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Importance of GMAT IR and AWA scores

Importance of GMAT IR and AWA scores

Although the GMAT format is composed of 4 distinct sections, namely, the Quantitative Reasoning (Quant), the Verbal Reasoning (verbal), the Integrated Reasoning (IR), and the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), the total GMAT score is only calculated on the Quant and the Verbal scores. The AWA and the IR scores are separately provided in the GMAT score card, along with the individual Quant, Verbal, and the total GMAT scores. Thus, students often tend to question the importance of the IR and the AWA sections on GMAT.

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The GMAT was founded to be the standardized test to determine the MBA applicant’s stronghold over certain specific skills that are considered necessary for the profile of a successful business manager and leader. These skills typically refer to your quantitative abilities, analytical efficiency, and reading and writing or communication proficiency. Thus,

  • The Verbal Reasoning questions analyze your ability to comprehend given information and recognize the standard English language rules.
  • The Quantitative Reasoning questions analyze your ability to employ mathematical concepts and your quantitative skills to evaluate the given information.
  • The Integrated Reasoning questions analyze your ability to collate and read data provided in multiple formats.
  • The Analytical Writing Assessment questions analyze your ability to understand given information and present your views on the same.

How important is the GMAT Integrated Reasoning (IR) section?

To answer this question, we must first understand the structure of the GMAT IR section.

The GMAT IR section comprises of four types of questions: Graphic Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis and you are required to answer 12 questions in only 30 minutes. The GMAT IR section is scored on a range of 1 to 8, in 1 point increments. However, although the GMAT IR section does not add to the total GMAT score, the GMAT test-taker must pay equal attention to this section. That the average GMAT IR score is 4.41 suggests the importance of targeting a good GMAT IR score.

GMAT IR was recently introduced into the GMAT format, in the year 2012 to help the B-school Admission Committee understand the analytical ability of the incoming batch. According to a recent study conducted by Kaplan Prep in 2014, of the 400 responding B-schools, 49% confirmed the importance of GMAT IR in influencing admission decisions. The test was repeated in 2015 and the percentage of responders acknowledging the importance of the GMAT IR test went up to 59%.

In the GMAT IR section, you are presented with a simultaneous set of data that you must analyze to be able to answer the actual question. This ability to read and grasp information across data tables and multiple sources becomes crucial in determining your finesses in reacting to definite business situations.

How important is the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section?

To answer this question, we must first understand the structure of the GMAT AWA section.

The GMAT AWA section comprises of 1 essay. You are provided with a brief passage and you need to express your views of the idea represented in the given passage. Thus, you must read and understand the author’s perspective from the passage and represent your critique of the same, replete with suitable examples, in a coherent structure, keeping to the standard norms of the English language, in only 30 minutes. The section is scored on a range of 0 to 6, in 0.5 increments. However, although the GMAT AWA section does not add to the total GMAT score, the GMAT test-taker must pay equal attention to this section. That the average GMAT AWA score is 4.49 suggests the importance of targeting a good GMAT AWA score.

The GMAT AWA section, thus, do not only test your English language skills but also your ability to grasp information and communicate your point of view in clear and precise terms. Communication forms an important and critical part of the daily activities of a leader and the ability to communicate instructions, present ideas, and negotiate propositions clearly and firmly is a desired quality of any executive in a senior and important leadership role. The GMAT AWA section, hence, enables the Admission Committee to understand your ability to comprehend and communicate instruction in the brief possible time.

Which GMAT sections are most important?

  • In conclusion, it cannot be denied that the Quant and Verbal sections on GMAT are the most crucial components that directly influence your chances of admissions. However, no one should undermine the importance of the IR and the AWA sections.
  • Although the GMAT IR component is a recent introduction and not a definite analytical tool, the Kaplan Test Prep results affirm the importance accredited to this section by the B-schools.
  • Similarly, although the B-schools receive a copy of your GMAT AWA essays, the Admissions Committee also refers to the MBA admissions essays that they receive as part of the application process to holistically analyse the candidature of the applicant.
  • While one should not neglect the GMAT AWA and IR section as they do not directly influence the total GMAT score, one should also remember that the B-schools never declare their GMAT section-wise preference in analyzing applications.
  • The AWA section probably finds more prominence in considering the application requests of the non-native English speakers – an ability to coherently present ideas under limited time is a crucially influences chances of admission.

Thus, irrespective of the importance attached to either GMAT AWA or IR sections, you must make efforts to maintain a holistically strong GMAT score card. While a competitive GMAT total score may amplify your chances of admission, an inconsistent GMAT score card can also adversely affect your chances of admission.

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