What is GMAT?

What is GMAT?

Graduate Management Admission Test, GMAT, is a standardized exam that tests skills that are important to business master’s and management programs. It assesses the candidate’s analytical writing skills, Problem- Solving abilities, and logic and critical reasoning abilities. This exam is an essential part of the B-School application process. It is accepted by more than 7,000 graduate business programs worldwide across over 2300 schools. The GMAT exam gives the admission officers a common platform to compare the candidates of diverse backgrounds against a single measure.

GMAT is owned by Graduate Management Admission Council, GMAC. The test center network is operated by Pearson Vue. The test is conducted throughout the year at different locations worldwide. A complete list of test center locations is available at mba.com/testcenterlist.

GMAT Exam Structure

The GMAT exam consists of four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. The Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal reasoning sections consists of only multiple-choice questions.

Section Order

Before starting the GMAT test, the candidates can choose the order in which they take the sections. The candidates have to choose one of the three options:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

The AWA section measures the candidate’s ability to think critically and to communicate their ideas. This section consists of one 30-minute writing task: Analysis of an Argument. In this essay task, candidates are asked to analyze an argument and write a critique of that argument, analyzing the soundness of the author’s argument and reasoning.

Integrated Reasoning

The Integrated Reasoning section measures candidate’s ability to comprehend the information provided in multiple sources, which are related to one another, to interpret graphs, to analyze data provided in a table, and to use quantitative and verbal reasoning to solve problems. This section consists of four question types: Multi-Source Reasoning, Two-Part Analysis, Table Analysis, and Graphical Interpretation. Most of the questions on Integrated Reasoning require you to select more than one response. To receive credit for these questions, you must answer all responses to a question correctly; no partial credit will be given. Only for this section, you will have an option of using an online calculator with essential functions.

Multi-Source Reasoning

Multi-Source Reasoning tests your ability to integrate information from multiple sources. Multi-Source Reasoning questions present you with two or three related sources, consisting of a passage, graph, or table. These sources are accompanied by two or three questions. You will see only one question at a time and cannot go back to the earlier questions.

Question formats for Multi-Source Reasoning can be broadly classified into two types: questions that require you to select one answer, and questions that have multiple parts.

For example, you may have a question requiring you to determine whether each of the three answer choices can be inferred from the passage or cannot be inferred from the passage. To receive credit for this question, you must answer all three parts correctly. (select the correct response ‘ inferred ‘ or ‘cannot be inferred’ for each of the three answer choices) .

Table Analysis

Table Analysis tests your ability to sort and analyze data. Table Analysis questions present a table or a spreadsheet with some information explaining the table. Each Table is followed by one Question, having multiple parts. For example, you may be asked to determine whether each statement (Answer choice) is true or false, according to the information in the table.

Two-Part Analysis

Two-Part Analysis tests your ability to solve complex problems. Two-Part Analysis questions present you a passage or a problem and ask you to evaluate two parts related to that problem. For example, the question may ask you to select the radius and the height of the cylinder based on the condition that is stated in the problem. A set of answer choices are given in the table. From the table, you have to select two choices: one for radius and other for height.

Graphical Interpretation

Graphical Interpretation measures your ability to interpret a graph. Graphical Interpretation questions present a graph or a diagram. Each graph is followed by two statements containing two blanks. Blanks must be filled by one of the choices in the drop-down menu such that the statement is accurate as per the graph.

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning Section on the GMAT measures your basic mathematical skills, ability to reason quantitatively and logically, interpretation of graphical and tabular data, and translating the verbal information into mathematical equations. Questions in this section require basic knowledge of the following mathematical concepts: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, and Probability. This section consists of two types of multiple-choice questions: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency.

Problem Solving

Problem Solving questions measure your ability to solve quantitative problems. You have to solve a problem and select an answer out of the five answer choices.

Data Sufficiency

Data Sufficiency questions measure your ability to analyze the questions quantitatively and to determine whether there is sufficient information to solve the problem.

Data Sufficiency problem consists of a question followed by two fact statements. You have to determine whether statements provide sufficient data to answer the question.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning measures your command on standard written English, ability to read and comprehend written material, and to evaluate arguments. This section consists of three types of multiple-choice questions: Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension.

Sentence Correction

Sentence Correction questions measure your command on standard written English. A Sentence Correction question consists of a sentence, either a part of the sentence or the entire sentence is underlined. You have to select the best version of the underlined sentence out of the five answer choice (one original and the other four paraphrased)

Critical Reasoning

Critical Reasoning questions test your ability to evaluate an argument, formulate a plan of action, and to draw a conclusion from the passage. You will be presented with an argument or a series of statements and a question based on the argument or passage.

Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension questions test your ability to understand the main idea of the passage, analyze the logical structure of the passage, identify the supporting details, and draw conclusions based on the information in the passage. You will be presented with a passage and will be asked to answer 2 -4 Questions based on the passage.


Analytical Writing Assessment

The essay is scored on a scale of 0 (lowest) to 6 (highest). The essay will be scored two times independently: It is evaluated by an expert reader and by an automated scoring program. The AWA score is an average of these two independent scores. It is very rare that these independent scores vary by more than one point. However, if they do, another evaluation by an expert reader is required to resolve the disparity, and the final score, in this case, is the average of scores of two human reviewers. The AWA score is reported within two weeks of taking the GMAT exam.

Integrated Reasoning

Integrated Reasoning section is rated on a scale of 1(lowest) to 8 (highest). Unlike the Quantitative and Verbal Sections, Integrated Reasoning is NOT a Computer adaptive section. You will encounter a fixed set of 12 questions, and only one question at a time is presented on the computer screen. The raw score is calculated based on the number of correct responses and is then converted to a scaled score through a process known as equating.

*The Analytical Writing Assessment score and the Integrated Reasoning score will be reported as independent scores that do not affect the computation of the total GMAT score of 200-800.

Quantitative and Verbal Sections

Each of these sections is scored on a scale of 6 to 51. The scaled score of Verbal and Quantitative Sections are then used together to determine the total GMAT score of 200-800. Quantitative and Verbal sections on the GMAT are computer-adaptive sections. In the Quantitative and Verbal sections, the computer selects the next question based on your response to the previous question. This process continues until you end the test. For example, if you get the first question right, then the second question is of a higher difficulty level. On the other hand, if you get the first question wrong, then the second question will be of a lower difficulty level.

Your score on the Quantitative and the Verbal Sections is not just determined by the number of questions you answer correctly but is also determined by difficulty level and other statistical characteristics of each question. The number of questions you answer in each section is also considered in determining the score. Thus, not answering all the questions in a section within the stipulated time results in a drop in the scaled score. Both the scaled score of the Quantitative and Verbal Sections are then combined to give a total score of 200-800.


Number of Tasks / Questions




1 30 min 0-6, in 0.5 point increment

Integrated Reasoning

12 30 min 1-8, in 1 point increment

Quantitative Reasoning

31 62 min 6 -51, in 1 point increment

Verbal Reasoning

36 65 min 6-51, in 1 point increment
Total Score * 200 – 800, in 10 point increment

* The Total Score is derived from the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores.

The GMAT exam takes 3 hours 30 minutes, including optional breaks and test instructions.


The cost to take the GMAT is $250. This fee includes score reporting to five schools of your choice. You can select the programs before the start of the exam. To book the examination slot, visit www.mba.com


You can reschedule or cancel the GMAT appointment by making an additional payment. For more information about pricing visit www.mba.com/exams/gmat/about-the-gmat-exam/location-specific-pricing-regulations

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