Many students are looking for ways to boost their AWA skills and score. Unfortunately, there is not a plethora of resources out there for students. Most often, we have to rely on people around us or forums online to receive feedback on our writing.
Let’s look at what is available for those of us looking to boost our AWA score.
The first resource comes from GMAC—the makers of the GMAT. As with most things related to the GMAT and official resources, GMAT Write® is not cheap at $29.99, but it is the only resource that can provide you immediate feedback on your writing and your ability to analyze an argument. You’ll really need to think about how important your AWA score is for your application and make the call on paying for this service. Honestly, I would exhaust other options first before purchasing the service.
A Little Help from a Friend
You may not think that your friends can help you improve your writing. You might think you need a college professor or a published writer to help. But you’d be wrong. A friend can really help you to improve your writing. An extra pair of eyes will be able to identify spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and organizational lapses. Ask a friend with good reading and writing skills if you can buy them a coffee in exchange for reading your essay.
Let them know that it is a timed essay and that you only have 30 minutes to write it. This isn’t supposed to be a longform editorial in The Times afterall. Have your friend look at the structure, logical flow of ideas, and persuasiveness of examples. Tell him or her that you aren’t concerned with big words and advanced vocabulary. Ultimately, he or she should look for clear, concise, direct writing that flows nicely. For extra support, you could have him or her read through our essay rubric for extra context.
Compare your Work
You can find mock essays on our blog and examples of how to write introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions. There are a few essays in our product as well. Many test prep books have mock essays too. Usually these essays range from 2’s to 6’s.
Take some time to look through these different essays. Look at what the differences are between a score of 6 and a score of 3. What do you notice about the length, examples, and style? You should be able to find differences and then apply what you learn to your own writing. This is actually a great way to learn how to objectively evaluate your own writing.
A Little Help from a Stranger
You are in luck as a GMAT test taker. You have two very active forums where you can post your essay and have someone, hopefully, out of the kindness of their heart, give you feedback. Both GMAT Club and Beat the GMAT have sections dedicated to the AWA section and many students post their essays asking for feedback.
I recommend signing up and giving feedback to other students first. Build up some karma then post your essay to receive feedback. You’ll learn how to evaluate writing by looking at other students’ writing, you’ll see how to analyze arguments and learn new examples, and in the end, you’ll receive feedback on your writing and improve.
One way to check your writing is to cut and paste the text into a Word document. Those green lines will tell you if something is wrong. By going into ‘Tools’ on the menu bar, you can read an explanation of what is wrong in your sentence.
This won’t help you improve the structure or logical flow of your ideas. Still, knowing that your grammar and spelling are in need of work can help boost your score by as much as a point.
You can also use the Hemingway App online for similar purposes. It will point out awkward sentences, passive voice, and unneeded adverbs. This will give you an idea of how easy it is to read your writing, but it won’t tell you how compelling your examples are.
Getting feedback on your AWA essay is not easy. But don’t feel defeated. There are some resources and options out there that can help you improve. And don’t forget: nothing makes you a better writer than practice, feedback, practice, feedback, practice, feedback.