If you have decided to attempt the GMAT exam, then the first thing you need to understand and know before you start preparing is the GMAT Exam Pattern and syllabus. 

The GMAT is taken by candidates who are looking to apply for an MBA program, in India or abroad. This is because a good GMAT score is a requirement set by most universities and business schools. An important point to remember is that the GMAT exam is computer adaptive. This means that the difficulty level of each question will be determined by your performance in the previous. To get a good score in the examination, having a good knowledge of the examination is key before you start your preparation. So let’s acquaint you with the GMAT exam pattern and how each section is scored.

GMAT Exam Pattern & Sections 

The GMAT consists of four sections — verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing assessment. Below is a break up of each section, including its scores, number of questions, and duration. The details of each section are as follows: 

Section Score Range Duration Questions In Each Section 
Verbal Reasoning 0 to 60, increases by 1-point increment60 minutes36 
Quantitative Reasoning 0 to 60, increases by 1-point increment60 minutes31
Integrated Reasoning 1 to 8, increases by 1-point increment30 minutes12
Analytical Writing Assessment0 to 6, increases by half-point increment30 minutes1

The sum of the verbal and quantitative reasoning scores make up for the total GMAT score. The total  GMAT score ranges between 200 to 800. 

Exam Pattern
  • The total duration of the GMAT exam is 3 hours and 30 minutes along with the two optional 8-minute breaks.
  • You have the option of choosing the order in which you would like to attempt the sections before you begin attempting the exam, at the test centre itself. Once this order has been finalised, it cannot be changed.
  • The questions in the Verbal Reasoning section and the Quantitative Reasoning section are both computer-adaptive in nature, and you cannot choose the order of the questions or question types in any of the sections. The GMAT algorithm itself will choose your next questions for you based on how well you answered the previous questions.
  • The Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning sections are not computer-adaptive in nature and will be scored separately from the other two. This means that the score you obtain in these two sections will not be a part of your final GMAT score out of 800, but will be a separate score.

GMAT Quant Sample Questions and Answers

GMAT Verbal Sample Questions and Answers

GMAT Syllabus  

There are around 80 questions that have to be answered within three hours and seven minutes.  Below we will look at the GMAT exam pattern in detail. We will explore each section to understand the exam pattern better.

Verbal reasoning 

Verbal reasoning tests your ability to evaluate and reason arguments, read, and comprehend the information given and correct the material given and express thoughts coherently in the English language. The verbal reasoning consists of three questions. 

  1. Reading comprehension: This section consists of two or more passages, based on which you are given multiple-choice questions. The reading comprehension section tests your ability to understand information logically and if you can interpret or paraphrase what you’ve understood.
  2. Sentence correction:  This section tests your command of the English language. You are given incomplete sentences and five answer choices. You have to choose an answer that is grammatically correct, is well-structured and which is most effective.  
  3. Critical reasoning: This section challenges you to critically think and analyse a statement given to you. You are given a short passage followed by five answer choices, where you have to choose which option strengthens or weakens your argument, which supports the argument, which exposes the argument as flawed, etc.  
Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section tests your knowledge in arithmetic, algebra and geometry. It consists of two question types.

  1. Data sufficiency: This section tests your ability to analyze quantitative problems, check relevant data, and determine when there’s enough data to solve a problem.  
  2. Problem-solving: Your analytical reasoning and logical skills are tested here. You have to use these skills to solve the given problems. You have to choose the answer from the five answer choices given. 
Integrated Reasoning

The Integrated Reasoning section aims to understand how well you analyse and interpret the data provided to you to solve complex problems. It consists of four question types. 

  1. Two-part analysis: This section tests your ability to solve complex problems. The questions asked could be verbal, quantitative, or a combination of both. 
  2. Graphic interpretation: This section consists of graphical data and images. These can include pie charts, graphs, bar charts, etc. You are required to analyse these graphical images and answer the question. Your ability to interpret these graphs presented in various formats is measured. 
  3. Multi-source reasoning: This section consists of various kinds of data. The question type expects you to carefully analyse each data point presented and answer the subsequent questions. You might be required to determine whether the data given is relevant to answer the question or you might be asked to find out any discrepancies in the given data. Your ability to examine data from various sources is measured. 
  4. Table analysis: This section tests your ability to analyse and sort data that is given in a tabular format. You are required to comprehend the given data and choose a statement that describes it accurately.  
Analytical Writing Assessment 

The analytical writing section tests your ability to think critically and communicate your thoughts cohesively. Here you are required to analyze an argument, check the reason behind that argument and then write a critique of it. 

So now that you are aware of the scoring pattern, duration, the types of questions and the number of questions which would be asked in each section you must next be familiar with the syllabus of the GMAT exam. It is necessary to know more about the GMAT exam pattern and syllabus 2021 to be able to prepare well for the GMAT. They are given in the following table : 

Analytical Writing Assessment You will have to analyse an argument, check the reasoning behind that argument and then write a critique based on it.
Verbal Reasoning Basic Sentence structure: Pronouns, Nouns, AdjectivesVerb TenseModifiersPronoun AgreementIdioms & Idiomatic ExpressionsPhrases and ClausesSubject Verb AgreementParallelismArticlesParts of speechActive to Passive
Integrated ReasoningInterpreting information presented in the form of – graphs (Line plot, Box plot, scatter plot, bar chart, pie chart, x/y graph, etc), Table format (Statistics and Ratio and Probability), Questions given as a combination of numerical, verbal or both, Data given in the form of tables, charts or graphs.
Quantitative Reasoning
ProbabilityProfit and lossPercentagesFractionsDecimalsMultiples and factorsNumber systems and number theoryPowers and rootsAveragesQuadratic equationsAlgebraic expressions and equationsRectangular solids and cylindersSpeed, time, and distanceRatio and proportionMonomials, polynomialsArithmetic and geometric progressionFunctionsSimple and compound interestLines and anglesInequalities and basic statisticsMixtures and allegationsCirclesPermutations and combinationsQuadratic equationsExponentsTrianglesDescriptive statisticsSequences and seriesSetsQuadrilateralsPipes, cisterns, and work timeCoordinate geometry

The next most important point to remember about the GMAT exam is that you are allowed to select the order in which you would like to attempt the sections from the below 3 options: 

  1. Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  2. Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  3. Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal

It provides you with a lot of flexibility and control over your GMAT test-taking experience. In order to perform well in all of these sections, you must be adequately prepared. If you would like to commence your preparation for the GMAT, CareerLabs will be happy to assist you in this process. We hope this article helped you understand more about the GMAT exam pattern 2021. Good Luck!

  1. How helpful is the GMAT exam for admissions into MBA programmes?

The GMAT exam is conducted every year globally by GMAC and is considered a key admission requirement by several universities and business schools around the world. Currently, the GMAT exam is accepted by over 2300 universities and business schools across the globe. Furthermore, for the past 60 years the GMAT exam has been the standard test that is widely accepted for MBA admissions.

  1.  Is the GMAT exam pattern the same all over the world?

Since the GMAT exam is a standardized test conducted globally by GMAC, the GMAT exam pattern remains the same. Hence, it includes 4 sections and is 3 hours and 7 minutes long no matter in which country you choose to sit for your test. 

  1. What is the registration fee for scheduling a GMAT test?

The GMAT test has a standard fee of $250 (INR. 18300 approximately) which has to be paid at the time of registration. However, there are separate charges for rescheduling exams, ordering an enhanced score report, etc. 

  1. Do business schools in India accept GMAT scores? If yes, which business schools are they?

In addition to ISB, most IIMs do accept a GMAT score as part of their admissions requirements. However, we recommend checking with your targeted business school before you decide to begin preparations or sit for a GMAT test. Since the number of business schools in India asking for a GMAT test are fewer, it is safer to confirm.

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GMAT Exam Pattern: Practice Quiz

Here is a GMAT Practice Quiz for you to attempt!

A) If a positive integer N when divided by 4 leaves a remainder 1, then which of the following must be odd?

B)  Owls have a long standing image in Europe as frightening creatures; Worcester Barn Owl conservation group is trying to change the misconception. The group has conducted research and contends that owls are feared and persecuted solely because they are shy animals that are active only at night. 

Which of the following, if true, would cast the most serious doubt on the accuracy of the group’s contention?

C) If PQ=QR, then what is the value of “R”?

I:P = 50

II:Q = 20

Your score is

The average score is 33%


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