GMAT Analytical Writing: Mastering the Argument Essay


Introduction to GMAT Analytical Writing

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) includes an Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section, which evaluates your ability to think critically and communicate effectively. This section comprises one essay task, commonly known as the Argument Essay. Scoring well on the AWA can significantly enhance your overall GMAT score and demonstrate your analytical prowess to business schools.

Understanding the Argument Essay Prompt

The Argument Essay task presents a paragraph-length argument followed by specific instructions on how to analyze and critique it. Your goal is not to express your opinion on the topic, but rather to critically evaluate the logical soundness of the argument presented. This requires keen attention to reasoning, evidence, and structure.

Structuring Your Response

Crafting a well-structured essay is paramount in the AWA section. Your essay should have a clear introduction, body paragraphs that dissect the argument’s weaknesses, and a concise conclusion that summarizes your critique. Each paragraph should focus on a distinct aspect of the argument, such as flawed assumptions, insufficient evidence, or logical fallacies.

Identifying Weaknesses in the Argument

Successful AWA essays pinpoint specific weaknesses in the argument and provide evidence to support these critiques. Look for unsupported assumptions, errors in logic, lack of evidence, or alternative explanations that undermine the argument’s validity. Providing concrete examples and counterarguments strengthens your analysis and showcases your analytical skills.

Effective Use of Language and Structure

In addition to content, your essay’s clarity and coherence are vital. Use clear and concise language to convey your points effectively. Employ transitional phrases to connect ideas and ensure a smooth flow between paragraphs. A well-structured essay with logical progression enhances readability and underscores your ability to organize complex thoughts.

Time Management Strategies

Time management is crucial in the AWA section, as you have only 30 minutes to complete the essay. Allocate a few minutes to read and analyze the argument, outline your response, and then devote the majority of your time to writing. Practice timed essays to improve your efficiency and ensure that you can effectively convey your analysis within the allotted timeframe.


Mastering the Argument Essay in the GMAT AWA section requires a combination of critical thinking, analytical skills, and effective communication. By understanding the prompt, structuring your response, identifying weaknesses in the argument, and employing sound language and structure, you can craft a compelling essay that showcases your ability to analyze complex issues. Practice regularly to hone your skills and approach the AWA section with confidence on test day.

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