GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section: Key Details You Should Know


If you’re preparing to take the GRE, you should be aware that the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment, or GRE AWA for short, is an exam section that should not be taken lightly. Apart from the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning portions, the GRE AWA is an equally essential part of the exam. Despite the fact that it does not count toward your composite score, you should thoroughly prepare for it because most colleges place a high value on it, in addition to your final GRE score. So, let us talk about the GRE’s AWA portion.

GRE AWA Sub-Sections

The AWA section is divided into the following two questions,, and 30 minutes are devoted to each subsection:

  • Analyse an Issue: Under ‘analyse an issue’ topic, you will be provided with an issue and are expected to present your arguments and support your opinions with specific examples. You have to respond to this question based on specific instructions (on how to respond to the issue) that will be given to you.
  • Analyse an Argument: Under ‘analyse an argument’ topic, you are provided with an argument. Based on specific instructions, you are required to evaluate the argument presented or the claim made, rather than writing an essay supporting or opposing the argument that is given to you.

While the analyze-an-issue subject is designed to assess your ability to offer a point of view and back it up with evidence, the analyse-an-argument topic is designed to assess your ability to evaluate a point of view provided to you and the claims that are made with it. This makes it clear that the two GRE AWA essays have a different overall goal.

How is the GRE AWA Section Scored?

Your essays are scored on a scale of 0-6, 6 being the highest and 0 being the lowest score, with 0.5-point increments. Although there are two subsections, the score provided is an average of your score on both questions, and is presented as a single score.

Additionally, your analytical writing component is graded by both a human and a computer grading system. First, a qualified human rater analyses your essay holistically, evaluating it and assigning you a mark based on its overall quality. Second, an ETS computer programme called “E-Rater” evaluates your essay. This computer tool aids in the standardization of test scores across a variety of writing styles and knowledge levels. If there are considerable disparities between the computer and human ratings, the essays are re-evaluated by a second human rater. The final scores are rounded to the nearest half-point interval and are the average of both ratings as judged by the two professional evaluators.

How To Prepare for the GRE AWA Section

In order to make sure you put your best foot forward in the GRE AWA section, you should take a look at sample essays. You can find high quality sample AWA essays GRE experts have recommended on a variety of platforms, along with other resources on how to improve your essay writing and written communication skills.

It is possible to get a high score like 5 out of 6 on the GRE AWA section as long as you practice your essay writing skills and present your ideas in a clear and concise manner. Good luck!