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What is GMAT? Sections, syllabus, scoring

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a 3 hour 7 minutes long 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.” The exam includes the following four sections:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
  2. Integrated Reasoning (IR)
  3. Quantitative
  4. Verbal

In this article, we’ll look at what is GMAT, different sections of the GMAT, what does it test, how is it scored, and how can you score high on the GMAT.


what is GMAT

What is GMAT?

GMAT is just a standardized test which you’ll have to take in order to apply to a business school. Scoring a 740+ on the GMAT will definitely boost your chances of getting into a top business school. Learn the importance of GMAT in business schools admissions.

What is a 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. This implies that your performance on each question will determine the difficulty level of the next few questions in the exam.

Therefore, 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.

Learn in detail about how does the GMAT work as a computer adaptive test and how you can leverage it.

Note – Only Verbal and Quantitative sections are computer-adaptive. IR and AWA are not adaptive in nature.

What are the different GMAT sections?

Take a look at the below table to get an idea about GMAT sections. It includes the number of questions in each of the GMAT sections, the types of questions each section has and the duration of each GMAT section.

What is GMAT

Section No. of questions Question Types Duration
Analytical Writing Assignment (AWA) 1 essay Argument analysis and communication in the form of a critique 30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning (IR) 12 multiple choice Two-Part Analysis, Multi-source reasoning, Graphic interpretation, Table analysis 30 minutes
Quantitative 31 multiple choice Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving 62 minutes
Verbal 36 multiple choice Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction 65 minutes


Know more about the importance of GMAT

What is the order of the GMAT sections?

Since July 11, 2017 GMAT takers have the option to select the order of the test from 3 options, given as below. The break is of 8 minutes duration and optional. If you feel, you don’t need a break, you can continue with your GMAT exam.

  • Order 1: AWA – IR – Break – Quant – Break – Verbal
  • Order 2: Verbal – Break – Quantitative – Break – IR – AWA
  • Order 3: Quant – Break – Verbal – Break – IR – AWA

How is GMAT scored?

The GMAT score range varies from 200 to 800, with the highest GMAT Score being 800. GMAT is scored in increments of 10. (for example – 700, 710, 720 and so on). GMAT assesses certain analytical, writing, quantitative, and verbal skills for use in admission to a graduate management program, such as an MBA. About 70% of the test takers score between 400 and 600.

GMAT score Score Range
Total Scaled Score 200 – 800 (In 10-point increments)
Verbal Scaled Score 6 – 51
Quantitative Scaled Score 6 – 51
Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) 0 – 6 (In 0.5-point increments)
Integrated Reasoning 1 – 8 (In 1-point increment)

What is GMAT Syllabus?

As far as the GMAT syllabus is concerned, there is no specific syllabus from where you can study. But there is a list of topics from which most of the questions in GMAT are asked.

what is GMAT - Syllabus

The topics asked on the GMAT for Quant and Verbal section are as follows:

Quantitative section

The Quantitative section comprises of topics from Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry.


  • Number properties
  • Multiples and factors
  • 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 alligations
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Set theory
  • Probability


  1. Permutation and combination
  2. Monomials, polynomials
  3. Algebraic expressions and equations
  4. Functions
  5. Exponents
  6. Arithmetic and geometric progression
  7. Quadratic equations
  8. Inequalities and basic statistics


  1. Lines and angles
  2. Triangles
  3. Quadrilaterals
  4. Circles
  5. Rectangular solids and cylinders
  6. Coordinate geometry

Verbal section

Topics in the GMAT verbal section are divided into

  1. Sentence Correction
  2. Critical Reasoning
  3. Reading Comprehension

Sentence correction

  1. Verb tense
  2. Pronoun
  3. Subject-verb agreement
  4. Modifiers
  5. Idioms
  6. Parallelism
  7. Comparison

Critical reasoning

  1. Inference
  2. Assumption
  3. Evaluate
  4. Strengthen and weaken
  5. Boldface
  6. Paradox


Reading comprehension


How to score high on the GMAT?

If you are planning to take the GMAT, we can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. Write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com. We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with more than 1860 reviews. Why don’t you take a free trial and judge for yourself?

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How to score above 700 on the GMAT?

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