GMAT Exam Pattern & Syllabus 2021: Check Section-wise GMAT Exam Syllabus & Pattern Image
Exams Know-how

GMAT Exam Pattern & Syllabus 2021: Check Section-wise GMAT Exam Syllabus & Pattern

Yocket Editorial Team
12 mins read

Graduate Management Admission Test, or the GMAT, forms an integral part of the Business School application process overseas. Business Institutions across the World hold high esteem for the test. Aiming to achieve a high GMAT score is possible with an effective preparation plan. For successful preparation, having a good grasp of the GMAT syllabus and pattern is essential. Knowing the GMAT exam pattern and syllabus thoroughly will help you set realistic preparation goals. It will guide you to focus on the important matters of the test.


3 Important Test Features of GMAT You Must Know About!

Before we set foot on the GMAT syllabus, let’s briefly talk about the GMAT test functionalities. There are three important GMAT test features you must understand before taking the test. 

  1. GMAT is a computer-adaptable test: The computer-based test works along with the test takers as they give the GMAT exam. The correctness of each of your answers is the deciding factor of the next question you will get. This system of GMAT devices the difficulty level of your paper. 

For example: If you’re answering Question - A and B. Your answer for Question A decides the difficulty level of Question B.

  1. You CANNOT revisit a GMAT question: As GMAT works on the computer-adaptability system, for each of its questions, you cannot revisit a previously answered question. The answer once selected/confirmed is your final answer. Thus, you need to be 100% sure while selecting an answer. 

  • Unanswered questions/Skipped questions have a higher penalty score in GMAT

  • Guessing an answer for GMAT is always better than skipping the question

  1. You stitch your own GMAT exam pattern: Another interesting factor of GMAT is that you control your own GMAT exam pattern. Students are given a choice at the beginning of the exam to pick the series in which they would want to answer different sections of the test. Using this feature to your advantage can help you manage time. Additionally, starting the test with the sections you are confident about can help you achieve a high score.

You can set the order of taking your test by selecting from these GMAT paper pattern options:

Let's have a closer look at the GMAT paper pattern given in the table below:

Sections of GMAT

Total Questions



Analytical Writing Assessment


30 mins

0 - 6; 0.5 point increment

Integrated Reasoning


30 mins

1 - 8; 1 point increment

Quantitative Reasoning


62 mins

6 - 51; 1 point increment

Verbal Reasoning


65 mins

6 - 51; 1 point increment

As test takers control their GMAT exam pattern, understanding the syllabus of each section is a must. Knowing what to expect in the paper prepares you for the type of question you are about to answer. Thus, focus on the know-abouts of the GMAT exam syllabus.

The GMAT exam is a 3hrs 7mins long test. You also have an additional 15 mins to check-in to the exam.

Cataloguing The GMAT Syllabus

GMAT, the aptitude skill test, examines your overall knowledge as a student on the route to achieve success in Business. To successfully handle a Business, it is required that an individual possesses a good command over language, have strategic problem solving capability and logical application. These are the same skills which the GMAT exam tests. To do so, GMAC has wisely curated a paper with four sections, namely, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing to test the applicants. We will be discussing the GMAT syllabus of each of these sections below:

1.Verbal Reasoning:

English language is an extremely important communication tool for students. As your University education involves documenting course materials, writing lengthy assignments and communicating with your fellow batchmates, GMAC insists on checking your language skills. Thus, the Verbal Reasoning section of GMAT measures your ability of understanding, evaluating and comprehending English text.

What is tested? The Verbal Reasoning section tests your English comprehension skills and grammar.

Testing Ground of Verbal Reasoning:

The Verbal Reasoning section has 36 multiple choice questions, which need to be solved in 65 mins. There are  three types of questions asked in this section: 

  1. Reading Comprehension: Read the given passages and answer.

  2. Critical Reasoning: Evaluate the given phrases to arrive at a conclusion or a plan of action.

  3. Sentence Correction: Your task is to check whether the words used are appropriate for the sentence. If not, change them with a better suited word from the given options.


What to study for the Verbal Reasoning section of GMAT?

This is one of the most common dilemmas students have when they look for GMAT Verbal syllabus. As the paper is based on the English language, the course material might seem overwhelming. Strengthening your basics is one of the key elements of your preparation. Hence, eliminating the stress, focus on these English topics, as they form a major chunk of Verbal Reasoning syllabus: Assumptions, Evaluate, Inference, Bold Face, Paradox, Strengthen and Weaken, Pronoun, Subject-Verb Agreement, Modifiers, Idioms, Parallelism, Comparison, Verb Tenses.

Tip: Use Yocket Flashcards to learn a wide range of words. This will help you master the language section of GMAT.

2. Quantitative Reasoning:

Quantitative Reasoning section of GMAT checks your ability to analyze mathematical data and draw conclusions using your reasoning skills. 

Applicant’s from different fields or working professionals who have lost touch of solving mathematical problems are usually apprehensive about this section of the exam. But, the test isn’t as complicated as it seems to be as the GMAT Quantitative Reasoning syllabus restricts itself to the math taught in secondary school. All you have to do to prepare for the Quantitative section is thorough your basics and rigorously solve questions of the subject.

What is tested? Quantitative Reasoning tests your mathematical logical reasoning skills and application capability.

Testing Ground of Quantitative Reasoning:

The Quants section has about 31 multiple choice questions, which need to be solved in 65 minutes. The GMAT quantitative syllabus is limited to the questions of:

  1. Arithmetic

  2. Algebra

  3. Geometry

  4. Word Problems

Based on the syllabus, two types of questions are posed in the Quant section: 

  1. Problem Solving questions: Mathematical problems to be solved.

  2. Data Sufficiency: These problems require you to confirm if the given information is sufficient to solve the problem.

What to study for the Quantitative Reasoning section of GMAT?

The Quantitative Reasoning syllabus holds 31 major topics of Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry in the GMAT paper. We have listed out the topics in the table below:

3. Integrated Reasoning:

The IR section of GMAT is a combination of both, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. Which means, you need to sort the presented data, identify relevant information and incorporate strategies to solve the given questions. This exclusive section consists of 12 questions which are marked on a 1-8 scorescale in GMAT. These scores are separately marked on the scoresheet.

What is tested? Integrated Reasoning tests your ability to analyse data and solve problems.

Testing Ground of Integrated Reasoning:

The Integrated Reasoning  section might pocket one or more parts within each question. You are required to answer all the parts of each question, as partial scores are not granted in the GMAT examination. 

There are four types of questions you can expect in the Integrated Reasoning section of GMAT: 

  1. Multi-Source Reasoning Questions: Variety of data is given based on the same premise, you are required to assess and resolve the problem.  

  2. Table Analysis Questions: Understand the tabulated data to answer the questions.

  3. Graphics Interpretation Questions: Interpret the data given in the graphs to find the solution. 

  4. Two-Part Analysis Questions: Answer the following in two parts. Mark the appropriate answer per step of the question or problem.

What to study for the Integrated Reasoning section?

Living in a data driven World, we are exposed to graphs, stats and more on a daily basis. To prepare for the Integrated Reasoning section, it is important to learn how to interpret data, numbers and information. Train your mind to be a statistician by brushing up your knowledge of tables, graphs, pie-charts, stats.

4. Analytical Writing Assessment:

The AWA section is an essay writing assignment. This section is regarded as one of the important sections of the GMAT paper. GMAC presents insights about the candidates based on your essay writing assignment. You’re expected to assess a given argument and present your findings and express your validations for the same.

What is tested? Analytical Writing Assessment tests your analytical and English writing skill.

Testing Ground for Analytical Writing Assessment:

As mentioned above, this is an essay writing test. You are presented with a passage from any field. The subject information isn’t important as the purpose of the task is to understand your ability to interpret the given argument, reason and judge the arguments you come up with.  Your task is to write ONE argumentative essay.
Note: Your AWA GMAT score is reflected separately in the GMAT scoresheet. This score isn’t a part of your total score.

What to study for the Analytical Writing Assessment?

The test requires quality writing. Since it is a language test, align yourself more towards writing, instead of  studying. The AWA GMAT questions are diverse and can be from any field, be it from Science, Arts, Business etc. The key to answer is to practise impeccable writing. 

  • Brush up on your basics 

  • Thorough yourself with grammar

  • Practice writing essay in a structured format

  • Learn the art of organising your thoughts

  • Expand your vocabulary. Use Yocket Flashcards to learn a wide range of words

  • Inculcate learning the use of synonyms


The best way to prepare for Analytical Writing Assessment is to learn the art of analysing, structuring and composing an essay. Ace the Analytical section by tailoring a well structured argumentative essay.

Universities across the World have acknowledged GMAT as an efficient measure to examine students. The test has earned its laurels by sorting the best candidates from various parts of the World. This aptitude test is designed to cater to smart minds. Defining a balanced approach between academic learning as well as application knowledge of an individual, the examination is both fun and enlightening. The four sections of the GMAT - Verbal, Quant, IR and Analytical Writing form an overall excellence testimony for a graduate student. Thus, it is important to approach the exam with modern day logical reasoning and problem solving skills.

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