GMAT 2020: Exam Pattern, Section Wise Details, Preparation Tips

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    GMAT is one of the most crucial exams conducted by GMAC to measure analytical and reasoning skills of the test takers. GMAT expands the world of job opportunities for the potential candidates in the global business industry. GMAC has conducted this exam for more than 60 years for those who want to get exposure in the world business. GMAT is all about grabbing the best opportunity available to the potential candidates.

    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

    GMAT 2020: Exam Structure

    Every year more than 2lakhs test takers register for GMAT. One should have a clear overview on the exam pattern of GMAT. There are four defined sections in this exam.

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

    Apart from sections of the exam, basic structure and time duration for each section of GMAT is given 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.

    GMAT 2020: Syllabus

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

    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 essay 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 rescoring request has already been processed then there will be no refund

    Integrated Reasoning Section

    In this section of Integrated Reasoning, 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 has 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. 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.

    Quantitative Reasoning

    In this section of 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 out the required problem

    Score Evaluation

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

    • Number of questions one attempts
    • 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.

    Verbal Reasoning

    In the section of Verbal Reasoning, 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 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 argument through a coherent writing and finds out the solution of it. For this section, questions are being asked out of 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 is measured. Test taker has to construct the sentences properly in this section.

    GMAT 2020: Preparation Tips

    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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