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GMAT Exam Pattern

From the topmost B-Schools in the USA, UK and Europe to the upcoming institutions in India, Japan and Australia, GMAT has become nothing less than a major requisite for admission into such elite MBA programs. An above par score on GMAT can be a game-changer. Therefore, it is essential that you get well-versed with the complete GMAT exam pattern and syllabus and shape up your preparation as per it. In this article, we are going to give you a thorough run-down of the GMAT exam pattern and syllabus and the points you need to remember.

GMAT Exam Pattern and Syllabus

As mentioned in the following table, there are four sections in the GMAT exam pattern 2021. You will have 3.5 hours in total to attempt the exam excluding two optional 8-minute breaks. In the GMAT exam pattern, negative marking does not apply.

SectionNo. of QuestionsTypes of QuestionsTimeRange of Score
Analytical Writing1 questionAnalysis of Argument30 minutes0-6 [in increments of 0.5]
Integrated Reasoning section12 questionsData Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis30 minutes`1-8 [in increments of 1]
Quantitative Reasoning31 questionsData Sufficiency, Problem Solving62 minutes`6-51 [in increments of 1]
Verbal Reasoning section36 questionsReading Comprehension passage, Critical Reasoning questions, Sentence Correction questions65 minutes`6-51 [in increments of 1]
Total80 questions   

GMAT Exam Pattern 2021: Order of Sections

The GMAT exam pattern outlines the order in which the sections can be attempted. This implies that while the candidate doesn’t have complete freedom in picking the sections, there are three options to choose from.

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

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GMAT Exam Pattern 2021: Tips

  • Fundamental Strategy: The GMAT exam is a very crucial step of the B-School admission process around the world. However, scores on the GMAT is not the only parameter of evaluation. The admissions committee appraises a candidate based on his overall college grades, SOPs, LORs, etc. Nevertheless, an above par score on the GMAT is of immense boost.
  • Adaptive Test: This implies that the GMAT exam is not a linear test but it adapts to your performance as you go through the questions. You tend to get more difficult questions if you are answering them correctly and vice versa. Therefore, if the tasks are boggling your head, that means you are answering them correctly. The GMAT exam pattern total marks is calculated based on a carefully designed algorithm.
  • Practice Different order of Sections: As mentioned above, there are three ways in which you can attempt the test. During preparation, attempt in all the orders and select the option in which you comfortable. Also, don’t forget to take the 8-minute breaks.
  • Reading Comprehension: Proficiency in reading comprehension improves your overall reading ability, argument analysis and evaluation and aids in understanding different logical twists in other sections as well.
  • The passage’s main theme can be taken from a range of fields like medicine, law, technology or arts, literature, it is the topic on which the writer bases his thoughts and counter-ideas and builds an account. In some articles, you may be offered a quite well-adjusted passage with opinions and counter-arguments in equal measure.
  • Read the passage right at the first in all situations and then go towards the questions. As there will be about four-five follow-up questions per passage, it is not practicable to go the other way round.
  • Ask yourself first [Employ this strategy for both Reading Comprehension and Reasoning sections.
    • Do you agree or disagree or strongly agree or strongly disagree with the author? Why? Why not?
    • Mention the differences between _____ and _____ [if the author compares two ideas].
    • State the features of ____ [if it is descriptive passage]
    • Does the Statement logically follow the Assumption?
    • Does it  “strengthen the argument” OR “weaken the argument”
    • Does Inference A directly flow from Statement A and vice versa?
  • Utilise Strategies: Try to incorporate creative strategies such as the elimination method, putting in numbers in equations, visualising the data, finding common patterns and so on. These help in saving vital time and make the problem much straightforward.
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  • Get Familiar with Data Representation: In the Integrated Reasoning section, data is given in form of tables, charts, graphs, scatter plots, etc. Practice each type of data tables and charts so that you are aware of the types of questions asked, the techniques used and the common questions asked.
  • Vocabulary: Though not tested in direct questions, one must have a substantial hold over words like ‘mitigate’, ‘cite’, ‘paradox’, ‘posit’, ‘maintain’, ‘infer’, ‘corroborate’, ‘assert’, ‘premise, ‘redundant’, ‘undermine’, ‘validate’, etc. which are used quite profusely in problem statements.
  • Analytical Writing Section: Always draw an outline of the essay you wish to write, balance on both sides of the argument and reach a conclusion logically.
  • Time Management: Most candidates are able to answer the questions if they practice in a non-time-bound manner. Things get a little bumpy when you are answering within the time limit. Therefore our suggestion is to follow the per question approach. Earmark at least 2.5 minutes per question and move on to the next if you cross the limit. Mark your best answer at least as there is no GMAT exam pattern negative marking.
  • Revision: Always assign 5-8 minutes at the end of each section for review and correction. During revision, re-examine the questions you skipped, redo prolonged calculations and make sure whether you have marked your responses correctly on the screen. Attempt all questions as there is no GMAT exam pattern negative marking.
  • Keep Calm & Look after Yourself: Remain cool and composed during the training phase as well as in the exam hall. Rest in the last week, revitalise yourself, eat healthy and take plenty of fluids. Have faith in your abilities and ace it.

GMAT Exam Pattern 2021: Books

  • GMAT Official Guide 2021 Complete Bundle: Books + Online Question Bank by GMAC
  • GMAT Prep Plus 2021
  • Verbal Workout for the GMAT
  • Princeton Review GMAT Premium Prep, 2021 Complete Bundle : 6 Computer-Adaptive Practice Tests + Review & Techniques + Online Tools (Graduate School Test Preparation)

Best of Luck.

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