All About The GMAT

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) essay is the first thing that you will encounter in GMAT. The essay assesses your critical thinking and written communication abilities which are very important in a managerial career.

You have to write One essay in 30 minutes:

Analysis of an Argument: You are expected to read and understand the given argument and write a critique of the argument. Unlike in case of analysis of an issue, you should not state your opinion but rather to analyze the one given. You should look at flaws in the arguments, identify the circumstance in which the argument may fail and suggest additional evidence that could strengthen the argument.


Memo of the VP of a popular Chocolate Company: "Our premium and most expensive line of chocolates got good feedback in the recent taste test and the sales also increased consequently. So I feel, we should focus on producing more lines of premium chocolates and should waste our resources on low-priced ordinary chocolates. In the current recession, luxury items like cars may be out of the reach of many customers. But they do not mind spending money on basic luxuries like our premium chocolates."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counter examples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

You need to type in your essay on a simple word processor that lets you perform simple functions like cut & paste, undo & redo, insert & delete text. No special computer skills are required for this.

Spell check and grammar check are not available. So you must be careful to avoid blatant grammatical and spelling mistakes. A few minor mistakes here and there will not affect your score much. Logic and structure are of primary importance.

The argument essay is UNLIKE an issue task and you are not being asked to agree or disagree with the given argument. You are expected to CRITIQUE the given argument by examining the conclusion(s) in the light of the given evidence(s). More specifically, you must check whether the given evidence(s) actually lead(s) to the stated conclusion(s). Further, consider the underlying assumptions in the argument and check their validity. You can also discuss the type of information that will strengthen the argument. The evaluator will see how effective you are in:

Identifying the key elements of the argument (conclusion, evidence and assumptions) Critiquing the argument and spot the logical flaws in the writer’s reasoning Suggesting ways in which the argument can strengthened Maintaining coherence in the narration

These steps can be used to organize your thoughts while writing an ARGUMENT essay.

How to Tackle Argument Essay

In an ARGUMENT essay

The Introduction should demonstrate that you have spotted the correct conclusion and the various evidences.

The Body must highlight at least 3-4 major flaws.

The Conclusion must summarize the main flaws.

You can tell how the given argument could be made better (more convincing) and suggest additional information that can make the argument complete. COMMON FAULTS IN ARGUMENTS

  1. Very little supporting evidence.
  2. Unreasonable assumptions.
  3. Assuming 'cause-and-effect' relationship for a coincidence or correlation.
  4. One example, one anecdote, a survey or one experiment used to arrive at a conclusion.
  5. Sweeping generalization(s).
  6. Sometimes there may be more than one cause that can lead to an effect. Hence, all possible factors must be considered before jumping to a conclusion about the cause.
  7. An opposing point may be picked up and its drawbacks are highlighted or oversimplified resulting in deliberate misrepresentation.
  8. Attacking a person than the logical shortcoming of an argument
  9. Uncompromising adoption of extreme position thereby ignoring the middle-of-the path approach.
  10. Assumption that something, which is generally true for a group, is true for every person who may be directly or indirectly related to that group. Remember, every generalization could have an exception too. Hence, stereotyped thinking must be avoided.

After typing the ARGUMENT essay you may put these 6 questions to yourself.

  1. Does the introduction give a clear-cut indication that you have spotted the right conclusion(s) and the evidence(s) being used in the argument?
  2. In the body do you expose the flaws in the argument and explain them adequately?
  3. Did you suggest ways in which argument could be made better?
  4. Did you maintain a smooth logical flow and organize the entire essay properly?
  5. Is the language proper without too many major grammatical errors?
  6. Do your sentences have sufficient variety in them?

You can download a full list of Analysis of an Argument Topics here