The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardised test necessary for applying to Business Schools worldwide. It is a computer-adaptive, multiple-choice test, and an unavoidable step for students who wish to get into their dream graduate business programs. Read this article to get a complete overview on the GMAT syllabus and everything you need to know about it.
The GMAT course syllabus is vast and contains four distinct sections. Two of these four sections are scored separately, whereas the other two sections are combined to produce the composite score that is considered the final GMAT score, out of a total of 800.
You will be able to learn about all the necessary details about the GMAT exam pattern and syllabus in the following section.
Table of Contents:
|Analytical Writing Assessment|
|GMAT Exam Pattern|
|What is a “good” GMAT score?|
The GMAT exam syllabus is divided into four sections as follows:
- Quantitative Reasoning (also known as Quant or QR section)
- Verbal Reasoning (also known simply as Verbal or VR section)
- Integrated Reasoning (also known as IR section)
- Analytical Writing Assessment (also known as AWA section)
All these sections together constitute the GMAT examination. The examination runs for a total of three and a half hours. The scores are divided into two parts. The Verbal and Quantitative sections contribute to your final GMAT score, which is out of 800. The AWA and IR sections are independently scored. Candidates can choose the order in which they would like to attempt the four sections in the examination before beginning to solve the exam.
The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GMAT is timed at 62 minutes, within which the candidate is required to answer 31 questions. This section is scored from 0 to 60 with 1-point increments. The GMAT Quant syllabus covers basic mathematical topics under arithmetic, geometry, and algebra. There are two main question types in this section, and they are as follows:
- 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 answer choices. The answer options remain the same throughout all the questions of this section, so it is a good idea to memorise them and the order in which they appear. This will help you save time in the exam – every second counts!
The aim of the questions in this section is not focused on finding the answer, but rather on ascertaining, through logical and quantitative reasoning, whether the provided data is sufficient to arrive at the answer or not. This question type is, therefore, referred to as the Data Sufficiency type.
Candidates can expect 13-14 data sufficiency questions in the Quant section.
Problem-solving questions are arithmetic problems that are commonly asked in 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 scoring well in these questions. The questions will be based on high-school-level arithmetic concepts, so chances are that you are already familiar with them. Candidates can expect 17-18 problem-solving questions in the GMAT test.
The Quant section will feature questions from both question types in a randomised order, and it is not possible to guess what type of question you will be solving next.
The Verbal Reasoning section of the GMAT exam is timed at 65 minutes, and the possible score ranges from 0 to 60 with 1-point increments. There are 36 questions that the candidate needs to answer in this section. The GMAT Verbal syllabus focuses on testing the candidate’s ability and command over standard written English. It will also be evaluating the candidate’s ability to think, read critically, and analyse the arguments provided. There are three different types of questions asked in this section.
- Sentence Correction
The Sentence Correction 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.
- Reading Comprehension
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, but an understanding of the crux of the subject matter provided in the passage is needed.
- Critical Reasoning
This type of question also is accompanied by a passage and five answer choices. The candidate is expected to read through the passage and be able to identify the relevant information provided, after which it will then be used to identify the strengths and the weaknesses of the argument.
The Integrated Reasoning section of GMAT is timed at 30 minutes, with a score ranging from 1 to 8. This section is also scored independently. The IR section of GMAT is the newest section in the exam, and was introduced in 2012.
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 candidate will be expected to sort through data to find relevant information that can be used to find the correct answer.
This section contains four different question types:
- Table Analysis
Table analysis questions require the candidate to sort through data presented in a table format, 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.
Analytical Writing Assessment
The AWA section is timed at 30 minutes, and it is scored from 0 to 6 with 0.5-point increments. This section requires the candidates to analyse the given argument, find any shortcomings and inconsistencies it might have, and then develop reasonable and logical solutions to the problem.
The answer needs to be presented in an essay format and following all standard grammatical rules of written English. The ability of the candidate to present their thoughts and solutions with clarity and in detail is what is being tested in this section.
Colleges and universities use the AWA score to assess your writing skills. The AWA section is scored separately and does not come within your GMAT examination’s 200-800 final 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 of the various graders is the final score that you obtain in the AWA section of GMAT. A second human grader is called upon to validate the score if there is a big gap between the computer scoring and the human grader.
GMAT Exam Pattern
The GMAT exam runs for a total of 3 hours and 30 minutes, including the two optional 8-minute breaks. You can choose the order in which you attempt the sections during the exam, but you cannot choose the order in which the questions or question types appear. Once you have chosen the order of sections, it cannot be altered.
Whether you choose to take the exam from your own home (the newly introduced GMAT Online Test) or from a nearby test centre, the pattern of the exam remains the same. After the exam is over, you will get to see a version of your final score, that you can choose to accept or cancel. You will also have to choose the five colleges you wish your score to be sent to by GMAC right after you are done taking the exam.
What is a “Good” GMAT Score?
What a “good” GMAT score for you would depend entirely upon the B-schools you wish to apply to. When choosing a target score, it is important to take into account the international B-schools you are looking to apply to as well as the Indian B-schools of your choice.
A good GMAT score depends on your goals; however, a good rule of thumb to remember is that any score above 710 will put you in the top 10% of all GMAT candidates. Any score above 650 would put you in the top 50% of all GMAT candidates, percentile-wise.
Most top B-schools around the world require prospective students to have a score greater than 650. While defining your goals for the GMAT exam and designing your study schedule, make sure you take into consideration all the variables that are relevant; such as, the final date for submitting an application at various schools, the requisite minimum GMAT score at each school, and what would be an appropriate target score for you, all things considered.
The GMAT exam syllabus is vast and demands a lot of time and effort in preparation from each candidate. The key to cracking the GMAT exam is a systematic, methodical, and diligent approach.
Q: How many sections does the GMAT consist of?
The GMAT consists of four sections— Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment.
Q: What is the duration of the GMAT exam?
The GMAT exam lasts around 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Q: What are the different question types in the IR section?
The IR section consists of four question types— Table Analysis, Graphic Interpretation, Two-part Analysis, and Multi-source reasoning.
Q: Do scores of each section contribute to the total GMAT score?
The total GMAT score is an aggregate of the scores of the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections. The Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment do not contribute to the total score and are scored separately.
Q: What are the different question types in the VR section?
The VR section has three question types— Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction, and Critical Reasoning.