GMAT Exam Pattern 2023 - Marking Scheme, Duration, Section-Wise Test Structure

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Aarushi Jain
Updated on Feb 28, 2023 11:25 PM IST

GMAT exam is a Computer Adaptive Test that is divided into four sections - Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. According to GMAC, the GMAT exam is a trusted and preferred element of the admissions process for over 7,000 business and management programmes worldwide.

The GMAT exam consists of 80 questions that must be answered in 3 hours and 7 minutes. This exam gives test takers a variety of different topics to try across quantitative, logical reasoning, and verbal reasoning sections. The GMAT score varies from 200 to 800. Before completing GMAT Registration and booking your favourable slot for the exam, it is highly important for test takers to understand the GMAT exam pattern and section-wise exam format details.

Highlights of the GMAT Exam 2023

The GMAT Exam's worldwide character implies that competition among candidates is fierce. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the test administrator, determines the GMAT exam design. The table below contains additional information on the GMAT exam 2023 and the GMAT exam pattern.

Name of the Exam

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

Official GMAT Website

Exam Organizer

Graduate Management Admission Council

Section Division


Total Number of Questions


Score Range


Average score range


Language Medium


Mode of Examination

Computer Based

Negative Marking


Exam Duration

3 hours 7 minutes

GMAT Exam Pattern 2023 Overview

Candidates preparing for the test must first understand the GMAT exam pattern as specified by GMAC in order to gain a better understanding of the GMAT exam format, type of questions asked, level of difficulty, and time allocated to each question.

The GMAT exam pattern is also designed to analyse various skills of candidates like critical thinking ability, analytical thinking ability, verbal communication and English language skills as demonstrated below: 

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA): This AWA section is used to measure the analytical thinking abilities of the candidate and their abilities to communicate ideas.

  • Integrated Reasoning: The IR section presents data and information in multiple formats. The candidate’s abilities to analyse data and information are explored in this section.

  • Quantitative Reasoning Section: This quantitative section is used to measure the critical thinking abilities of the candidate. The candidate needs to analyse the data and draw conclusions from it. 

  • Verbal Reasoning Section: The verbal section is used to analyse the English Language skills of the candidate. The candidate will have to read and understand paragraphs and answer the questions. 

The GMAT has a score range of 200 to 800. On average, candidates receive scores ranging from 400 to 500. For instance, a score of 760 or above on your exam equals a 99 percentile. 

Want to Know About Universities Accepting 700+ on the GMAT?

GMAT Exam Pattern and Section-Wise Distribution of Questions

The section-wise distribution of questions in GMAT online and GMAT exam 2023, according to the latest exam pattern, is highlighted clearly in the table tabulated below:

Exam Section

Number of Questions

Time Limit

Score Range

Verbal Reasoning


65 minutes

6 - 51

Quantitative Reasoning


62 minutes

6 - 51

Integrated Reasoning


30 minutes

1 - 8

Analytical Writing Assessment

30 minutes

0 - 6



3 hours 7 minutes

200 - 800

Note: The accompanying table shows that each of the four sections of the GMAT test has its own set of questions and durations. Test takers can pick the sequence or order in which they wish to attempt the sections, before taking the GMAT. Based on their skills and preferences, the applicant must make a well-informed decision.

GMAT Online Exam Pattern 2023

Launched during the pandemic, GMAT Online Exam is an initiative by the GMAC authority to allow the candidates easy and comfortable access to the exam in trying times. However, the exam pattern for GMAT Online test remains the same as the offline mode, which includes:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

  • Integrated Reasoning

  • Quantitative

  • Verbal

There are certain features which make GMAT online exam more preferred for the candidates:

  • AWA section has some questions related to critical thinking as well other than analytical writing ones.

  • Candidates are at ease and in control to choose the ‘section order’ which is most suitable for them.

  • There are two 8 minutes optional breaks available.

  • When the exam completes the candidates are able to view their unofficial scores and have the option to accept or cancel the scores.

  • Candidates have an option of scheduling the GMAT online 6 months in advance. The registration is available on a rolling basis.

Check out the following articles on the GMAT exam:

What is a Good GMAT Score & How is it Calculated? How to Score a Perfect 800 on GMAT?
How to Prepare for GMAT Online Exam? GMAT Percentiles Guide - What Your Score Means?

GMAT Exam Section Order

GMAC launched Select Section Order in July 2017, allowing students to tailor their GMAT exam experience by allowing them to pick the section order they want to use during the exam. As a result, you have control over your test-taking experience. Candidates can now select one of three part ordering alternatives for the exam as mentioned below:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal

  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

Order 1

Order 2

Order 3

Analytical Writing Assessment


Verbal Reasoning


Quantitative Reasoning

Integrated Reasoning

Optional 8-Minute Break


Quantitative Reasoning


Quantitative Reasoning


Verbal Reasoning

Optional 8-Minute Break


Verbal Reasoning

Integrated Reasoning

Integrated Reasoning

Analytical Writing Assessment

Analytical Writing Assessment

What Does 'GMAT is Computer Adaptive' Mean?

If you have been thinking about taking the GMAT, you have probably heard the term 'computer adapted test (CAT)' but do you fully understand what it implies, especially in relation to the GMAT? Understanding how CATs function will help you significantly boost your GMAT score. It allows you to approximate your performance in real-time, help in the development of your test-taking strategy, and much more.

Computerized adaptive testing (CAT) is a type of computer-based examination that adapts to the aptitude level of the examinee. As a result, it is also known as customised testing. In other words, it is a type of computer-administered exam in which the next item or group of questions picked for administration is determined by the accuracy of the test taker's replies to the most recent things delivered. A CAT picks questions sequentially to maximise test precision based on what is known about the examinee from prior questions. The complexity of the test appears to adjust to the examinee's level of competence, according to the examinee.

For instance, the question that you receive about verbal reasoning or quantitative reasoning is of medium difficulty level. As you answer the questions, the computer scores your answer and makes use of it and any other previous question to determine the next question for you. If your first answer is correct, the computer will give you difficult questions and if you answer wrongly then you will get an easier question. This process continues throughout the test and in this way, the computer assesses your performance.

As a result of the foregoing, we may infer that the GMAT is a test of ability as it works on the cognitive abilities of the candidates. It adjusts to the test taker's skill level, which is indicated by the right answers to previous questions. Also, you should remember that you will not be able to skip, change or return to the questions as your responses are used to determine the next question.

GMAT Exam Marking System

The GMAT exam scores and scoring system guide your next steps toward business school and play an important role in the admissions process.

Your Official Score Report contains different interpretations of your exam results. Your exam results (Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment, and Total) are provided on a predetermined scale with a percentile rating. Also, the exam scores are valid for five years. Here are a few things to remember about the GMAT marking system:

  • The GMAT algorithm calculates the candidate's performance on the AWA and the Integrated Reasoning parts individually.

  • The Verbal and Quantitative scores range from 0 to 60.

  • A typical candidate's score ranges from 9 to 45 in verbal and 7 to 50 in Quantitative.

  • The Verbal and Quantitative results cannot be compared.

  • The GMAT exam is a computer adaptive test, which implies that if a candidate properly answers a question, the following question will be more difficult than the previous one, and vice versa for a candidate who incorrectly answers.

  • A candidate is rated based on the number of correct answers, the difficulty level of the exam, and the time spent on each exam section.

  • If a candidate answers multiple questions wrong in a go, his or her scores are likely to suffer.

  • Nobody knows what complex, proprietary method is used to award scores.

  • With each unanswered question, the score will drop significantly.

Given below is a sample score report of the exam briefing about the minimum and maximum score ranges of each GMAT exam section, along with a mean average:



Mean Scores

Scoring System 

Quantitative Reasoning



Scores are provided in 1-point increments, with a 3-point standard error of measurement.

Verbal Reasoning



Scores are provided in 1-point increments, with a 3-point standard error of measurement.

Integrated Reasoning



Scores are provided in 1-point increments.

Analytical Writing Assessment



Scores are presented in 0.5 intervals.

Total Score



Scores are provided in 10-point increments. The standard measurement error is 30-40 points.

Enhanced Home GMAT Scoring Scheme 2023

The GMAT home variation evaluation technique is the same as the GMAT test centre variant. It employs the same score scaling method, increments, and total score as the latter, and it also assures that the student's compatibility and comfort with the online GMAT exam is comparable to that of the test-based GMAT exam. Applicants are also given the option of taking the GMAT online examinations again and uploading their scores to as many business schools as feasible. You may also choose the best of the two scores to send to business schools. If you opt to take an online exam and it does not work for you, you may always return to the GMAT offline mode.

It should be noted that the online exam results will not be included in the official score report for the test centre-based GMAT. You may:

  • Use both real and virtual whiteboards (discussed in detail in the later part of this article).

  • Arrange an exam a day in advance of the available testing times.

  • Arrange a test for any time of day.

  • To take the GMAT, you can use any operating system. The At Home version of the GMAT is compatible with Microsoft Windows, Linux, Unix, MAC OS, and other operating systems. You can even use it on your phone.

  • All of your b-school requirements may be met safely and easily from home.

Using Whiteboard During GMAT 2023

For the current year, candidates will have the option of using a physical whiteboard, online whiteboard, or both according to their preferences on the exam day. Appointments will include the option to use a physical whiteboard for the GMAT Online exam and the registrants will review and ensure their whiteboard preference meets the required specifications and that they have a functional eraser, dry erase marker, or eraser. Candidates who tested without access to the physical whiteboard will be permitted to test again, should they choose to do so.

During the GMAT Online Exam, the whiteboard will also give you the provision to do the following:

  • Enter text via the text box (copy/paste from the exam questions into the board).

  • Draw lines and shapes.

  • Pan across the whiteboard, and zoom in and out in order to use different areas for your work on the same whiteboard screen.

  • Erase or clear to start something new.

  • Resize or move the whiteboard around your screen.

Note: Candidates who have a touchscreen laptop may not use their finger, a stylus or other writing apparatus to use the whiteboard. The online whiteboard cannot be used with a connection pad or writing tablet or dual monitors.

Wish to Get into a Top B-School Abroad?

FAQs on GMAT Exam Pattern

Is Integrated Reasoning a computer-adaptive section in the GMAT exam pattern?

No, the Integrated Reasoning scoring scheme is in line with the new GMAT exam pattern or format. However, this is not a computer-adaptive section. All of the questions are multiple-choice. The IR part was added to the GMAT test syllabus in 2012 as a separate node of assessment for all of the major B-Schools in order to boost a candidate's chances of being shortlisted by the university. The IR scores have no bearing on the key parts of the test, which are Quant, AWA, and Verbal. The scores will be calculated individually and distributed to the test takers.

Does the IR score affect the overall GMAT score as per the latest GMAT exam pattern?

The Integrated Reasoning section is scored from 1 to 8 in 1-point increments. The score is reported separately and is not included in the 200-800 score. Similarly to the AWA section, the score is reported separately. It is made up of 12 questions of four different types. Some of the questions in this section may have several sub-questions. To receive full credit for such questions, you must correctly answer all sub-questions. If you answer any of the sub-questions incorrectly, you will not receive partial credit for the question.

How is the Quantitative Reasoning score calculated as per the latest GMAT Exam Pattern?

According to the most recent GMAT Exam Pattern, the Quantitative Reasoning section score is based on the following factors:

  • Number of questions one attempt
  • Number of questions one answers correctly
  • Other parameters around the questions

A computer adaptive testing system (CAT) is used in this section. As a result, the test taker who properly answers the most questions qualifies for this section with a high score.

How is the Verbal Reasoning score calculated as per the latest GMAT Exam Pattern?

The number of questions you answer, whether your answers are correct, and the difficulty and other parameters of the questions you answered all contribute to your Verbal Reasoning score. Scores for Verbal Reasoning range from 0 to 60. Verbal Reasoning section scores of nine or higher are uncommon. The GMAT total score includes the Verbal Reasoning score as well.

Is the GMAT Exam Pattern computer adaptive?

Yes, the GMAT exam pattern or the GMAT test is computer adaptive. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative components of the GMAT format are computer-adaptive, out of the four sections of the GMAT exam format. It signifies that the test's difficulty level varies depending on the test taker's competence. This feature enables the test to analyze the candidate's abilities with pinpoint accuracy. This is why business schools rely on GMAT test scores to admit applicants.

Is the GMAT Exam Pattern the same as the GMAT at home Exam Pattern?

Yes, the computer-based GMAT Exam Pattern or the test-based GMAT exam pattern is the same as the GMAT at-home Exam Pattern. The exam evaluates your verbal, quantitative as well as analytical thinking skills that are a must to pursue post-graduation in business, management and other relevant fields of study.

How many questions are asked in GMAT's Integrated Reasoning?

A total of 12 questions will be based on Integrated Reasoning under GMAT. The same has to be answered within 30 minutes.

What is the GMAT section order in the GMAT Exam Pattern?

GMAC introduced Select Section Order in July 2017, allowing students to tailor their exam experience by allowing them to choose the section order they want to use during the exam. Candidates can now select one of the three-part ordering alternatives for the exam:

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

Are calculators allowed in the GMAT exam as per the latest GMAT Exam Pattern?

No, calculators are allowed in the GMAT exam as per the latest GMAT Exam Pattern. Candidates are not permitted to carry calculators; however, calculators with basic capability are given for the Integrated part.

Is there any negative marking in GMAT as per the latest GMAT Exam Pattern?

No, not at all! There is no negative marking in the GMAT exam 2022. Since the GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, the level of each question is determined by the candidate's response to the preceding question. The GMAT exam has no negative marking scheme and the exam takers are not penalized with negative markings for their incorrect responses or answers. However, it is important that you complete the exam and answer all questions within the time limit, or your marks may suffer.

Are there any changes in the GMAT Exam Pattern for 2022?

The GMAT exam pattern for 2022 is the same as the exam pattern for the GMAT 2020. Hence, there is no change in the exam pattern of the GMAT exam for the year 2022. However, students must check and get familiar with the section-wise GMAT exam pattern and syllabus before booking the GMAT exam date to give the test.

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