The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a standardised test necessary for applying to Business Schools worldwide. It is a computer-adaptive and computer-based, multiple-choice test. It is an unavoidable hurdle for the students who wish to get into their dream graduate business programs. You can find a list of all the top business schools here. 

The admission committee of any business school analyses your profile after you have made an application. They analyse your academic record, GMAT score, work experience, and other supporting information to assess if you are eligible for the Graduate Business Program. 

The GMAT has a vast syllabus that contains four distinct sections. Two of these four sections are scored separately, whereas the other two sections are combined to produce the composite score. 

You will be able to learn about all the necessary details about the GMAT syllabus in the following section. 

The GMAT Syllabus 2021

The GMAT-syllabus is divided into four sections that are known as:

  • AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment)
  • IR (Integrated Reasoning)
  • Quantitative
  • Verbal

All these sections together constitute the GMAT examination. The examination runs for three and a half hours. The scores are divided into two parts. The Verbal and Quantitative sections come together with a total score of 800. The other two sections are independently scored. Candidates can choose the order for attempting the four sections in the examination. 

  • AWA

The AWA section is timed at 30 minutes, and it is scored between 0 to 6. This section requires the candidates to analyse the given argument. Find the shortcomings and flaws of the argument and then develop reasonable and logical solutions to the problem. 

The answer needs to be presented in an essay format that is written following all standard grammatical rules of written English. The ability to present the solutions and thoughts in the most well-presented way is the candidates’ aim. The ability to create solutions that are presented coherently and with exquisite detail to your essay’s clarity is a significant assessment factor for this section.

Colleges and universities use this section to judge your application regarding your writing skills. The AWA section is scored separately and does not come within your GMAT examination’s 200-800 score. 

Since this section delves into creative writing, it is not checked solely by the computer. Human graders also check this section, and the average score is the final score that you obtain in the AWA section of GMAT. A second human grader is called upon to recheck and final score the section if there is a big gap between the computer scoring and the human grader.

  • Integrated Reasoning (IR)

The Integrated Reasoning section of GMAT is also timed at 30 minutes, ranging between 1 to 8. This section is also scored independently. The IR section of GMAT was introduced to the examination as recently as 2012 to replace a part of the AWA section and create a separate section.

This section focuses on the candidate’s analytical skills to solve challenging questions that rely on understanding and using data from various sources such as texts, graphs, and tables. The challenge lies in the candidate’s ability to sort through data to find relevant information, which they will use to solve the problem and find the correct answer. Not only that, the candidates are expected to provide multiple answers from the given options as well.

This section contains questions of four different types

  • Table Analysis

Table analysis questions require the candidate to sort through data presented in a table and answer objective questions in the form of yes/no or true/false. Multiple statements need to be answered under every question.

  • Multi-Source Reasoning

The multi-source reasoning questions require the students to collect information by going through various tabs that are presented to them. Generally, two or three tabs are presented to the candidates. The data is presented either in text, charts, and tables. The collected data then needs to be used to answer multiple yes/no, true/false, or multiple-choice questions.

  • Graphical Interpretation

The Graphical Interpretation questions provide the candidates with a graphical presentation of data. The data must be used to complete statements by choosing the drop-down menu’s appropriate option to fill in the blank.

  • Two-Part Analysis

Two-part analysis questions provide the candidate with questions and multiple choice answers in four columns. The candidate has to figure out the permutations and combinations of these four columns’ options to figure out your answer. The candidate can only choose one answer from each column to come up with the final answer.

  • Quantitative

The quantitative section of GMAT is timed at 62 minutes, in which the candidate is required to answer 31 questions. This section is scored from 0 to 60. This section is entirely based on arithmetic problems from various arithmetic topics such as basic arithmetic, geometry, and algebra. The questions come in multiple-choice format, and the score of this section is calculated as a part of your GMAT score. There are two types of questions that are found in the exams they are,

  • Data Sufficiency

These questions are focused on the candidate’s ability to study data systemically. The question is presented along with two statements and five multiple-choice answers. The answers remain the same throughout all the questions of this section, so it is a good idea to memorise them and their order.

The solution for these questions is not focused on finding the answer, but rather it is to find if the presented data is sufficient to find the answer or not. Hence the name data sufficiency. With the help of logical and quantitative reasoning, the candidates must figure out if the presented data is enough to get the answer to the asked question.

Candidates can expect somewhere between 13-14 data sufficiency questions to be there in the examination.

  • Problem-solving questions

Problem-solving questions are arithmetic problems that are general for standardised tests. The candidates will be presented with mathematical problems with five answer choices. A good grasp of the various arithmetic concepts is crucial to score well in these questions. The questions will be based on high-school-level arithmetic concepts. Candidates can expect up to 17-18 problem-solving questions in the GMAT test.

The quantitative section will feature questions of these two types mentioned above in random order during the test. There is no way to figure which type of question will be coming next.

  • Verbal

The GMAT test’s verbal section is timed at 65 minutes, with scores ranging from 0 to 60. There are 36 questions that the candidate needs to answer in this section. This section focuses on testing the candidate’s ability and command over standard written English. It will also be testing the candidate’s ability to think and read critically and their ability to analyse arguments. The questions will be coming from three different categories which are,

  • Sentence Correction

This type of question tests the grammatical knowledge of the candidate. A question is presented with an underlined section and five answer choices. The candidate needs to find the right option from the choices in accordance with the standard written English rules. After choosing the option, the candidate again needs to revise the statement to see if the sentence construction is correct or if the intended meaning of the sentence is restored.

  • Comprehension type questions

The questions of this type are based on a passage of roughly 350 words. Multiple choice questions are based on the passage, which comes with 5 answer choices each. A critical or analytical understanding of the passage is not required. However, the candidate will be required to understand the meaning or message that is beneath the passage to answer the questions.

  • Critical Reasoning Questions

This type of question also is accompanied by a passage and five answer choices. The candidate must read through the passage and be able to retrieve the valuable information out of it. The information will then be used to identify the strengths and the weaknesses of the argument. After carefully analysing the argument, choosing the right option is how candidates should approach questions of this type in the GMAT test.

What is a Good GMAT Score?

With the syllabus and the types of questions that come for the examinations discussed. Candidates might be wondering what would their target scores be to reach the best international B-schools of their choice. It is crucial to consider the top business schools in India as well when you are considering your future in MBA education.

A good GMAT score depends on the candidate’s goals; however, any score above 710 would put you in the top 10% of all the GMAT candidates. Any score above 650 would put you in the top 50% of the GMAT candidates.

The top B-schools around the world require their students to have a score above 650. You can learn about the top US business schools’ class profiles and comparisons here.


The GMAT syllabus is vast and requires a lot of time and effort from the candidates to be prepared up to competitive standards. However, it is the first step to beginning your journey for GMAT preparation. No matter how vast and daunting the syllabus might be, you can achieve your goal scores in GMAT with a systematic, methodical, and diligent approach.

So, now you know what it takes to get a good GMAT score. However, there's so much more that will go into an MBA application to your dream B-school! Talk to a CareerLabs MBA expert today and get a 1-on-1 counselling session to know all of this and more.

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