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I. Anatomy of the essay sections

II. Who grades these anyway?

III. The scoring system for essays

IV. Scoring criteria

V. How do schools use these scores?

VI. GMAT Score’s manual grading services

I. Anatomy of the essay sections
The two GMAT essay sections
The GMAT CAT includes two distinct 30-minute AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) sections:
Analysis of an Issue (30 Minutes)
Analysis of an Argument (30 Minutes)
During each of these two sections, you'll compose an essay in which you respond to the specific question presented. You'll record your response using the word processor built into the GMAT CAT. (Handwritten responses are not permitted.)
The Analysis-of-Issue Section
This 30-minute section tests your ability to present a position on an issue effectively and persuasively. Your task is to compose an essay in which you respond to a brief (1-2 sentence) opinion about an issue. You should consider various perspectives, take a position on the issue and argue for that position. You will not be able to choose among questions.
The Analysis-of-Argument Section
This 30-minute section is designed to test your critical reasoning and analytical (as well as writing) skills. Your task is to compose an essay in which you critique the stated argument and indicate how it could be improved, but not to present your own views on the argument's topic. You will not be able to choose among questions.
Here are the procedural rules for the two AWA sections:
The CAT system does not allow you to return to either of the two AWA essays once you've moved on.

If you've completed either essay before the 30-minute time limit has elapsed, you can proceed immediately to the next section by clicking the EXIT SECTION button at the bottom of the screen.

You're allowed a maximum of 10 minutes after the second AWA section before moving on to the multiple-choice sections. (At the end of 10 minutes, the next section begins automatically, so do not exceed this limit)
No break is provided between the two 30-minute AWA sections.
Noteboards and markers are provided.
II. Who grades these anyway?

Your essays are sent electronically to a central processing location. Within two weeks after the test, your two GMAT essays will be read and graded. One reader will read and score your Issue essay, and a different reader will read and score your Argument essay. Each reader evaluates your writing independently of any other reader, and no reader is informed of another's score.

A computer program referred to as E-Rater will also evaluate each of your essays for grammar, syntax, word usage, diction, idiom, spelling, and punctuation ¾ but not for content.

III. The scoring system for essays
A single score from 0 to 6 based on the overall quality of your writing will be awarded by the readers. All readers employ the same specific ETS scoring criteria. E-Rater also scores your essay on a 0-6 scale.
Here's how your AWA score is determined
For each of your two essays, E-Rater's score is averaged together with the human reader's score.
For each essay, if E-Rater's score is within 1 point of the human reader's score, then the average of those two scores is your final score for that essay.
For each essay, if E-Rater's score differs from the human reader's score by more than 1 point, then a second human reader will read and grade the essay, and your final score for that essay will be the average of the two human readers' scores.
Your final AWA score is the average of the final score for each of your two essays, rounded up to the nearest half-point.
In addition to your AWA score of 0–6, you'll receive a percentile rank (0% to 99%) for your AWA performance. A percentile rank of 60%, for example, indicates that you scored higher than 60% of all other test-takers and lower than 40% of all other test-takers.
IV. Scoring criteria
In evaluating the overall quality of your writing, the readers will consider four general areas of ability:

Content: your ability to present cogent, persuasive, and relevant ideas and arguments through sound reasoning and supporting examples
Organization: your ability to present your ideas in an organized and cohesive fashion

Language: your control of the English language, including diction (word choice and usage) and syntax (sentence structure)
Grammar: your facility with the conventions (grammar and punctuation) of Standard Written English
V. How do schools use these scores?
Each business school develops and implements its own policies for evaluating AWA scores. Some schools place more relative weight than others on AWA scores, just as various schools place different relative weights on GMAT scores and GPA.
Pearson VUE reports all your GMAT scores to each business school you elect.
There are three approaches to using your scores:
Some schools average your score.
Other schools consider only your highest reported score.

Still other schools use hybrid approach, by which they average your scores unless there is a sufficiently wide discrepancy among the scores
VI. GMAT Score’s manual grading services
GMAT Score’s essay grading service is an inexpensive and quick way to get feedback on your responses to the essay questions.
From within GMAT Score’s full GMAT simulated tests, you can submit your responses to the essay questions for manual grading. You can do this by clicking on the SUBMIT button on the final screen of the test. Please note that if you do not click on this button, you cannot re-run the test and submit the responses from the previous run (your responses from the previous run will be lost).
Always remember to provide a valid email address so that we can respond to your request.
After we receive your request, we will email you payment instructions for this service. Please add to your whitelist or address book so that this email is not treated as spam.
We will send essays back to you within 5 working days with a grade and a report on your performance relative to other students who have submitted essays. Our grading includes comments on style, content and structure.


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