I received an email with my official score report and my AWA score: I got a 6.0. Not a shock or anything, as I know I wrote some pretty solid essays. It only took me 6 days after the big test day to get my scores, even though the testing documentation said it would take 20. Anyway, below is my advice for this section:
Write Your First Essays with a Template in Hand
To be honest, I initially had a difficult time with the essay section. I wanted to do well in this section, but the general consensus around the GMAT community was that your performance on the AWAs is of marginal importance. If anything, the main strategy seemed to be making sure that you didn’t spend too much time preparing for this section.
My advice is to do the essay section on your practice CATs for 3 – 4 of your exams. For the first one, have a template visible and in hand. You can find many adequate templates on the Internet or the BTG forums. At first it’s difficult to remember the structure, but by your third go around, you’ll definitely have it down in your memory.
Allocate Time to Correct Errors
As a blogger I know that, despite how good your English may be, typing under constraints will usually lead to numerous spelling and grammatical errors. I made sure to leave five minutes after each essay to proofread and review my essays. Since the essays aren’t that long, I was able to run through them twice. This is probably the easiest way to improve your essay score.
Write Longer Essays
Some guides tell you that 2 body paragraphs is enough to get you a 6.0. In my experience with GMAT Write, a prep service that will grade two of your practice esssays, I wrote two essays: one that had three paragraphs and one that had two. The one with three got a 6.0 and the one with two got a 4.0. Based on these results, I feel that the length of your essay matters and will affect your score. I think this is especially true of the Analysis of an Issue essay, where you’re asked to list examples supporting your view. Don’t write a bad essay just to reach this benchmark. But if you want a 6.0, I think you should be shooting for 3 good body paragraphs with clear and reasoned points.