GMAT Syllabus, Exam Pattern, Types, Eligibility, Preparation

GMAT Syllabus, Exam Pattern, Types, Eligibility, Preparation/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 program.[rx] It requires knowledge of certain specific grammar and knowledge of certain specific algebra, geometry, and arithmetic. According to the test-owning company, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the GMAT assesses analytical writing and problem-solving abilities, while also addressing data sufficiency, logic, and critical reasoning skills that it believes to be vital to real-world business and management success.[rx]

GMAT is a three and a half hours test with a maximum score of 800 points. The entire GMAT Exam syllabus divided into four sections.

GMAT Exam syllabus divided into four sections

  • Analytical Writing
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Quantitative Aptitude Section
  • Verbal Reasoning Section

GMAT Exam Pattern

The GMAT exam pattern is divided into four sections Writing, Reasoning, Verbal and Quantitative skills. Further, the GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test of 3 hours 30 minutes and comprises of both objective and subjective questions. There are a total of 91 questions.

Before preparation, candidates should have a detailed overview of the GMAT exam pattern for better preparation purposes. As a whole, there are four sections in GMAT 2020. Sections are

  • Analytical Writing Assessment – In this section, how well a test taker communicates and thinks critically has been measured
  • Integrated Reasoning – this section tests how well a test taker analyzes a plethora of data to evaluate information represented in multiple formats
  • Quantitative Reasoning – This section measures how well a test taker comes to conclusions using analytical skills and reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning – it measures how well a candidate reads and understands the written material and evaluates arguments out of it

Detailed overview of GMAT Exam Pattern is as follows 

Section Number of Questions Score Range
Analytical Writing Assessment (30 minutes) 1 Topic (Essay) 0-6
Integrated Reasoning (30 minutes) 12 questions 1-8
Quantitative (62 minutes) 31 questions 6-51
Verbal (65 minutes) 36 questions 6-51
Total Exam Time (3 hours 7 minutes)

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment Syllabus

The Analytical Writing section will have topics on which the candidate will have to write, or passage may be given on which questions will be asked. On the basis of the passage, the candidate will have to answer. The syllabus for this section is vast and varied as the topic of the passage could be any topic of interest. The main idea is to focus on the structure of the answer and not the arguments presented. Remember, it is not a test of your opinion but your writing style, so it is safer to stick to neutral opinion.

  • Argument essay – In this section, you have to analyse the reasoning and then present your argument. Remember, you will be judged on how well reasoned you find a given argument.
  • Issue essay – In this section, you have to write an essay on the issue given to you. The candidate has to give an opinion in around 600 words. The opinion can be supportive of the given statement or candidates can give their own opinion. However, make sure to give your opinion in a properly structured manner as you will be judged on this basis.
  • In Quantitative section of GMAT – test takers will have to attempt two types of questions – Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. In both sections, analytical ability of the test takers has been measured along with logical reasoning. In this section, no calculator has been used. Test takers should know rudimentary algebra and clear concepts of geometry.
  • In Verbal Reasoning – candidates should be critical in making inferences. It measures how well a test taker reads passages and makes logical structure out of it. All these reading passages are related to social sciences, humanities, technology, or a business related fields.
  • Integrated Reasoning – test takers have to analyze data given in graphical representation like graphs, tables, charts or passages. One has to solve problems that can be verbal or quantitative. Test takers have to find out logical relationships between two entities. In this section, test takers have been measured on both graphs and data analysis.
  • In Analytical Writing – applicants have to present a well-researched idea along with coherence and logical argument. In this section, test takers have to be efficient enough to articulate logical arguments clearly through writing skills.

GMAT Integrated Reasoning Syllabus

The Integrated Reasoning section is the newest addition in the GMAT Exam syllabus. This section tests the candidates’ ability to evaluate the data presented in graph or table format. This section has 12 questions of the following type

Table Analysis

  • This section measures candidates’ ability to sort and analyze a table comprising data, like a spreadsheet, to determine the important information or the one that meets certain conditions.

Two-Part Analysis

  • Measures the candidates’ skills to solve complex problems. The problems can be verbal, quantitative, or a combination of both. The format is versatile and covers a wide range of content. The candidates’ ability to solve simultaneous equations, evaluate trade-offs, and discern relationships between two entities is measured.

Multi-Source Reasoning

  • It measures candidates’ skills to examine data from multiple sources tables, graphics, text passages, or a combination of all the three and analyze each source of data carefully for answering multiple questions. The candidates will be asked to draw inferences and others may require you to determine whether data is important. In a few questions, candidates will have to recognize discrepancies among different sources of data.

Graphics Interpretation

  • It measures candidates’ ability to interpret the information presented in a graph or graphical image (scatter plot, x/y graph, bar chart, pie chart, or statistical curve distribution) to find out relationships, and make inferences.

GMAT Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Section comprises of two sections, namely Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving. In the Data Sufficiency section, there will be 18 questions and in the Problem Solving section, there will be 18 questions. The questions will be objective type and will have multiple choice answers. In this section the questions can be expected from the following math syllabus:

Problem Solving

  • It measures the candidates’ skills to use logic and analytical reasoning for solving quantitative problems.

Data Sufficiency

  • It measures the candidates’ ability to examine a quantitative problem, identify which data is important, and determine at what point there are enough data to solve the problem.

The topics are further divided into the following categories

  • Geometry
  • Elementary Algebra
  • Arithmetic
  • Ratio Proportions
  • Properties of Integers
  • Permutation and combinations
  • Exponents and roots
  • Linear equations etc.

GMAT Verbal Reasoning Syllabus

This Verbal Skills section will have 36 multiple-choice questions. This section is divided into Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension and Sentence Correction. This section tests the candidates’ ability to comprehend the written material, read and understand the logical relationship between the points mentioned in the passage and concepts.

Critical Reasoning

  • It measures the candidates’ skill to make arguments, evaluate arguments, and formulate or evaluate a plan of action.

Reading Comprehension

  • It measures the candidates’ skill to draw inferences, understand logical relationships between significant points, understand words and statements, and follow the development of quantitative concepts. Apart from this, the candidates’ will be tested on the following reading skills: inference, application, main idea, supporting the idea, logical structure, and style.

Sentence Correction

  • This section measures two broad aspects of the candidates’ language proficiency. The first aspect is to correct expression while referring to sentences that are grammatically and structurally sound. The second aspect is an effective expression while referring to sentences that effectively express an idea or relationship clearly, concisely, and grammatically.

Following areas will be covered in this Verbal Reasoning section

  • Critical reasoning
  • Rhetorical construction of the sentences
  • Sentence correction related to finding error or omission
  • Reading unseen passages
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Misplace modifiers
  • Countable Vs Uncountable
  • Parallelism

Preparation Tips for GMAT Syllabus

To be able to study on your own effectively, you need a few good GMAT books and resources, along with study material, motivation, and self-discipline. On the other hand, if time is a constraint and you feel the need for professional guidance to ensure the competitive edge in GMAT exam preparation, then joining a coaching center for GMAT in your location is the better option.

GMAT 2020: Registration

Applicants can complete GMAT Registration 2020 at any time of the year. If one has planned a particular session to start business school then at least a year before it, one should take GMAT exam.

How to Register for GMAT?

Test takers can register for GMAT either via online or offline or phone or via mail. Interested candidates can only attempt GMAT five times a year. Steps to register for GMAT are as follows

  • Step 1: Visit the official website
  • Step 2: If you are an existing candidate then you just need to login with password and id. If you are not an existing user then you will just have to register with id and password after creating an account
  • Step 3: After creating an account, candidates have to fill up different details required for GMAT registration
  • Step 4: In this step, candidates have to fill up all necessary details required while filling up the form. In this form, one has to provide all necessary personal details
  • Step 5: In this section, candidates have to select what are the preferences of communication. Through this mode of communication, candidates will get any latest information of GMAT
  • Step 6: In this section, candidates have to give detailed educational information. In this section, candidates also have to submit tentative dates of graduation. Here candidates will also get an overview idea about GMAT score range.
  • Step 7: In this section, candidates have to give work experience details. Usually top business schools prefer all those candidates who have work experience. In this section, candidates also have to write about specific industry in which they have worked earlier.
  • Step 8: In this section, candidates have to write down their preferred location where they aim to pursue higher education. Here candidates also have to write down tentative time to start the academic session.
  • Step 9: In this section, candidates have to select preferable test centers as preferred location and convenience. There are more than 573 test centers allocated for GMAT across 100 countries by GMAC.
  • Step 10: In this section, candidates have to write about the scheduled date for your GMAT exam. There will be a calendar where you will have to select a date as per availability.
  • Step 11: It is the last step of GMAT registration, where candidates have to complete the final step by making a payment of exam fee of $250 through credit card.

GMAT 2020: Register as a Test Taker with Disabilities

GMAC believes in making exam patterns easily accessible to both test takers with or without disabilities. Following steps have to be followed by the test taker with disabilities to request for special accommodations

  • First create an account with an id
  • Complete the entire Exam Accommodations Request Form to GMAC to request for accommodation
  • On next step, candidates have to mention necessary disability type to avail required accommodation
  • Send complete GMAT accommodation request form with all necessary documents to Pearson VUE either via mailing address or fax. After receiving the documents, candidates will receive a confirmation mail on registered email id
  • If GMAC approves request for accommodation, then only the candidate should book a slot for exam

GMAT 2020: Phone Registration

Interested candidates can register GMAT via phone. For this step, candidates can contact GMAT Customer Service of preferred regions. For this kind of registration, candidates have to make an additional payment of $10 along with registration fee.

Region Communication Address
American Region Telephone (toll-free): +1 (800) 717-GMAT (4628), 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CT Telephone: +1 (952) 681-3680, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CT Fax: +1 (952) 681-3681
Asia Pacific Region Telephone: +852 3077 4926, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. AEST In India: +91 120-439-7830, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Indian Standard Time Fax: 6038319 1092
China Region Telephone: 86-10-8234-5675, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. China Standard Time Fax: 86-10-61957800
EMEA Region Telephone: +44 (0) 161 855 7219, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. GMT Fax: +44 (0) 161 855 7301

GMAT 2020: Registration via mail

For this kind of registration, interested candidates have to follow these below mentioned steps

  • Request for GMAT Handbook from the nearest Pearson VUE center in preferred region
  • Need to fill up GMAT application form as per instructions
  • Registration fee has to be sent via money order or demand draft
  • Application form along with fee should reach the authorities at least 10 days before GMAT exam

GMAT 2020: Rescheduling or Retaking

GMAC provides applicants an option to cancel GMAT if necessary. For this applicant has to visit the official website of GMAT to select Cancel option. If the applicant manages to cancel the registration form before the deadline, then a partial refund fee of $80 will be credited back to the bank account.

GMAT 2020: Rescheduling

Applicants can also reschedule GMAT if necessary after following below mentioned steps

  • Visit the official website of GMA
  • Click on : Reschedule your GMAT Exam
  • One needs to enter with login ID and password

For rescheduling, candidates have to pay accordingly. If the applicant chooses a day after 7 calendar dates of previously scheduled GMAT date, then has to make a payment of $50. If the date is within 7 calendar days then has to make a payment of $250.


GMAT 2020: Eligibility

Before GMAT registration, candidates should know about minimum eligibility criteria required for GMAT. Following criteria are required for GMAT eligibility

  • Applicants should have basic educational qualification from any registered university or college
  • Candidates should be minimum of 18 years of age, if a candidate is below 18 years then require a no-objection certificate from the guardian
  • Applicants can appear for GMAT only 5 times a year and 8 times a lifetime
  • Candidates can appear for GMAT only after 16 days of the first held exam
  • There is no specific requirement for work experience but this criteria is preferred by the top business schools of the world

GMAT 2020: Exam Fee Payment

GMAT is a globally acclaimed exam conducted to measure business analytical skills of the candidates. Exam fee of GMAT is $250. One needs to pay $50 for rescheduling exams on different dates. An amount of $80 is also charged if a candidate cancels an exam. GMAT exam fee can be paid via online or offline mode.

Online Payment Mode

For making an online payment of GMAT fee, candidates have to initiate payment via credit or debit cards, visa card, and mastercard, Amex or JCB. If a candidate fails to make a payment via debit or credit card then registration will be cancelled automatically. Candidates have to restart the appointment schedule with a valid session.

Offline Payment Mode 

For making an offline payment of GMAT fee, candidates have to make a payment via money orders, cashier cheque and personal cheque. This payment has to be made only in favor of Pearson GMAT in US dollars. Within this registration fee, candidates have to pay applicable taxes. In this form, candidates should mention bank details along with name and signature and address proof. Conducting body should receive GMAT offline mode at least 10days before the date of exam. If the bank account doesn’t have sufficient amounts then the registration form will be nullified. Candidates will not be able to complete GMAT registration.

GMAT 2020: Important Dates

It is one of the crucial exams for those who want to get exposure to the global business world. GMAT measures analytical and logical skills of the candidates. One must plan exam day at least 3-4 months before hand. Taking exam is also dependent on the application deadline of the promising business schools. Important GMAT exam dateare as follows

Events Important Dates
Application Form Started
Last date for form fill up May 2020
Last date to change city for interview May 2020
Shortlist of Candidates June 2020
Interview dates June to July 2020
Final Results July 2020
Test Centers

GMAT 2020: Test Centers

As GMAT is a computer adaptive test, therefore, GMAC tries to make it easily accessible to every test taker. Across India, there are 34 cities where GMAT exams have been conducted in 39 test centers. List of GMAT Test Centers are put on satellite maps for easy use

GMAT 2020: Preparation Tips

Test takers who aim to take GMAT have to follow strict plans for preparations. GMAT preparation tips consist of how strategically a test taker plans for the exam. For better preparation, many test takers opt for practice papers to perform well in the exam. GMAT is taken by both students and working professionals. Few GMAT preparation tips are as follows

  • One can learn new things or shortcuts for calculations in quant section, but one needs to implicate it in exam for better performance
  • Test takers should make a diary where important prep questions and solution behind them are written
  • In diary, it is advisable to write down all weaknesses and strengths as required during preparation
  • Always make an exponential timetable for GMAT, where test takers will make a rapid practice in solving problems as the exams are nearby
  • Aim for a feasible score that can be easily secured with a little push one can achieve easily
  • Always attempt those answers of which you are sure of
  • If a test takers doesn’t know about the answer, then guessing is the only option left
  • Never indulge in making weaknesses your strengths. Only few test takers are equally good in all aspects
  • Focus on time management properly, without that it will be difficult to manage and attempt each question
  • Make it a routine to take at least 1 mock test in a week

How long should one study for GMAT 2020?

Time duration for preparation is completely dependent on the ability of the applicant. There are applicants who spend a minimum of time but can score higher as compared to others. It is completely dependent on the ability of the candidates. Before GMAT preparation, one should make a strategic plan to bring success.

GMAT Mean Score

Before appearing for GMAT, candidates should get an overview of mean score of GMAT from 2014-2018 as a whole

GMAT Score
In the above mentioned data chart, it is noticed that the mean GMAT score in India from 2014-2019 is higher than the score secured by the candidates globally. To take admissions in the top business schools of the USA or UK, test takers should have a GMAT score of above 700.

This leads to the next section, what is the reason for having such a high GMAT mean score. From the demographics of test takers it is seen that

Educational Background of Global ApplicantsEducational Background of Indian Applicants
In both these pictures it is noticed that applicants from Engineering and Science background are higher in numbers in India as compared to global applicants. Whereas applicants from commerce and business backgrounds prefer to take GMAT globally as compared to Indian applicants. Due to such changes, Indian applicants get better mean scores due to quantitative aptitude and data interpretation. Logical reasoning is also a fine space where Indian candidates perform better.

GMAT Exams by Candidate Demographics

Candidate Demographic 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Five-Year Growth Rate
Total GMAT Exams 25,268 28,325 29,042 33,123 32,514 +6.5%
Women 6,650 7,771 8,312 9,964 9,929 +10.5%
Candidates Younger than 25 9,718 11,547 11,482 12,514 11,922 +5.2%
Total Score<600 12,309 14,042 13,950 16,039 14,959 +5.0%
Total Score 600-690 9,214 10,253 10,816 12,283 12,447 +7.8%
Total Score 700+ 3,745 4,030 4,276 4,801 5,108 +8.1%

What is the difference between GMAT and GRE?

  • GMAT is the standardized test for top Business schools all across the world. Similar to GRE, the exam consists of a Verbal and Quantitative section.
  • Unlike GRE, the two sections are combined to give a composite score of 800.
  • GMAT cannot be used in place of the GRE, so unless a candidate is sure about making his way to a business school, they are adviced not to take GMAT Exam.
  • GMAT is a test recognized by AICTE for PGDM and PGCM courses conducted by the respective State Governments for all institutions other than minority institutions across India. GRE is not.
GMAT is specifically designed by business schools for students to get admission into graduate management business programs GRE is more of a general admission test for wide variety of programs.
GMAT Total Score is seen as an industry standard as it gives a singular number of your skills required for a business school GRE does not provide a total score due to which section score has to be converted to an equivalent GMAT Total Score which sometimes lead to high standard error of prediction.
GMAT gives highly personalized recommendations on business programs that may provide to be a good fit for you. GRE does not give any such recommendations.
It’s Integrated Reasoning section evaluates your interpretation skills of information in multiple formats which is important to succeed in data driven world. No such Integrated Reasoning or comparable section.
Scores and Score Reports

GMAT 2020: Scores and Score Reports

GMAT Score dictates the top business schools as per preferences. After completion of the exam, an unofficial score report will be sent to the candidate having four scores out of five that is Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Verbal and Total Score. Within two minutes, candidates have to either cancel or accept it. This unofficial GMAT score report is sent to the candidate to determine whether the applicant is competitive enough or is it necessary to retake the exam.

GMAT Score for each section is as following 

  • Analytical Writing Assessment: 0-6
  • Integrated Reasoning: 1-8
  • Quantitative Reasoning: 6-51
  • Verbal Reasoning: 6-51

After taking the exam, candidates will receive an official GMAT Score card within 20 days. This score report also includes Analytical Writing Assessment Score, GMAT percentile ranking. Candidates will also receive Enhanced Score Report to get a detailed analysis of questions to understand the performance.

GMAT 2020: Access of Score Report

Candidates will get an official score report within 20 days of the exam taken on the official website. A unique link will be sent to the registered email ID from which candidates can access GMAT score report.

  • GMAT Score is accessible on the official website of GMAT i.e.
  • Once it is made available, it can be accessed at any time of the year by entering the required credentials
  • Candidates will be sent an email to their registered Email ID which will include a unique link.
  • The Email will be received within 20 days of taking the test.
  • They have to use the unique link in order to view their official sample GMAT Score Report.
  • The Email will also include instructions on how to access the GMAT Official Score Report.

Note: In a situation where the candidate is unable to access the email with the link, they can contact GMAT Customer Service or the Pearson VUE by phone for assistance.

GMAT 2020: Validity of Score

  • Candidates can use their GMAT score up to 5 years.
  • GMAT Score can be used to pursue MBA program and for getting a job, as many recruitment companies use GMAT Score for providing jobs.
  • If a candidate is not satisfied with his GMAT Result, they can retake GMAT Exam
  • However, a candidate can appear for GMAT 5 times only in one year i.e. duration of 12 months.
99% 760-800 33% 520
98% 750 31% 510
97% 740 28% 500
96% 730 26% 490
94% 720 24% 480
91% 710 22% 470
88% 700 19% 460
86% 690 18% 450
83% 680 16% 440
81% 670 15% 430
78% 660 14% 420
75% 650 13% 410
70% 640 11% 400
68% 630 10% 390
64% 620 9% 380
61% 610 8% 370
57% 600 7% 360
54% 590 6% 350
S.No B-School Avg GMAT Score(out of 800)
1. Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and Mohali 700
2. IIM Ahmedabad 706
3. IIM Bangalore 695
4. IIM Calcutta 700+
5. IIM Lucknow 680
6. Great Lakes Institute of Management 650
7. SP Jain School of Global Management 650+
8. XLRI Jamshedpur 700
9. IIM Indore 690
10. SP Jain Institute of Management and Research 650

Top MBA Colleges in abroad accepting GMAT Score

S.No B-School Avg GMAT Score(out of 800)
1. Harvard University 730
2. Stanford University 734
3. University of Pennsylvania(Wharton) 732
4. University of Chicago 726
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology(Sloan) 728
6. Northwestern University(Kellogg) 730
7. University of California-(Berkeley) 726
8. Columbia University 727
9. Dartmouth University 723
10. New York University 721

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