Free GMAT Course > GMAT AWAC > About The E-Rater > International Students

1. How international students should tackle the AWA and the E-rater.

The conventions for the AWA can be summarized in a single statement: written English requires that each paragraph be developed directly away from a topic (or thesis) sentence or directly towards a topic (or thesis) sentence.

The former is known as deductive development; the latter is known as inductive development. English expository prose style must be direct and to the point. Each main idea should be supported with examples, explanations, and illustrations. The thesis (or topic sentence) must contain the germ of the idea that permeates the entire paragraph. Each example or illustration must be connected to that idea with transitional markers such as for examplethus, or moreover.

2. The E-rater speaks “American.”

Your essays should be written in American English. Phrases that are more commonly spoken in British English (e.g., indeed, hence, etc.) are less common in American writing style. Such British English phrases are unlikely to be picked up by the E-rater, which picks up phrases used among high scorers (who are overwhelmingly American).

Students from the U.K., Hong Kong, India and other Commonwealth nations should adjust their syntax, style and language to better suit American English. That is the language of the E-rater. Avoid any local jargon, particularly transitional phrases (e.g., “heretofore”). In addition, the human graders are overwhelmingly American and will have an easier time with arguments written in American English.

Beware of non-American spellings:

  • “labour” = labor
  • “organisation”= organization
  • “analyse” = analyze

The best solution to writing in the appropriate style is to read all of our sample essays. You should also familiarize yourself with American scholarly journals to see how American writers structure arguments.

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