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The GMAT exam is a standardized test that is required for admission to graduate business programs at universities across the globe. More than 2,400 business schools across the world accept GMAT for admissions to more than 7700 programs. It is designed to assess a person’s analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as their ability to understand and apply critical reasoning. So, what is the GMAT exam format? What kind of questions can you expect on the GMAT?

Let’s take a look at the detailed GMAT exam format and pattern in this article.

GMAT Overview

GMAT Full FormGraduate Management Admission Test
Official GMAT Websitewww.mba.com
Developer/AdministratorGraduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)
Number of Sections4
Total Number of Questions80
GMAT Score Range200-800
Average GMAT Score574
LanguageEnglish
Mode of ExaminationComputer Based
Registration Fee$275 (test center), $300 (at home)
Test Duration3 hours 7 minutes

GMAT Exam Format

The GMAT exam is divided into four main sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment. The test is computer adaptive and the duration is 3 hours and 7 minutes.

Here is the GMAT pattern you can expect:

GMAT Exam SectionTime LimitNumber of QuestionsScore Range
Verbal Reasoning65 minutes36 questions6 – 51
Quantitative Reasoning62 minutes31 questions6 – 51
Integrated Reasoning30 minutes12 questions1 – 8
Analytical Writing Assessment30 minutes1 question0 – 6

GMAT Exam Format – Section Order

You get 3 options for the section order to choose from. Here are the different options for section order:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, <optional 8-minute break>, Quantitative Reasoning, <optional 8-minute break>, Verbal Reasoning
  2. Verbal Reasoning, <optional 8-minute break>, Quantitative Reasoning, <optional 8-minute break>, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  3. Quantitative Reasoning, <optional 8-minute break>, Verbal Reasoning, <optional 8-minute break>, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

Take a look at this complete guide on the GMAT

Now that you know the GMAT exam format let’s take a look at what kind of questions you can expect in each of the 4 sections.

What is asked in each GMAT section?

Each GMAT section tests a specific set of skills, and the questions in each section are designed to measure these skills in different ways. 

Here is a brief overview of each section and the types of questions you can expect to see on the GMAT:

Verbal Reasoning

This section tests your ability to understand and analyze written material, as well as your ability to reason and evaluate arguments. It consists of three types of questions: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction.

  • Reading Comprehension questions are designed to test your ability to understand and analyze written passages. These passages can be taken from a variety of sources, including business-related texts, scientific articles, or social science research. The questions will ask you to identify the main idea of the passage, understand the author’s purpose, make inferences, and draw conclusions.
  • Critical Reasoning questions are designed to test your ability to evaluate arguments and make logical conclusions. These questions typically present a short argument or statement and ask you to evaluate its strength, identify assumptions or weaknesses, or draw conclusions based on the information provided.
  • Sentence Correction questions are designed to test your ability to identify and correct errors in sentence structure, usage, and grammar. These questions typically present a sentence with one or more underlined portions and ask you to choose the option that most accurately and effectively expresses the intended meaning.

Verbal Reasoning Sample Questions

Sentence Correction

To differentiate its product from other companies, the cereal company first hired an advertising firm that specializes in creating campaigns to build brand awareness and then retools its factory to produce a variety of different shapes of cereal.

(A) then retools its factory to produce a variety of different shapes of cereal

(B) retools its factory to produce a variety of different shapes of cereal

(C) then retooled its factory to produce a variety of different shapes of cereal

(D) then will retool its factory to produce a variety of different shapes of cereal

(E) then produces a variety of different shapes of cereal through retooling its factory

Answer – C

Critical Reasoning

One food writer wrote that reducing the amount of animal products in one’s diet can contribute to better health and well-being. Based on this claim, some people are completely eliminating meat from their diets in order to be healthier.

The argument above relies on which of the following assumptions?

(A) Increasing the amount of vegetables and grains in one’s diet can contribute to better health.

(B) There will be no corresponding increase in the amount of dairy products in the diets of those who are eliminating meat.

(C) Most food writers believe that some amount of animal products is necessary to a health diet.

(D) Not all healthy lifestyles require a vegetarian diet.

(E) Many people who do not eat animal products make decisions for health reasons.

Answer – B

Reading Comprehension

Schools expect textbooks to be a valuable source of information for students. My research suggests, however, that textbooks that address the place of Native Americans within the history of the United States distort history to suit a particular cultural value system. In some textbooks, for example, settlers are pictured as more humane, complex, skillful, and wise than Native Americans. In essence, textbooks stereotype and depreciate the numerous Native American cultures while reinforcing the attitude that the European conquest of the New World denotes the superiority of European cultures. Although textbooks evaluate Native American architecture, political systems, and homemaking, I contend that they do it from an ethnocentric, European perspective without recognizing that other perspectives are possible.

One argument against my contention asserts that, by nature, textbooks are culturally biased and that I am simply underestimating children’s ability to see through these biases. Some researchers even claim that by the time students are in high school, they know they cannot take textbooks literally. Yet substantial evidence exists to the contrary. Two researchers, for example, have conducted studies that suggest that children’s attitudes about particular cultures are strongly influenced by the textbooks used in schools. Given this, an ongoing, careful review of how school textbooks depict Native Americans is certainly warranted.

Which of the following would most logically be the topic of the paragraph immediately following the passage?

(A) Specific ways to evaluate the biases of United States history textbooks

(B) The centrality of the teacher’s role in United States history courses

(C) Nontraditional methods of teaching United States history

(D) The contributions of European immigrants to the development of the United States

(E) Ways in which parents influence children’s political attitudes 

Answer: (A)

Quantitative Reasoning

This section tests your ability to understand and analyze quantitative information, as well as your ability to solve problems using mathematical concepts and techniques. It consists of two types of questions: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency.

  • Problem Solving questions are designed to test your ability to apply mathematical concepts and techniques to solve problems in a variety of contexts. These questions can be based on arithmetic, algebra, geometry, or other mathematical subjects, and may require you to use a variety of mathematical operations and techniques to find solutions.
  • Data Sufficiency questions are designed to test your ability to determine whether the information provided is sufficient to answer a particular question. These questions typically present a problem and a set of information or data, and ask you to determine whether the information is sufficient to solve the problem, or whether additional information is needed.

Quantitative Reasoning Sample Questions

Problem Solving

Sample Problem Solving Question

Question Statement – If a > b, c > d, e > b, and b > c, which of the following must be true? 

  • a > e
  • e > d
  • a > c

(A) I only 

(B) II only

(C) III only

(D) I and II

(E) II and III

 Answer: (E)

Data Sufficiency

If a and b are integers, what is the value of a?

  1. a2/b2 = 4/9
  2. a>0 and b>0
  1. Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient.
  2. Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient.
  3. BOTH statements TOGETHER are sufficient, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient.
  4. EACH statement ALONE is sufficient.
  5. Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient.

Answer: (E)

Integrated Reasoning

This section tests your ability to analyze and interpret data from multiple sources, as well as your ability to solve complex problems using multiple pieces of information. 

GMAT IR consists of four types of questions

  1. Table Analysis
  2. Graphics Interpretation
  3. Multi-Source Reasoning
  4. Two-Part Analysis
  • Table Analysis questions are designed to test your ability to analyze and interpret data presented in tabular form. These questions may ask you to compare and contrast data, identify trends or patterns, or make predictions based on the information provided.
  • Graphics Interpretation questions are designed to test your ability to analyze and interpret data presented in graphical form. These questions may ask you to compare and contrast data, identify trends or patterns, or make predictions based on the information provided.
  • Multi-Source Reasoning questions are designed to test your ability to integrate and analyze information from multiple sources. These questions typically present multiple sources of information, such as text, tables, graphs, or diagrams, and ask you to use this information to answer a series of questions or solve a problem.
  • Two-Part Analysis questions are designed to test your ability to analyze complex problems and identify multiple solutions. These questions typically present a problem

Analytical Writing Assessment

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GMAT exam consists of one writing task in which the test taker is asked to analyze an argument. The test taker is given 30 minutes to complete this task and must write an essay that presents a clear and well-reasoned critique of the given argument.

Also, Check – Average GMAT scores of top business schools

GMAT FAQs

How long is the GMAT exam?

The GMAT exam typically takes about 3 hours and 7 minutes (except breaks) to complete.

What is the format of the GMAT exam?

The GMAT exam consists of four main sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.

How is the GMAT exam scored?

The GMAT exam is scored on a scale of 200-800. The individual scores for the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are each given on a scale of 0-60, while the Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment sections are each scored on a scale of 1-8.

How much does the GMAT exam cost?

The GMAT exam costs $275 if taken at a test center and $300 if taken at home.

How long are GMAT exam scores valid for?

GMAT exam scores are valid for five years.

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