GMAT Exam Pattern 2024

“The first step is to establish that something is possible, then probability will occur.” ~Elon Musk
If you have decided to take GMAT, the first step to acing it begins with understanding its exam pattern.As you know, the purpose of this exam is to check your suitability for the masters/MBA programs abroad. In GMAT, you will find questions drawn from areas that involve the basic knowledge of mathematics and English. So, it does not entail expertise in any particular field of study, which is why the exam attracts aspirants from varied educational backgrounds.
Here, you will get a complete overview of GMAT exam pattern and marking scheme.
GMAT Exam Pattern: Overview
GMAT is a computer-adaptive test consisting of four sections, based on both subjective and objective questions. There are a total of 80 questions to be solved in 3.5 hours (including two optional 8-minute breaks). Each section is individually timed and comprises a different number of questions. The following table shows the sectional breakup of GMAT exam pattern along with the marking criteria:
No. of Questions
Duration (minutes)
Analytical Writing Assessment
0-6 (in 0.5 – point increments)
Integrated Reasoning
1-8 (in 1 – point increments)
Quantitative Reasoning
6-51 (in 1 – point increments)
Verbal Reasoning
6-51 (in 1 – point increments)
GMAT Exam Pattern: Key features
Although GMAT is perceived quite a tough nut to crack, yet it offers high flexibility to the test-takers with respect to certain features. These are:
Format of Exam
GMAT is computer-adaptive in nature, which means the difficulty level of the exam keeps modifying to adjust to your abilities. This way, your skills can be evaluated accurately as per your strengths and capabilities. However, it is only the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections that follow this structure. So, if you have answered a question correctly in verbal or quant, the next question will be more difficult, and if your answer is incorrect, the next question will be easier.
Order of Sections
GMAT gives you the choice to select the order of sections just before starting the exam. You will be presented with three options and given one minute to make the selection, after which the first option will be selected by default. The three choices are as follows:
  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal
  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
Negative Marking
Unlike most other management entrances, there is no penalty for incorrect answers in the GMAT exam pattern. Nevertheless, the tough questions carry more weightage than the easy ones.
Did you know: GMAT was computerized in 1997.
Scores & Cut-offs
GMAT scores lie in the range of 200-800, and most of the top B-schools set their cut-off around 700 or above. For instance, the GMAT cut-off of foreign B-schools like Stanford, Harvard, and Wharton is near about 720-740. The same goes for the Indian B-schools like ISB and XLRI. Note that the overall GMAT score does not take into account your scores in Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment. The scores of these sections may be individually considered by respective B-schools.
Skills Tested in GMAT
As mentioned in the GMAT Exam Pattern, there are four different areas on the basis of which you will be evaluated. The aims of each of these sections are as follows:
Analytical Writing Assessment:This section assesses yourcritical thinking ability and clarity of mind. Basically, you are required to examine information and convey your ideas based on the given argument.
Integrated Reasoning: Here, you are asked to interpret data that is given in different forms. Thereafter, you will reach a solution to certain tasks.
Quantitative Reasoning: In this section, you will have to understand the data and solve the questions using reasoning concepts.
Verbal Reasoning: Through this section, you are tested for your knowledge of English language and the related conventions.
Now that you are well-informed about GMAT exam pattern, you must begin your preparation with a proper strategy.
About GMAT
GMAC develops and administers GMAT, which is taken by aspirants seeking admission to the top business schools. The exam not just helps the test-takers in finding the best opportunity but, also assists the B-schools in shortlisting the deserving candidates. Every year,more than 2 lakh candidates appear for GMAT across 100+ countries. The exam is held all around the year, and the candidates can choose to take the exam at a test centre or in remote-proctored mode.
GMAT scores are accepted for almost 7000 MBA and other Master degree programs across the world.

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