GMAT Exam Pattern 2021

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GMAT – A Computer Adaptive Test

  • The GMAT is a computer adaptive test used for admission to graduate management programs
  • It measures higher-order reasoning skills in both verbal and quantitative areas and also tests your analytical writing ability.
  • The Verbal and Quantitative sections on the GMAT follow computer adaptive testing (adaptive by question). The sections start with a moderate difficulty level question and as you progress through questions in each section, the difficulty level of the new questions will be based on your overall performance that far. If you answer questions incorrectly, the algorithm will recalibrate and present easier questions but if you show high accuracy, you will see harder questions. Out of the 4 sections on the GMAT, only Verbal and Quant sections are computer adaptive.
  • You cannot skip questions or go back to a question once you have submitted the response for that question.


GMAT Exam Structure

The exam is divided into 4 sections with a total time of 3 hours 7 minutes, plus time for check in. Let us have a closer look at basic structure of the GMAT examination.

Analytical Writing Assessment 1 Essay Topic Analysis of an argument 30 minutes 0-6
(in 0.5-point increments)
Integrated Reasoning 12 Questions Multi-Source Reasoning,
Graphics Interpretation,
Two-Part Analysis,
Table Analysis
30 minutes 1-8
(in 1-point increments)
Quantitative 31 Questions Data Sufficiency,

Problem Solving

62 minutes 6-51
(in 1-point increments)
Verbal 36 Questions Reading,


Critical Reasoning,

Sentence Correction

65 minutes 6-51
(in 1-point increments)
Total Exam time 3 hours and 7 minutes, plus two optional 8-minute breaks.


Select Section Order

While the format of GMAT in terms of number of questions and total time per section is fixed, you can choose the order of the sections. You will have 3 section order options as given below and will get 2 minutes to decide the order in which you want to take the test. In case you do not select any option within 2 minutes, the original order (Section Order 1) will be automatically selected.


Section Order 1 Section Order 2 Section Order 3
Analytical Writing Assessment Verbal Quantitative
Integrated Reasoning


Quantitative Quantitative Verbal


Verbal Integrated Reasoning Integrated Reasoning
Analytical Writing assessment Analytical Writing assessment


It must be noted that there is no ‘best’ or ‘suggested’ section order to follow. You can choose the order of sections on the basis of your strengths, weaknesses, and testing preferences. No matter which section order you choose, the contents of the sections will remain the same.

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