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GMAT 2018 Exam Pattern

Last Updated - May 05, 2017

GMAT is an online test that assesses potential of candidates in four sections, namely, Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning Section, Quantitative Section and Verbal Section. Candidates are given three and a half hours for these four sections. The total score out of 800 is only for the verbal and quantitative sections. Analytical Writing assessment section and Integrated Reasoning section receive their independent scores.

GMAT Score is accepted by more than 1900 institutions worldwide for admission to more than 5200 management and related courses. Candidates should have a comprehensive idea of GMAT 2018 Exam Pattern to score well in the test. Time duration varies for different section which has a crucial role in time management during the test. Besides, the GMAT 2018 aspirants must have detailed knowledge about the GMAT Syllabus also.

GMAT 2018 Exam Pattern Highlights

Candidates will get three and a half hours to complete the 4 sections of the GMAT 2018 Exam. The following table gives complete information about number of sections and time duration for each section.

SectionsNumber of QuestionsDuration
Analytical WritingAnalysis of Argument30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning Section12 questions30 minutes
Quantitative Section37 questions75 minutes
15 data sufficiency
22 Problem Solving
Verbal Section41 MCQs75 minutes
12 Critical Reasoning
14 Reading Comprehension
15 Sentence Correction

Analytical Writing Assessment Section

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of GMAT 2018 Exam Pattern measures ability of candidates to think critically and to communicate ideas effectively. During the AWA, candidates have to analyze the reasoning behind a given argument and write a critique of that argument.

AWA section has a 30-minute essay which includes Analysis of an Argument. Candidates are expected to:

  • Examine and analyze the given argument.
  • Figure out the reasoning behind an argument and write a critique of the argument.
  • Work out a methodical approach to present an answer.
  • Consider viewpoints.
  • Support an answer with appropriate examples and explanation.
  • Make use of the right grammar usage while presenting an answer.

AWA Marking Scheme

The scores for the section are given on a six point scale. An essay written by candidates is given two independent ratings and then an average is considered. One of these scorings is done by an automated essay-scoring engine. In case, the difference between both the ratings is more than one point, a third and final rating is provided by an expert reader which is considered as the final score.

Integrated Reasoning Section

Integrated Reasoning section measures ability of candidates to evaluate information presented in multiple formats from multiple sources – skills that are required in the technologically advanced, data-driven world. The Section has 12 questions with thirty minutes to answer this section.

This section tests how well candidates can make use of their analytical skills to solve a complicated problem. In Integrated Reasoning section, candidates are provided with data in various forms and candidates are expected to:

  • To handle the data skillfully
  • Pick out the relevant information and then choose the right answer
  • To provide multiple answers from the choice provided

The section has the following four different question types:

Question TypeRepresentation of QuestionsRole of candidates
Table AnalysesLoads of information in a table format is provided.Candidates have to pick answers from yes/no, true/false with multiple statements to answer under each question.
Graphics InterpretationA graph or a graphical image is given.Candidates have to interpret the graph and complete the statements given by choosing one of the options from the pull-down menu.
Multi-Source ReasoningThe data available may be presented either as text or in the form of charts, tables.Candidates are required to gather information by clicking on the provided tabs (2-3).
The answers can be in the yes/no, true/false format or as multiple choice options.
Two-Part AnalysisA question and multiple choices provided.The answers in a table form contain the two components occupying the first two columns and the answer options in the third column.
Of all the options provided, candidates have to choose only one option under each component to complete one answer.

Integrated Reasoning Section Marking Scheme

In Integrated Reasoning Section, score is given on a scale of 1 to 8. 12 questions have to be answered in a time span of 30 minutes.

Quantitative Section

Quantitative Section measures ability of candidates to analyze data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills. The level of Mathematics in the GMAT exam is generally of the level in secondary school classes.

This is the third section of the GMAT 2018 Exam Pattern. Candidates are expected to attempt 37 questions in 75 minutes. The questions are designed to assess math skills of candidates. Questions generally revolve around basic arithmetic, algebra and geometry. This section has multiple choice questions in the following two categories:

Data Sufficiency Questions

Data sufficiency questions intend to test ability of candidates to assess the given data systematically. In these questions, candidates are given question followed by two statements and five answer choices. These answer choices always remain the same.

Candidates can memorize the answer choices all including their order and then use logical and analytical skills combined with quantitative knowledge to check what data is sufficient to find the answer. Focus in such questions is about checking the data sufficiency rather than finding the answer.

Problem Solving Questions

Problem solving questions test quantitative skills of candidates and their ability to solve a problem using the various mathematical concepts.

The number of problem solving questions is generally greater in number.

Quantitative Syllabus

Following are some of the important topics that can be expected in the GMAT 2018 quantitative section:

  • Number Systems and Number Theory
  • Multiples and factors
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Real Numbers
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percentages
  • Averages
  • Powers and roots
  • Profit and Loss
  • Simple and Compound Interest
  • Speed, Time, and Distance
  • Pipes, Cisterns and Work Time
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Mixtures and Alligation
  • Probability
  • Sets
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Monomials, polynomials
  • Algebraic expressions and equations
  • Functions
  • Exponents
  • Arithmetic and Geometric Progression
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Inequalities and Basic statistics
  • Equations
  • Solving Linear Equations with one Unknown
  • Solving Linear Equations with two Unknowns
  • Solving Equations by Factoring
  • Simplifying Algebraic Expressions
  • Solving Quadratic Equations
  • Lines and angles
  • Triangles
  • Quadrilaterals
  • Circles
  • Rectangular solids and Cylinders
  • Coordinate geometry

Verbal Section

Verbal section measures ability of aspirants to read and understand written material, to evaluate arguments, and to correct written material to conform to standard written English.

This is the last section of the GMAT 2018 Exam Pattern and candidates have to answer 41 multiple choice questions in 75 minutes that fall in one of the following categories:

A. Reading Comprehension

In this section, a passage of approximately 350 words is given on a topic and multiple choice questions based on the same. Candidates need not have an in-depth knowledge of the topic. Candidates are expected to understand the underlying concept of the passage and grasp the main idea and the relationship between the various entities involved.

B. Critical Reasoning

There are around 14 critical reasoning questions in the GMAT verbal section. The passage is given in the form of an argument with five answer choices. Candidates have to carefully go through the argument to logically analyze it and read all the given options carefully to be able to decide which option would be the best possible answer. Candidates are required to

  • Sort out the useful information from the irrelevant matter
  • Identify the main points that influence, strengthen or weaken the given argument

C. Sentence Correction

In Sentence correction, a sentence is given having an underlined portion and five answer choices.

  • If the given sentence is correct, option 1 is the answer
  • Candidates have to be familiar with the basic rules of English grammar and choose the answer which seems the best in compliance with standard written English.

Verbal Syllabus

Following are some of the topics that can be expected in the GMAT 2018 verbal section. The topics generally revolve around basic grammar rules.

  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Pronoun Ambiguity
  • The Test Masters Catalog of Idioms
  • Misplaced Modifiers
Parallel Construction
  • Verb
  • Tenses
  • Subject/Verb Agreement
  • Noun Agreement
  • Comparison Words
  • Quantity Words
  • Redundancy
  • The Subjunctive Mood
  • Indirect and Direct Speech
  • Active and Passive Voice
  • Sentence Structure
  • Punctuation

GMAT 2018 Books and Preparation Material

Preparation material for GMAT 2018 is listed below:

  1. GMATPrep® Software:  This is free software for candidates who have registered with the official website of GMAT. This tool is an experiential tool for the test takers of GMAT as it uses the same technology as to the official exam and provides candidates with scores.

The various features of GMATPrep software are:

  • Ninety free questions – 30 Quantitative, 45 Verbal, and 15 Integrated Reasoning – with answers and explanations
  • Two practice tests with answers
  • GMAT®Total, Verbal, Quantitative, and Integrated Reasoning scores
  • A comprehensive math review
  • A step-by-step guide to prepare for the GMAT exam
  1. GMAT Prep Timeline: The tool offers a step-by-step guidance to make personal study plan and includes various links to tips, products, and advice for improving weak areas and enhancing strengths.
  2. New! Official GMAT Integrated Reasoning Prep Tool: This is a tool for developing Integrated Reasoning skills. The tool features a set of 48 questions and solutions that will be of tremendous help in developing the IR skills.

The following table includes list of books that can be followed to prepare for GMAT 2018:

Name of the BookAuthorISBN
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2017 with Online Question Bank and Exclusive VideoGMAC978-8126563883
GMAT 2016 Official Guide BundleGMAC978-1119101819
GMAT Critical Reasoning (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides)Manhattan Prep978-1941234013
Kaplan GMAT Premier 2016 with 6 Practice Tests: Book + DVD + Online + Mobile (Kaplan Test Prep) PBKaplan978-1506200262



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