While it is quite true that GMAT AWA scores are not given the same importance as GMAT verbal and quantitative scores by admission committees, this does not mean that candidates’ scores on the GMAT writing section are unimportant or that time spent preparing for the GMAT essay would be better spent preparing for the other sections. Low AWA scores can in fact mean the difference between admission or rejection in certain situations, and thus candidates would be best off recognizing that the importance of their AWA scores is relative: that is, GMAT essay scores take on more or less importance depending on a candidate’s choice of B-schools, background, and overall profile. This post will specifically address the importance of GMAT writing scores for students applying to top ten programs. For other situations and scenarios where the GMAT writing section assumes greater significance (e.g., for international students, questions regarding cheating), check out next week’s post (Part II).
If your analytical-writing skills need significant improvement, further help is available in my book (also published by Peterson's). The book places special emphasis on building rhetorical writing skills, organizing your GMAT essay, and avoiding or correcting common language, grammar and mechanical problems.
Facts about the GMAT essay section (AWA):
The GMAT AWA section is the most difficult section to prepare for because neither books nor most GMAT prep courses provide students with what they most need to improve: personalized feedback on their own GMAT practice essays from well-trained writing instructors. Unlike computer-based scoring programs, which provide overly general feedback to pre-programmed essay prompts, Peak Performance's GMAT Essay Scoring & Feedback uses specific examples from, and suggested corrections to, students' own essays to help them understand how they can improve both their skills and their score.