Importance of GRE's AWA and How to Ace it

Importance of GRE's AWA and How to Ace it

Importance of GRE's AWA and How to Ace it
Suman Adhikari

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is a critical component of the GRE that evaluates your logical and analytical writing skills. Unfortunately, many students overlook the AWA, potentially damaging their overall GRE performance.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of the AWA and examine practical methods for accessing this exam portion.

Read More: How To Study For The GRE

PART 1: Breaking Down the AWA

Understanding the Structure

The AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) is a timed section of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) that requires candidates to analyze and respond to an argumentative essay prompt within 30 minutes. By understanding the structure and format of the AWA, test-takers can effectively plan their approach to this section.

Read the Argument

It's essential for test-takers to carefully read and comprehend the argument presented in the AWA prompt. Skimming through the passage might lead to missing important details or nuances, which could impact the quality of the response. Candidates can identify key points and potential flaws by thoroughly analyzing the argument.

Find 3 Flaws

Rather than focusing on quantity, test-takers are advised to aim for quality when identifying flaws in the argument. Candidates can construct a more cohesive and convincing response by pinpointing three significant flaws and providing clear explanations supported by examples.

Rough Outline

Creating a rough outline before writing the essay helps organize thoughts and ideas. This preliminary step serves as a roadmap for structuring the response and ensures that key points are adequately addressed within the time limit.


With a clear outline, candidates can devote approximately half the allotted time to writing their essay. Writing with precision and clarity is essential, as it allows test-takers to convey their arguments and supporting evidence effectively.


After completing the essay, it's crucial to allocate time for revision. This step involves checking for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and overall coherence. Revision helps ensure that the final essay is polished and glaring errors-free.


Refining the essay involves making final adjustments to improve clarity and coherence. This step may include restructuring sentences, refining language, and strengthening arguments. By refining the essay, candidates can enhance its overall quality and effectiveness.

Check Out: GRE Analytical Writing Topics

PART 2: How to Debate Effectively

Identifying Flaws

Effective argument analysis requires the ability to identify common flaws. Test-takers can construct stronger counterarguments by recognizing flaws such as incomplete information, faulty comparisons, and unsupported conclusions.


Test-takers should scrutinize phrases like "reported" or "filed" in the argument, as they may indicate incomplete or biased information. Questioning the reliability of the data presented strengthens the critique of the argument.

Wrong Comparison

Logical inconsistencies stemming from improper comparisons should be addressed. Test-takers should identify instances where dissimilar items are compared and explain why such comparisons are invalid.

Improper Conclusion

Flaws in the argument's conclusion should be highlighted. Test-takers should look for logical gaps or unsupported assumptions that undermine the conclusion's validity.

Responded to a Survey

The representativeness of survey data should be questioned. Test-takers should assess whether the sample size and demographics accurately reflect the population being studied.

People's Choices/Preferences

Acknowledging the variability of people's preferences over time is important. Test-takers should consider how changing preferences impact the argument's validity.

Conclusions Drawn Without Data

Unsupported conclusions should be challenged. Test-takers should demand evidence to support any conclusions drawn in the argument.

Many/Most/Some/A Few

Test-takers should be cautious of vague language that lacks quantifiable data. Phrases like "many" or "some" may be used to make broad claims without sufficient evidence.

Strong Statements Without Data Support

Claims made without adequate supporting evidence should be scrutinized. Test-takers should assess the credibility of strong statements and demand factual evidence to back them up.

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PART 3: Paragraph Construction and Organization

Structuring Your Essay

Organizing the essay effectively is crucial for clarity and coherence. A structured approach ensures that arguments are presented logically and persuasively.

First Paragraph

The introductory paragraph sets the tone for the essay by summarizing the argument and asserting its flaws. Test-takers should clearly state their position and briefly overview the main points they will address.

Second Paragraph

Each subsequent paragraph should focus on a specific flaw identified in the argument. Test-takers should provide detailed explanations and examples to support their critique of each flaw.

Third Paragraph

Continuing to address flaws, test-takers should use logical reasoning and real-life examples to strengthen their arguments further. Each paragraph should build upon the previous one and contribute to the overall critique of the argument.

Fourth Paragraph

The final body paragraph should address the last flaw in the argument. Test-takers should ensure that each flaw is thoroughly analyzed and supported with relevant evidence.

Final Paragraph

In the concluding paragraph, test-takers should summarize the identified flaws and propose potential solutions to strengthen the argument. This final section should leave a lasting impression and reinforce the overall critique presented in the essay.

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In conclusion, mastering the AWA section of the GRE requires careful preparation and effective strategy. By understanding the structure of the AWA, identifying common flaws in arguments, and organizing their essays cohesively, test-takers can increase their chances of success on this important section of the exam.


What is the purpose of the AWA section on the GRE, and why is it important?

The AWA section evaluates test-takers ability to analyze complex arguments and articulate their thoughts effectively in a written format. It is an essential component of the GRE as it assesses critical thinking and communication skills, which are valuable in academic and professional settings.

How should I manage my time effectively during the AWA section of the GRE?

Time management is crucial during the AWA section to ensure that candidates have sufficient time to read the prompt, analyze the argument, plan their response, write the essay, and revise it. Effective time allocation can significantly impact the quality of the essay and overall performance on the GRE.

What are some common flaws to watch out for when analyzing the argument in the AWA prompt?

Common flaws in arguments presented in the AWA prompt include logical fallacies, unsupported assumptions, inadequate evidence, and faulty comparisons. Recognizing these flaws is essential for constructing a strong and persuasive response.

How can I enhance my argumentative writing skills for the AWA section of the GRE?

Improving argumentative writing skills for the AWA section involves practicing critical reading, analyzing complex arguments, structuring essays effectively, providing relevant examples and evidence, and communicating ideas clearly and cohesively.

What is the recommended approach for structuring an essay in the AWA section of the GRE?

The recommended approach for structuring an essay in the AWA section typically includes an introduction summarizing the argument and asserting its flaws, body paragraphs addressing specific flaws with supporting evidence, and a conclusion summarizing the critique and proposing potential solutions.

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