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Online Prep For MBA Is A Smart Choice For The Savvy Student

By Michelle Conner

As any MBA student knows, the GMAT is divided into three segments: Verbal, which tests communications skills; Quantitative, testing math and logic; and lastly, the Analytical Writing Assignment (AWA). While the last’s title is pretty self-explanatory, mastering this part of the test is often the hardest to do.

While the shortest of the three sections, at 20% of the total GMAT grade, this segment can be the difference between getting into a good MBA program or getting in at all. It’s made up of two distinct handouts: one reviewing an issue and the other showing two sides of an argument. The test taker has 30 minutes on each handout, wherein he or she must express their own opinion about each as clearly and concisely as possible.

From there, the answers are handed over to a review board, where they are graded on how well the two handouts are analyzed respectively; express one’s opinions on each; how the answers themselves are structured and finally, the applicants understanding of the English language.

One of the things the GMAT review board is looking for is how well the applicant can respond in a very tight time period. Because ever second counts, experts recommend applicants only take 1-2 minutes to read the statement, then 3-4 minutes to brainstorm and outline; use the largest portion of time to write, saving the last 1-2 minutes to clean up one’s syntax. These experts also advise to limit the answers to 300-350 words each, 5-7 paragraphs, including a short intro and conclusion.

The real test is that most people aren’t trained to do such fast writing. That’s where the online prep programs really help. One of the key reasons is their inclusion of apps that not only time one’s response, but also spell check and review one’s syntax. Another is these courses usually include a data base of previously used questions one can drill over, giving the student as close to a real experience outside of taking the test.

Also, when the answers are submitted, they are handed to either a teacher or aide who will highlight whatever weaknesses the student has, usually giving give their critiques by the next business day. With this kind of criticism, one can take new handouts and repeat the process until creating responses is an automatic and smooth process.

Of course, another advantage of taking this prep online is that one can practice when it’s convenient to them, not the school’s. There are also online forums and chat rooms where one can pick up invaluable tips from fellow students and teachers. Finally, as most GMAT applicants are working, they can probably get their place of employment to help pay the costs.

It should be noted that the AWA is proportionately the smallest part of your GMAT score. At the same time it does have enough weight that it can be the difference between attending a top flight business degree program or attending one at all. Proper prep really will make that much of a difference when it comes to the business degree program.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Conner, Michelle "Online Prep For MBA Is A Smart Choice For The Savvy Student." Online Prep For MBA Is A Smart Choice For The Savvy Student. 30 Jun. 2010. 27 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Conner, M (2010, June 30). Online Prep For MBA Is A Smart Choice For The Savvy Student. Retrieved August 27, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Conner, Michelle "Online Prep For MBA Is A Smart Choice For The Savvy Student"

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