GMAT Exam Pattern & Subjects (Simple Guide)

By Kh. M. Haris Naveed

The GMAT exam is a very difficult exam, that is why it is best to be prepared for it. Today we are going to explain what the subjects and exam patterns are for the GMAT exam. Hopefully, this prepares you for the GMAT exam and gets you in the school of your own choosing.

This will contain full detail and explanation regarding the GMAT exam pattern & subjects.

To begin this article we will first explain what the GMAT Exam is.

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test. As the name suggests, this is an admission test many universities and colleges hold for sorting out the cream of the crop.

GMAT exam was initiated in 1953 for the purpose of admission and it was started by GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council). This exam is available in 110 countries around the world. Today the exam is held 200,000 times a year worldwide.

GMAT is actually a CAT exam which stands for Computer Adaptive Test. So this means that it is mostly a computerized test. The main purpose of a computerized test is to adapt according to the student.

If a student has given a wrong answer then it means that the system will adapt and give easier level questions. In the case of a correct answer, there will be an opposite effect and give harder level questions. This is the true meaning of a computer adaptive test.

Many famous universities use this test for the purpose of admission. Some of them are as below:

  • Harvard University.
  • Stanford University.
  • The University of Chicago.
  • Columbia University.
  • London Business School.

These are some of the examples of universities that accept GMAT results and there are many like these universities over the world.

Now let’s move on to the GMAT exam pattern & subjects part of our explanation.

Exam Pattern & Subjects

Now the GMAT exam is not a very easy exam it requires a lot of concentration and on the spot thinking ability. The reason for this is because the time period for the exam is very limited and we have to manage it accordingly.

There are only 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete the exam and we have to cover the 4 sections of the exam within the given time limit. First, we are going to discuss these 4 sections.

1. Exam Pattern

To determine the individual abilities of the candidates. These 4 sections are divided as follows:

  • Analytical Writing.
  • Integrated reasoning.
  • Quantitative.
  • Verbal skills

These are very difficult in their own respect because each section targets the specific ability of the candidate.

The time-division for time is done as shown below:

SectionTime Limit and No. of QuestionsQuestion Types
Analytical Writing30 minutes1 questionAnalysis of an Argument
Integrated Reasoning30 minutes12 questionsMulti-source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-part Analysis, Table Analysis
Quantitative62 minutes31 questionsData Sufficiency, Problem Solving
Verbal skills65 minutes36 questionsReading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction

These are the questions and the time-division which will be followed in the GMAT exam format. Each section will have its own level of difficulty depending upon your own strengths and weaknesses.

While preparing for your exam it is necessary to work on your weakness because as you might have heard the saying “A chain is as strong as its weakest link”. This can have a profound effect on your preparations.

These are only the exam patterns of the GMAT exam so now we move on to the syllabus part of the explanation.

2. Subjects

You must understand and be familiar with the syllabus of GMAT. That is why we are going to give you the syllabus that you must go through to pass the exam.

Since 4 sections of the exam basically define the subjects so we are going to further elaborate on them.

3. Analytical Writing

The analytical writing part of the exam examines your critical thinking ability. In the business field, you have to be quick on your feet by making critical decisions. That is why it is necessary.

In this part of the exam, there will only be one question that we have to tackle. They will provide us with an argument and we have to understand it and write an essay explaining that explains it.

4. Integrated Reasoning

In the integrated reasoning part of the exam, we have to analyze the data we receive from different sources and make a decision upon them.

In the business field, you may receive data from various sources. The problem arises when you have to make the decision on it. That is why this part of the exam will focus on your ability to analyze data and act upon it.

This section will include 4 types of questions:

  • Multi-Source Reasoning: Solving problems by picking information from different sources.
  • Graphics Interpretation: Analyzing data that is given in the form of a picture or an image.
  • Two-Part Analysis: A Problem with two parts that will be related to each other.
  • Table Analysis: Sorting the data that will be given in the form of a table.

There will be a total of 12 questions that you have to solve within the 30 minutes time period.

5. Quantitative

The quantitative part of the deals with the mathematical part of the exam. In this section, you are given 31 different questions that determine your calculation ability.

To be strong in this section you must be quick with your calculations. There are two types of questions that are given in the quantitative section. These are:

  • Problem Solving: This to determine your mathematical skills.
  • Data Sufficiency: In these types of problems you have to determine whether the data is sufficient or not to solve a problem.

The time that is allocated to solve this section of the exam is 62 minutes which is greater than the previous sections.

6. Verbal Skills

This part of the exam is to check your fluency and mastery of English. This is very important because English is one of the common languages in the world. Hence, mastery over this particular language is very important.

It will consist of 3 types of questions which are:

  • Reading Comprehension: The ability to read and comprehend the written material.
  • Critical Reasoning: Evaluation of the given arguments and reasoning skills are tested.
  • Sentence Correction: Grasp over the grammar and ability to write proper sentences.

That is very necessary to have a good grasp of the English language. There will be 36 questions with a total time limit of 65 minutes.

These are the GMAT Exam Pattern & Subjects. Hopefully, these will be helpful for the preparation of the GMAT Exam.