GMAT Essays

Thanks to Manoj, Adi who had mailed their essays for review and a few more who visited the Great Lakes campus in Manamai, His Laziness, finally decided to list out how he scored a 6 on 6 in AWA and rocked some B School essays last year (Yeah do not ask the rest of the scores, you may stop reading the post right here :)). So here it goes, as to how I had planned out my essays to ISB, Great Lakes, Nanyang and well to the almost applied NUS. Credit to Mrs. Shyamala Shankar, Gokulam, Mysore also for her inputs at various stages (I mostly bunked the classes I had picked up with her, but sad that had to do it, a choice between la franciase and the queen, and finally settled for the french kisses (Jokin!!!) – Missing ’em has not added much value as I am not using french anywhere – even on my resume! to show off)!

Most of the B School/ GMAT/ GRE essays are either issue based or argument based. Some are open ended, but mostly can be fit into either of the two! So here is my take on how to fill your pages up…

Issue based essays:

If the question is an issue based one, read the stimulus which presents the issue carefully considering every aspect.
– Take your stance or position and jot down the points for or against the issues with clear examples
– Jot down the words relevant to the issue which will add clarity/ variety to the essay
– Restrict the essay to 4-5 paragraphs max. Usually you will have a 300 word restriction.
– Structure paragraph 1 with your general stance on the issue and your comments on the subjects as such
– Paragraph’s 2,3 and 4 – start with a topic sentence to introduce your argument or point in-favor or against and substantiate with relevant examples
– Paragraph 5 – Sum up your essay with words that reinforce your position with conviction
– And finally proof-read!

Argument based essays:

If the question is based on an argument, read and spot the topic and scope of the argument
a. List out the conclusion(s)
b. List out the evidence available supporting your conclusion
– Sum up the argument in your own words
– How does the argument use its evidences – are there any assumptions, gaps between evidence and conclusion.
– Under what what circumstances can these assumptions be valid or improved
– Is there anything relevant that has not been discussed?
– What would make the argument stronger or valid?

For execution, again split up into 3-4 paragraphs. Lengthy ones may not prompt the reader to pick the prime points.
– Let the first paragraph flow in with general comments and assessment of the argument
– Let the next 2-3 state the reasons or the evidence presented for the conclusion and critique them as weak (if they are) and load with the assumptions made. Question the words and expressions used (From my past practice essays lots of them usually follow this pattern)
– In the final paragraph give suggestions to improve and strengthen the argument whereby the conclusion can be made more forceful and credible.


Amar –


About amarharish
Was working as a Consultant for Five Years. Moved on to pursue a Masters in Management at Great Lakes, Chennai. Interests include Hi Tech, Brands, Quizzing, Leadership to name a few!

2 Responses to GMAT Essays

  1. ranjani chandran says:

    Can you please give me the contact details of Mrs Shyamala Shankar in Gokulam, Mysore?

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