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All about GMAT Exam: Exam Portion, Paper Pattern, Main Dates, Result , approach to prepare, cut-offs etc.

Every aspirant interested in the Business Management domain internationally would be familiar with the “GMAT Exam”. GMAT (Graduate Management Entrance Test) is one of the few examinations around the world which are stratified routes leading students  to the ground of world’s leading business institutions. Out of all the top universities in the world, more than 2300 universities grant admission into 7000 postgraduate courseworks based on GMAT scores of the candidates. Collocated by the leader of management education, i.e GMAC, GMAT is an online CBT (Computer-based) and system-adaptive exam which evaluates the pedagogical threshold of students to match the intent of the b-schools relying on it’s prediction. GMAT is delivered in a normalized manner around the world to ensure fair and unbiased practices. The leading questions in GMAT are framed neutrally to capture the candidate's analytical abilities and performance accuracy.

In the last 5 years, the average GMAT scores of indian applicants have been more than candidates from all across the globe. This means that despite being one of the most expensive and challenging examinations, candidates in our country understand the relevance of scoring well in GMAT. A good GMAT score can not only fetch you your choicest masters program from a targeted university, but the scores can also help amp up your curriculum vitae and grant you your dream job. This article provides summarized information about GMAT examination and helps a candidate prepare amicably to score well as long as hard work and consistency is in check. Remember, if you are given six hours to chop off a tree, you should spend one hour sharpening the axe you’d use.

Let’s delve into the article by visiting the utmost reef of the GMAT island i.e GMAT exam pattern.


GMAT paper  pattern is one of the preliminary elements to study  if a candidate is planning to take GMAT. In 2020, GMAT was conducted in an online proctored mode due to restrictive covid-19 norms.  This means a candidate can appear for GMAT from their home. In addition to this, GMAC had also permitted the usage of “physical whiteboards” in place of “online whiteboard” for the sake of candidate’s convenience.  This exam is  available for the candidates round the year. All you need to do is register on the official website and book a slot of your choice. Students should however, keep in mind to register 90 days before the release of applications of the institute you seek to qualify for. This will leave you with enough time to prepare for the examination and stipulate all the documents needed i.e a a government identity proof, SOP( Statement of Purpose), Resume, GTE (Genuine Entrance Evaluation), video essay, academic mark sheets and work experience proofs. Those with work experience will be required to submit additional documents i.e salary certificate of current organization, salary slips, relieving letter, ITR (Income Tax Returns) documents and Account information. The submission of these documents are to be taken seriously by a candidate as in any case, it is a privilege to pursue an MBA in an international university and their economic standpoints need to be ascertained.

Here is a descriptive prototype of GMAT paper pattern :

Section Time Limit Number of Questions Question Types Score Range
Analytical Writing Assessment 30 minutes 1 question Analysis of an Argument 0-6
(in 0.5-point increments)
Integrated Reasoning 30 minutes 12 questions Graphics Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis 1-8
(in 1-point increments)
Quantitative Reasoning 62 minutes 31 questions Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving 6-51
(in 1-point increments)
Verbal Reasoning 65 minutes 36 questions Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction 6-51
(in 1-point increments)

GMAT Paper Pattern : Things to Recall

Before applying for GMAT Exam, here is a simple set of rules that you need to follow:

  • GMAT usually starts with questions of moderate and common difficulty level for each candidate pursuing GMAT.
  • GMAT’s two major sections i.e Verbal Ability and Quantitative Reasoning are “computer adaptive” or “tailored”.  This means, The test responds as per the  candidate’s capabilities to answer questions. If a candidate answers a question correctly, the next question will be a notch higher in terms of complexity and if a candidate answers incorrectly, the next question will be simpler than the previous one.

  • The process continues till the candidate completes the paper and submits it. Based on the candidate’s answer, and IMS QTI specification, the system will evaluate the final score of the candidate.

  • Answering all the questions is a compulsion. Once submitted, the candidate cannot change the answers.

Now, it is about time for us to understand the important dates pertaining to GMAT exam

GMAT Exam Dates

Registering for GMAT can be done at any given date and time of a year. The dates are not bound specifically to the guidelines of GMAC, but open to the convenience of the candidates. The unofficial result report is handed over on the same day and the official test report arrives within a turnaround of 20 days. You can know more about GMAT report cards by visiting the official website of GMAC.

For 2021, candidates can  register on the official GMAC portal in a perennial manner. The GMAT exam pattern for 2021 is expected to be on the lines of GMAT 2020. However, GMAT is known to throw in surprises every year. GMAT testing through an exam center had been withheld in various countries in 2020, as per the safety measures announced by GMAC.

GMAT Important Dates can also be categorized in two parts, registration and exam date. Both the windows are open throughout the year and can be booked at the candidate’s disposal. During registration, you will be given a calendar where you can check the available slots for taking the test. Below is the information regarding how many GMAT attempts can you officially make : 

Exam  Duration (Fixed)
Time Stretch between Successive Attempts of GMAT Sixteen Days 
Possible GMAT attempts  Five 
Overall Possible GMAT attempts Eight 

Read in detail : When to take GMAT? 

What is the registration Fee associated with GMAT Exam?

The registration fees for GMAT can be as high as US $250 i.e Rs 18315.25 in India. However, GMAC will be announcing a reduction in the GMAT application fees soon. 

More info will be available on this page 

GMAT Exam Portion

GMAT is mostly  taken by the candidates who are looking to associate themselves with the world's  leading universities, as management graduates (MBA) or Masters in Management (MIM). The acceptability of GMAT scores is way more than any other aptitude test. 

Getting informed about the GMAT exam portion or syllabus progresses a candidate’s solving instincts and helps them develop familiarity with their strengths and weaknesses. The GMAT syllabus is built of four blocks in all which resembles other aptitude screening examinations.

Read in detail about GMAT syllabus by clicking on this page.

GMAT Eligibility Criteria

Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is conducted by Graduate Management Aptitude Council (GMAC) and is open to candidates from around the world. However, a candidate’s eligibility should be ascertained before registering for GMAT. In addition, The eligibility criteria of GMAT should always be considered keeping in mind the eligibility criteria of your preferred B school. If you match the GMAT requirements but fail to match the eligibility of your targeted business program, you will be denied to take admission, no matter how good your GMAT scores are. Generally students above the age of 18 are authorized to appear for GMAT. Candidates between the age group 13-17 can also take GMAT along with a parental undertaking.

Here is an accurate portrayal of GMAT eligibility : GMAT Eligibility Criteria

GMAT Hall Ticket

This year, students appearing for GMAT will be getting a confirmation letter in place of the regular admit card. The confirmation letter can be downloaded from the website Candidates are also advised to carry a printout of the confirmation letter on the D-day.Components of the letter are going to be as follows :

  • Candidate’s name 
  • Exam center 
  • Exam Date  
  • Exam time 
  • Authorized Signatory
  • Candidate Signature
  • Instructions/Guidelines to follow

GMAT Exam : Section Wise Score Interpretation

The official GMAT exam scorecard can be downloaded from the official website 20 days post the exam. 

Score  Range  Score interpretation 
Total Score  200–800 
(Increment of 10) 
Raw score is calculated based on your achieved scores in the Verbal and the quant section and then converted to a number within the scoring range. 
Quantitative Score  0–60 
(Increment of 1) 
The scores are based on the number of questions you answer and the difficulty level of each question. Answer one question correctly and you will be qualified for the next question of a higher difficulty level. 
Verbal Score  0–60 
(Increment of 1) 
Unlike verbal, it is an adaptive section of the paper. Score is calculated based on the number of questions you answer correctly and the difficulty of the questions
Integrated Reasoning  1–8  (Increment of 1)  Based on no of rightly answered questions. Some specific questions may have more than one sub part, so you are required to correctly answer all the sub-parts in order to receive credit. 
Analytical Writing Assessment  0–6 
(Increment of 0.5) 
Each essay is scored twice, once manually and once by the test administrator. Average is calculated based on two individual scores and are presented in an increment of 0.5 

Understand all about what is a good GMAT score 

GMAT Exam: Availability of Results

Candidates can check their GMAT result within 20 days post examination. They can preview their score card and will be allotted a time limit of 2 minutes to decide whether they wish to submit their attempt and report the scores or cancel it and retake a fresh attempt. If the candidate accepts the result, the score card would be reported to the university for the required application build up. The unofficial result report is  available for download on the same day.

Candidates would be able to log in to their GMAC account and check the result after 20 days of their test submission. The authority would be eligible to send the hard copy of the score card via post as well. It will contain details like last five years' score report and writing assessment scores. 

Read in Detail

Where do you need to go to give GMAT?

GMAT has a global platform and has substituted exam centers all over the world. Candidates can choose to write in any place/country/city that hosts the GMAT exam. Almost all the top business schools across the world be it United States, Europe, Asia, etc., accept GMAT scores as a qualifying criterion for admission into the MBA (Master of Business Administration) or MIM (Masters in Management) courseworks.

Note : if you are planning to give GMAT 2021, it is remotely possible that the exam will be held in an online proctored mode and can be easily taken from home. 


GMAT Exam cut off varies depending on the difficulty level, number of candidates writing the exam, seat vacancies, average scores, and more. Although GMAT exam's minimum/maximum score isn't set on stone, a candidate with a score of 715 and above is considered a good score for top 10 universities. 

  • The total GMAT score ranges from 200-800, and based on an average estimate, two-thirds of the candidates sitting for the GMAT exam obtain a score of 400 to 600.  

  • Although GMAT exam's minimum/maximum score isn't set on stone, a candidate with a score of 715 and above is considered a good score for top 10 universities. 

  • GMAT score of 760+ ranks a candidate at above 99 percentile. The table below is a list of some of the top B-schools' minimum cut-off requirement for admission eligibility. 

International Entrance Exams other than GMAT

GMAT exam is majorly opted for the pursuit of MBA/MIM programmes from established international universities. Top MIM universities in Europe and Top MBA universities in the U.S accept GMAT scores for their STEM as well as non STEM programmes, provided the candidate attains the required GMAT cut off and fulfills all the requisites of the targeted b-school. Other possible contenders for accepted entrance exams will be IELTS & TOEFL, PTE, TOEFL, SAT, GRE etc. Other than GMAT or IELTS which are traditionally popular tests accepted by international b-schools as well as the immigration authorities of the respective countries, some b-schools have started to consider GRE scores as a critical component of admission into their masters or fellowship courses. 

Read in detail about the battle of GMAT vs GRE : Which IE exam should you take?

Best Practices to follow in order to ace GMAT

It is extremely important for every candidate to plan and strategize for their GMAT Exam attempt. Preparing blindly without thinking about how it would help in the exam is a matter of risk and is not the way one should approach their GMAT Preparation. One of the first things that every candidate should be doing is letting some steam off. This  allows candidates to be in a much more relaxed phase and set a target score. Based on this score, the target areas for preparation can also be decided.  Staying relaxed, tracking your own progress and practicing mocks each week allows the candidate to assess his weakest areas and eliminate them. This is bound to increase the chances of cracking the exam and leaves very less room for blunders or surprises on the day of the exam. Familiarity with each section, the type of questions, will lead to a much better understanding of how to answer the questions without fretting. 

Also Read : How to prepare for GMAT while working

 Want to crack GMAT in one go? We hear you.  Joining GMAT online classes today will help discover a new way of learning even from far away. Consult our experts to get suitable information regarding the course context.


All the best!
Team CL

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