The two essays (Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument) you type in the textbox provided for the AWA section are each scored on a 6-point
holistic scale. Holistic scoring is based on the overall quality of the
essay. Scoring procedures aim at objectivity and fairness.
It must be emphasized that a single combined score is finally
reported for the GMAT Writing Assessment based on the average of the individual
scores for the two essays.
The essays were graded entirely by human beings (college / university faculty
with experience in writing-intensive courses) prior to 1999. However, under
the new system, a human and a computer program called the 'E-Rater' grade
essays. If the human and the program arrive at the same (or adjacent) score
for an essay, then that is the final score. If the scores differ
significantly (i.e., are not adjacent), a second
human takes a look at the essay and finalizes the score.
Obviously, the E-Rater has very strict standards of evaluation and high
scoring accuracy. So, it is critical that you understand how the E-Rater works and make sure that your essay includes all the important parameters / structures that the E-Rater looks for in an essay. The E-Rater uses a database of hundreds of essays for each of about 270 essay questions that could
appear on the GMAT. The essays in this database are graded on a scale of
0-6 and the E-Rater evaluates your essay relative to these essays.
The E-Rater places a large emphasis on structure - your essay should be organized into paragraphs (an introductory paragraph followed by two or three content
paragraphs and a conclusion) and should include the careful use of
transitional words or phrases such as 'I believe', 'furthermore', 'therefore',
'for example', etc. It may be meaningful to begin a new paragraph whenever
you start discussing a new idea.
Note that the E-Rater is not programmed to appreciate
individuality. So a unique or creative essay structure is almost sure to
backfire. Also, make sure you practise typing out essays on a computer
terminal under timed conditions. You have no automatic spell check options
available, so avoid spelling mistakes.
Analysis of an Issue
The essay (Analysis of an Issue) you type in the textbox provided for the
AWA section is scored for its overall quality on a 6-point scale.
You are assessed based on:
- the ideas you have fully developed and coherently organized;
- the issue implications and complexities you have considered;
- the relevant reasons and examples you have provided (from your
experience, observations, reading and studies) to support your viewpoint; and
- the flow of language, the choice of effective words, and the elements of standard written English you have used.
Although occasional spelling,
typographical and grammatical mistakes will not severely affect your score,
serious and recurring errors will adversely affect the overall essay
quality and your score.