Overview of the GMAT Exam, Sections, Format, and Scoring
E-Shriniketan, Ashok Nagar, Road No. 10, Opposite Lakecity Mall, Udaipur (Raj.), 313001

Learn Everything About the GMAT Exam


Overview of the GMAT Exam: Sections, Format, and Scoring

If you are highly determined to gain an admission seat to a prestigious business school, it is essential to learn about the GMAT exam. In this resource, you’ll find information on the GMAT test, the sections it includes, how it is organized, and how the scores are calculated. This guide will be invaluable for any person whether he or she is a first time student taking the GMAT test or is getting ready for the second attempt.

What is the GMAT Exam?

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test and this is a standardized test aimed at measuring abilities of a candidate in analyzing, writing, using quantities, verbal and reading comprehension in written English language. MBA and other graduate management programs use the GMAT test to evaluate students before admitting them into their business schools. The exam is designed to forecast how well you’ll do in business school and is part of the package that you’ll compile in your application process.

GMAT Exam Overview

Familiarization with various aspects of the GMAT Exam is crucial in preparation for it. The GMAT consists of four sections: You can take the Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal tests. Good news, though: each section assesses particular skills and impacts your overall GMAT score. To help you have a clear idea of the GMAT exam, let’s discuss it in detail based on each of the sections mentioned above.

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

Duration: 30 minutes

Task: Analysis of an Argument

The AWA section assesses your critical thinking skills and your ability to present your ideas in a coherent, logical and cogent manner. The specific kind of instruction you received is that you are to be given an argument and have to respond by evaluating it. According to the assignment guidelines, your essay needs to describe the reasoning and provide evidence for the argument.

Integrated Reasoning (IR)

Duration: 30 minutes

Number of Questions: 12

Question Types: Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis

The IR section helps judge your capacity to analyze material in both written and numerical forms from different sources. The exam contains questions that involve utilizing graphs, tables, and text passage for analysis and answering comprehension. As in the previous sections, this part is aimed at evaluating how well you apply and generalize knowledge to arrive at an overall solution.

Quantitative Section

Duration: 62 minutes

Number of Questions: 31

Question Types: Problem Solving, Data Sufficiency

Quantitative section focuses on measuring the candidate’s aptitude with numbers and problem-solving. The section involves solving numerical problems.

Verbal Section

Duration: 65 minutes

Number of Questions: 36

Question Types: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction

The Verbal section is a measure of your skills in reading, analytical thinking, and written expression. The importance of this section is to evaluate the verbal skills of the student. 

GMAT Exam Format

The GMAT exam is a CAT test which stands for computer-adaptive test and this implies that the test brings questions relative to the ability of the candidate. Following every correct answer, the test offers subsequent questions that are more complex in nature. But right answers are followed by easy questions thereafter. What this means is that unlike the other standardized tests it will be easier to determine how you stand in terms of your ability to perform under new conditions.

Computer-Adaptive Testing

  • Adaptive Nature: Questions adjust in difficulty based on your performance
  • Scoring Impact: Answering initial questions correctly can lead to a higher score range

Section Order

The format of the GMAT Exam is that it enables one to choose the sequence in which to take the sections. This makes it possible for you to complete the sections depending on your interest and ability each time. The available section orders are:

  1. AWA, IR, Quantitative, Verbal
  2. Verbal, Quantitative, IR, AWA
  3. Quantitative, Verbal, IR, AWA

Time Management

Time management is one of the most important skills that must be developed to pass the GMAT. Every subsection is timed and to cover all questions, learners must manage their time well in order to maximize their scores. You can improve the time management skills by doing mock tests in advance and finding out the most effective technique.

GMAT Scoring

It is important to understand GMAT Exam scoring to evaluate your performance;

Overall Score

Range: 200-800

Sections Contributing to Score: Quantitative and Verbal

The score of GMAT ranges from 200 to 800. This is derived from how a candidate has performed in the Quantitative and Verbal section. The weighted of these sections is high.   

Section Scores

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA): Scored on a scale of 0-6, in half-point increments

Integrated Reasoning (IR): Scored on a scale of 1-8, in single-digit increments

Quantitative: Scored on a scale of 0-60

Verbal: Scored on a scale of 0-60

Percentile Ranking

The score report also includes percentile ranking. This ranking evaluates your presentation with other candidates who have given the test in last three years. High percentile shows high performance. 

Preparing for the GMAT Exam

Study Materials

Official GMAT Guides: It is advised to use official study guides and practice tests from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

Practice Tests: It is advised to take full-length practice tests to get used to the exam format.

Study Plan

Set a Timeline: Start your preparation 3-6 months before the test.

Daily Study: Practice daily.

Review and Analyze: After taking practice tests, review your answers and analyze your mistakes to understand your weaknesses.

Test-Taking Strategies

Time Management: Develop a strategy to pace yourself during each section, ensuring you have enough time to answer all questions.

Answering Questions: For multiple-choice questions, eliminate obviously wrong answers to increase your chances of selecting the correct one.

Essay Practice: Practice writing essays for the AWA section to improve your writing speed and analytical skills.

Test Day Tips

Before the Exam

Rest Well: Ensure you get a good night’s sleep before the test day.

Eat Right: Have a nutritious meal before the exam to keep your energy levels up.

Arrive Early: Plan to arrive at the test center early to avoid any last-minute stress.

During the Exam

Stay Calm: Keep a calm and positive mindset throughout the exam.

Read Carefully: Read each question carefully before answering.

Breaks: Utilize the optional breaks to relax and recharge.


To achieve high score in the GMAT exam a student must understand the format of the paper through the vital points like the format of the paper, scoring system and organization. You can score well by practicing consistently, understanding the format, and using these strategies and get admission in your desired business school.

GMAT Exam Test not only improves over ability to work under pressure and within the time limit but also provides us with the content knowledge. Good luck with your preparation!!