and using it wisely to portray your thoughts. An average or regular essay grader takes about 45 seconds to 2 minutes to mark you on your essay. In this negligible period, make sure to use the most relevant keywords in order to leave “the first impression”.
As it is said, practice makes perfect. So it is better to start exercising your writing muscles because scoring well on the AWA is not an esoteric art, you just need to keep few basic things in mind.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
You can take precautions to avoid certain mistakes that are very common among non-native (international) test-takers:
- Avoiding the outline-Due to the shortage of time or for any other reason, students tend to avoid outlining the essay and often result in writing an unstructured one. These result in a mound of chaos, and with no outline to fall back on, you might end up erasing large parts of the essay halfway in, failing to put in the valid points. It won’t be a pretty situation causing one to lose marks.
- Lacking Clarity- Since there is no outline, the ideas tend to mix up. Writing out an essay without valid points and loads of ideas without giving specific reasons for it might result in a low score. You should focus on a single clear idea in a paragraph and drive it home.
- Shortage of Creativity- An essay grader goes through hundreds of essays in a single day, all having almost the same content and thought because it somewhere has the internet influence. Therefore, to make your essay stand out supplement it with valid examples and instances. Take instances from your personal life and create somewhere of your own till where it is possible. This will firstly, leave a warm impression on the reader and will also provide him with new content helping you to score the perfect marks.
- Contradiction- While writing an easy one should avoid contradicting the notion. It often happens in an argumentative essay that the students tend to express extreme ideas and end up contradicting, confusing the topic. Therefore, it is better to be alert while choosing your words.
- Long Sentences- Writing an essay with simpler shorter sentences tend to avoid mistakes. Therefore, writing sentences which even a 10th grader can understand is a smart move. This is so because the long complicated ones tend to result in mistakes regarding joining and tenses and often result in losing out marks.
- Effective Conclusion- One should summarize the essay at the end using the key points and restating his ideas. This gives an overall view of your writing and what conclusion you draw from the entire scenario. As, the name itself suggests, CONCLUSION- avoid introducing new ideas there as you are summing up what you have already told before.
- Choice of Words- Using the correct set of words while writing the essay is of paramount importance. Therefore, one should make sure that not too much of informal language is used, neither it should show overconfidence or under-confidence.
For instance- The habit of using phrases such as “in my opinion”, “in my view” etc. has no place in an analytical essay. The reader knows it is your opinion because you are writing it, so write your point accordingly.
Now after understanding the common mistakes, let us know the points that will help us score a 6.0 in essays.
Strategies to get a high score on AWA
Following are the basic strategies one should follow in order to score high on AWA-
- General Structure- It is very important to structure your essay by providing with adequate introduction, body, and conclusion. A structured essay is easy to understand and increases the visibility of your idea. A shabby and unstructured essay lacks clarity. Therefore one should clearly state in the introduction the ideas and should elaborate on those in the main body. Also, one should avoid using new ideas in the conclusion while summing up.
- Understanding the topic- It so happens sometimes that the student jumps into writing the essay without actually understanding the topic and then realize it halfway through; the result of which is that your time and energy both get wasted and bring unwanted stress. Therefore, it is extremely important to understand the essay topic and then start writing in order to be error-free.
- Transition Words and Vocabulary- The transition words such as “however”, “consequently”, “moreover”, “on the other hand”, etc help a lot in guiding the reviewer towards the basic structure of the essay. They play a crucial role in the conclusion and other places when you want to sum up or redirect your argument. In order to use these words effectively and leave a lasting impact on the reader, it is important to have a strong vocabulary so that you can play with the words and grab the attention of the reader.
- Using Templates- they will guide you in the best possible way to format your essays. You should use a certain template that you have already perfected beforehand. It takes away a lot of energy as you just need to structure the essay around the template after the initial brainstorming. Use the initial few minutes to outline before starting with the actual essay.
- Going from templates to fully fledged essays- Once you have prepared the template start writing the essay. You have an outline and ideas to be written ready; thus, make sure to discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument’s logic and analyze the argument’s underlying assumptions. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.
- The E-rater- While writing an essay one should keep in mind about the e-rater. Therefore, while writing, try to be grammar fluent and avoid using big words if the meaning isn’t clear because if used it might backfire. Also, use an adequate amount of convincing words to show your strong vocabulary and understanding.
- Proofreading and Rechecking- Proofreading is the most important step while ensuring a perfect essay. Agreed no writing is perfect but try to make one by eliminating mistakes from your side while proofreading and rechecking it. Significant errors or mistakes can diminish the readability of the essay and hurt your score. Hence, leave aside more than a couple of minutes to spell check and rearrange any sentences if you feel you need to and come up with something better.
With these points, one should also keep some things in mind.
GRE GMAT AWA Essays and Scores
In the practice sessions get used to the keyboard and increase your typing speed if required. Also, jot down the structure and practice your writing skills in order to finish it on time so that there is no last moment hurry and you are able to give equal time to all parts.
Remember, no matter how great you thought your essays went, try to stay humble and focused because you never know whom you are competing against.