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GMAT Exam Format (2023)- Latest exam pattern, GMAT Sections, and GMAT Question Type

GMAT Exam Format (2023)- Latest exam pattern, GMAT Sections, and GMAT Question Type
A 6 min read

This article answers all your questions about the new GMAT Exam Format and Timing, GMAT Exam Structure, GMAT Sections, and GMAT Question Types. To start with, here’s how GMAC defines it – The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer adaptive test (CAT) intended to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to a graduate management program, such as an MBA.” You can take these GMAT sections in three different orders, on the basis of your preference.

The best way to understand the GMAT exam format is by trying the test out for yourself.

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) which owns the GMAT test, GMAT is a trusted and preferred part of the admissions process of more than 7,000 business and management programs worldwide.

This article covers the following sections:

GMAT Pattern Latest update :

Attention test takers- GMAC has recently announced a new version of the GMAT test called the GMAT Focus edition, starting from 7th November 2023, while the current version of the test will be available till at least early 2024.

GMAT Focus Edition syllabus and pattern are different from the current version of the GMAT exam. The table given below provides the overview of the GMAT Focus Edition pattern 2023:

GMAT Focus Edition SectionsNo of QuestionsQuestion typesSection duration
Verbal Reasoning23Reading Comprehension,
Critical Reasoning
45 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning21Problem Solving,
(Algebra and Arithmetic)
45 minutes
Data Insights20Data Sufficiency;
Multi-source Reasoning;
Table Analysis;
Graphics Interpretation;
Two-Part Analysis
45 minutes

We recommend you to read our GMAT Focus Edition Series Articles, to have the detailed understanding of the exam.

GMAT format and structure

Overview | GMAT-Computer Adaptive Test

GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). This means that the testing software adapts to your performance as you progress through the test. Therefore, your performance on each question will determine the difficulty level of the next few questions in the exam. Consequently, the GMAT score is calculated on your ability level i.e. on the basis of the difficulty level of questions that you solve correctly and not just the number of questions that you get right.

Note – Only Verbal and Quant sections are computer-adaptive. IR and AWA are not adaptive in nature. Read our deep-dive on how the Computer Adaptive GMAT Works. Understanding the test is the first step towards acing it.

Each section starts with medium difficulty level questions. Based on your response, you will then receive an easier or more difficult question. Your score is a composite result that considers the difficulty of each question you got right and wrong. Because each question you answer directly affects the next question you get, the CAT does not allow you to go back to questions you’ve already answered. It only shows one question at a time and does not allow you to see the next question until you’ve answered the current one. Therefore, you must review each response before confirming and moving on to the next one.

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GMAT Exam Format and pattern 2023 – Section-wise Distribution

GMAT Exam Format 2018 GMAT Structure

What are the GMAT Sections?

  1. Analytical Writing Analysis
  2. Integrated Reasoning
  3. Quantitative
  4. Verbal

Here’s a brief overview of each of these sections of GMAT:

  • AWA – “The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) measures your ability to think critically and to communicate your ideas. During the AWA, you are asked to analyze the reasoning behind a given argument and write a critique of that argument”.
    • Duration: 30 minutes
    • Analysis of Argument for 1 Topic
  • IR“The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT measures your ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats from multiple sources – skills you need to succeed in our technologically advanced, data-driven world.”
    • Duration: 30 minutes
    • 12 Questions of the following question types:
      • Multi-Source Reasoning
      • Graphics Interpretation
      • Two-Part Analysis
      • Table Analysis
  • Quant“The Quantitative section measures your ability to analyze data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills. The mathematics needed to understand and solve the questions in this section of the GMAT exam is no greater than what is generally taught in secondary school classes.”
    • Duration: 62 minutes
    • 31 Questions of the following question types:
      • Problem Solving (PS)
      • Data Sufficiency (DS)
  • Verbal –  “The Verbal section measures your ability to read and understand written material, to evaluate arguments, and to correct written material to conform to standard written English.”
    • Duration: 65 minutes
    • 36 Questions from the following topics:
      • Reading Comprehension (RC)
      • Critical Reasoning (CR)
      • Sentence Correction (SC)

If you are wondering how to understand GMAT Scores & Percentiles, here is what you should read!

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GMAT Format/ GMAT Exam Pattern

Analytical Writing Assignment (AWA)1 essayArgument analysis and communication in the form of a critique30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning (IR)12 multiple choiceTwo-Part Analysis, Multi-source reasoning, Graphic interpretation, Table analysis30 minutes
Quantitative31 multiple choiceData Sufficiency, Problem Solving62 minutes
Verbal36 multiple choiceReading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction65 minutes

Now that you have an idea of the GMAT Exam Pattern, let’s focus on the other aspects of the GMAT Structure.

Prior to July 11, 2017, all test-takers had to take the test in that exact order as defined by GMAC. However, this is no longer the case. We’ll now discuss the order in which you can take the GMAT sections.

GMAT exam – Section Order Selection | GMAT Structure

GMAT Structure - GMAT Exam Format - Select Section Order | GMAT Pattern 2018

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The original order before GMAC introduced the “Select Section Order” feature was: “Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal”. Now, there are three options from which you can take the GMAT: The Select Section Order feature was designed to allow GMAT test-takers to put their best foot forward and take the test based on their strengths and testing preferences. This is GMAC’s attempt to help you build comfort and confidence on exam day. You can choose the order in which you want to take the GMAT sections, just before your exam begins.

  1. Original Order – Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, <Break 1>, Quantitative, <Break 2>, Verbal
  2. Verbal, <Break 1>, Quantitative, <Break 2>, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  3. Quantitative, <Break 1>, Verbal, <Break 2>, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

As per GMAC, “There is no “correct” or “recommended” GMAT section order to select. This choice gives you more control and flexibility.” For more details, please refer to this article on GMAT Exam Format – Select Section Order.

GMAT Structure – GMAT Exam pattern

Order 1Order 2Order 3
Analytical Writing AssessmentVerbalQuantitative
Integrated Reasoning
8-min break (optional)
8-min break (optional)
VerbalIntegrated ReasoningIntegrated Reasoning
Analytical Writing AssessmentAnalytical Writing Assessment

If you’re looking for the right strategy to ace the GMAT, attend our GMAT Strategy webinar, where we help you create a plan to achieve your target GMAT score.

GMAT Exam Format or Pattern – Update & Impact

Latest update Attention test takers- GMAC has recently announced a new version of the GMAT test called the GMAT Focus edition, starting from 7th November 2023, while the current version of the test will be available till at least early 2024.

We invite you to read our GMAT Focus Edition Series Articles, an invaluable resource to keep you at the forefront of your GMAT preparation journey.

You can also read the following articles on:

  1. Section-Wise Details and Question Types
  2. GMAT Eligibility Criteria
  3. GMAT Cost and Fees
  4. GMAT Score & Statistics
  5. GMAT Score Reports
  6. GMAT Books and Resources
  7. GMAT Test Centers
  8. GMAT Exam Day Tips

If you have any doubts regarding the format of GMAT EXAM, GMAT Exam Structure or need help with planning your GMAT Prep, feel free to write to us at Register for our free trial to get more than 400 practice questions.

Before you start your GMAT Preparation, watch this video:

GMAT Format FAQs

What is the new GMAT format change? Is GMAT changing to GMAT focus Edition in 2023?

GMAC has recently announced a new version of the GMAT test called the GMAT Focus edition. This new test will be launched in the later part of 2023, while the current version of the test will be available till at least early 2024. Read this article to know all about the GMAT Focus edition

How many sections are there in the Current GMAT Exam?

There are four sections on the GMAT. They are:
1. Quant
2. Verbal
3. Integrated Reasoning
4. Analytical Writing Assessment

How many sections are on the GMAT Online?

GMAT Online has 4 sections. They are Verbal, Quant, Integrated reasoning, and AWA.

What’s the duration of GMAT and GMAT online?

The duration of in-center GMAT and online GMAT is 3 hours and 7 minutes, excluding two optional 8-minute breaks.

What is the GMAT Syllabus?

Please read this article to know all about GMAT exam syllabus- GMAT Syllabus 2023 | Top 50 topics to study & latest GMAT exam syllabus .

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