What is the GMAT Exam Pattern?


For all those who wish to pursue their MBA abroad, a GMAT score is a mandatory requirement in most colleges and universities. GMAT is a global exam that serves as a gateway to some of the best B-schools in the world. The test score serves as an overall indicator of a candidate’s intelligence and ability.

Over 200,000 students attempt the exam every year across the world. Of these, around 13-14 percent are from India. Hence, the numbers reflect the value associated with the GMAT. In this article, we will provide you with some basic information about the exam, its structure, and how to tackle it.

What is the exam pattern of GMAT?

Among competitive exams, the GMAT holds a special place. It is a computer adaptive test (i.e) the difficulty level of the test alters itself in real-time based on the ability level of the individual taking it. The exam pattern of GMAT is designed to evaluate aspirants on multiple levels. For this purpose, the test is divided into four sections.

The sections are as below:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment
    This section evaluates a candidate’s capacity to think critically and communicate their ideas.
  2. Integrated Reasoning
    Here, the individual’s ability to scrutinize data and analyze the information provided in multiple formats is gauged.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
    A candidate’s ability to examine data and arrive at conclusions utilizing reasoning skills is measured in this section.
  4. Verbal Reasoning
    In this section, an applicant’s ability to read and comprehend written material, to assess arguments, and rectify the provided written material to make it adherent to standard written English, is evaluated.

The entire test can be completed in around 3 hours and 30 minutes; which also includes two optional breaks.

Flexibility to Choose Order

An individual taking the exam has the flexibility to pick from three options in which the GMAT exam sections can be attempted. They are:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

Therefore, candidates taking the GMAT exam can utilize this flexibility to attempt the different sections based on their preferences and strengths.

Structure of the Exam

The table below explains the structure of the exam and provides information on essential aspects such as time limits, scoring, and types of questions, among others.

Section Number of Questions and Time Limit Types of Questions Score Range
Analytical Writing Assessment 1 question (30 minutes)


Analysing an Argument 0-6 (in 0.5-point increments)
Integrated Reasoning 12 questions (30 minutes)


Interpretation of Graphics, Analysis of Table, Reasoning Multiple sources, and Two-part Analysis 1-8 (in 1-point increments)
Quantitative Reasoning 31 questions (62 minutes)


Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency 6-51 (in 1-point increments)
Verbal Reasoning 36 questions (65 minutes)


Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Correction of Sentences 6-51 (in 1-point increments)

Preparing for the Exam

Obtaining good scores in the GMAT exam is no joke. It requires committed and consistent preparation for at least three to four months. Below are some basic pointers on how to prepare for GMAT

  • Acquire Study Material

Now that you have decided to take the exam, preparing for it diligently must be your mantra for three to four months. However, the first step in the process is to gather resources. There is sufficient preparation material available on the official website of GMAT. However, several online platforms and books provide an exhaustive amount of study material. Gather them!

  • Build a Study Schedule

Scoring well in the GMAT exam is no easy task. However, making a study schedule can aid one in achieving this goal. Formulate a schedule that takes into account your existing commitments yet provides you ample time to devote towards studying for the exam.

  • Section-wise Preparation

As mentioned above, the test has four sections; all of which are equally important in the larger scheme of the exam. Therefore, it is important to focus on every section and commit sufficient preparation time to all of them

  • Identify Your Problem Areas

Once you begin preparing for the exam, you are bound to realize that not all sections may be easy for you to tackle. While some may present little or no challenge, others may be difficult to understand. Hence, as you prepare for the exam, identify the sections and areas that you find particularly difficult.

  • Address Weaknesses

Through the previous step, you will learn about the sections that you find easy and the one’s serve as challenges. Therefore, focus additional efforts on the sections that you find difficult in order to ensure you develop the same ease with them as the sections that you find easy.

While the very idea of taking the GMAT exam may appear intimidating, consistent preparation can ensure that you secure excellent scores on the test. We hope that the information provided in this article serves as a positive stepping stone in your GMAT journey.