Sayantani Barman

    GMAT Exam Pattern 2020: Section Wise Details, Preparation Tips

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    GMAC conducts GMAT to measure analytical and reasoning skills of the applicants. GMAT  is required as admission criteria for the top business schools in the world. While preparing for exam, applicants do not know the right time to appear for GMAT. Taking this exam is completely dependent on the application deadline of the business schools.  

    GMAT comprises 80 questions to be answered in 3hrs 7minutes. In this exam, test takers get different topics to attempt across quantitative, logical reasoning and verbal reasoning sections. GMAT score ranges from 200-800. Before registering for GMAT, get a proper idea about the exam pattern and section wise details. 

    • GMAT exam has a sectional time limit which varies with each section
    • Test takers are given three options to choose the order in which they can attempt the four sections of the exam
    • Integrated Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections are computer-adaptive and have multiple-choice questions
    • In the above two sections, one cannot skip, return to or change the response to the previous questions
    • Two-third of the GMAT test-takers score between 400 and 600
    • GMAT score of 760+ ranks a candidate at above 99 percentile

    Check  GMAT Score Trends

    GMAT Exam Pattern 2020

    GMAT Exam Pattern is described below 


    GMAT 2020: Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT)

    GMAC uses computers for making the exam pattern more reliable to the test takers. In this pattern of GMAT, responses given by the test taker will be the deciding point what types of questions will be asked next. Through this adaptive nature of the computer, GMAC shares a more secured and reliable exam pattern as required by the top business schools. One must know the logic and the advantages behind this CAT exam pattern.

    CAT is a kind of tailored testing. As it is administered by the computer therefore the next set of questions will completely be dependent on answers given by the test takers. Suppose the test taker gives the first answer correctly then the very next question will have a higher difficulty level whereas if the test taker gives the first answer incorrectly then the very next question will have lesser difficulty level. Computer administers the difficulty level of GMAT as per responses given.

    Percentile Ability                                                             

    Suppose 10 questions are given in this section among which only 8 questions have been answered correctly by the 60% of the total test takers. Therefore it says that 80% accuracy level is equivalent to 50 percentile. Similarly if those same 10 questions among which only 8 questions have been answered correctly by 3% of the total test takers then the percentile would have become 97 percentile.


    In this above-mentioned picture, it is explained clearly that if the first answer is given correctly then the difficulty level will be higher on the very next question whereas if the first answer is given incorrectly then the very next question will be comparatively easier. Questions will be asked from Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections.

    Also Read,   GMAT Preparation Books

    GMAT Syllabus 2020

    There is no defined syllabus for GMAT. These four sections are designed to test the analytical reasoning skills of the test takers.

    GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

    In this Analytical Writing Assessment section, test-taker analyzes reasoning given around an argument and writes a critique of the given argument. In this section, examiners measure the critical thinking ability of the candidate and how well the ideas are communicated through writing skills.

    Score Evaluation

    This section is evaluated on the basis of two scores given by two independent raters. Analytical Writing Assessment section scores on the basis of

    • An electronic system evaluates linguistic structure of essays like syntactic variety, flow of ideas, and topic wise analysis
    • Human evaluators assess the complete quality of the essay including writing style, development of ideas, analyzing argument, relevant examples to substantiate logical reasoning.

    While writing this section, test takers should remember few basic things

    • If a candidate retakes a particular exam for better score, then only one request for rescore is acceptable
    • Rescoring can result in increasing or decreasing of original AWA score
    • Candidates will receive revised results via online and the scores will also be sent to all those programs designated as recipients of score within 20 days
    • If a rescoring request has already been processed then there will be no refund

    GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section

    In this section of GMAT IR, test takers are asked to integrate given data and find out solutions to complex problems. In the top business schools, test takers are examined on basis of how well data have been evaluated to take decisions. In this section, test takers gather information given through graphical representation and find out relevant information around it. In this section, test takers are also asked to find out relations to the interrelated problems.

    In this section total four kinds of questions have been asked

    1. Multi-source reasoning
    2. Table Analysis
    3. Graphics Interpretation
    4. Two-part Analysis

    Score Evaluation

    In IR score lies in a range of 1-8. This section is introduced in GMAT as a different data point for all those top business schools to consider the application form of the candidates. Scoring in this section will not bring any change to the other sections of GMAT- Quantitative, AWA, Verbal and Total. A score of IR will be given to the test taker as unofficial score reports immediately after completing the exam. In the official score reports, test takers get a percentile of Integrated Reasoning score.

    GMAT Quantitative Reasoning

    In this section of GMAT Quantitative Reasoning, quantitative and mathematical aptitude of the test takers are being measured. In this section, test takers get 31 MCQ to attempt within 62 minutes. Two types of questions asked in this section are

    • Problem Solving: In this section, test taker has to use analytical reasoning to solve out quantitative problems
    • Data Sufficiency: In this section, test takers analyze relevant data and find out data points to solve the required problem

    Score Evaluation

    Firstly test takers have to understand that this section is computer adaptive therefore score is based on a few factors

    • Number of questions one attempt
    • Number of questions one answers correctly
    • Other parameters around the questions

    It has been noticed that the test taker who has answered a higher number of questions correctly mostly qualifies for this exam with a high score.

    GMAT Verbal Reasoning

    In the GMAT Verbal Reasoning section, how well the test taker articulates arguments through writing skills are being measured. In this section, test takers have to express logical ideas along with coherence in simple language. One needs to attempt 36 MCQ in 65 minutes. Three types of questions asked in Verbal Reasoning section are as follows

    Reading Comprehension: It measures how well the test taker understands logical statements present along within the passage and to write it in their own style. Logical structure, writing style, and the supporting ideas of the test taker has been measured in this section

    Critical Reasoning: This section measures how well the test taker evaluates an argument through coherent writing and finds out the solution of it. For this section, questions are being asked out of a short passage of 100 word length.

    Sentence Correction: In this section language proficiency of the test taker is measured. In this section grammatical usage and structure of the language used by the candidate are measured. Test taker has to construct the sentences properly in this section.

    GMAT Preparation Tips 2020

    Interested test takers always believe that proper preparation for GMAT is required to score the highest. Few preparation tips for GMAT are as follows

    • Start practicing for GMAT at least a 6-7 months before the scheduled date
    • Always study one section of the exam daily and find out necessary weaknesses out of it
    • In the beginning find out the basic strengths and weaknesses of subjects
    • Improve quantitative skills and try practicing calculations mentally to save time
    • Focus on time management for better result in GMAT
    • Get a proper idea about the exam pattern of GMAT
    • Practice one mock test a week to pace up with the preparation
    • Practice is the main key of scoring the best score in GMAT

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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    Is the syllabus same as that in GRE?

    17 Nov, 2020 19:29

    Hi, Though there are similarities, there are also differences between the GRE and GMAT syllabus. While the GRE has the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing sections, the GMAT has the Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment sections.

    17 Nov, 2020 23:22

    Has there been any change in the syllabus this year?

    11 Nov, 2020 20:58

    Hello Pradeepraj,

    For the Online GMAT examination, the Writing section has been omitted. Apart from this, there hasn’t been any change in the syllabus.

    11 Nov, 2020 22:19

    Hi pradeepraj,

    till now there is no official notification regarding change of syllabus 

    11 Nov, 2020 23:13
    Neha Thasale

    What is the eligibility for droppers?

    09 Nov, 2020 16:43

    Hi Neha, the eligibility is same that is the candidate should be a graduate. For details visit: GMAT EXAM

    09 Nov, 2020 21:45

    Which section is considered as the toughest?

    09 Nov, 2020 16:39

    Hi Nitika, data sufficiency and critical reasoning is considered tough. For details visit: GMAT EXAM

    09 Nov, 2020 21:47
    Avinash sahu

    Is there any criteria for married candidate?

    08 Nov, 2020 22:14

    Hii Avinash, Greetings from collegedunia. No, there is no such different criteria for candidates who are married. Criteria are same for all. For more details Click Here

    09 Nov, 2020 07:18
    Saksham Mahajan

    Can you please tell me about the most important section?

    08 Nov, 2020 22:11
    Ankita Sasmal

    How to prepare all these topics in less amount of time?

    07 Nov, 2020 22:59

    Hi Ankita, it depends on your capability and consistency. With dedication and focus, you can prepare well. For details visit: GMAT EXAM

    09 Nov, 2020 22:06
    Shiya Devi

    Can there be any change in patter next year?

    07 Nov, 2020 22:46

    Hii Shiya, Greetings from collegedunia. No, there is no such news of change in pattern of GMAT Exam next year. Visit the official website for more details. For other details regarding this kindly refer this link:- GMAT PAPER PATTERN

    09 Nov, 2020 06:02
    Sadim Ansari

    Is the syllabus very tough?

    07 Nov, 2020 22:27

    Hi Sadim, Like any exam, the GMAT is only hard for people who don't know what the GMAT tests or how to approach the questions in the given time. Because the GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), it will introduce increasingly difficult questions as each section progresses. In that sense, the GMAT is “hard” for everyone.

    07 Nov, 2020 22:31
    Karan Rathod

    What is the detailed syllabus of GMAT?

    03 Nov, 2020 21:06

    Hii Karan, Greetings from collegedunia. There is no defined syllabus for GMAT. There are four sections that is designed to test the analytical reasoning skills of the test takers. For more details Click Here

    04 Nov, 2020 07:24

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