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10 Tips for a Perfect AWA (Essay) Score [Ep. 24]

essays gmat gre podcast Jun 04, 2020

Most standardized tests have an essay component, and in this episode of The Dominate Test Prep Podcast we cover the 10 most important things you should do when crafting your essay response to ensure that you get a high score on test day -- perhaps even a perfect one!

You can listen to it here:



We start by explaining what the graders are looking for. Once you know the components of a high-scoring essay, you can craft your strategy for writing an effective essay yourself. Knowing is half the battle, as they say.

Then we go through 10 tips for helping you get a perfect essay score and discuss:

  • The importance of understanding the question prompt and answering all aspects of it (with examples);
  • What you should do during the first 5 minutes before you start writing;
  • The role of a clear thesis sentence and where it should appear in your essay;
  • How to organize your essay for maximum effectiveness;
  • Where you should pull your supporting examples from (for both the Issue Essay and Argument Essay) for the main body paragraphs of your essay;
  • How long your essay should ideally be;
  • Things you can do to improve your "fluency of language" so that your essay reads well;
  • And more!

Whether you're naturally a strong writer or not, there are a lot of things you can do to write an essay that the readers will find favor with on test day. By the end of this episode, you'll know what they are and how to implement them.


Here are direct links to the resources mentioned in this episode that will help you prepare for the Analytical Writing (Essay) portion of your exam:

  1. Score-level examples of a sample Issue Essay task
  2. Pool of sample Issue Essay prompts for you to practice
  3. Score-level examples of a sample Argument Essay task
  4. Pool of sample Argument Essay prompts for you to practice
  5. GRE Analytical Writing Course (relevant for exams other than the GRE as well)
  6. Additional comprehensive prep courses to help you prepare for all aspects of your standardized test
  7. Improve your overall writing: The Little Red Writing Book, by Brandon Royal
  8. Improve your grammar: The Little Gold Grammar Book, by Brandon Royal


"The scariest moment is always just before you start." — Stephen King

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