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Low AWA Score Question

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Low AWA Score Question [#permalink] New post 01 Jan 2013, 14:00
Hello all,

I just received my official GMAT score report and was shocked and disappointed to see my AWA score of 4.5. My other scores were all quite good- 42 Verbal, 49 Quant, 8 Integrated Reasoning, 750 Total. I know I did not perform my best on the essay, as my nerves on this first section got the best of me. However, I did not expect to score so low as the 39th percentile. I am confident that I am a good writer and have good control of grammar, as evidenced by my 96th percentile verbal score.

I don't think I will retake the test because of this, as I have read that as long as you receive a 4.0 or higher, the business schools don't really care about it. However, I am targeting top-10 MBA programs such as Columbia, MIT, Wharton, Booth, etc., and am worried that this low score could harm my acceptance chances. Would it be worth it to have my essay re-scored? Does this often result in score increases? I can't imagine I wrote an essay that actually deserved to be in the 39th percentile.

Any thoughts/advice would be very appreciated!

Thank you.
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Re: Low AWA Score Question [#permalink] New post 01 Jan 2013, 14:16
I wouldn't sweat it. Your scores are great - 42V should erase any doubt that you struggle with the english language.

The reason for it being 39th percentile is that many score 5 or 6, so the percentiles are skewed (I believe AWA 5 is 52% or something).

Congrats on a great score!
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Re: Low AWA Score Question [#permalink] New post 01 Jan 2013, 14:18
tsin5198 wrote:
Hello all,

I just received my official GMAT score report and was shocked and disappointed to see my AWA score of 4.5. My other scores were all quite good- 42 Verbal, 49 Quant, 8 Integrated Reasoning, 750 Total. I know I did not perform my best on the essay, as my nerves on this first section got the best of me. However, I did not expect to score so low as the 39th percentile. I am confident that I am a good writer and have good control of grammar, as evidenced by my 96th percentile verbal score.

I don't think I will retake the test because of this, as I have read that as long as you receive a 4.0 or higher, the business schools don't really care about it. However, I am targeting top-10 MBA programs such as Columbia, MIT, Wharton, Booth, etc., and am worried that this low score could harm my acceptance chances. Would it be worth it to have my essay re-scored? Does this often result in score increases? I can't imagine I wrote an essay that actually deserved to be in the 39th percentile.

Any thoughts/advice would be very appreciated!

Thank you.



Nope for me. 750 is very solid.
4.5 wouldn't harm a lot. Don't fret over 39th percentile - you might have had a bad day and as hamm0 pointed out, percentiles are skewed. This definitely doesn't mean your writing sucks ; you need to prove otherwise in your essays though :)

Go through the below thread, which re-iterates my view.
awa-rescoring-is-it-worth-it-27281.html

Good luck with the apps.
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Re: Low AWA Score Question [#permalink] New post 01 Jan 2013, 15:05
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Your 750 score is solid and while your writing score is lower than expected, it's not terrible. You're still above 4.0. And it's more important to critically assess/read information than it is to present ideas clearly and well-organized. Though, certain jobs may certainly value that organization ability...but it's not as crucial as reasoning skills tested on the GMAT. A minimum threshold should suffice.

Could it hurt your chances of acceptance? Sure..but these are not things to worry about. You're better off spending your time finding a good way to present your application overall and your story. Why business school? Why somebody of your background?
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Re: Low AWA Score Question [#permalink] New post 01 Jan 2013, 21:14
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tsin5198 wrote:
Hello all,

I just received my official GMAT score report and was shocked and disappointed to see my AWA score of 4.5. My other scores were all quite good- 42 Verbal, 49 Quant, 8 Integrated Reasoning, 750 Total. I know I did not perform my best on the essay, as my nerves on this first section got the best of me. However, I did not expect to score so low as the 39th percentile. I am confident that I am a good writer and have good control of grammar, as evidenced by my 96th percentile verbal score.

I don't think I will retake the test because of this, as I have read that as long as you receive a 4.0 or higher, the business schools don't really care about it. However, I am targeting top-10 MBA programs such as Columbia, MIT, Wharton, Booth, etc., and am worried that this low score could harm my acceptance chances. Would it be worth it to have my essay re-scored? Does this often result in score increases? I can't imagine I wrote an essay that actually deserved to be in the 39th percentile.

Any thoughts/advice would be very appreciated!

Thank you.


You need to worry about 'Below Average' scores only.

Your AWA score is 'Average'
All your other scores are 'Above Average'

Kindly move on to your application. That will be the deciding factor, not an average score on an essay not many schools care about (think about it - GMAC used to give 2 essays; they scrapped one; why? not only because reasoning is more important but also because essays are less important)
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Re: Low AWA Score Question [#permalink] New post 02 Jan 2013, 16:35
Thank you all for your advice! I think I will have my essay re-scored, but will not worry too much if it does not go up.

Thanks again.
Re: Low AWA Score Question   [#permalink] 02 Jan 2013, 16:35
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