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3. GMAT Essay Tutorials - Free GMAT Guide
Contributors
Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet was About.com's GMAT expert and has published books on preparing for the GMAT through McGraw Hill. Ajeet is an expert on the MBA admissions process and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business.
GMAT essays are a test of good writing mechanics and how well you can express ideas. This not necessarily a test of grammar. This would further translate into understanding the candidate’s aptitude for participating in case studies in a typical business school. Remember, the GMAT's fundamental function is to predict the likelihood of you failing out of an MBA program. If you can't write cohesively, then you will likely not make it.

Each of the essays are graded qualitatively and scored in a range from 0 to 6.  

The essays come first on test day before the Quantitative and Verbal sections.

1. Analysis of an Argument
2. Analysis of an Issue 

The first and the most important step in writing an essay is understanding the topic and answering the question. This may sound obvious, but many students write essays that don't fundamentally address the topic. Some students write the well-thought out essays only to find at the end of it that they forgot to directly answer the question.  

The key to the essay section is to be disciplined in your writing.

Organize your ideas – the planning stage

Getting organized is a vital part of the writing process, which requires critical thinking and lots of practice. Next, you need to think about the information that you already know about the subject and decide what is relevant to the topic. Then, you must decide which information you will use and where it will be most effective. Once you know and understand the scope of the assignment, you need to plan well and quickly. The better the planning, the better the essay. 

Strategies

It is good to create an outline or diagram. The purpose of an outline or diagram is to put your ideas about the topic on paper, in a moderately organized format. The structure you create here may change before the essay is complete, so don’t spend too much time over this.  

How to structure your essay

There are two arguments in favor of structuring your essay.


  • First, it is easier, if you know what you are going to write, how you are going to write it and where are you going to write it.

  • Secondly, structuring the essay will make it easy to read. 

A good essay should have at least four indented paragraphs and its structure may look like this:

1st paragraph - Introduction - State the issue and your stand.

2nd paragraph - Support your argument.

3rd paragraph - Further support by giving examples from your experience.

4th paragraph - Further support with examples if possible.

5th paragraph – Conclusion.


Points to Remember

  • All passages should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion.

  • The length of the passage decides the length of all three parts. It however goes without saying that the introduction and conclusions are concise, and the body is longer.

  • The best way to start writing a piece is to put down all the points you can possibly think about the topic. Then rearrange the points in a sequence, so that you can drive home your point of view.

  • Start elaborating on the points as you write the piece. Always make sure to explain only one point in one paragraph. It shows clarity of thought. It also tells the reader that a new paragraph will deal with a new idea and will explore a new angle.

  • Be clear and concise. Avoiding unnecessary words means that there is less work for the writer and the reader. This underlies the common objection to REDUNDANT words and structures, which should be omitted without any change in meaning. But do not reduce words where economy conflicts with clarity. Saving words should not lead to an unsuspected loss of meaning.

  • The conclusion should smoothly draw the various threads together and tie up all the loose ends. The essay should not end abruptly.

  • The more the points the better. Refrain from elaborating on one point for too long. It makes things tedious, a way of losing the attention of the per user.

  • Make the piece as interesting as possible. Add anecdotes if the topic permits it. Add relevant data, quotes, sayings, humorous tales, if it is permitted by the subject, so that the reader’s attention does not falter. You can also use these to drive home your conclusion.


Editing, Proofing, Revising and Formating

It is important that every writer learns to evaluate and edit his/her own work. Everyone wants to put their ‘best foot forward’ and have his/her efforts understood and appreciated. It is amazing how even little things can detract the reader’s appreciation of the work. So this area is most important. Editing is much more than simply correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It is very important to have an infallible logic so that the examiner is drawn to the point that is made. It is imperative that the examiner is not bored by the use of dull and repetitive sentence structures, generalities, and imprecise word choices. Make sure that you have enough time to edit your essay. This step is important as you can transform an ordinary essay into a level 6 essay.

Grammar and spelling

When you are satisfied with the structure and content of your essay, it is time to check for grammar, spellings and typos. There will be obvious things you can fix right away: a misspelled or misused word, a seemingly endless sentence, or improper punctuation. Keep rewriting until your words say what you want them to say.  

Formatting on the computer

If you are writing your essay on the computer, be sure that you format the essay before you confirm it. These are a few more points that you need to remember:

• Have you spaced your paragraph correctly?

• In there proper spacing between words?



 



 
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