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Tips and Tricks to Prepare Well for the GRE AWA Section

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Tips and Tricks to Prepare for the GRE AWA Section

The Analytical Writing Abiliity (AWA)  section is the first section you encounter on the GRE and your performance in this section sets up your mood for the subsequent sections. The test makers look for the following things in your essays – Clarity, Coherence, Vocabulary, Reasoning, Sentence Structure and Variety, Language and Grammar. With a few strategies and regular practice, you can easily score high in the AWA essays. ETS has already provided the entire pool of Issue and Argument essays that can be asked in the GRE, so you just have to practice from this pool. Here are a few tips and tricks we’ve compiled for you that can help you prepare well for the GRE AWA Section:

1.    Read Sample Essays

Sample essays give you a general idea about the topics based on which the essays are asked, what the test makers are exactly looking for from the essays, how the general essay structure should etc. You can also use the sample essays to judge your own practice essays. ETS Official Guide, Standard books as well as numerous sites on the Internet are some good resources to start reading sample essays for your AWA preparation.



2.    Practice, Practice, Practice!

You must practice at least 5 essays on your own for each of the two essay sections. Since the GRE AWA essays are based on numerous topics such as education, economics, arts, culture and science, start with topics you find interesting. As you gradually increase your practice, make sure you’ve covered essays from all topics. Get your essays graded from friends, experts or from resources from the Internet; analyze your weaknesses using the scoring criteria mentioned by ETS and focus on improving your target score every time you write a new practice essay. Also, do not skip the AWA section during your mock tests!

3.    Focus on learning the right strategies

Figuring out the right strategies can make your AWA preparation task much easier. Using real world examples and famous quotes that support your claim is a good way to strengthen your Issue Analysis essay. In the Argument analysis task, analyze the argument logically and look for assumptions, conclusions, inferences and evidence to figure out the argument structure and identify flaws within it. In both the essays, try to strengthen your view but also acknowledge the opposing claim in short. Your essays must include at least 3-4 paragraphs and make sure the transition between the paragraphs is logical and convincing.

4.     Boost your Vocabulary

Although the AWA does not explicitly tests your vocabulary and neither does it require a heavy word usage, but it is advisable to use vocabulary that best fits in to your essay and makes it more appealing to read. Read quality writing material such as American magazines and newspapers to boost your vocabulary that can enhance the overall appearance of your essay.

5.    Improve your Grammar and Writing Style

The GRE tests your clarity of thoughts from your essays and this is interrelated to your grammar and writing style used. Poor writing skills and grammatical errors can often interfere with the meaning of your sentence and can greatly mar the overall quality of your essay. Look for sentence variety and look for adjectives and adverbs that can make your statements more strong and compelling. A few good books to master your writing style and grammar are William Zinsser’s On Writing Well and Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.



About Ashwed Patil

Ashwed is a prospective MS student with interests in Computer Science, Content Writing and Geography. He has secured 8 admissions out of 10 U.S. universities he has applied to. His experience with the arduous MS application process motivated him to guide fellow applicants through online articles and blogs. He has also been deeply involved in teaching underprivileged kids in his hometown, Nasik. An interesting fact about Ashwed - he likes to make imaginary countries out of someone’s personality traits!
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