Most students who are new to GMAT tend to ask questions like –

‘How does the GMAT algorithm work?’ or ‘What is the Exam structure?’ or ‘How do the Verbal and Quant scores account for a total score of 800?

This article will talk about the GMAT exam in detail and will attempt to answer your queries around the test! You will learn about-

I. The GMAT test structure

  1. Quantitative
  2. Verbal
  3. Analytical Writing Assessment
  4. Integrated Reasoning


III. How Does the GMAT Algorithm Work?

GMAT Exam details everything you need to know

So, let’s begin with the structure of the GMAT test –

I. The GMAT Test Structure

The test comprises of four sections –

  1. Quantitative
  2. Verbal
  3. Analytical Writing Assessment
  4. Integrated Reasoning

Every section is designed in a manner that tests the student’s capability to cope up with the MBA program and be a good manager/entrepreneur in the future! The intent of every section is, thus, to test specific but related areas. Let us discuss the four sections one-by-one in detail and see what they expect from you –

I. Quantitative

Duration: 62 minutes

Questions: 31

The Quant section in GMAT tests a student’s ability to interpret data, solve quant problems, and mathematical reasoning. The Quant section consists of two types of questions –

a. Problem Solving and

b. Data Sufficiency

The syllabus for Quant is limited to Math taught till high school and it does not test Higher or College level Math. Thorough knowledge of Algebra, Arithmetic, and Geometry helps. Calculators are not allowed in GMAT Quant, so you need strong analytical skills to excel in this section.

II. Verbal

Duration: 65 minutes

Questions: 36

As already specified, each section serves a purpose and helps the admission committee gain relevant information about the candidate’s overall skill-set. Serving a similar purpose, the Verbal section tests the student’s ability to read, comprehend, evaluate arguments, and correct sentences written in English.

The Verbal section consists of three different types of questions and to accurately solve each of these questions, the student needs different skills. Let’s discuss –

The best way to prepare for GMAT Verbal and the skills needed.

III. Analytical Writing Assessment

Duration: 30 minutes

Questions: 1

As is clear from the name, the AWA section tests a student’s critical thinking capabilities and written communication skills. Students are given an argument and are asked to analyse the reasoning behind it and subsequently write a critique of the argument.

Instead of writing their own personal opinions, students are expected to just analyse the argument and not stress about it. Following a set template for the essay can help sort the time better, instead of spending too much of energy on one a single section. Explore template here.

IV. Integrated Reasoning

Duration: 30 minutes

Questions: 12

Having a total score of 8, IR is meant to test the candidate’s real-world skills, which involves synthesizing and interpreting the information given in the form of charts, graphs, words, and even tables. You will find four types of questions in the IR section –

  1. Two-Part Analysis
  2. Multi-Source Reasoning
  3. Graphic Interpretation
  4. Table Analysis

Don’t know which topics to prepare? Find the GMAT syllabus here.

II. Some of the Common Queries Surrounding the GMAT test

Regarding Questions And Preparation:

  • If I do not know the answer to a question, what should I do? Should I skip or answer randomly?

It is better to answer randomly instead of simply skipping the question because GMAT penalizes unanswered questions more than the incorrectly answered ones.

  • What does a scored and unscored question mean?

Specific experimental questions on GMAT do not impact the score at all, hence called the unscored questions. These questions usually do not have a difficulty level associated with them and can pop up at any point, whether a candidate is scoring a 450 or a 700. There are 3 experimental questions in Quant and 6 in Verbal giving equal weightage to SC, CR, and RC (GMAT does not disclose this information).

  • What is the best way to prepare for the GMAT?

The best way to prepare for the GMAT is to follow a study plan and study from the right resources. Follow this blog to know how to effectively plan lessons.

Taking the Test:

  • When and where can I take the GMAT?

You can take the GMAT year-round at any of the preferred test centres around the world.

  • How often can I take the GMAT?

In total, you can give the GMAT eight times. You can take the test 5 times in 12 months and only once every 16-days.

  • Can I reschedule my GMAT exam date if I am not confident enough?

Yes, you can reschedule your exam. However, there is a rescheduling fee. If done more than 7 days before the test, the price will be $50. However, if you reschedule it 7 or fewer days before the exam, it will cost you $250. There is no provision to cancel/reschedule 24 hours or less before the test.

  • Can I retake the GMAT?

Yes, a lot of students retake the test if they are not satisfied with their scores. In 12 months, you can take the GMAT 5 times.

GMAT Preparation:

  • How long should I study for the GMAT?

The time you take to prepare for the GMAT depends upon many factors like your current skill set, your target score, and the time you can devote to prep each day. Usually, students devote somewhere around 3 – 6 months to prep. However, you can always take more time if you want.

  • How much should I score on the GMAT?

The ideal thing to do to know what your target score should be is to create a list of the schools you are targeting and check out the average score of their latest class.

III. How does the GMAT algorithm work?

The GMAT algorithm is a lot different than that of the other tests. It is not linear like the usual tests where you simply get scored based on the number of correct/incorrect responses at the end of the test. Instead, the GMAT algorithm is adaptive. This means the difficulty level of questions changes based on your response in the previous questions. For instance, if you answer a 600 level question correctly, the algorithm will serve you with a higher value question, which ultimately helps to enhance your score. On the other hand, if you answer the question incorrectly, the algorithm will then serve you with a question of a comparatively lower value.

The GMAT Algorithm tests your ability, not knowledge!

The algorithm is adaptive, meaning that the algorithm constantly tests your ability after every question. Therefore, if you are curious to know in detail the working of the GMAT algorithm, then stay tuned because we will be posting a detailed article on the same in the coming week!