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 GMAT Syllabus


The GMAT is a three and a half hour test carrying a maximum score of 800 points. The entire GMAT syllabus is divided into four broad sections:

1. AWA
2. IR
3. Quant
4. Verbal


Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

This is the first section of the GMAT and test takers need to finish this section in 30 minutes. This is an essay section where the test taker needs to write an analysis of the presented argument.

In the AWA section, the GMAT looks for

  • Your writing skills and abilities
  • Clarity and logic in your argument
  • Overall relevance of your essay with respect to the given topic

AWA is not counted towards the overall 200–800 score. Instead, the score range for AWA ranges from 0–6, with increments of 0.5.

0: Unscorable. An essay that is totally irrelevant or makes absolutely no sense.
1: Fundamentally deficient. An essay that has shows little to no reasoning and has numerous errors in language, grammar, spelling etc.
2: Seriously flawed. An essay that shows poor reasoning skills, does not develop ideas, is disorganized and has frequent problems in language, grammar, spelling etc.
3: Limited. An essay that shows some level of analysis, but misses most important points, and has some language, grammar and spelling errors.
4: Adequate. An acceptable analysis of the argument, but contains a few language, grammar or spelling errors.
5: Strong. A well-reasoned, well-organized critique of the argument with only minor writing flaws.
6: Outstanding. An excellent, well-articulated analysis that has few or no writing flaws.


Integrated Reasoning

Test takers will be given 30 minutes to finish the IR section on the GMAT. This section was added to the GMAT in June 2012. It requires a combination of both Verbal and Quant skills and is similar to the Data Interpretation (DI) section on the CAT.

The IR section consists of 12 questions of 4 types:

  • Multi source reasoning
  • Graphics interpretation
  • Table analysis
  • Two-part analysis

In the IR section, the GMAT looks for skills related to the following:

  • Deciphering relevant information presented in text, numbers, and graphics
  • Assessing appropriate information from different sources
  • Combining and arranging information to observe relationships among them and solving complex problems to arrive at a correct interpretation

Just like AWA, even IR is not counted towards the overall 200–800 score and is evaluated on the range of 1–8.

*In fact, neither AWA nor IR will make a big impact in your overall application and our advice is not to worry too much about these sections 🙂



In this section, you will be provided with 37 quant questions which need to be solved in 75 minutes.

Question types will be based on—

  • Problem solving (PS):  Questions given, and you need to calculate the answer.
  • Data Sufficiency (DS):  You need to interpret whether the given data is enough to solve a particular question.

The Quantitative section of the GMAT evaluates your fundamental mathematical skills and your caliber to reason quantitatively.

The various topics under Quant are as follows:



  • Number Systems & Number Theory
  • Multiples and factors
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percentages
  • Averages
  • Powers and roots
  • Profit & Loss
  • Simple & Compound Interest
  • Speed, Time, & Distance
  • Pipes, Cisterns, & Work Time
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Mixtures & Alligation
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Sets
  • Probability



  • Permutation & Combination
  • Monomials, polynomials
  • Algebraic expressions and equations
  • Functions
  • Exponents
  • Arithmetic & Geometric Progression
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Inequalities and Basic statistics



  • Lines and angles
  • Triangles
  • Quadrilaterals
  • Circles
  • Rectangular solids and Cylinders
  • Coordinate geometry



This is the third section on the GMAT. The test takers will be provided with 41 verbal questions which need to be solved in 75 minutes.

In the Verbal section of the GMAT, the test takers are assessed for—

  • Reading and understanding the written material
  • Reasoning out and appraising the arguments
  • Rectifying the written material in accordance with standard written English


Question types will be based on—

  • Reading Comprehension (RC):  You will be given a passage and you need to answer questions related to it.
  • Critical Reasoning (CR):  A short passage would be given. You need to find the premise, conclusion, assumption, etc.
  • Sentence Correction (SC):  A part of the sentence would be underlined and five options would be provided. You need to spot the error and mark the right option.



What is the order in which the sections appear on the test?

You can choose the order in which you want to take up the section before starting the sections. This is a recent change to the GMAT test structure. It was introduced in July 2017. We have done a detailed analysis of what this means to an Indian GMAT test-taker in the this blog

GMAT Section Selection – Everything you need to know



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