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Achieving Success in the Verbal Section

Mastering GMAT Verbal as a Non-Native English Speaker: Achieving Success in the Verbal Section

If you’re a non-native English speaker aiming to take the GMAT for business school admissions, you might worry that your English proficiency could pose challenges in achieving your desired GMAT Verbal score. However, being a non-native English speaker doesn’t necessarily put you at a significant disadvantage in the GMAT Verbal section. Moreover, there are strategies you can employ to excel in GMAT Verbal, even if English isn’t your first language.

In this article, I’ll explore the measures implemented by the GMAT creators to ensure fairness in the Verbal section for all test-takers. Additionally, I’ll offer valuable tips tailored specifically for non-native English speakers to effectively navigate the Verbal section and attain their target scores.

Leveling the Playing Field: GMAT Strategies for Non-Native English Speakers

The GMAT is exclusively administered in formal English, without options in other languages. Thus, ensuring equitable conditions for both native and non-native English speakers appears challenging. How does GMAC, the organization behind the GMAT, address this objective of fairness?

There are several approaches employed to achieve this goal. Let’s delve into some of the primary ones.

1. Absence of Speaking or Listening

The GMAT evaluates formal written English, which differs significantly from spoken English. Each form has distinct grammar rules and structures that do not overlap.

One fundamental aspect of formal written English, the comma + -ing modifier, is absent in speech. Try articulating a sentence like “I dropped the bags onto the floor, scaring my dogs” aloud, and you’ll notice the discrepancy between spoken and written language.

Since virtually no one is a “native speaker” of written English, except for a small group of deaf test-takers who often perform well on the GMAT Verbal section, the exam mitigates potential bias against foreign test-takers by exclusively assessing written English.

2. Passages Express Their Intent Clearly

In everyday talk, we often hint at things, assuming others will get what we mean. For example, if we say, “Our dinner’s at eight, and it’s a 40-minute drive,” the hidden message is, “We’ll be late,” and we trust our friend to get that.

When we speak, we often skip details, big and small. But what’s left out and when changes from one language to another. This means not stating a conclusion in an argument gives an unfair advantage to people who speak the language natively. To tackle this, GMAC always spells out every point or conclusion in its reading passages to fight language bias.

However, there’s one exception. In Critical Reasoning problems, you’re given an argument’s facts and asked to find the conclusion. In those cases, you have to figure out the conclusion yourself.

3. Avoid Using Complex Words

As a non-native English speaker, you might fear that not knowing a single word could hinder your ability to answer a GMAT Verbal question correctly. Perhaps a question hinges on a word you’re unfamiliar with or can’t recall. The GRE Verbal section does heavily rely on sophisticated vocabulary, which might intensify this concern if you’ve prepared extensively for that exam.

However, when it comes to the GMAT, you can relax. Few things in any language favor native speakers as much as advanced vocabulary does. This bias is particularly evident in English, which boasts the largest lexicon worldwide. Consequently, to ensure fairness, the GMAT avoids using unnecessarily obscure words altogether.

Typically, GMAT queries won’t demand familiarity with challenging vocabulary terms.

While it’s possible, it’s improbable that you’ll stumble upon a genuinely challenging word in a reading comprehension (RC) or critical reasoning (CR) passage. Even if such instances arise, you probably won’t require knowledge of obscure definitions. Usually, challenging words are accompanied by contextual hints that aid in deciphering their meanings.

4. Avoid Uncommon Idiomatic Patterns

In the past, certain GMAT Sentence Correction questions necessitated familiarity with obscure idiomatic structures, often referred to as “GMAT idioms.” However, these structures, particularly those exclusive to the United States, are typically unfamiliar to non-native English speakers.

To ensure fairness for all test-takers, the authors of Sentence Correction questions now refrain from including obscure structures. Instead, they exclusively utilize idiomatic structures commonly employed in the English language.

To ensure fairness in the GMAT, Sentence Correction questions exclusively feature idiomatic structures familiar to non-native speakers.

5. Significant Variances in Verb Tenses

As mentioned earlier, spoken and written English often differ, but verb tenses remain remarkably consistent between the two. This uniformity presents a potential challenge on the GMAT, as native speakers might rely on their intuition when discerning subtle differences in verb tenses, whereas non-native speakers may struggle in this regard.

To mitigate this bias, the GMAT focuses solely on major discrepancies in verb tense. None of the problems will require you to discern nuanced variations in verb tense. If you encounter a question where such a decision seems crucial, it’s advisable to check for other fundamental issues in the answer options. Typically, one of the options will exhibit a more significant error, such as a lack of parallelism, elsewhere in the sentence.

The only instances where you might genuinely need to consider verb tense are when there are stark contrasts involved, such as past versus future or present perfect versus past perfect.

In order to ensure fairness for non-native English speakers concerning verb tense, the GMAT assesses only significant variations.

6. Grammar Principles That Native Speakers Struggle With

Due to the disparity between spoken and written English, native English speakers can find themselves at a disadvantage in certain aspects of GMAT Verbal.

For instance, native English speakers often use the word “which” to refer to an entire preceding clause, such as in the sentence, “My best friend crashed her car, which made her parents furious.” However, in formal written English, “which” should only refer to the preceding noun or noun phrase.

Similarly, differences exist between speech and writing in the usage of conjunctions. For non-native speakers of English, these grammatical nuances may not be as noticeable. Pronouns, and conjunctions—these are simply aspects of language acquisition and improvement.

Conversely, native speakers must unlearn longstanding habits from spoken language, which can mislead them in Sentence Correction (SC) questions. Second-language English learners do not face the same challenge. Hence, in certain respects, the playing field is tilted against native speakers. GMAC’s question-writers have navigated this delicate balance between conflicting biases to create a fair overall assessment.

Due to variations between spoken and written English, non-native English speakers possess at least one edge over native speakers in GMAT Verbal.

Now that we know how the GMAT Verbal section is made fair for everyone, let’s talk about how non-native English speakers can excel in GMAT Verbal.

What Should Non-Native Speakers Do to Prepare for the GMAT?

If you’re not a native English speaker, you don’t need a specialized GMAT course or tutor. Most prep courses, like Target Test Prep, cover what you need. They teach Verbal by focusing on specific rules and concepts, which suit second-language learners.

However, there are things you can do to ensure you’re ready for GMAT Verbal on test day.

Understand that GMAT Verbal tests reasoning. It’s not just about English skills; it’s about thinking logically. People with strong reasoning skills can score high, even if their English isn’t perfect. Knowing this empowers you and helps you prepare effectively.

Develop your reasoning skills. GMAT Verbal requires similar thinking to quant questions. By working on your reasoning, you’ll be better prepared for Verbal.

To excel in GMAT Verbal, view it primarily as an assessment of reasoning ability and prepare accordingly.

7. Expand your reading horizons extensively.

While GMAT Verbal primarily assesses reasoning ability, solid English reading skills are essential for mastery. Thus, enhancing your reading proficiency might be a crucial part of your GMAT prep.

To refine your reading prowess, immerse yourself in a diverse range of texts akin to those found in the GMAT. These include academic articles, periodicals, and journals. Accessing online repositories of scholarly material or journals can provide ample practice material tailored to GMAT standards.

Strive to approach articles with the same focus and strategy you’d employ for GMAT passages.
Aim to discern the main concepts and overarching themes. Keep in mind that you can always revisit the passage text for reference. Avoid the temptation to fixate on memorizing specific details during your reading, as this can be a time-consuming distraction.

To enhance your English reading skills, approach articles from journals and other publications similarly to how you’ll tackle GMAT passages.

8. Search for unfamiliar words.

When encountering unfamiliar words during GMAT preparation, like “advocate,” “bolster,” or “presume,” take the opportunity to look them up. Record their definitions in a document or flashcard for periodic review. Additionally, incorporate these new words into your spoken and written English to reinforce your understanding of their meanings.

To enhance your GMAT vocabulary, search for unfamiliar words encountered during your preparation.

9. Acquire a dependable method for addressing each type of verbal question.

Discover how implementing reliable strategies can significantly enhance your ability to tackle GMAT Verbal questions. For example, the “Yes/No test” for Evaluate the Argument queries, extensively covered in the TTP course, offers a time-saving method for accurate responses. Learning dependable tactics tailored to each question type is a pivotal step towards mastering GMAT Verbal. While the optimal strategy for Sentence Correction may vary, techniques like prioritizing the elimination of obvious errors can be advantageous. Conversely, for Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension, adopting specific strategies can lead to rapid and tangible enhancements in your performance.

Achieving mastery in GMAT Verbal involves acquiring a strategy tailored to each Verbal question type.

View Sentence Correction as an assessment of your ability to identify issues effectively.
As a non-native English speaker with a background in English grammar, approaching Sentence Correction may initially give the impression of being a grammar test. However, it’s important to recognize that while grammar knowledge is essential, Sentence Correction is more than just a grammar assessment. It primarily evaluates one’s ability to identify issues in construction and meaning within sentences.

To excel in Sentence Correction, it’s crucial to focus on honing the necessary skills. Simply memorizing grammar rules won’t suffice. Instead, you need to learn how to effectively apply these rules, observe sentence structures, and articulate why certain elements are incorrect or correct.

To excel in Sentence Correction, concentrate on mastering the application of grammar rules, discerning sentence structure, and explaining why certain elements are either incorrect or correct.

10. Concentrate on enhancing your execution.

One of the most crucial steps in preparing for the GMAT, regardless of whether you’re a non-native English speaker, is to prioritize improving execution. This means focusing on mastering the skills necessary to arrive at correct answers consistently.

Improving execution involves not only implementing strategies effectively but also minimizing careless errors. Many non-native English speakers initially attribute their challenges in GMAT Verbal to language proficiency but often find that by minimizing these errors, they can achieve their score goals.

Furthermore, enhancing execution includes strategies like deducing the meaning of unfamiliar words from context or making informed decisions in Sentence Correction questions even with incomplete understanding. Ultimately, mastering GMAT Verbal is about efficiently tackling challenges, much like a successful executive navigates complexities in business.

To excel in GMAT Verbal, concentrate on enhancing your execution while responding to questions.

Summary: Mastering GMAT Verbal for Non-Native English Speakers

For non-native English speakers aiming to excel in the GMAT Verbal section, here are some valuable tips:

1. Recognize that GMAT Verbal primarily evaluates reasoning ability, so tailor your preparation accordingly.
2. Enhance your English reading skills by reading extensively across various topics.
3. Expand your GMAT-related vocabulary by learning unfamiliar words encountered during preparation.
4. Familiarize yourself with reliable strategies for tackling each type of GMAT Verbal question.
5. Approach Sentence Correction as an exercise in detecting structural issues rather than solely a grammar test.
6. Prioritize execution to minimize errors and attain your target score.

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Overcoming Anxiety With A Strategic Approach

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA): Overcoming Anxiety With A Strategic Approach

GMAT test-takers often feel anxious about the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) because preparing for it isn’t as straightforward as preparing for other sections like GMAT Quant or Verbal. Can you learn how to write a high-scoring essay on an unknown topic in just 30 minutes? The truth is, there’s a method to perform well on the GMAT AWA, and you don’t need to be a literary genius to achieve a great score. In this article, we will share 5 essential tips for scoring well on the Analytical Writing Assessment, including a structured approach that will help you tackle any GMAT AWA question effectively.

What is the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)?

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) is a part of the GMAT test that focuses on your ability to analyze an argument within a 30-minute timeframe. It involves writing one essay in response to a given argument prompt. Depending on your chosen test section order, you’ll tackle the AWA either at the beginning or end of your GMAT exam. If you stick to the default order, the AWA comes first, but if you opt to start with either the Quantitative or Verbal sections, the AWA will be the final part of your test.

In the AWA section, you’re given an argument to assess within an essay format, without any prescribed length. Your task involves, dissecting the argument’s logic, identifying its flaws, underlying assumptions, evaluating the effectiveness of the evidence provided to bolster its conclusion.

Throughout this process, it’s crucial to logically structure your critique and express your thoughts clearly. AWA prompts usually revolve around business themes and are typically presented as excerpts from hypothetical sources such as magazines, newspapers, editorials, memos, reports, newsletters, or business plans.

In essence, your AWA essay is assessed based on the strength of your analysis of the provided argument, the relevance of your points, the coherence of your essay’s structure, and the clarity of your expression.

For instance, an AWA prompt might present a brief excerpt from a company memo outlining the rationale behind a recent operational change. Your task is to identify any weaknesses in the company’s reasoning, elucidate why these weaknesses exist, and highlight any additional information necessary for a thorough evaluation of the validity of the company’s argument. Thankfully, you’re not required to offer personal opinions on the topic or possess specific expertise in the subject matter provided.


In AWA questions, it is not necessary to express your personal opinions or possess specialized knowledge about the topic provided.

What is the scoring method for the Analytical Writing Assessment?

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment is graded on a scale of 0 to 6, with scores given in half-point increments. Unlike other sections of the GMAT that are solely computer-scored, the AWA is evaluated by both a computer and a human scorer. Your AWA score is not immediately included in the unofficial score report provided on test day because of this dual evaluation process. Human readers assign whole-point scores from 0 to 6, while a computer algorithm scores in half-point increments within the same range.

Subsequently, the two scores are combined to determine your ultimate score. In cases where there is a notable variance between the human-assigned score and the computer-generated score, a second human scorer assesses your essay to ensure fairness, and adjustments to your score may be made accordingly. Moreover, if you believe that your AWA score does not align with the quality of your essay, you have the option to request a reassessment by an independent reader for a fee of $45. It’s important to note that requests for reassessment are limited to one per essay and must be submitted within six months of your test date.

Due to the extended scoring process of the AWA compared to other GMAT sections, you and any designated recipients will receive your AWA score along with your Official Score Report, typically around two weeks following your test date. In the event of revised AWA scores, the updated score will be sent to you and any specified institutions approximately 20 days after your rescore request submission.

Now, let’s delve into understanding AWA scores.

What is the interpretation process for my AWA score?

Similar to scores from other GMAT sections, each possible AWA score corresponds to a percentile ranking. Below are the latest percentile rankings provided by GMAC:
AWA Score Ranking in Percentile
6 88%
5.5 81%
5 56%
4.5 46%
4 18%
3.5 11%
3 4%
2.5 3%
2 1%
1.5 1%
1 1%
0.5 1%
0 0%
These percentile rankings provide insight into your AWA score. For instance, if you achieve a perfect score of 6.0 in the AWA section, it means you’ve outperformed 88% of all GMAT test-takers. On average, test-takers scored 4.45 on the AWA section from January 2017 to December 2019, placing it slightly below the 46th percentile. Generally, a score of 4.5, surpassing 46% of test-takers, is considered average, while a score of 5.0, exceeding 56% of test-takers, is deemed “good.” AWA scores below 4.0 might raise concerns for most programs.


Typically, schools view a GMAT AWA score of 4.5 as average, while a score of 5.0 is regarded as “good.”

Let’s look at the writing tips for GMAT:

1: Implement a 5-Paragraph Framework
As we’ll delve into later, the GMAT encompasses numerous potential essay topics, making it impractical and ineffective to anticipate or memorize prompts. Fortunately, you don’t need to predict the specific argument you’ll encounter on test day to craft a well-structured response within the 30-minute timeframe. Instead, you can utilize a straightforward 5-paragraph structure applicable to any GMAT essay prompt, ensuring a logically structured response that fulfills the criteria for a high AWA score.

The traditional 5-paragraph essay format includes:

1) An introduction
2) Three body paragraphs covering supporting points
3) A conclusion

While there’s no specific word count mandated for a GMAT AWA essay, aiming for approximately 500 words is a prudent approach.

Irrespective of the topic or argument presented, the outlined template offers a structured framework for organizing your essay logically.


Utilize a straightforward 5-paragraph format for analyzing any GMAT essay topic, ensuring a logically structured and comprehensive analysis of the argument.

Now, let’s delve deeper into each component of the 5-paragraph structure.

Paragraph 1: Introduction
The introductory paragraph serves to reiterate the presented argument and declare your purpose in critiquing it. It should outline the flaws in the argument that you intend to address, preparing the reader for the forthcoming points in paragraphs 2 through 4. However, avoid delving into specific details reserved for later paragraphs. Your introduction should succinctly accomplish its objectives within approximately 5 or 6 sentences.


The introductory paragraph aims to recapitulate the presented argument and declare your intent to critique it.

The first sentence of your introductory paragraph should simply restate the given argument. You can begin your essay with phrases like “The argument states that…”, “The argument claims that…”, or “The argument makes the claim that…”. It’s important to show that you comprehend the argument without adding any extra details or creativity. When restating the argument, try to be concise and capture its essence without repeating the entire essay prompt. You don’t need to include any supporting evidence in your restatement; you’ll address that later in your supporting points.

The text below was included in a suggestion forwarded by the financial planning office to the administration of Fern Valley University.

“In the past few years, Fern Valley University has suffered from a decline in both enrollments and admissions applications. The reason can be discovered from our students, who most often cite poor teaching and inadequate library resources as their chief sources of dissatisfaction with Fern Valley. Therefore, in order to increase the number of students attending our university, and hence to regain our position as the most prestigious university in the greater Fern Valley metropolitan area, it is necessary to initiate a fund-raising campaign among the alumni that will enable us to expand the range of subjects we teach and to increase the size of our library facilities.”

Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.

Comprehend the argument.

The financial planning office of Fern Valley University suggests raising funds from alumni to expand subjects and library facilities. This aims to attract more students and enhance the university’s reputation, in response to declining enrollments and admissions. They believe dissatisfaction with teaching and library quality is causing the decline.

Flawed Assumptions

1. Poor teaching is assumed to be linked to the range of subjects offered.
2. The students who voiced these concerns are believed to be representative of all students.
3. No other factors are considered to have contributed significantly to the decline in enrollments or admissions.
4. No other factors are deemed to be substantially responsible for student dissatisfaction.

Missing Evidence

1. Evidence is lacking to establish a direct correlation between teaching quality and the range of subjects.
2. Data on the students who raised these concerns is missing.
3. Details regarding other potential factors influencing enrollments or admissions are absent.
4. Specifics about additional factors contributing to student dissatisfaction are not provided.


1. What if teaching quality is influenced by factors other than the range of subjects?
2. What if only a minority of students are dissatisfied with teaching and library facilities?
3. What if other factors have caused the decline in enrollments and admissions?
4. What if other reasons are behind student dissatisfaction?

Exemplary essay with a high score.

The financial planning office of Fern Valley University suggests starting a fundraising campaign to offer more subjects and improve library facilities. They aim to stop declining student numbers and admissions. However, there are important questions and missing information that make this suggestion doubtful.

The department believes expanding subjects and libraries will fix the declining student numbers. But it’s not clear if the students who complain represent all students. Also, even if they do, it needs to be clarified how poor teaching is linked to offering more subjects. Maybe improving teaching quality would be a better solution.

Apart from these assumptions, the department should consider other reasons for the decline, like competition from other universities or negative student feedback. They should also check if most students are unhappy before making big changes. Finally, they should do a thorough survey to decide which subjects and facilities need improvement.

In short, assuming that student complaints are the main reason for declining numbers without evidence is not wise. Instead, the department should think about these points before making any decisions.

Let’s consider another example for the purpose of restatement:

The following appeared as part of an annual report sent to stockholders by Olympic Foods, a processor of frozen foods:

“Over time, the costs of processing go down because as organizations learn how to do things better, they become more efficient. In color film processing, for example, the cost of a 3-by-5-inch print fell from 50 cents for five-day service in 1970 to 20 cents for one-day service in 1984. The same principle applies to the processing of food. And since Olympic Foods will soon celebrate its 25th birthday, we can expect that our long experience will enable us to minimize costs and thus maximize profits.”

According to the argument, Olympic Foods asserts that its nearly 25 years of experience in food processing will lead to cost minimization and, consequently, profit maximization. This assertion rests on the assumption that processing costs decrease over time as organizations enhance efficiency through learning and improvement.

In the restatement of the argument, you’ll notice that much of the same language from the essay prompt is repeated, but with some reorganization. The conclusion of the argument is stated first, followed by the premise. Additionally, the perspective has changed from an annual report to a more neutral tone. The conversational style and extra words from the prompt are removed, and the supporting example is not included. Depending on the argument, your restatement may vary in length. The aim is to clearly and concisely convey the essence of the argument without unnecessary filler. This means the first few sentences of your response are essentially provided for you, regardless of the specific AWA question.


Always start a GMAT AWA essay by rephrasing the provided argument.

Now, let’s continue with the example of Olympic Foods. In the introduction paragraph, after restating the argument, your next step is to outline the reasons why you disagree with the argument. For instance, you could mention that the argument overlooks certain important factors or relies on faulty assumptions and insufficient evidence. You should then list these specific weaknesses that you plan to discuss in the following paragraphs. It’s important only to highlight the weaknesses that you will address in your essay, avoiding any unnecessary points. Before you start writing, jotting down these flaws on your scratch pad can help you organize your thoughts and clarify the focus of each supporting paragraph.

Keep in mind, that you might identify numerous flaws in an argument, but you won’t have enough time to address them all. It’s also not necessary to spend time sorting through which flaws are the “best” to discuss. The flaws that stand out to you initially are likely the easiest ones to explain. Therefore, after restating the argument, provide a brief overview of your response. Let’s see how we can do this with the Olympic Foods question:

According to the argument, Olympic Foods asserts that its nearly 25 years of experience in food processing will lead to cost minimization and, consequently, profit maximization. This assertion rests on the assumption that processing costs decrease over time as organizations enhance efficiency through learning and improvement.

However, the argument doesn’t have enough evidence and makes assumptions that overlook important factors. For instance, it assumes organizations become more efficient over time. Also, it assumes that cost savings from improved efficiency are directly linked. Lastly, it assumes that cost reduction in one area will apply to another unrelated area.

The number of sentences you use may differ based on the essay prompt, but this fundamental structure can be adapted to any GMAT AWA question you encounter.


After restating the argument in the introduction paragraph, provide a concise summary or outline of the supporting points that will form the basis of your critique of the argument.

Once you’ve outlined the key points in your AWA essay, you’ll need to elaborate on each of these points in the following three paragraphs. Let’s discuss this further.

Paragraphs 2 through 4: Supporting Arguments

Paragraphs 2 to 4 are the core of your essay, where each paragraph expands on one of the critique points summarized in your introduction. At the start of each paragraph, clearly state the aspect of the argument you’re critiquing and explain why it’s flawed. Using real-world examples can bolster your critique, especially if your essay is short. Finally, conclude each supporting paragraph by suggesting how the aspect of the argument could have been improved.

Consider the second flaw we aim to address in our Olympic Foods essay, which will be the focal point of the third paragraph: the assumption that cost savings achieved alongside increased efficiency are solely due to efficiency improvement. In this paragraph, you could begin by noting how the argument cites an example of reduced costs and faster processing speed after several years. However, it fails to prove a causal link between the two. You might then present a real-world scenario where increased automation over time could reduce labor costs and speed up processing, independent of the organization’s longevity. This highlights that the argument’s conclusion regarding cost reduction due to experience lacks robust evidence. Presenting evidence linking cost savings to faster processing times would have made the argument more convincing, rather than relying solely on the assumption of increased efficiency.


Each of the three paragraphs following your introduction and preceding your conclusion should expand upon one of the supporting points outlined in your introduction.

Before we move on to the conclusion, let’s tackle a common question among GMAT students: Is writing only 2 supporting paragraphs instead of 3 detrimental to the AWA score? The reality is, that you can still achieve a respectable AWA score with just 2 supporting points in your essay. If you’re running short on time or can’t come up with a third point, it’s better to complete the essay with 2 solid points rather than having an incomplete essay with 2.5 points or 3 points but lacking a conclusion. However, the exact score difference between 2 and 3 supporting paragraphs isn’t certain. To play it safe, aim for 3 unless you’re genuinely out of ideas.


Your conclusion paragraph, like your introduction, should outline the flaws in the given argument. Additionally, it should summarize how the argument could be improved or its conclusion more accurately assessed. Essentially, your conclusion draws from the preceding paragraphs, providing a concise summary of your critique and wrapping up your evaluation of the argument’s validity.

Typically, a conclusion paragraph starts with phrases like “In conclusion” or “In summary,” but you may choose a different opening depending on your organization. You might also include a concession, acknowledging that some aspect of the argument may have merit. For instance:

While the argument correctly recognizes that enhanced efficiency can lead to cost savings…

Like the introduction, the conclusion paragraph should achieve its objectives in approximately four or five sentences. It’s not the appropriate section for repeating details, providing examples, or introducing fresh information.


Your conclusion paragraph, comprising approximately four or five sentences, should offer a concise summary of your critique’s key points and neatly encapsulate your assessment of the argument’s validity.

2: Use Transition Words
Scoring well on GMAT Analytical Writing requires clear organization and coherent expression of ideas. If your essay lacks smooth transitions between sentences and paragraphs, it can confuse the reader and weaken your argument.

Even if your ideas are logically arranged, incorporating transition words and phrases can enhance the readability and coherence of your essay. Transition phrases like “for example” help transition between discussing a concept and providing an illustrative example. These words and phrases serve as the glue that binds different parts of your essay together, ensuring a cohesive whole.


Transition words and phrases serve as the “binding agent” that unifies all sections of an essay, creating coherence.

Transition words play a crucial role not only in initiating new paragraphs but also within the paragraphs of your essay. They help introduce examples or opinions, show contrast or support, summarize your thoughts, indicate results, or emphasize important ideas. Below are some essential transition words and phrases commonly used in GMAT AWA essays:

-For example
-For instance
-For one
-In addition
-In contrast
-On the other hand
-In fact
-As a result
-In conclusion
-In summary

The key is to not memorize these words but to understand their significance in making your ideas clear and your analysis logical. Transition words enhance the readability of your essay. Keep in mind that someone will be reading and scoring your essay, so clarity and engagement are essential. Transition words play a crucial role in achieving this goal.


Incorporate transition words into your essay to introduce fresh paragraphs, connect various ideas within paragraphs, and illustrate the logical flow of your arguments.

3: Do not overlook the fundamentals.
While the AWA section prioritizes the overall structure, coherence, and clarity of your essay, technical elements like grammar, spelling, and word selection still influence your score. Your preparation for GMAT Sentence Correction can be beneficial here. Evaluate if your sentences are concise and well-structured or verbose and repetitive. Watch out for run-on sentences, unnecessary words, or incorrect idiomatic expressions. While achieving grammatical perfection may be challenging within the time limit, avoid submitting rushed and careless writing.

Remember, a few errors won’t drastically affect your AWA score, but maintaining basic grammar and spelling standards enhances the polish and readability of your essay. If a sentence is overly long, consider breaking it into two. Diversify your vocabulary to showcase your language skills. Ultimately, neglecting grammar and spelling basics can obscure your ideas and reduce the overall clarity and readability of your essay.


To enhance your essay’s quality, diversify your vocabulary, split lengthy sentences, and pay attention to fundamental grammar and spelling rules.

4: Don’t anticipate having time for revisions.
Don’t count on having extra time to revise your essay at the end of the section. You’ll likely only have a minute or two, if any, for a quick read-through. Construct your essay carefully as you write, as you won’t have time for major revisions later. Focus on making each sentence complete and clear as you go. Use the last few minutes, if possible, to check for spelling and grammar errors. Don’t expect to have time for extensive revisions.


If you can, dedicate the final 2 minutes to check for spelling and grammar errors, but don’t anticipate having 5 or 10 minutes for major revisions.

5: Practice Developing Supporting Arguments.
Preparing for the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment can be challenging, especially when it comes to formulating three supporting points. These points are crucial as they form the core of your essay and require significant critical thinking and creativity. To tackle this, practicing with actual essay topics provided by GMAC can be beneficial. Not only does this help in generating supporting points, but it also familiarizes you with the types of arguments presented and common flaws. Instead of writing numerous complete essays, focusing on generating supporting points with real-world examples is more efficient. Additionally, spending time reading through the entire list of AWA questions or trying to memorize prompts is not a productive use of study time.


Select random essay topics from the AWA question list provided by GMAC, and practice devising three supporting points along with real-world examples for each.
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Strategies and Tips for Success

Dominating the GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section: Strategies and Tips for Success

The GMAT Integrated Reasoning (IR) section consists of 12 questions to be completed within 30 minutes. These questions fall into four categories: two-part analysis, graphic interpretation, multi-source reasoning, and table analysis. To excel in this section, you must employ analytical and reasoning skills effectively.

Two-part analysis questions involve analyzing two sets of data and determining the relationship between them. Graphic interpretation questions entail interpreting data presented in graphs, charts, and tables, requiring the identification of trends and patterns.

Multi-source reasoning questions prompt analysis of information from various sources like emails and reports to draw conclusions and make inferences. Table analysis questions involve scrutinizing data presented in tables to answer related questions.

Key Techniques to Elevate Your GMAT Integrated Reasoning Proficiency (for Novice Test Takers)

1. Consistent Practice: Regularly practicing with official GMAT materials and reputable resources is crucial for enhancing your IR skills and building confidence.

2. Analyze Graphical Data: Graphics Interpretation questions necessitate careful analysis of graphs, charts, and tables. Practice interpreting data swiftly and accurately to identify pertinent information.

3. Synthesize Information: Multi-Source Reasoning questions require synthesizing information from various sources. Train yourself to grasp the relationships between different pieces of information presented.

4. Master Two-Part Analysis: Understand the connection between two related problems in Two-Part Analysis questions and develop efficient approaches for solving each part.

5. Time Management: With 12 questions to complete in 30 minutes, effective time management is essential. Learn to prioritize questions and recognize when to move on from challenging ones.

6. Avoid Hasty Conclusions: Complex scenarios in the IR section may lead to errors if rushed. Take your time to thoroughly analyze information before attempting to answer.

7. Review Mistakes: After each practice session, thoroughly review incorrect answers to identify mistakes and learn from them.

8. Simulate Test Conditions: As the exam approaches, simulate test conditions during practice sessions. Take full-length practice tests with a timer to improve stamina and test-taking skills.

9. Attention to Detail: Integrated Reasoning questions often contain nuanced information. Pay close attention to avoid overlooking critical details that can impact your answers.

10. Seek Coaching: Explore the expertise of Leland’s experienced coaches to elevate your score. Schedule a FREE counselling & demo to learn more about their services and take your preparation to the next level!

Key Techniques for Improving Your Integrated Reasoning Proficiency on the GMAT (for Retakers)

-Assess Your Past Performance: Delve into your previous IR scores and performance to pinpoint areas of weakness. Recognizing where you struggled will allow you to focus your efforts more effectively during your preparation.

-Reflect on Your Errors: Review the IR questions you answered incorrectly in past practice tests. Understand the reasons behind your mistakes and devise strategies to prevent them from recurring.

-Address Time Management Challenges: If time management was an issue in your previous attempt, work on enhancing your speed and efficiency across different question types.

-Explore New Practice Materials: Look for fresh sources of practice questions, including unofficial GMAT materials or updated question sets from reputable prep providers, to expose yourself to new challenges.

-Target Weak Areas: Allocate additional study time to the question types or skills that posed the greatest difficulty in your previous attempt. A concentrated approach will yield better results.

-Experiment with Different Strategies: If your previous problem-solving methods fell short, try out alternative approaches. Explore various techniques for tackling IR questions to find what works best for you.

-Develop Customized Study Plans: Tailor your study plan based on your analysis of past performance, prioritizing improvement in areas where you need it most.

-Replicate Test Conditions: Take full-length practice tests regularly under timed conditions to simulate the actual exam environment and build your test-taking stamina.

-Track Your Progress: Monitor your advancement and celebrate small victories along the way. Use setbacks as learning opportunities to refine your study approach.

-Seek Expert Support: Consider enlisting the guidance of a GMAT coach or enrolling in a test preparation course tailored to enhancing IR skills for targeted assistance and advice.

Typical Errors to Steer Clear of When Tackling IR Queries in the GMAT Avoiding Common Pitfalls in IR Question Handling on the GMAT:

1. Accurate Data Interpretation: Thoroughly examine and understand the data provided in graphs, charts, and tables to avoid misinterpretation and incorrect answers.

2. Effective Calculator Utilization: Utilize the online calculator provided by the GMAT judiciously, balancing its use with mental math where applicable to ensure speed and accuracy.

3. Understanding Question Types: Familiarize yourself with the various types of IR questions to employ tailored strategies for each, preventing time wastage and erroneous responses.

4. Prioritizing Accuracy Over Speed: Resist the urge to rush through questions due to time constraints; prioritize accuracy while managing time efficiently to minimize careless mistakes.

5. Attention to Detail: Scrutinize IR questions for subtle hints and nuances, ensuring no crucial information is overlooked that could impact your answers.

6. Synthesizing Information: In Multi-Source Reasoning questions, integrate data from diverse sources to draw accurate conclusions, identifying relationships and connections between them.

7. Avoiding Assumptions: Refrain from making unfounded assumptions about data or variables, relying solely on provided information and avoiding personal biases.

8. Filtering Extraneous Information: Stay focused on pertinent data in IR questions, disregarding irrelevant details designed to test your ability to discern essential information.

9. Verification of Answers: Double-check your answers against the given data to confirm their consistency with the question’s context and ensure their accuracy.

10. Learning from Mistakes: Review errors from practice sessions meticulously to grasp concepts needing improvement and prevent recurrence of similar mistakes.

Implementing these strategies will aid in adeptly navigating IR questions on the GMAT.

Utilizing the aforementioned tips and strategies can enhance your Integrated Reasoning abilities, leading to an elevated GMAT score. Consistent practice, thorough error analysis, and expert guidance, if needed, are crucial. With perseverance, success in the GMAT IR section and attainment of your desired business school admission are within reach.
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