GMAT Writing Tips: Analytical Writing for the GMAT

writing essayYou probably know that the GMAT gauges your skills in reading and math. But did you know that there is also a section called the Analytical Writing Assessment? GMAT creators want to see how well you can analyze an argument, so in this section, you are given an argument and expected to critique it. Is it a valid argument, or is it full of flaws? Discover a few GMAT writing tips that can help you to create a critique that earns you a high score on this portion of the test.

Take a Few Minutes to Plan Your Essay
When it comes to the GMAT writing section, you may think this first tip is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, some students become nervous or anxious about this part of the exam and forget to plan out their essay before diving into the task. This can result in a poorly organized essay or one that is missing important points.

Take the time to carefully read the directions and the argument. Then, create a rough outline of what points you want to include in the essay as well as where you want to include them. If you lose your train of thought while you’re writing, simply look at your outline to regain your focus.

Determine the Flaws in the Argument
Your essay’s plan should include the flaws in the author’s argument. Faulty comparisons and mistaken assumptions as well as vague words are all things to point out when critiquing the argument. Writing a quick note about each flaw you find can be helpful when it comes time to elaborate on them in your essay. Plus, making note of them helps you to remember to include all of them in the final piece.

Use Specific Examples in Your Essay
The use of specific examples is a key element for Analytical Writing. GMAT graders will be looking for specific examples as they score your essay. It’s not enough to state that a piece of the given argument is inaccurate – you have to use the information within the argument to prove your point. Also, using specific examples helps you to demonstrate that you understand the argument.

Read and Evaluate High-Scoring Analytical Essays
When preparing for the GMAT Analytical Writing section, it’s a good idea to read and evaluate essays that received high scores. This can help you see what needs to be adjusted in your own writing to create an essay that earns a high score. In fact, you can break each essay down and highlight the individual elements that earned it a high score.

Study the Scoring System for the GMAT Analytical Writing Section
Studying the scoring rubric for the analytical essay is very helpful in your quest to craft a high-scoring piece. After writing a practice essay, you can compare its contents to the criteria on the rubric. If your essay is missing an element, you can go back and do a rewrite. This sort of practice takes a bit of time, but will prove beneficial on test day.

Study with a GMAT Tutor
A professional tutor can assist you in preparing for the section on Analytical Writing. GMAT tutors at Veritas Prep have taken the exam and earned a score in the 99th percentile. This means that when you prep for the Analytical Writing section with one of our tutors, you’re learning from a teacher with practical experience! Your tutor can help you boost your writing skills by reviewing the outline of your practice essay and giving you tips on how to improve it. Also, your tutor can provide strategies for what you can do to make your analytical essay more convincing.

We have a variety of tutoring options for those who want help preparing for the analytical essay section on the GMAT. At Veritas Prep, we know that you have a busy schedule, and we want to make it convenient to prep for this test. We also offer resources such as the opportunity for you to take a free GMAT test. This is an excellent way to find out how your skills measure up on each section of the exam. Call or contact us online today and let us give you a hand with your essay-writing skills!

Getting ready to take the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+, and Twitter!

Getting Your GRE Scores

Letter of RecommendationMost students who plan to take the GRE have a number of questions about the exam. One of the most common questions is, “When will I receive my test scores?” Also, students want to know how to get GRE scores sent to the schools they are applying to. Other students want to find out about the sections and the scoring system on the GRE. Let’s look at the answers to these questions, along with others related to this important exam.

Test Sections and Scoring on the GRE
Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing are the three sections on the GRE. Questions in the Verbal Reasoning section measure a student’s skills in understanding and evaluating written material. The Quantitative Reasoning section contains geometry, algebra, arithmetic, and other basic math problems. The Analytical Writing section requires students to write an issue essay as well as an argument essay. These essays reveal a student’s critical thinking skills and ability to write in a clear, organized way.

Students can score from 130 to 170 points on the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections. Scores for both of these sections are in one-point increments. Alternatively, students can earn from zero to six points on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE. This section is scored in half-point increments.

Getting GRE Scores
Before leaving the testing location, students who take the computer-delivered GRE have the opportunity to see their unofficial scores for the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections. However, Analytical Writing scores are not available on test day – 10 to 15 days after test day, students can find out their official scores via the account they opened to register for the GRE. Alternatively, those who take the paper-delivered version of the GRE must wait six weeks before having access to their official test scores.

Students who prepare for the GRE with Veritas Prep are very likely to be happy with their test scores. Our students receive instruction from professional tutors who have taken the GRE with great success! Our instructors can offer students inside tips to help them conquer every test question. We also review practice test results with students so they can study in an efficient, logical way. At Veritas Prep, we combine first-rate instruction with excellent study resources to give our students the tools they need to get GRE scores they can be proud of.

Sending GRE Scores to Schools
Students headed to graduate school know the importance of getting GRE scores to the schools they want to apply to. A student who takes the computer-delivered version of the GRE will have their scores sent out to schools approximately 10 to 15 days after the testing date. Students who take the traditional paper version of the GRE will have their test scores sent to schools about six weeks after taking the test. All students receive a notification when their test scores have been sent out to the schools on their list.

How to Get GRE Scores Sent to Additional Schools
Students who register to take the exam can get GRE scores sent to as many as four schools – this is included in the test fee. But what if a student wants to send scores to more than four schools? Students can go online to order additional score reports or arrange for them via fax or mail. There is a fee for each additional score report.

Information Displayed on a Score Report
There are several pieces of information on a student’s score report. A student’s name and other basic contact information are on the report, as well as when the person took the GRE. A student’s GRE score and percentile rank are also on their score report. Score reports sent to schools feature a student’s contact information, test date, intended focus of study, GRE scores, and percentile rank.

At Veritas Prep, we offer a variety of tutoring options for the GRE so you can be satisfied with your score. We have both online and in-person courses available so students can choose the best study option for them. Our students receive the instruction and encouragement they need to earn their best possible score on the GRE!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

How to Effectively Prepare for the Analytical Writing Portion of the GRE

Keep Calm Write FastThe analytical writing section is one of the three parts of the GRE. Students are asked to write two different types of essays for this section. These essays reveal a student’s ability to understand what an author is conveying, organize ideas in a logical way, use specific examples to support their ideas, and write in a clear, concise manner. Let’s examine how to prepare for analytical writing, GRE essay tips, and more:

The Analytical Writing Section on the GRE
Students are required to write an issue essay and an argument essay for the GRE. For the issue essay, students must read a statement about a familiar topic. Then, they write an essay explaining whether they agree or disagree with the statement. Students should use specific examples to support their position.

For the argument essay, students must read and analyze an argument put forth by an author. Then, they write an essay proving that the argument is either logical or illogical based on specific examples from the text – the argument essay does not ask the student to agree or disagree with the author’s statement. It’s important for students to read the specific instructions that accompany both the issue and argument essays on the GRE.

Writing Practice Essays
There are several things students can do to prep for this section of the GRE. Analytical writing practice is very helpful for students who want to become more adept at creating both types of essays. It’s a good idea to start the process by making an outline that highlights the important points that a student wants to include in an essay. Then, a student can refer to the outline to stay on track while writing.

Students are given 30 minutes to write each of the essays for the GRE. Analytical writing practice should include using a timer to make sure that a student can finish writing an essay in the allotted amount of time. Of course, a student must factor in the time it takes to read the author’s statement, create an outline, and complete the essay itself. Getting the timing right can take some of the stress out of writing the essays on test day.

Examine Successful GRE Essays
Along with writing practice essays for the GRE, analytical writing preparation should include reading essays that received high scores on the exam. Students can look at the various components of these essays as well as how they are organized to get an idea of what test graders are looking for.

Some students may find it beneficial to use a high-scoring essay as a guide as they practice writing their own issue and argument essays. For many students, it’s useful to see the arrangement of ideas in these high-scoring essays. Often, students who write these successful essays follow a very simple outline that any student can use.

Learning New Vocabulary Words
Another important part of GRE analytical writing preparation is learning how to use appropriate words to get a point across in an essay. Students can expand their vocabulary by reading newspaper and magazine articles to become familiar with commonly used words and their definitions. Some students make flashcards to help them learn these new vocabulary words. In addition, a student has the opportunity to read well-crafted sentences in these types of publications.

Students can also benefit from looking at the vocabulary words used in essays that received high scores on the GRE. Even if students don’t use all of these newly-learned words in their GRE essays, they may use them in future assignments and papers written for graduate school courses. In short, it’s always beneficial for a student to add to their supply of vocabulary words.

At Veritas Prep, we teach our students how to prepare for analytical writing. GRE test-takers who study with us get the tools and confidence they need to write high-scoring essays. Each of our online GRE tutors earned an impressive score on the exam – this means we have the inside track on the analytical writing section, as well as every other section of the test! We teach students practical strategies that allow them to show off their essay-writing skills on the GRE. Contact our offices to sign up for one of our effective GRE prep classes today!

Want to jump-start your GRE preparation? Register to attend one of our upcoming free online GRE Strategy Sessions or check out our variety of GRE Course and Private Tutoring options. And as always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter!

GMAT Tip of the Week

Lights, Camera, Action

(This is one of a series of GMAT tips that we offer on our blog.)

What have you been up to this month? You may be spending your time watching the NBA or NHL playoffs, or the Giro d’Italia. You may be participating in early-season triathlons or late-season marathons. If you’re President of the United States, you may be trying your hand as a stand-up comedian. Regardless of your May pursuits, if they’re any of the above, they are likely preparing you for a successful performance on the GMAT, as peak performances tend to come in a familiar three-step pattern: ready, set, go; bump, set spike; game plan, warm up, perform. All signs point to I came, I saw, I conquered.

With President Obama’s standup routine at the White House Correspondents dinner, he followed a traditional jokemaker’s protocol – warm up the room, set up a situation, and then hit the punchline. In this month’s many athletic events, peak performers are starting with a game plan, moving to a warm up, and then delivering when it counts. So should you on the GMAT, remembering that the GMAT as a peak performance is comprised of a similar progression.

The GMAT begins with the AWA essays, a pair of 30-minute writing samples designed to test your communication ability, and for which the scores are used sparingly in MBA admissions. Effectively, the biggest threat to your MBA candidacy from the AWA section isn’t necessarily the essay score itself, but more likely the way in which that hour will impact your overall performance on the ever-important Quantitative and Verbal sections, which combine for your score between 200 and 800. How can you use the AWA section as a competitive advantage, and not a threat?

Game Plan
Assume that the AWA section comes first for a reason – in spending an hour writing about generic topics, students are apt to lose track of (or at least worry that they’ll lose track of) the formulas and strategies that they prepared and memorized. That hour poses a legitimate threat to your short-term memory (which shouldn’t contain much, as through thorough preparation you can internalize, rather than memorize, most everything you need to know…but I digress). But know this: the noteboard that you will use for your mathematical calculations is the very same one that you have for your essay outlines – you can use it to jot down any last minute reminders that you’re afraid you may forget, and then progress through the essays without worry that you’re diverting your attention from what truly matters coming up next.

Warm Up
As we’ve mentioned, the AWA comes first, and many examinees see this as a negative. But, viewed the right way, the AWA hour can be a definite positive for you. The AWA is a chance to warm up on a section that matters less than the others. During the essays, you can become better accustomed to your surroundings, try out the earplugs and noise-reduction headphones that you can request from the test proctor (some find them essential to filter out distraction; others find that the pure silence is more distracting in itself), and ease in to the exam with less pressure than you may face later. What’s more, the essay types run fairly parallel to the verbal questions you’ve seen later, so they can prep your thought process for those.

Performance
Once you’re warmed up and comfortable, you’re ready to peak. Like a cyclist enduring the initial rolling hills before a summit finish on the Alps, or a basketball player finding his jump shot while avoiding foul trouble in the first half, you can build your level of comfort and confidence through the essays so that you’re ready to attack the quantitative section coming next. Remember — the GMAT is a great opportunity to feel the adrenaline and energy of a peak performance opportunity like a sporting event or live performance. Prepare effectively, warm up properly, and embrace the challenge enthusiastically, and you’ll add your name to the list of peak performers who come through in the clutch.