How to crack AWA section?
Although AWA is often viewed by students as the much-dreaded section of the GRE exam, it is not rocket science. This section is specifically designed to measure one’s critical thinking abilities and analytical writing skills to effectively convey complex viewpoints in a consistent line of thought. This section is in no way a test of one’s knowledge and, therefore, does not require one to have detailed knowledge of the content in question. It does, however, require you to push your frontiers and put the best foot forward.
Let’s ponder over the points that will help you crack AWA section with ease:
1. Timing: Being judicious with time is the key to success in the GRE exam. In a span of 30 minutes you are required to take a stand, zero in on your responses and pen an essay that is not only an interesting read but also in line with the issue or argument in question. While the GRE essay evaluators may overlook minor grammatical slip-ups, any grave error will go against you.
2. Being grammatically correct: One of the grave misconceptions that prevails amongst GRE aspirants is that one can impress evaluators by exhibiting a long list of high-sounding words in one’s essay. You need to get over this false notion as you are not really expected to write a literary classic in thirty minutes. All you are required to do is to be able to effectively express your point of view in a coherent and convincing way while being grammatically correct.
3. Impressive start: Try and write an interesting introduction that not only engages the reader but also effectively introduces your idea and gives a glimpse of how your essay will unfold in the subsequent paras.
4. Quality matters, not the length: It is again a fallacy that a long essay will help you crack AWA section in GRE. More important than the length is the logic in your train of thoughts and your expression and articulateness. A clean, clear and crisp essay is any day better than an interminably lengthy and digressive one.
5. Understand the format and requirements:
A. Issue Essays:
• Remember that there is no right response to Issue Essay as it gives you a platform to freely and convincingly express your opinion. The essay question is designed in a way that it leaves scope for the student to freely take a positive, negative or a neutral stand.
• Before you start penning down your essay, it is important that you understand the question, take time to form an opinion and then articulate your point of view by using real world examples.
• Time management is of utmost importance and you just can’t afford to waste the first five minutes thinking about which stand you want to go ahead with.
• Do not freak out thinking whether the evaluator will agree or disagree with your opinion. You are not judged on the stand you take but how convincingly you can justify it.
• The challenge is to be able to cogently hold on to your point of view by putting forward persuasive viewpoints supported by appropriate examples.
• Your essays have to display that you completely understand the intricacies of the issue at hand.
• Try and avoid being humorous or sarcastic in your essays.
• Whenever you quote someone please make sure you give credit to the author.
• This has to be followed by unequivocal presentation of your position backed by suitable examples. The arguments have to be presented in a structured and logical manner as to sound persuasive and coherent.
• Try and capture the essence of the essay in two three lines and make sure your essay has a smooth ending. Set aside sometime to revise your essay.
• While writing an Issue Essay, please make sure that you consider the issue from other perspectives as well to ensure that your essay does not look biased and prejudiced.
• While taking a stance when writing an Issue Essay, refrain from sharing your strong personal beliefs as it may make you sound like an extremist. You must come across as an individual who has an opinion but, at the same time, is open to other’s ideas as well.
• Try and include global examples in your essay which everyone can relate to rather than quoting something from regional or obscure sources.
B. Argument Essay:
• The Argument Essay of the AWA section of the GRE exam tests your analytical abilities and requires you to find faults with a seemingly persuasive argument.
• The test makers have deliberately kept some loopholes so as to test your ability to find logical faults in the arguments.
• The task necessitates you to carefully evaluate evidences and suppositions and then make a judgment.
• There will always be grave flaws in the Argument Essay which will be clearly evident if you read the essay carefully. These flaws include faulty cause and effect relationships, lack of evidence, unqualified authority, generalizations, inadequacy in surveys, shortcomings in statistics, incorrect analogies and untrue assumptions.
• Your critical reasoning abilities and analytical mindset will be put to test. Therefore, make sure your arguments are persuasive and are well articulated.
• Try to come across as an active discerning reader but not as an argumentative reader. You are required to dissect accuracy and soundness of the content that already exists in the essay. Generating an argument of your own will deviate you from the topic.
While it is essential to keep all the above mentioned points in mind, it is also important to familiarize yourself with the AWA scoring criteria set by ETS. This requires you to go through sample scored essays on ETS and practice during your GRE coaching and GRE classes extensively till the time you reach to the required level of accuracy and timing.