GMAT Exam Pattern 2021 - Total Marks, Marking Scheme

Exam Date

Jan 1, 2021

Jun 1, 2021 | Management


GMAT Entrance Exam has a different exam pattern to analyze a candidate's abilities. They set the question paper in such a way that the candidate's answer can be judged. A candidate can check out the GMAT Entrance exam syllabus as well. 

Due to time restraints in the GMAT online exam, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has omitted the Analytical Writing section of the exam, whereas Quantitative, Verbal and Integrated Reasoning will continue to be part of the exam. 

This exam pattern analyses the logical, verbal, analytical and numerical ability of a candidate. This basic test decides whether a candidate can perform in an MBA course or not. That's why the authority has given four major topics on which a candidate can work. They provide sufficient time for the examination with short breaks to make sure the candidate isn't stressed. The candidates must know the GMAT exam pattern well to prepare for the exam thoroughly. The GMAT exam pattern is explained in detail below. 

GMAT Exam Pattern

Before preparing for the GMAT exam, an aspirant has to to be aware of GMAT exam pattern. This knowledge helps one to build strategies to score high.

GMAT Entrance Exam Pattern - Explained

GMAT exam question paper has 4 major sections and they are Analysis of Argument (Analytic Writing Assessment),  Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal Reasoning, and Integrated Reasoning.

The entire duration of the GMAT exam is 3 hours and 30 minutes (inclusive of break duration), whereas now that the GMAT online exam pattern has been revised and that the analytical writing will now not be a part of the exam, due to time restraints hence the time duration has been reduced to 2 hours and 45 minutes along with breaks. Students can prepare by writing mock tests to get acquainted with this timing.

GMAT Exam Features

  • Pre-built clock: GMAT exam has a pre-built clock that cannot be stopped neither can it be reset.
  • On-Screen calculator: Candidates can use an on-screen calculator, that appears on a test window to solve the quantitative questions and minute calculations at the time of examination.

GMAT Entrance Exam Paper

  • Question pattern: GMAT is a computer adaptive test, hence the level of each question is based on the answer given by a candidate to the previous question. There is no negative marking scheme in GMAT  exam.
  • Algorithm: When a candidate answers a question correctly, the algorithm used in the GMAT examination makes subsequent questions to become tougher and tougher. Likewise, when a candidate answers a question incorrectly, the subsequent question is made easier.
  • Level of difficulty: Candidates are not evaluated by a sheer number of questions they got right, but for the level of difficulty they face during GMAT examination.

GMAT Revised Entrance Exam Pattern

The GMAT online examination pattern based on the three topics they will be tested, since the Analytical thinking topic has been taken out due to time restraints have been tabulated below. Note must be taken that the breaks haven't been included in the table below. 

GMAT Revised Entrance Exam Pattern


Number of Questions

Time Allotted

Quantitative Reasoning


62 Minutes

Verbal Reasoning


65 Minutes

Integrated Reasoning


30 Minutes

GMAT  Scoring

  • Generally, overall GMAT scores range from around 200 to 800 for most candidates. This score includes the performance of a candidate on all 4 sections combinedly.
  • Candidate's performance on the Analytical Writing Assessment and the Integrated Reasoning sections are calculated separately by the GMAT algorithm.
  • A GMAT score of Verbal and Quantitative ranges from 0 to 60.
  • An average candidate's GMAT score lies between 9 to 45 in verbal and 7 to 50 for quantitative.
  • Verbal and Quantitative scores cannot be compared to each other.
  • GMAT exam is a computer adaptive test, which means if a candidate answers a question correctly, the next question will be more difficult than the last one and vice versa for a candidate who answers wrongly.
  • A candidate is ranked as per the numbers of answers he/she gets right, as well as GMAT exam's difficulty level, and the time taken on each GMAT exam section.
  • If a candidate answers several questions incorrectly in a row, then his/her GMAT score has a significant chance of lowering. 
  • There is a complicated, patented algorithm in place to assign the GMAT scores, that nobody knows.
  • GMAT score will also decrease notably with every unanswered question.

Officially, few options are available for GMAT exam pattern. A candidate can choose the order of sections when he/she attempts the GMAT exam.

  • Analytics Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, verbal (Original order).
  • Verbal, Quantitative Aptitude, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment.

Points to Remember

  • Students must answer all parts of a single question accurately to receive credit.
  • Candidates will not get any partial credit.
  • Candidates must submit responses to all parts of the question before moving on to a new question on other screens.
  • Answer option for one question cannot be used in solving other questions.
  • Candidates must keep in mind that the intended purpose of the GMAT exam is to predict student's performance in graduate business programs.  

GMAT Online Exam Pattern (Revised) 

The GMAT Online exam consists of 3 sections only i.e; Quantitative Aptitude, Verbal and Integrated Reasoning. The Analytical Writing Assessment section is cancelled for the GMAT Online. All the sections will contain the same number of questions and will have the same time limit to solve. They are as follows:

  • Quantitative Aptitude: 31 questions in 62 minutes
  • Verbal: 36 questions in 65 minutes
  • Integrated Reasoning: 12 questions in 30 minutes

Note: There will be 5 minute before the candidate begins the Integrated Reasoning Section and the order of the sections is fixed as shown above. The total exam time is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes with an additional 15 to 20 minutes for the proctor check-in and breaks.


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