GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Prompts: Description & Examples

Instructor: Summer Stewart

Summer has taught creative writing and sciences at the college level. She holds an MFA in Creative writing and a B.A.S. in English and Nutrition

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment is a major component of the exam. It evaluates your ability to analyze information, use reasoning, and think critically about a provided passage. In this lesson, we will learn more about the section and talk about popular topics.

About the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

The GMAT is an assessment for students looking to attend business school. The exam has several components including the Analytical Writing Assessment section which evaluates your ability to think on your feet and analyze an argument. The key to the writing assessment portion isn't to look at your ability to show off how well you can write your own opinion; the point of the assessment is to see how well you can critique the argument using evidence and support. In this lesson, we will look at the format of the writing assessment, go over popular topics used for the Analytical Writing Assessment, and get prepared to take the exam.

Directions

According to the Official GMAT study guide, the Analytical Writing Assessment boasts the same directions on every exam. At the beginning of each passage, the exam instructs you to read and critique the argument of a passage. It clearly states that test taker should not write an essay on their opinion of the argument presented. For example, if a passage were to suggest that reading to children every day increases their likelihood of attending college, you wouldn't agree or disagree with their point of view. Instead, you would take a look at their ability to support their point of view, and write an essay that evaluates the strength of the argument.

At the end of each essay prompt on the exam, you will find another set of instructions that tells you how to discuss the argument. In your discussion, you should explain why or why not the essay is well written. It is vital that you use reasoning and evidence from the sample passage to explain your point of view. Even if you think the argument is super awesome, it is wise to point out places where it fails, using evidence to do so. Make suggestions as to how the passage could be strengthened. You have thirty minutes to complete your written response, so it is important to be judicious.

Grading

The Analytical Writing Assessment essay is read and scored by two independent readers. Essays are graded on a half-point scale from 0 to 6. After each reader scores the essay, the two scores are combined and averaged, yielding the final score. Sometimes, one of the independent readers is a computer program that has been trained to analyze over 50 different writing features.

You can trust that your essay is read by educated readers. Many GMAT readers are college graduates and professors from around the globe. They assess your ability to read an argument, organize your ideas, and develop a strong critique through a variety of writing tactics.

Popular Topics

The Analytical Writing Assessment makes use of the following topics:

  • Trends in the economy
  • Nutrition studies
  • Op-eds in magazines
  • Studies about business ethics, management, and employee satisfaction
  • Newspaper articles
  • Articles about politics

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