Course Finder

A Guide to GMAT Pattern and Syllabus (Updated 2020)

Written by  Piyush Bhartiya, MBA

Published on Mon, January 29, 2018 8:04 AM   Updated on Wed, May 6, 2020 3:08 PM   9 mins read

GMAT or Graduate Management Admission Test is a basic entrance test that student needs to clear to get admitted into a graduate management program such as MBA. This particular admission test is meant so that the admissions board of the institution can assess certain analytical skills, writing skills.

Quantitative knowledge and reading skills as well as writing skills in English. This test is not designed to measure the business knowledge or the intelligence of the candidate but it requires knowledge in English grammar and basic algebra and geometry and arithmetic concepts. Read here to know about the best tips to prepare for GMAT.

Check Out: GMAT Exam Dates (Updated 2020-21)

Why is GMAT Syllabus and Pattern Important?

The following are five reasons explaining the importance of GMAT

  1. GMAT has been a test of choice for the worlds leading business schools
  2. Many best programs require a decent  GMAT score for admission
  3. More than 5,900 graduate management programs globally consider GMAT as the most reliable predictor of success.
  4. GMAT will open doors to pursuing a master’s program in your dream college.
  5. Many reputed universities rely on GMAT for admitting the best candidates.

Having learned so much regarding the GMAT and its importance let us now look at the syllabus covered by this admission test.  

Check Out: GMAT Vs. CAT: Which is Better?

GMAT Syllabus and Format 2019

As it was mentioned earlier GMAT is a computer adaptive admission test that is designed to have a clearer picture of an applicant’s potential and by helping the admissions committee to decide whether the candidate is apt for their university or not. This admission test will test various parameters set a reminder candidate’s expertise in various areas. This Admission test is  divided into 4 sections:

Analytical writing assessment

This section requires the candidate to find out the reasoning behind an argument. Thus assess a candidate’s ability to think critically.

Integrated Reasoning section

The aim to evaluate a candidate’s analytical skills to solve a complicated problem.

Quantitative section

This section is mathematical in nature to check the ability of a candidate to asses the given data systematically.

Verbal section

Multiple-choice questions based on reading comprehension and critical reasoning questions are part of the verbal section. Each candidate appearing for this exam will be given three and a half hours to complete all these four sections.  

GMAT Paper Pattern

For your better understanding here is a tabular representation of the GMAT examination pattern.  

GMAT Test SectionNumber of QuestionsQuestion TypesTiming
Analytical Writing Assessment1 TopicAnalysis of Argument30 Minutes
Integrated Reasoning12 QuestionsMulti-Source Reasoning
Graphics Interpretation
Two-Two Part Analysis
Table Analysis
30 Minutes
Quantitative37 QuestionsData Sufficiency
Problem Solving
75 Minutes
Verbal41 QuestionsReading Comprehension
Critical Reasoning
Sentence Correction
75 Minutes
Total Exam Time3hrs, 30 minutes

Check Out: Want to study abroad? Evaluate your profile here

 GMAT Test Format

 Here is a detailed description of the GMAT test pattern:

SECTION 1: Analytical Writing Assessment

This is the first section of the GMAT examination which is designed to examine the analytical skills of the candidate. As per the GMAT syllabus, this section is meant to test the candidate’s ability to think critically.

This section requires the candidate to find out the reasoning behind an argument and write a critique of the same and present his viewpoint by using appropriate examples and explain the answer so as to make it convincing. It is also important to make use of the right grammar while presenting the answer.  

In this section of the analytical writing assessment, the score is measured on a six points scale. In this section, the essay is given two independent ratings and then an average of it is considered.

Check Out: How to improve your GMAT score?

SECTION 2: The Integrated Reasoning

The section aims to evaluate candidate analytical skills to solve a complicated problem. This section was introduced in June 2012. This section has 12 questions with have the be answered within 30 minutes.

In this section, the candidate is given data in various forms and the candidate has to handle the data and pick up the information that is relevant and choose the right answer to each of the questions. Multiple choice answers are given to the candidates and a candidate has to choose the right option. The section has four different types of questions

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

Table Analysis

The candidates are provided with lots of information in a tabular format and the candidates are expected to choose the right answers from the multiple statements to answer.  

Graphics Interpretation

In this section, the candidate is provided with a graph or graphical image and is expected to interpret the graph and complete the statements but using one of the options  

Multi-source Reasoning

In this section, the candidate has to get information from various types of information provided to choose the right options from the multiple-choice options.  

Two-part Analysis

In this part, the candidate is provided with choices and has to choose the right option and fill the answers in a tablet form which has two components.  

Check Out: How to prepare for GMAT? Are you prepared enough?

SECTION 3: Quantitative section

Image result for quantitative section in gre

Source: This is a test part of this admission test that tests the ability of a candidate asses the given data systematically. A candidate has to attempt 37 questions within 75 minutes to complete the section. Here the mathematical skills of the candidate are put to test. Basic arithmetics, algebra, and geometry are involved in the section. This section again have two categories

  1. Data sufficiency questions
  2. Problem-solving question

Data Sufficiency Questions

In this, the ability to assess data systematically of candidates are tested. The candidate has to use logical and analytic skills combined with quantitative knowledge to check what data is required to suffice the answer.

Problem-Solving Questions

In this part of the section, the quantitative skill of a candidate to solve a problem using mathematical concepts is tested. In this particular section, the number of problems solving questions is greater in number.  

Click here: Guide to GMAT Data Sufficiency Questions

SECTION 4: Verbal Section

The candidate together has 75 minutes to answer 41 multiple choice questions in the verbal section of the GMAT examination. Questions in this section is divided into categories such as

Reading Comprehension

There will usually be four Reading Comprehension (RC) passages on the GMAT, but you might see three or five on your test. Each passage will have three or four questions attached to it, which makes for an average of 16 questions that you’ll have to answer. So, about one-third of the Verbal section of the GMAT will be RC.

The candidate has to answer multiple-choice questions based on comprehension. It is not necessary to have a thorough knowledge of the topic.

Critical Reasoning

A Critical Reasoning (CR) argument is usually structured into facts (also sometimes referred to as premises) and a conclusion. Your job is never to question the facts of the argument.but the gap between the facts and the conclusion.

The candidates have to answer 14 critical-reasoning questions by searching for information and identify the relevant point.
Three major tips on how to solve such questions

  1. Simplify the language of the question in your mind.
  2. Summarise all the important sentences of the passage in your own words.
  3. Understand what is being asked and answer accordingly.

Sentence Correction

Sentence Correction (SC) questions are found in the 65-minute Verbal section. There will be around 11-16 sentences, each with an underlined portion that contains 0-2 errors. The job thus is to correct the errors in the given sentences.

In this part of the section, it is important to have good knowledge of grammar and construction of sentences. A candidate will b given will be given 5 answer choices.    

Check Out: The Ultimate Guide to GMAT Time Management (2020)

GMAT Quantitative Syllabus and GMAT Maths Syllabus

  1. Maths Formulas List
  2. Integers
  3. Decimals
  4. Fractions
  5. Number properties
  6. Order of operations
  7. Percentage
  8. Ratio and proportion
  9. Profit and loss
  10. Simple and compound interest
  11. Speed, distance and time
  12. Permutation & combination
  13. Linear equations
  14. Quadratic equations
  15. Sets Theory
  16. Statistics: Average, Median, Mode, Range, Standard deviation
  17. Powers and roots
  18. Probability
  19. Pipes, cisterns, work, time
  20. Lines and angles
  21. Triangles
  22. Polygon
  23. Quadrilateral
  24. Circles
  25. Coordinate geometry
  26. Volume and surface area

GMAT Pattern for Verbal and Grammar

  1. Basic Sentence structure: Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives
  2. Verb Tense
  3. Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
  4. Pronoun Agreement
  5. Subject-Verb Agreement
  6. Modifiers
  7. Parallelism

A great GMAT score will optimize your chances of getting admission into the best colleges. Many business schools globally regard GMAT score as a requirement for admission. A decent GMAT score is required in most of the colleges as important criteria for admission. You can also read about the best universities accepting GMAT scores here. What are your thoughts on GMAT exam? Share in the comments below. Also, please do mention your suggestions and feedback.

Check Out: Sign up to study abroad

Also Visit:

  1. GMAT- Everything you need to know
  2. GMAT Syllabus
  3. GMAT Registration
  4. GMAT Results and Scores
  5. GMAT Dates
  6. GMAT Test-Centres
  7. GMAT Practice-Papers
  8. GMAT Preparation-Tips


What is the syllabus of GMAT exam?

Ans. GMAT Syllabus consists of Quantitative, Logical, and Verbal Reasoning section. GMAT has one more section that includes
Analytical Writing Assessment section, this is not presented in CAT Exam.

How can I prepare for GMAT at home?

Ans. Preparation for GMAT at home is possible and you can successfully crack the GMAT exam. Follow these steps:
1. Find a suitable place to study, where there is no disturbance
2. Solve all the practice papers, that will definitely help you.
3. Make a schedule based on the practice paper results, which section you need to work on.
4. Make notes of any difficult questions.

How difficult is it to score 700 in GMAT?

Ans. A score above 700 is considered a good score in the GMAT exam. You can score 700 in GMAT exam if you are good at studies and score 99% in every exam.
If you regularly score in the 99th percentile of standardized tests, then getting over a 700 on the GMAT shouldn’t be too difficult with moderate preparation

Tags :
study abroad
test prep

About the Author & Expert


Piyush Bhartiya

Author • MBA • 20 Years

Piyush values education and has studied from the top institutes of IIT Roorkee, IIM Bangalore, KTH Sweden and Tsinghua University in China. Post completing his MBA, he has worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group and focused on building sales and marketing verticals for top MNCs and Indian business houses.

Related Posts

Comments (0)