GMAT or Graduate Management Aptitude Test is an internationally standardised entrance exam required for admission to an MBA program globally. It is a multiple-choice, computer-adaptive examination conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council or GMAC. The test is designed to test your critical thinking ability and problem-solving skills.
A B-school application process typically consists of a GMAT score, work experience, past academic record, and other skills. A good GMAT score will land you an interview call from premier B-schools globally.
Many B-schools have certain criteria of minimum GMAT score for applying. As a GMAT aspirant, you need to understand everything about this examination. To begin with, it is very important to meticulously examine and comprehend the GMAT question paper pattern.
What is GMAT?
GMAT is an aptitude test recognised globally by B-schools for admission into MBA programs. It tests your command over subjects like basic arithmetic, geometry, algebra, data analysis, and English language. The test is designed to measure the ability of a candidate to analyse and evaluate data.
GMAT – Question Paper Pattern
The GMAT question paper is divided into four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. Each section has a separate time limit. You need to complete a section within the stipulated time frame. You are allowed to take a maximum of two breaks of 8 minutes each during the exam. The maximum time taken to complete the exam, including the optional breaks, amount to 3.5 hours. Let’s look at each section in detail —
Analytical Writing Assessment
This section has been designed to test your analytical and communication skills. This is the only section in the GMAT exam that consists of a written assessment. It analyses your ability to think and communicate your ideas critically. It consists of 1 topic based on which an argument is given. You need to analyse the argument critically and provide the reason for the argument. 30 minutes are given to complete this section. The score range lies between 0-6, with increments of 0.5.
This section evaluates your ability to analyse data that is presented in different formats and interpret it to derive meaningful conclusions. This section consists of 12 multiple choice-type questions which have to be completed in 30 minutes. It consists of 4 different types of questions: table analysis, two-part analysis, graphics interpretation, and multi-source reasoning. The scoring range lies between 1-8 with 1 point increment.
This section seeks to evaluate your ability to work with numbers. It requires you to interpret data, analyse it and draw conclusions using your analytical and reasoning skills. The maths questions asked are generally of a high-school level. So, even if you have basic mathematics skills, with practice, you can do well. Two different types of questions are asked, namely — data sufficiency and problem-solving.You are given 62 minutes to complete 31 questions. The scoring range is 6-51 with 1 point increment.
This section is designed to test your ability to understand and comprehend written material. It measures or evaluates your knowledge of the English language. It requires you to find errors, correct sentences, and read and understand passages. Reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction are the 3 major types of questions that are asked. You are given 65 minutes to complete 36 questions. The score range is 6-51 with 1 point increment.
GMAT – Syllabus
Analytical Writing Assessment
The AWA section consists of a writing task where you are required to analyse an argument. There can be 2 types of essays that you may encounter.
- Argument-based essay – In this type of question, an essay is given, which is followed by an argument. You are required to critique the argument.
- Issue topic – In this type of question, a topic is given to you, and you are required to write an essay of around 500 words.
The topics could be based on any current issue or any general topic.
This section consists of 4 types of questions.
- Two-part analysis – These are complex problems that can be either quantitative or verbal or a combination of both. It evaluates your ability to analyse and solve simultaneous equations.
- Table analysis – A table is given, and you are required to analyse the data given in the table to answer the questions provided.
- Graphics Interpretation – This consists of a graph or a graphical image. You are required to analyse and interpret the graph to answer the questions followed by it.
- Multi-source reasoning – This type of questions consist of data from multiple sources like a graph, tables, charts, and essay. You are required to answer questions based on your interpretation of the data. It evaluates your ability to analyse and interpret data from various sources and in different forms. Moreover, it also evaluates your ability to relate the data derived from different sources to interpret it into meaningful information. Besides, you have to use mathematical skills to add value to the information.
It consists of 2 types of questions. There are a total of 36 questions subdivided into 18 questions of each type.
- Problem Solving: It consists of quantitative problems that need to be solved using analytical skills.
- Data sufficiency: It consists of quantitative problems where you need to decide if the data provided in the question is enough to answer the question. If not, what data is missing and needs to be added? These are MCQ-based questions.
This section consists of 3 types of questions.
- Sentence Correction: You are required to correct the sentences given in terms of grammar, punctuation, expression, tone, etc.
- Reading Comprehension: You have to interpret the passage given and answer the question, drawing conclusions from it.
- Critical Reasoning: You are required to suggest the correct plan of action or evaluate the given arguments. These questions test your ability to make decisions.
Unique Features of the GMAT Question Paper
There are a few unique features of the GMAT paper. Let’s look at them in detail.
Choose order as per your convenience.
You are given 3 choices for the order in which you want to answer the sections. You can choose from the three based on your strengths and weaknesses. The three choices are as follows —
- Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment.
- Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment.
- Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.
You can choose the order of the sections based on your convenience. This is to give you more flexibility and control over your GMAT exam.
The GMAT exam is computer-adaptive as mentioned before. It tests your ability accurately by checking the answers simultaneously. It uses an algorithm that uses your answering history to set the next question. If you answer your previous question correctly, the next question you receive is tougher. If you answer your previous question wrong, the next question is easier.
Note: You cannot change your answer or return to the previous question as the computer uses your recorded responses to select the next question.
Practice with GMAT Mock Tests
To crack a highly competitive exam like GMAT, you need to be hardworking, motivated, and focused. You can look at the GMAT sample papers and previous year papers to get an idea about the type and difficulty level of the questions. You can download the GMAT sample paper online and start practising. You can also take free or paid GMAT mock tests to test your level of preparation. Practising from sample papers will help you get an insight into the difficulty level, and the type of questions asked and develop an effective preparation strategy.
How to Apply for GMAT?
You can easily register for GMAT online. You need to visit mba.com and sign up to create an account. Start the registration process for GMAT. Fill in the required information, verify your profile, select an exam date, and pay the fees.
When is GMAT Conducted?
GMAT is conducted throughout the year at all times. There is no specific period during which you can take the exam. You can schedule your exam on any date as per your convenience and level of preparation.
GMAT Exam Fee
The standard fee for the GMAT exam in India is $250 or INR 18273.88. However, the cost can vary depending on the country. There are other costs such as cancellation fee, rescheduling fee, and rechecking fee.
The total GMAT score takes into account only the Quant and Verbal sections of the paper. The maximum GMAT score is 800. Besides, the GMAT score increases in an increment of 10, i.e.,610, 620, 630, and so on. 70% of the people taking the test score between 400-600. Moreover, the highest score received by any candidate is taken as 100 percentile, and the rest is calculated on the basis of the highest GMAT score obtained.
All the above information must have helped you get a general overview of the GMAT exam. Now that you know everything about the GMAT question paper, you are ready to move to the next step — preparation. Good luck!