Tips on how to write the GMAT essays

How the essays are scored: - Each essay is scored out of 6. Each essay is scored by a human and by a computer (if their two scores differ by more than one whole point, the essay is re-graded). Their two scores are then averaged, giving you any score up to a 6.0 (and in half-point increments). Why you shouldn’t pay too much attention to them: - The essay score does not count toward your Quant/Verbal score out of 800. - As long as you get above a 4.0, b-schools don’t really care how you score. (They just want to make sure you are indeed the one who wrote your application essays.) - One hour is a long time to have to think and type. Don’t let this wear you down. - Just bang out two solid essays. Don’t overthink. Save your energy. General writing tips for GMAT essays: - Vary your sentence length. - Use transition words (however, furthermore, for example, finally, etc.) - Don’t try to impress the reader with big words. If you can’t think of that fancy word for ‘large’ that you learned way back when, just use the word ‘large.’ Otherwise, you’ll waste your time doing something that might end up sounding pompous anyway. - Spelling and grammar count, but not that much. For the ambitious, keep the above tips in mind and have your go at superior, sophisticated writing (if writing’s your thing and you’ve got the essays in the bag already). For those who just want a winning formula and don’t want to give the essays a second thought, here’s a basic structure that will ensure clarity and a solidly organized argument:

ANALYSIS OF AN ISSUE
The prompt is always something for which there’s no right or wrong answer. While it’s true that the best writing tends to find a middle ground, on the GMAT, make your life easy. Pick a side. Here’s an example of a prompt: "Responsibility for preserving the natural environment ultimately belongs to each individual person, not to government." INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH: - First point: I hate introductions. Open with some good ol’ b.s. about how this issue/debate/discussion is one that has intrigued people over the course of history or across cultures. Ex: The debate over who ultimately holds responsibility for preserving the environment has been going on for decades, since humans first realized the need to protect our natural surroundings. - Second point (optional): If you wish, follow this general b.s. statement with some more specific b.s. by giving an example of what you just said. Do this neutrally without biasing/favoring one side. Ex: In America, for example, many of those on the Right of the political spectrum argue that since each person has a different effect on the environment, the responsibility lies with each individual. Many on the Left, however, argue that the responsibility lies with the government. - Last point (YOUR THESIS): State your side. Ex: Although it is true that individuals both damage and benefit the natural environment to varying extents, the responsibility of preserving the environment ultimately lies with the government. BODY PARAGRAPHS (YOUR EXAMPLES): - Give examples from either 1) Current events/history; 2) Literature; or 3) Your own life. This means that if you blank, don’t freak out- make something up. The FBI’s not going to check. Just don’t say anything ridiculous, such as “I know this from when I single-handedly defeated Napoleon….” You’ll be golden with two thoroughly explained examples. Successful essays have been done before with one long, drawn-out example, or three well-selected and concisely described ones, but two are sufficient.

- .- Each body paragraph should be at least 3 sentences long. and it’s especially important to note that this must be done in a very neutral way. (Then dismiss…)This.s.I hate conclusions too. After you introduce the example. the next 1-2 sentences should give brief background info/describe the example. say that “some may argue…” or “many say that…” Ex: (Acknowledge…) Many proponents of little to no government involvement in such decisions argue that this sort of action would represent (or lead to) a violation of basic freedoms. This is super important. Instead.) way. however. Do not say that the other side could be right. if you haven’t yet done that in the body paragraphs. Ex: The current. split it up into two paragraphs. You then need to explain why this example illustrates and supports your point with 1-2 more sentences. - - - CONCLUSION: . for example. pressing situation in China. and the paragraph is getting rather long. Your conclusion should do the following: - First point: Acknowledge (and explain if you choose) and dismiss the other side. If you start exploring an example in-depth. overlooks one of universal dangers in removing such responsibility from the government—to regulate activities should a situation come to a point that endangers the well-being of its citizens. general (b. (Explain…) The argument is that government intervention regarding environmental matters is excessively paternalistic. But you probably should. Final point: Touch on implications/discuss what the future might hold in a very loose. it would be interesting to see ideas about government responsibility and the environment converge much in the same way that globalization has created a growing global market. Ex: As evidence of global warming spreads across countries. especially if you’re pressed for time. and that citizens must be allowed and trusted to take on responsibility over preserving the environment. You don’t even really need to have a conclusion. Each example should begin with an appropriate introductory sentence (and transition words come in nicely here). illustrates why the government should ultimately take responsibility in mediating environmental preservation.

. the author concludes that the implementation of a new toll will greatly reduce traffic congestion in Landmark City. concludes. you're in trouble. he can't deliver pizza. For example. He also states that . 3) Superlative language --> eliminate alternatives.. 4) Cause and effect --> consider the opposite cause/effect relationship.. Billy got a perfect score on his SAT's. 2) Premise attached to conclusion or a chain of events --> establish feasibility of premise. "The author says Billy is stupid. so he clearly is not stupid. Talk about why it doesn't matter that Billy is stupid or not (in essence.."** CONCLUSION (Improvements) - Talk about improvements that could be made to his argument. BODY (State and explain weaknesses) Dedicate one paragraph to each weakness You should have 2-4 weaknesses identified If nothing else. Here's a winning formula.. talk about the lack of supporting evidence because this is always a problem with at least one (if not many) of the author's claims! - Other common weaknesses deal with faulty/unsupported assumptions. Don't talk about why you know Billy is not stupid (in essence." Instead. state your thesis) - First point: Recap the argument. saying that the premise is unrelated to the conclusion or that there is a missing link)... trying to take issue with one of his premises.. If you ever find yourself convinced by the argument. (What are the four types of assumptions? What are the red flags in conclusions that can signal holes in assumptions?) 1) New language --> logic gap. conclusion. The arguments are always fatally flawed... assumption.. - Second point (THESIS): You always must say that the argument is a bad one! This can be done in many different ways. let's say the author makes the following argument: "Billy is stupid... "The author fails to explain how stupidity and intelligence are relevant to the task of delivering pizza.) Ex: In this argument. He comes to this conclusion by first introducing the premise that.) Don't say..ANALYSIS OF AN ARGUMENT This essay will always start out with an argument that you are asked to comment on. your job is to talk about the logic gaps and holes in the author's argument. ..Any of this sound familiar??) - **It is very important to note that you need to address the holes in the author's argument and NOT involve yourself in a head-to-head battle with the author. however.. since you just went through a bunch of different weaknesses. if you'd like to use it: INTRODUCTION (Recap the argument. Ex: This argument. or entirely absent evidence.. Use the building block words! (Premise. Therefore." It is unwise to go head-to-head with his claim that Billy is stupid. He assumes that stupid individuals cannot deliver pizza but fails to give supporting evidence that would relate the two issues. scarce. which is why it's so important to review your notes from the CR Assumptions lesson. This should be fairly easy at this point. but this is untrue... Please don't spend too much time or energy picking the arguments apart. is fatally flawed because the author relies on faulty assumptions and on insufficient...

- If you wish. . you can end the essay by talking about implications for the future or what it would be interesting to see through additional studies (similar to how you ended the Analysis of an Issue essay).

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