How to Ace the Analytical Writing Assessment for GRE? 

How to Ace the Analytical Writing Assessment for GRE? 

It takes weeks or even months of hard work, perseverance, practice, and thoughtful preparation to get a 99 percentile score on either the Verbal or Quantitative parts of the GRE. On the other hand, you may easily get a 99 percentile score on the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) exam with only a small portion of the effort you put into the Math and Verbal sections and a few days of preparation. Additionally, obtaining a 6.0 on the AWA is uncommon; only 8000 test takers worldwide do it a year. Being one of such people will make you well-known among admissions committees in addition to your pals.

You will need to be far more organized than most other students if you want to get a perfect 6.0 on the AWA part. The GRE’s essay component takes the same level of self-assurance, perseverance, and preparation that the Verbal and Quant sections do. Additionally, you will want a reliable manual that can assist you with all the techniques and recommendations. So to speak, you will need an AWA Bible.

But regrettably, there isn’t much helpful information on this usually ignored part available online. Yes, you can find some helpful articles and 6.0 essay samples online with a quick Google search, but there is no comprehensive resource for writing 6.0 GRE essays online. That’s why this article will provide you with a thorough, in-depth guide to getting a flawless 6.0 on the AWA.

What does the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Stand For?

There are two essays in the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GRE, and you have 30 minutes or fewer to complete each one. Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument are the two types of essays you will encounter on the GRE. No matter what, these two essays will always be tested first on your GRE. You cannot just leave AWA and continue with the other parts before returning. Only until you have finished writing the two essays and moved on to the AWA portion as a whole can you proceed.

Contrary to what the majority of students claim, you should keep in mind that the Analytical Writing Assessment just evaluates your ability to write an essay, and hence only examines your writing skills. Contrary to common belief, the Analytical Writing Assessment doesn’t examine how you think. It just evaluates writing abilities as long as your essay makes sense. In the next parts, we will talk about this topic in greater detail.

Importance of Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

It is common knowledge that your GRE verbal and math composite scores are more significant than your AWA essay score and that a score of 5.0 or 6.0 won’t make or break your prospects of being accepted to the institution of your choosing. Your AWA score is only a concern to graduate school admissions authorities if it is too low or considerably below the class average. Yes, a low AWA score might raise a red flag, and the admissions committee will undoubtedly consider twice before allowing you to enroll. Sometimes they even go so far as to review your LOR and SOP to see if you or someone else truly wrote them. Therefore, it is rather safe to argue that the AWA score is a significant enough consideration for admissions.

How to Ace the Analytical Writing Assessment

The Analyze an Issue Task evaluates how effectively you can formulate and defend a viewpoint on a subject. To address the problem You must choose a viewpoint on an issue, agree or disagree with it, and support it with facts.

The Analyze an Issue Task prompt gives you a short description of a broad issue and specifies the parameters within which you are permitted to answer. Whether you agree or disagree with the topic is immaterial; nonetheless, your answer must address some related concerns.

Heed the following to ace it: 

#1 – Develop a Thesis and Declare it up Front 

Make sure your reader knows which side of the argument you are on by choosing a side and sticking with it. Be blatantly clear about the stance you’re adopting. There should be a thesis statement in the opening paragraph that makes your opinion on the subject completely clear.

Not even worrying about starting with your argument or being overly apparent. If you express your point of view in the first line, you may get a 6, the maximum score. Make sure the thesis is understandable and that all of the supporting information you provide follows it.

#2 – Use a Standard Pattern of Organization 

The GRE was created by ETS, which does not provide a precise formula for structuring responses. This, however, does not provide you the freedom to lack organization. By structuring your writing, you’ll be able to write more quickly and clearly while also making your work easier for the reader to grasp. Tips three and four will give you a better concept of how to arrange them.

#3 – Order Paragraphs Effectively 

Make sure that your paragraphs are in a logical sequence after you’ve established your main framework. There are a few options for doing this:

You should organize your topics from most crucial to least important before writing.

The preferable method is to write in reverse order, from least to most important. You may avoid having a poor conclusion by writing from the least to the most crucial topic. It builds tension and strengthens the overall persuasiveness of your work.

#4 – Use a Standard Pattern of Paragraphing

When writing the paragraphs in the body of your answer, consider using a conventional format. This is a format you can try:

Topic Sentence

The reader is informed of the purpose of the paragraph via the subject sentence. You may additionally mention the following while replying to the Issue Task:

  • backing for your stance
  • rebuttal to your argument
  • a gap in your thinking

Even though none of them should be in your subject phrase, picking at least one will help you take a more convincing stance.

For instance, you can argue that charging admission to visitors to the national museums in Washington, D.C., is an acceptable policy. Your subject line can imply that visitors will appreciate their visit more if they have to pay (i.e. support for your position).

Support and Development

You must elaborate on and justify your opinion after your subject phrase. These are your choices:

  • Restriction: defining or restricting your subject to make it more narrowly focused
  • Explanation: Provide more details on your viewpoint.
  • Evidence: Supporting your information with facts.

It is your responsibility to construct your subject phrase with supporting details so that it is compelling.

Returning to the example of national museums in Washington that charge admission, you might mention how families traveling from afar for a long weekend may decide against going if they had to pay for two adults and several children at three museums. You may stress how those kids won’t have access to our country’s history firsthand anymore and how viewing things like the actual Constitution can encourage patriotism.

It’s helpful if you come up with alternatives to this line of thinking while you read this. The growth and support of your work will be strengthened by taking into account other viewpoints. Utilizing the aforementioned tips, try to make this section of your paragraph lengthy and rich with details.

Closing Statement

A conclusion or clinching statement is not essential when drafting a body paragraph. In general, you want to be able to move smoothly from one topic to the next after each body paragraph. However, it is beneficial if you can provide a novel and enlightened viewpoint (i.e. in light of the support and reasoning given in the paragraph). Don’t bother about making this line seem “smart.” Instead, pay attention to stressing the paragraph’s core topic regardless of whether you’re writing a clincher or transition.

#5 – Fully Develop Each Paragraph 

The type and quantity of the help you provide will be a major determinant of the essay’s success or relative failure. Here are 5 elements you might use to make complete and substantial paragraphs:


The best approach to strengthen and provide credence to your argument is via facts. You should feel free to incorporate some broad truths in your writing, even though it’s crucial not to merely make things up. It’s a great idea to provide this information if you have any knowledge of the subject you are writing about. Facts are a rationale-based appeal to the reader.

Expert Judgment or the Public Interest 

Writing to an expert on the subject you’re writing about can help your essay improve. It’s not required to recall every word of a statement, but if you can precisely summarize the gist and viewpoint of a subject-matter expert, that’s an interesting choice. Think carefully about whether the information you’re providing is appealing to the reader’s logic or emotions. Although effective, emotional appeals must be handled with caution. You shouldn’t rely only on this type of material for your writing.


Each of us has a distinct and worthwhile viewpoint. A quick method to improve your writing while strengthening your argument is to share your own experiences. This gets much more useful if you have a lot of life experience. You may use reason or emotion to support your observations.

A little narrative may help you make your point more memorable while also providing some additional support for it. Keep in mind that you should only use one story in every paragraph at most to avoid detracting from your overall writing. This approach may be effective as an appeal to passion or reason.

Examples aid in meaningfully illuminating concepts. They provide strong evidence to back up your statements, so feel free to utilize them often throughout your work. The appeal to reason is where this strategy works best.

#6 – Use Caution when using Tone and Person 

Even if the grading criteria do not specifically include tone or person, it is always a good idea to pay attention to how you come across. The objective is to seem fair and competent to increase your persuasiveness. Sometimes you could write anything with a lot of enthusiasm, but watch out that you don’t go beyond since it can be easy to sound diatribe or just plain whiny.

The third-person viewpoint is customary for the kind of writing you’ll be producing for the problem’s job. Despite this, avoid adhering rigidly to this tradition. There are occasions when speaking in the first person (I, my, mine…) is preferable.

For instance, using the third person while talking about oneself might lead to odd expressions like “this writer thinks that.” Both you and the reader will find this writing difficult to read. In addition, it is not required to constantly use the pronoun “I” when expressing an opinion; you don’t have to write “I think…” or “I believe…” all the time.

#7 – Provide Extra Information if Time Allows 

You have the option of finishing your writing before the deadline, but only once you’ve completed it. A substantial and well-supported piece of writing is what is desired. Dressing up an item that lacks the fundamentals will offer nothing, both literally and metaphorically. The fundamentals of this advice still apply even if you’re taking a computer-based exam, of course. As time allows, try incorporating the following components:

An eye-catching introduction: Although it is by no means required, it might be a great addition if you can start your essay with a thought-provoking query or interesting fact.

Good word Choice: Don’t use popular terms that don’t significantly contribute to the message. The words “truly,” “amazing,” “wonderful,” “interesting,” “unbelievable,” etc. Words like these are OK if you’re conversing informally or writing a blog post or social media article. In writing that is more official and scholarly, you should stay away from them.

Instead of stative verbs like was and were, use active verbs.

Avoid Clichés at all Costs: By all means, use a more exact term if you can. The term should clarify and add meaning, however. It won’t assist you to employ a fancy or smart-sounding term simply because it sounds supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Different Sentence Structures: Make use of various sentence lengths. Your writing will not only be more difficult to grasp if each sentence is 25 to 40 words long, but it will also wear out the reader. Similarly, sticking to short phrases can restrict your capacity to communicate more complex thoughts.

Writing a few questions here and there may offer diversity and boost reader interest.

Use one of the several phrase starters available. Starting every phrase, in the same manner, is monotonous, like a repetitive drum beat. Additionally, try beginning sentences with conjunctions, prepositions, and transitions.

Score Range for Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) 

AWA scores are given in increments of 0.5 between 0 to 6.0. But what does receiving a score of 6.0, 4.0, or even 0 on the AWA really mean? Your answers to each of these essay questions will be graded on a 6-point scale, with 6 being the best score and 1 representing the lowest. The criteria that ETS considers while scoring your Analytical Writing Assessment essays are listed below:

6.0 – Outstanding: 

A well-written assessment of the argument or topic that demonstrates knowledge of effective writing as well as the traits listed below:

  • Identifies and provides a thorough analysis of the argument’s key points.
  • develops coherent concepts, arranges them rationally, and links them effectively without abrupt changes in the subject.
  • substantially backs up the critique’s key claims.
  • superior command of the English language, including the diction, sentence structure, spelling, syntax, and syntactic diversity employed in written English as it is used in daily life.
  • The essay has few to no errors.

5.0 – Strong:

A well-written criticism of the argument that exhibits excellent literary control and the following qualities:

  • recognizes and attentively examines the key elements of the argument.
  • logically links concepts and develops them with obvious transitions.
  • provides a fairly logical defense of the critique’s key issues.
  • demonstrates precise linguistic management, including variation in diction and syntax
  • spelling mistakes among other possible small problems, but none significant.

4.0 – Adequate:

A solid analysis of the argument presented, showcasing good writing skills, and exhibiting the qualities listed below

  • ready to recognize and evaluate the argument’s essential points.
  • adequately develops and arranges concepts, but some crucial connections and transitions could be missed.
  • backs up the key arguments of the criticism.
  • Language control is adequate, but there may not be enough diversity in the syntactic structure.
  • may have a few significant defects or a lot of smaller ones.

3.0 – Limited

A good essay contains a criticism of the argument that is incorrect, shows minimal mastery of the literary aspects, and exhibits the following traits:

  • Many of the crucial aspects of the argument are not acknowledged or examined.
  • has a weak logical growth and improper concept arrangement.
  • provides minimal support that is both relevant and valuable for the criticism’s concerns.
  • lacks diversity in sentences or uses words imprecisely
  • Occasionally has significant problems in language, use, or mechanics, or often does so.

2.0 – Seriously Flawed:

An inadequate essay having significant weaknesses in analytical writing and exhibiting the following traits

  • shows little evidence of grasping the key points of the argument.
  • There haven’t been many analyses of the primary topics.
  • neither generates ideas nor is structured
  • provides zero to few relevant examples.
  • has frequent, severe language usage, grammar, spelling, and sentence structure issues


1.0 – Fundamentally Deficient:

An essay that exhibits the following qualities and is full of basic weaknesses in analytical writing:

  • offers little to no proof of the capacity to comprehend and evaluate the core notion.
  • Lack of organization in the reaction.
  • contains serious and ongoing grammatical and sentence structure faults
  • and has a pattern of grammatical, usage, and logic problems that are particularly common.
  • utterly illogical in its answer.

0.0 – Unscorable:

A paper that is not written on the prescribed subject or is completely unreadable. Responses that fall within one of the following categories get a score of zero:

  • The comments are irrelevant.
  • Other than English, the comments are written in another language.
  • The replies only repeat the subject that was presented.
  • All that is provided in the answers are random keystroke characters.
  • Zero reaction.

Therefore, it is fair to assume that you will get a score of 1.0 if you write at least a few phrases in English. However, no college in the world will accept a score so low.

How are Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Exams Graded?

Each of your AWA essays receives a grade between 0 and 6. Your Issue essay will be evaluated by two readers who will each give it a merit score, and your Argument essay will be read by two separate readers who will also give it a score. The best essays will get a score of 6.0 from each evaluator, while essays that were not given themes or were written in a foreign language will receive a score of 0. Each essay is given a score based on predefined assessment measures, such as the general caliber of your critical thinking and writing, as described before. The graders spend between 30 and 2 minutes on each essay. Higher education is one of the topic areas represented among the college and university faculty members who grade the replies.

The two scores will be averaged after the readers have finished assessing your essay to get your final AWA score. A third, very skilled reader is called in to assess the paper if the two readers’ grades disagree by more than one point (i.e., determine your final score for that essay).

Your ultimate grade for each essay is either the modified grade given by the third reader or the sum of the ratings given by the first two readers.

An example Analytical Writing score may be calculated as follows:

If you received 6 and 5 on the Analysis of an Issue, your final score for the Issue essay would be the average of these two, or (6 + 5) /2, which equals 5.5. Similarly, if you received 4 and 5 on the Analysis of an Argument, your final score on the Argument essay would be (4 + 5) /2, which equals 4.5.

The average of your grades on your Issue and Argument essays, or (5.5 + 4.5) /2, which equals 5, will be your final AWA score.

Although your AWA scores might vary from 0 to 6, it should be noted that the majority of scores fall between 2 and 5. All exam takers have so far received an average AWA score of roughly 4.2.

Your Verbal, Quantitative, and Total scores are unaffected by your Analytical Writing Assessment results, which are calculated and presented independently from the multiple-choice portions of the exam. However, only scores are transmitted; your score report will not contain copies of your comments. After your exam date, you will get your essay results in around 10-15 days.

Grading Criteria for your Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

Most students believe that the only relevant aspect of Analytical Writing Assessment grading is essay length. In actuality, however, it isn’t. It is undoubtedly one of the most crucial aspects, but it is not the only one. If you want to get a score that is even close to ideal, you will need to take into account a lot of additional elements. We’ve put up a summary of all the elements that go towards your final AWA score so you may be well-prepared and work on your writing abilities in that area.

1. Discretion

Of all the criteria the graders use to evaluate your writing, this is the most crucial. By reading only once, the grader should be able to comprehend what you are attempting to express. This makes their work simpler, and they will realize that your article is clear if it can be comprehended after only one reading.

You are responsible for making sure your writings contain prepared concepts since, more often than not, graders will not bother to reread your essay and waste another couple of minutes, as we previously stated. The grader may only spend a maximum of two minutes on every essay. As a result, you will get a score that is far lower than you merit.

When you are composing the essays, ask yourself these two questions. Why are you saying what you are? What do you want to say? By the time the grader has finished reading the essay, these two questions must have definite answers. If you give it some thought, you will have to respond to these questions during reading comprehension. The graders evaluating your essay will likewise need to discover the answers to these same questions if you require a perfect score, much as how you can quickly solve a Reading Comprehension test if you know the answers to those two questions. When it comes to your writing, substance counts more than any other consideration. As a result, make sure your arguments are well-supported and your logic is understandable.

2. Composition

The arrangement of your essays is the second most crucial component, thus you should have anticipated it. The readability of an article is greatly influenced by its formatting. Your writing should be easy to understand, with a correct structure and organization, and should read like a novel. As a result, it’s critical that you divide your essay into separate paragraphs, each with its own purpose and context, and maintain a seamless transition from one paragraph to the next.

In this manner, each paragraph reads like a distinct tale, allowing the essay graders to quickly examine the complete answer. Additionally, the seamless transitions and lack of abrupt turns in your answer will make the grader’s work much simpler.

To write an essay effectively, you should have a framework in mind before you start. An introduction paragraph, three to four body paragraphs, and a closing paragraph make up the overall format. Therefore, if you want a high score on the AWA, be sure that your essay has at least 5–6 paragraphs.

3. Variety of Sentences

Although you may be writing numerous paragraphs on the same subject, you should try to avoid using the same or similar phrases throughout. You get the idea if you regularly read the news. A single essay or article cannot include two identical phrases, no matter how talented the writer is. The reader will undoubtedly get bored if you use consecutive sentences that have the same form and length.

Use sentence structure wisely to avoid coming out as monotonous and repetitious. However, this does not imply that you should change the order of the words or go from the passive to the active voice. Simply said, it suggests that you should utilize a range of phrases to convey the same idea.

For instance, if you have previously said that “The most essential attribute of a leader is a strong sense of ethics,” and you must repeat it at a later point in the essay, attempt to modify it as follows: “A strong moral framework is vital for any leader.” Do you get it now?

By alternately using short and large sentences, you should continually change up the sentence lengths, rhythm, and flow. To change the beginnings and endpoints of sentences, you need to utilize transitional and signal words.

4. Vocabulary 

There is a persistent misconception among test takers that utilizing the dense vocabulary in your AWA essays can improve your score. Well, that’s completely untrue. Students with excellent vocabulary but weak coherence have in the past received pitiful AWA ratings. Additionally, kids with light vocabulary have achieved excellent essay grades.

As we previously said, the AWA does not assess your command of vocabulary. For that, there are text completion and sentence equivalence features. AWA solely evaluates your ability to rationally extrapolate knowledge and compose a fair evaluation of a problem or another person’s argument. Don’t believe such tales, then. You should be OK as long as you utilize logical thinking, and appropriate grammar, can intelligently explain your position, and use exact words to properly express meaning. You don’t have to utilize GRE terms or a large vocabulary.

5. Grammar and Language

Even if ETS indicates in writing that you may have small errors in the essay text, this does not imply that you can disregard obvious faults. Although the faults or mistakes may not affect the essay’s general meaning or coherence, you should be aware that the grader will see your initial blunder and be more attentive to the remainder of the text as a result. Your AWA score may suffer as a result of the grader being even more watchful to look for any clear or glaring errors that you have committed. As a result, before submission, make sure your essay is as error-free as feasible. Once you’ve finished writing your essay, take some time to edit it. Don’t rush to send it out and go on to the next step.

6. Argument

The quality of your essay as a whole is significantly influenced by your ability to reason. Always try to provide as many strong, logical arguments as you can to support your position. The capacity of a persuasive essay to persuade the reader via good logical reasoning is one of its key characteristics. Your comment should leave no doubt in the minds of those who read it about your point of view. It would be challenging to be able to produce such engaging and well-reasoned content in only 30 minutes, but you can accomplish it with a lot of practice.

To effectively support your position and persuade the reader to accept it, you should be able to tie your views to the essay’s main topic or concept. No matter how long the essay is, you will regrettably have to pay the penalty if it doesn’t seem logical or sensible.

7. Information

You will need to present enough data for your essay to appear sensible and logical. It is best to provide persuading proof to support your thesis if you want to wow the readers and persuade them to concur with your point of view. Look for evidence that is related to the essay, whether they are explicit or implicit. As long as they are appropriate and seem reasonable, you may even make up a few arbitrary instances and supporting arguments. To get a good essay grade, you must provide instances that persuasively support your topic.

So those are the top 7 components that essay evaluators are looking for. To get a flawless grade, make sure your essay addresses each of these points.


The AWA part of the GRE is significant, and many colleges have cutoffs that you must meet. This area shouldn’t be overlooked since you can end up being startled. Write a precise, clear, and succinct section with well-constructed and thought-out reasoning, and you are on your way to scoring over 80% in your Analytical Writing Assessment. The AWA is not intended to be an AWARD-winning piece of writing. I’m sure this article should help you learn how to ace your AWA exam. If you have any questions to ask, feel free to drop them in the comment section and I’ll attend to them. 

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