The GMAT is usually taken by those 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. 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 Increment 60 Minutes 36 
Quantitative Reasoning  0 To 60, Increases By 1-Point Increment 60 Minutes 31
Integrated Reasoning  1 To 8, Increases By 1-Point Increment 30 Minutes 12
Analytical Writing Assessment 0 To 6, Increases By Half-Point Increment 30 Minutes 1

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 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 are 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. 

These four sections make up the GMAT exam pattern and you should be prepared well for all of them. We have given you an overview of the GMAT test pattern and the syllabus. Once you have acquainted yourself with the information provided, preparing for the exam becomes a lot easier. The key to cracking the GMAT exam is to create a good study plan that works for your needs and stick with it. Understanding the GMAT paper pattern and tailoring your study to the structure of the exam is a great idea, as you will then know exactly what you are preparing for, and you will be able to study in a focused and linear manner to ensure that you hit your target GMAT score in order to secure admission to your dream B-school.


  • 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.

  •  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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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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