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How to prepare for the GRE AWA section • AdmitAbroad

How to prepare for the GRE AWA section

Admit Abroad - How to prepare for IELTS in less than 15 days

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Getting a good GRE score can be an arduous task for students. The exam is divided into multiple sections, one of which is the AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) section. Comprising analysis-based writing tests, the section is tough to ace. The performance of this section does not count in the final composite score. Yet universities give a lot of weightage to your writing abilities. If you are planning to give GRE, you must figure out how to prepare for the GRE AWA section.  

Here we will share simple tips that would help simplify your GRE preparation.

What is GRE AWA?


First of all, you must understand what GRE AWA comprises. There are two sections in the GRE AWA. The duration of both sections is 30 minutes each.

  • GRE Analyse an issue- Under this, the candidate is given an issue. He has to provide arguments in favor or against the topic, along with examples supporting his thoughts.
  • GRE Analyse an argument- In this section, the candidate has shared an argument. He has to understand the same and offer his views on the same.

The AWA GRE is conducted in both paper-based and computer-based exams. If you are giving the computer-based exam, you will be sharing a word processing tool. This tool does not have a spell or grammar check feature to enforce fairness for all.

On the other hand, for a paper-based test, you will have to write the answers in the same booklet in which you answer the different sections. You will have to write quickly and with clarity. There is no specific word limit for these assignments. However, it is better to keep your essay’s word limit short.

What will be a good GRE AWA score


The GRE AWA section is evaluated on a scale of 1-6. The increment between the two scores remains at 0.5. Mentioned below are the various scores and their evaluations.

Score Type of performance
5.5-6.0 Excellent
4.5-5.0 High
3.5-4.0 Average
0.0-3.0 Low


How to prepare for the AWA Argument essays section


To keep yourself on the mark in your GRE preparation, you must focus a considerable time on practicing for the AWA section. Here are simple tips that would help make this easy for you.

Understand the kind of topics expected

If you have already started preparing for AWA, you will think that the topics are predominantly random. However, here is a bit of a surprise for you. Most of the time, the issues coming are picked from the following niches:

  • Technology
  • Arts
  • Cities
  • Philosophy
  • Education
  • Intellectual efforts
  • Government

Review some sample topics from these niches and grasp what kind of writing is expected. You can pick up some issues from the ETS website. However, preparing and memorizing essays for each topic is practically impossible. Thus pick up topics at random and prepare outlines for each. When appearing for the exam, you will have an idea of how to handle different types of issues.

Learn how to understand the directions 

Every question comes with a separate set of directions. These are usually mentioned in an italicized format below the issue or argument. You will have to read these directions at least three to four times. Only then will you know what is expected out of you.

If you are unable to address the issue and do what is asked, your score is going to dip. Maybe they want you to suggest solutions to the issue at hand. Or they are asking your opinion on whether the issue is getting the attention it deserves. But here is the catch. You do not have to write different essays for both. Just tweak the conclusion portion, and you are done.

Manage the time well

You must understand that you will get only 30 minutes to complete every write-up.  Divide your allotted time in the following manner:

  • 2 minutes just for reading the instructions given
  • 3 minutes to think and brainstorm the ideas you will write
  • 20 minutes to write out the paragraphs and thesis statement
  • 2 minutes to check grammatical errors
  • 3 minutes if you have to write down an introduction

It is better to write your introduction at the end. This is because, in the effort to write an impressive introduction, we spend a lot of time compiling it. Finish your whole writing part, and then start with the introduction.

Write a lot

Though there is no set word limit to the essays, naturally, those with sufficient word count get more weightage. On the official website of GRE, you can see various sample essays along with their rating. You can see the ones with a 5.5 or 6 rating had a lot of content to offer.

However, whatever you write should be high quality. You cannot just scribble a lot of words and expect to get an excellent rating. Formulate your essay in an organized manner, so there is a continuous flow to your ideas. 

How to prepare for the AWA issue essays section

Next is the issue essay that you would have to write. The issue essays are considered to be more difficult when compared to the argumentative ones. Read on to know how you could ace the same.

Thinking of pro and con statements

Whatever the directions, you will be asked to talk about both sides of the issue at hand. You are expected to offer the side that you are supporting. Naturally, then you will have to write the pros and cons of the matter at hand.

Write down a few statements both in support and against the topic. Then sort out which pointers you would want to use in your essay. Here you should write in shorthand as that would save a lot of your time. You do not have to be very creative; just scribble down the points so you can compile them later.

Picking a side

Most issue essays expect the writer to pick one side. They will ask you to either agree or disagree with the topic. If they do not want you to take sides, they will mention that they just want your opinion on the issue. 

Here it is not important which side you are actually supporting in reality. It is also possible that you maintain a neutral approach to the issue. In that case, take the side for which you have sufficient pointers to add.

Now you have to figure out how to present your opinion. You will have to present it immediately as part of the thesis statement. Then write down examples that support your point of view. Later connect them to your opinion and finish it with a supporting conclusion.

General tips 

Now we will explain some general tips that would help you write any kind of essay.

Order your paragraphs well

Initially, you will have to figure out how you want your essay to look. Write down the various segments you will create in that essay. Post that, you will have to figure out how to order all your paragraphs. For that, mark the points in order of importance. 

In the essay, you should always start with the least essential points with the most important ones. That way, there will be intrigue in the essay as it proceeds ahead. Moreover, your essay looks more persuasive as you move forward, offering stronger arguments to prove your point.

Chalk out the content in each paragraph 

You must understand the significance of the content written in each paragraph. At the outset, you will have to use the following features to add weight to the content:

  • Facts- If you know some facts that make the argument compelling, you should add them. Do not make up any facts just to prove your point credibility of the content is essential.
  • Quotes- There are people whose quotes on that topic would display your knowledge. If you can add them to the content, you will see how effective it becomes.
  • Observations- Each of us has a unique opinion about any topic. If you have a personal opinion or experience to share, do write that down. 
  • Examples- Citing examples are a sure-shot way of grabbing attention. However, the examples you choose should be relevant to your argument. The more examples you can add, the better it is for your content quality.
  • Anecdote- If you think it is suitable, you could add a short anecdote to complete your essay. However, you can add only one anecdote, as more than that would distract the reader.

To sum up


Your GRE preparation involves some serious time devoted to the AWA section. The tips mentioned above are going to guide you in the right direction. Reading a lot and maintaining opinions is another point that you must pay attention to.

At any point, if you feel your preparation is not up to the mark, you can contact us at Admit Abroad. Our experienced and well-aware faculty would teach you how to write the perfect essay that gets you a good score. Plus, we will also clarify any GRE-related confusions that you may have. This will set the base for performing your best in the exam.

Our hope is that this article gave you an overview of the GRE Preparation for AWA section. If want to join the GRE coaching or you do have any further queries, do reach out to our experts and get your study abroad journey started today.