GMAT Exam Pattern: Everything You Need to Crack the Exam


Want to know everything about the GMAT before you hop onto its registration and pay a handsome fee for taking the test? That will be wise. Keep up with our blog, so you may ensure you actually are well prepared and equipped for the test.

By the end of this blog, you will be fully aware of

  • What GMAT assesses
  • The different sections of the test
  • How it is scored
  • And how you can score good

1. What is GMAT, Really?

GMAT, short for Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), is a 3 hour 7 minutes long adaptive computer test (CAT). It is intended to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English.

The test is deemed as a standardized assessment for gaining admission to a business school. A good score in the test accentuates a candidate’s possibility of getting admission to an A grade graduate business program (MBA) anywhere in the world, of course, apart from Pakistan.

It’s the GMAT format with timing.

Section Duration in minutes Number of questions
Analytical writing assessment 30 1 essay
Integrated reasoning 30 12
Quantitative 62 31
Verbal 65 36

2. How Does GMAT Work?

This might sound a bit strange, considering the type of entry tests that we have been taking for decades in Pakistan, but the GMAT works as a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). Strange, right? CAT signifies that the testing software adapts to your performance as you progress through the test.

This, in turn, implies that the difficulty level of the next few questions in the exam will depend upon your specific performance on each question as you move on.

Hence, it could be said that the GMAT score is calculated entirely on your competency or ability level. To put it simply, the difficulty level of the questions matters more than the number of questions solved in the test.

3. What Does GMAT Assess?

The test primarily analyzes your critical thinking skills. You need to devise strategies to reason through and scrutinize the information in order to bag a great GMAT score.

Your command over basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, multi-source data analysis, and grammar is generally assessed through this test.

4. What Are the Different Sections in GMAT?

Let us move on to the compartmentalization of the test now. It works a bit differently than your mainstream MDCAT and ECAT patterns.

The exam includes the following four sections:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
  2. Integrated Reasoning (IR)
  3. Quantitative
  4. Verbal

The analyzing format of every section is variant so that the candidates may be assessed entirely and comprehensively for the business programs ahead.

5. What is the Order of the Sections in GMAT?

A defining and helpful element of the test is that candidates are given liberty in choosing the sequence of the sections prior to starting the test. Three choices are provided before GMAT commences:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative, Verbal
  2. Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  3. Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

Choose according to your level of ease.

6. What is Analytical Writing Assessment in GMAT(AWA)

This is the “essay” section. Don’t worry! It is nowhere close to the CSS exam essay.

This section in GMAT helps business schools profoundly analyze your writing skills. You will be given 30 minutes to complete this One timed task: “Analysis of an Argument”. The score range is 0 to 6.

A) Task

You will be provided with a written piece, a brief argument similar to a paragraph. You will be required to critically analyze it and produce a commentary on the validity and soundness of the author’s argument building and stance.

This does not need you to scribble down a summary or precis. You’re too old for that. What they need is

  • Pick out valid points of arguments
  • Articulate your ideas in a sound manner
  • Organize your thoughts
  • Connecting points in your logically presented ideas

B) Scoring

This section is scored separately. Your AWA score is not used to generate your 200–800 point score for the entire test. Your argumentative responses are scored by both a human grader and a computer grading system. The two scores thus gained are then averaged for your final score. If the ratings differ significantly, then another human grader re-reads and scores your essay separately.

7. What is Integrated Reasoning (IR) in GMAT?

This is a relatively new entry in the test. The IR section aims at testing the skills unanimously considered vital for a 21st-century business professional: the expertise to project data in written and visual forms like charts, graphs, and tables. The time allocated for this section is also 30 minutes.

The 4 different question types are as follows:

A) Graphical Interpretation

This type of query focuses on your ability to decode and interpret data presented in a visual format by using graphs, charts or tables, etc. There are a couple of questions with a minimum of 3 answer choices. A useful tip for preparing for this portion is to keep reading the magazines like the Wall Street Journal and The Economist so that you may become well-versed with graphs and tabular data.

B) Multi-Source Reasoning

This series of questioning focuses on the ability to grasp data from multiple/disparate sources. You will be presented with multiple tabs to analyze and required to navigate among multiple tabs to look at all the information. Your critical reasoning expertise will be at work here.

C) Two-Part Analysis

Now for the third type of question. This portion grades your skills in extracting information from a couple of interdependent components. Your quantitative and/or verbal skills will have to be put to use here. The prompt (instructions for a question) would be explained in detail, and you will have to select a couple of answers from a total of 5 or 6 choices. One way to go about this kind of questioning would be mapping out the relationships between different variables of a given query right from the start. This will help in creating a simplified mental map for the question and ease any ambiguities.

D) Table Analysis

This calls for your differentiating knack. You will have to differentiate and compare useful and non-useful data presented in the form of a table in the question.

Pro-tip to be used throughout IR and especially in this section: Make sure that you convert any units if need be. The answers might demand speed in miles per hour, whereas the tables might present speed in kilometers per hour.

8. What is Quantitative in GMAT?

We all know business studies obviously require a certain level of expertise in mathematical queries as well. This section assesses these abilities in depth. It comprises of topics from Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry.

62 minutes in total are spared for this section comprising of 31 multiple-choice questions. This segment has two types of questions:

A) Data Sufficiency

This is a fun part. The questions in this portion of Quantitative Analysis comprise of a question and 2 statements of data. You will have to determine if the statements provide adequate data to answer the question posed.

By efficiently eliminating answer choices and promptly identifying what information you would need to know, you will be able to crack these questions easily. Work systematically!

B) Problem Solving

Well, nothing to surprise you. You have been familiar with this type of question before as well, in almost every test that you took concerning analytical reasoning.

This time, you’ll be posed with a question and 5 possible answer choices. You might just react by saying it’s all about the maths we used to do in school. So there’s nothing new, right? But that was a long time ago. You will have to revisit your textbooks and some useful fun websites to sharpen your skills for this section. Try going this way for this section:

  • Keep a keen eye at the question
  • Locate the problem
  • Identify the variables
  • Think systematically

9. What is Verbal in GMAT?

The GMAT Verbal section is designed to analyze your skills in using standard written English and your ability to read critically i.e., between the lines. It has subsections:

A) Critical Reasoning

The skills involved in making and evaluating arguments, as well as formulating a plan of action, are at work here. Short arguments accompanied by a question will be posed here. By employing your rigorous logical skills, you will solve this section by building connections between evidence and conclusions.

B) Sentence Correction

This asks for error detection in all or only one part of the sentence, underlined in the statement.

Make yourself acquainted with the topics like these before attempting this section:

  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Tenses
  • Conditionals, etc.

C) Reading Comprehension

Your critical reading skills will be put to the test here, that’ll include your ability to

  • summarize the central idea
  • differentiate between ideas stated or implied by the narrator
  • infer information
  • identify and analyze the logical structure of a passage
  • extract the writer’s tone about a subject

Passage based on a topic concerning the business, social science, biological science, or physical science will be given. You will then be asked 3–4 questions about that text.

And so, the charter winds up. We wish this layout helps you in preparing efficiently for the test! Best of luck!



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Top Study World: GMAT Exam Pattern: Everything You Need to Crack the Exam
GMAT Exam Pattern: Everything You Need to Crack the Exam
Are you looking for the GMAT exam pattern, format and timing? The article has everything you need to know.
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