The composite GMAT scores are constituted only with quant and verbal sections. AWA or Analytical Writing Assessment is scored separately. As a matter of fact, it does not really matter to your admission prospects. But still, you can’t deny its significance.
What is Analytical Writing Assessment and how is it scored?
This section requires the candidates to write an essay on an argument provided. It has duration of 30 minutes and scoring scale of 0-6 points. It examines your writing and analytical skills based on various parameters. The scoring is usually based on two ratings. One of it involves an evaluation by the automated system of an essay scoring engine that assesses over 50 linguistic and structural factors. If the difference of manual and automated ratings is more than 1 point, an expert reader evaluates the essay to mitigate the discrepancies.
Why AWA is not important for admissions?
There is a simple logic behind it. Most of the schools aren’t interested in your AWA or IR scores simply because the composite GMAT scoring has direct impact on their rankings. Due to its separate scoring system, it is often considered to be less important as compared to other two sections.
Does it really matter?
Despite being less important for admission procedures at leading B-schools, you can’t really ignore this test completely, especially if you are a non-native English speaker. If you fall in this category, your AWA score may be significant for the schools to understand your mastery over the language. If you have scored badly in AWA but have produced a brilliantly written essay for admission application, it represents a red flag. It may indicate towards a probable fraud in the application form and negate your candidature completely.
Secondly, AWA tests your ability to understand a situation, make viable assumptions, and write your thoughts in a precise fashion to convey them properly. This skill is largely required in the real life business scenarios as well. Mostly, as you progress in your career, your writing becomes your identity. Hence, if you are entering the B-school with your work experience, a score below 4 in Analytical Writing Assessment can raise suspicion about your competence.
However, you need not dedicate a lot of your study time to this section. Keep it for the last time preps. This is the first section of your GMAT. So, never skip it. You should utilize this 30 minutes duration as a time to prepare your mind for the challenging task ahead. Use it as an opportunity to heat up but don’t spare too much of your energy on it.