AWA Pacing and Length
While the two essays on the GMAT require you to do completely different things, the approach and foundation of each essay is exactly the same. In this blog article, I want to address two questions my students often ask: “How long should I spend on planning the essay vs. writing the essay?” and “How long should the essay be?”.
Pacing the Essay
Thirty minutes isn’t a great deal of time to write Shakespeare. However, you don’t need to be as eloquent and esoteric in your style. What you need to be is clear, organized, and direct. The best way to accomplish those three objectives is to spend a significant amount of time planning your essay before you start typing the essay. Kaplan has specific templates and approaches that we discuss in our course; however, I’m going to simplify our approach for this post:
Length of the Essay
The length of the essay is actually the least important component. The essay is graded on four dimensions – length is not one of those dimensions. Generally, shorter is better (if you were able to clearly articulate your points with specific and clear examples). At the end of the day, the length won’t matter if you are sure to include the following points:
If you have these three components in a well-written essay, you’ll score at the top of the AWA range; no matter what the length of the essay.
Make sure you practice full-length CAT tests that have essays included! Before you ever see a quantitative question on test day, you will have already spent 60 minutes writing two intense essays, so it’s important to make sure you practice under the same test like conditions. Good luck!