Kindly note that the GMAT format has been updated as of April 16, 2018.

The GMAT consists of 4 sections that assesses the test-takers’ analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in standard written English. The test would take the student 3.5 hours to finish. The test does not measure business knowledge or intelligence. Therefore, students generally need to prepare thoroughly and professionally in order to put together a competitive score.

Analytical Writing

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) measures your ability to think critically and to communicate your ideas. Consequently, during the AWA, analysis of the reasoning behind a given argument and a written critique of which is required.

Integrated Reasoning

The Integrated Reasoning section measures your ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats from multiple sources. These are skills you need to succeed in our technologically advanced, data-driven world.

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative section measures your ability to analyze data and draw conclusions using reasoning skills. The mathematics needed to understand and solve the questions in this section of the GMAT exam are no greater than what is generally taught in secondary school classes.

Verbal Reasoning

The GMAT exam showcases all of your skills and not just math. Hence, the Verbal section measures your ability to read and understand written material, to evaluate arguments, and to correct written material to conform to standard written English.

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Section breakdown

The overall testing time for the computer-adaptive GMAT is about 3 hours and 30 minutes (inclusive of breaks and test instructions). There are four sections with two optional 8-minute breaks.

SectionTimeQuestionsQuestion Types
Analytical Writing30 Minutes1Analysis of Argument
Integrated Reasoning30 Minutes12Multi-Source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, Table Analysis
Quantitative62 Minutes31Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving
Verbal65 Minutes36Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction

Each section is important, but the all-important “GMAT score”, reported on a scale from 200 to 800, is calculated using only the last two sections.

Section Order

Beginning on July 11, 2017,  the GMAT exam allows you to have the flexibility  to select the order of the sections of the GMAT exam from three options:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original order)
  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

The section order selection will take place at the test center on exam date, immediately prior to the start of the GMAT exam.


The Quantitative and Verbal sections of the GMAT are computer-adaptive.

The GMAT computer adaptive test (CAT) is more than just a computerized version of a paper-and-pencil test. Consequently, it means the GMAT actually adapts to your performance as you’re taking the test.

Therefore, this means that whether you answer a question correctly or not determines what questions you will see later. Hence. it also means that any two people, even two people of nearly identical abilities and preparedness, will not see identical questions when they take their respective GMATs.

When you begin the GMAT, the computer assumes you have an average score and gives you a question of medium difficulty. Thus, as you get answers correct, the computer serves up more difficult questions and increases its estimate of your ability. Consequently, as you answer incorrectly, the computer serves up easier questions and decreases its estimate of your ability. Additionally, your score is determined by an algorithm that calculates your ability level based not just on what you got right or wrong. It is also based on the difficulty level of the questions you answered.