The Importance of GRE AWA: Tips and Qualifying Scores

Studying abroad is a dream for many, but most are confused as to how to secure a seat in their preferred institution. This is where GRE (Graduate Record Examination) comes in as the gateway to …

Studying abroad is a dream for many, but most are confused as to how to secure a seat in their preferred institution. This is where GRE (Graduate Record Examination) comes in as the gateway to be accepted in an international institution.

When it comes to taking the GRE, the AWA essay writing covers the most segment of the examination. The analytical writing assessment helps universities evaluate students’ critical and analytical skills.

For students who are unaware of this section, here’s some insight. The AWA section comprises of two essays, and you will get 30 minutes to write each of them. If you are new to GRE AWA, please remember that the exam starts with the AWA section.

Now, if you don’t have a habit of writing essays, this segment might seem intimidating. So, let me help you with some tips and tricks to ace the AWA essay.

Tips and Tricks to Write an AWA Essay

As mentioned earlier, you will get 30 minutes to write each essay. Here’s a method that can help you overcome the odds and create a flawless essay:

  • 2 minutes: Read

It is impossible to justify an essay if you don’t read and understand the topic well. GRE is a competitive exam, and everyone looks for ways to complete the tasks before others. But it is necessary to go through the topic and analyse it well for a better output. Use your time wisely to write a perfect essay.

  • 5 minutes: Ideate

It is necessary to generate ideas for the essay. You know the criticality of the essay and must invest some time to brainstorm and generate ideas. Most students are in a hurry to complete the essay and fail to create a flawless one. It is important to write a perfect essay. Hence, be calm and generate ideas before you start working on the essay.

  • 20 minutes: Type

Once you have an outline and the right ideas, start working on your essay. It will be easy for you to write the essay once you have the ideas and have analysed the topic well. Try filling in the first lines of each paragraph to start with. It will help you create the outline and fill in the details as you proceed. The writing process will be easy and less time-consuming if you follow this step.

  • 3 minutes: Edit

Proofreading and editing are the most important steps in writing. Even if you are writing an essay for GRE, you must keep some time to proofread and edit the paper. You cannot expect good scores if there are flaws in the paper. Hence, it is important to edit the essay before you move on to the next section.

It is difficult to follow this process if you are not well-versed with competitive exams and do not practice time management. Hence, before you dream of studying abroad, take initiatives and practice essay writing following this method.

Why is a GRE AWA Essay Important?

To start with, the GRE AWA essay is the first section of the GRE exam. You need to be very careful while working on the essay. The essay is not for testing your language and writing skills only. Instead, it has a wider aspect and is used to understand if you are capable of analysing critical problems and solving them in a limited time. The essay has a major role in your overall scores, and you must pay attention to each detail while working on the essay.

Most students ignore the section as the essays are evaluated separately, but it will not be a wise decision. You must work on the essay and write each section carefully. The essay has two sections of 30 minutes each. Manage these 30 minutes well and write the essay after thorough analysis.

Now that you know the meaning and significance of GRE AWA essays, let’s go through the weightage of the essay in the exam and the qualifying score to get admission.

How Much Do You Need to Score in a GRE AWA Essay to Qualify?

GRE is your gateway to international education. It is necessary to know how much you need to score to be eligible for a seat in an international university. The GRE analytical writing score depends on various things. It is not only based on your general understanding and writing skills. The scores vary with the field of study. Here’s an insight:

Intended Graduate Major Field Analytical Writing Mean Score
Business 3.4
Education 3.6
Engineering 3.2
Humanities and arts 4.0
Life sciences 3.7
Physical sciences 3.4
Social science 3.9
Other fields 3.6
Undecided 3.0
No major provided 3.3
Total 3.5


Now, let’s help you understand the average scores to get admission to some of the top universities:

Degree Field of study School GRE AWA Score
MA Sociology University of Houston 3.5 (min)
MSN Nursing University of Pennsylvania 4.0 (min)
MS Engineering Stanford 4.5 (min)
MA, PhD Media and Journalism University of North Carolina 4.5 (min)
PhD. Psychology UC Berkley 4.6 avg.
Ed.M. Education Harvard 4.8 avg.
Ed. LD. Education Harvard 5.0 avg.
PhD. Education Harvard 5.0 avg.
PhD. Political Science University of Chicago 5.1 avg.


If you check the table, you will find that some schools have stated the scores as a minimum, while some others have said average. The ones that stated minimum are the ones who will not consider your application if you don’t have that minimum score, while the others have stated an average score.

You can be in a better place with a score of 4.5 or above. You need not achieve a 6.0 in analytical writing to be eligible. A score of 4.5 or 5.0 is enough to be eligible for admission to a top-tier institution.

It is necessary to know how to set a target for yourself and prepare for the GRE writing test. Let me help you with a quick guide:

  • Search with school name or program name for the average GRE writing score
  • If you don’t get any information on the average GRE writing score, then look into the school’s percentiles for other GRE scores and check them again with the GRE writing percentiles’ list
  • For schools that need minimum GRE writing scores, make a list of all the scores of the programs you are willing to apply to. The highest minimum score will be your cut-off score
  • For others that share average GRE writing scores, make an average of all AWA scores for the programs you are willing to apply
  • Average these scores and check if the former is higher than the latter; if yes, then that will be your target score

Use these ways and prepare yourself to ace GRE AWA essays.

Wrapping up,

Qualifying GRE will bring you closer to your dream of studying abroad. Each section of the test is equally important, and you must not ignore the significance of any. GRE AWA essays have a major role in the overall score, and you must know how to write them. For students who are new to the system, learn and understand how to handle these essays and how the universities evaluate you on the same. Take the necessary training, practice and overcome the hurdles with GRE AWA essay writing.

Author Bio: Justin Hudson is one of the essay writers associated with He is well-versed in assignment help and can help students overcome all odds. He is also an independent blogger and writes about tips and tricks to overcome competitive exams.

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