Mission Admission: I Have a 700 GMAT Score, but My AWA…Don’t Even Ask!

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

You have taken a course, studied hard and finally “nailed” the GMAT. However, you soon learn that your score on the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), the essay portion of the GMAT, is low. Should you panic?

In short, the answer is … no! Although we have always encouraged candidates to do the best they can on the AWA, the truth of the matter is that we have never been told by an admissions officer—nor, as far as we know, has a candidate ever been told in a feedback session—that the AWA score was a factor in a school’s admit/reject decision. Generally, the AWA is not used to evaluate candidates, but to detect fraud.

If, hypothetically, you had tremendous difficulty expressing yourself via the AWA essays, but wrote like a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer in your application essays, the school would get suspicious and begin to compare the two. Not to worry—the schools are not punitive and are not acting as fraud squads. Your AWA essays are expected to be unpolished, so no one will seek out your file if you did your best in both areas. However, if an enormous discrepancy arises between the two, the AWA serves a purpose.

So, if you did well on the GMAT and have a low AWA score, that is a shame, but it is not going to be the difference in the school’s decision about your candidacy. Rest easy….as long as you wrote both!

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