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Home » GMAT Syllabus: A Guide to Make You Study the Most Important Topics

GMAT Syllabus: A Guide to Make You Study the Most Important Topics

gmat syllabus

MBA students around the world take the GMAT entrance test to get into their dream universities. A good GMAT score can confirm your place in some of the most famous B-schools in the world. Top-ranked business schools around the world widely recognize scores on this standardized entrance test. A thorough and detailed understanding of the GMAT syllabus and exam pattern breakdown can increase your chances of scoring highly.

Do you know?

The GMAT Focus Edition 2023 is set to be released on 6 June 2023, with registrations opening on 29 August 2023. Testing for the Focus Edition will commence in Q4 of 2023. Candidates who are well-prepared for the current GMAT exam need not worry, as it will be available until early 2024. This allows candidates the option to register for both exam formats starting from 29 August 2023. Stay updated on the Latest Update section for further information on the GMAT Focus Edition.

An MBA degree offers the most promising career after technology and medicine. Management studies have a wide scope both in India and abroad as all businesses require good managers to function effectively. Pursuing an MBA abroad opens several opportunities for international students. They also get the opportunity to find permanent residence in countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United States of America.

Do you know what will be included in the GMAT syllabus? What question you will be asked from which section? Don’t worry! This post will give you a brief about the GMAT syllabus.

So, without further ado, let’s get started…

Overview of GMAT exam syllabus

GMAT exam pattern comprises of:

  1. Computer–adaptive exam, which means that upcoming questions get tougher if you keep getting answers right.
  2. There is no negative marking in the GMAT exam pattern.
  3. The GMAT score validity period is of 5 years.
  4. Is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes including 2 optional breaks of 8 minutes each.
  5. You can select your preferred order before starting the exam. Recently, GMAC announced the Select Section Order provision which will enable you to select the order of the sections in which you want to write your exam.
SectionsNumber of QuestionsDuration
Analytical WritingAnalysis of Argument30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning Section12 questions30 minutes
Quantitative Section37 questions (15 questions in Data Sufficiency and 22 in Problem-Solving)75 minutes
Verbal Section41 MCQs (12 Critical Reasoning, 14 Reading Comprehension, 15 Sentence Correction)75 minutes

NOTE: The test administrators may include an un-scored section as part of your test after the AWA section. It may include an ungraded identified research section at the end of the test.

Recent updates

In 2022, the GMAT Syllabus underwent revisions to better serve applicants. Notable changes include the inclusion of reflection questions and conversion questions in the math section. They introduced a new question type that incorporates terms like “both” and “neither.” The geometry section now encompasses coordinate geometry. The GMAT Online Exam has enhanced the addition of the GMAT AWA Section, offering a more comprehensive assessment. These modifications aim to provide a more robust and accurate evaluation for GMAT test-takers.

Now we are good to go! Let’s dive in to understand the exam syllabus of each section mentioned above…

GMAT Analytical Writing Syllabus

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section of the GMAT comprises two types of questions: Analysis of an argument and Analysis of an issue.

The GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) syllabus encompasses the following aspects:

Format and Duration:

  1. The AWA section consists of one essay task, either Analysis of an Argument or Analysis of an Issue.
  2. Test takers have 30 minutes to complete the essay.

Scoring Criteria:

  1. Essays are evaluated based on critical thinking, clarity of expression, and coherence of ideas.
  2. Scoring ranges from 0 to 6, in half-point increments.
  3. Human graders and a machine algorithm assess the essays, with potential adjustments if there is a discrepancy.

Tips for Improving AWA Performance:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the essay task types and practice writing responses within the time limit.
  2. Develop a clear thesis statement that directly addresses the prompt.
  3. Support your arguments with relevant examples, evidence, and logical reasoning.
  4. Focus on structuring your essay with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  5. Pay attention to grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure, aiming for clarity and coherence.

Types of Questions:

According to the official AWA GMAT syllabus 2023, a short argument (1 paragraph, that is, 1 to 5 sentences long) will be presented to you. You will be given the task of critically assessing the reasoning behind that argument. In this essay, you should not waste time offering your opinion of the issue in the argument. Instead, your answer must offer an assessment of the argument by evaluating the logic (or lack thereof) of the claims.

  1. Analysis of an Argument: Evaluate the logical soundness of an argument, considering the reasoning and supporting evidence presented.
  2. Analysis of an Issue: Express and defend your viewpoint on a given issue, supported by relevant arguments and examples.

GMAT Integrated Reasoning Syllabus

There are 4 types of questions in the Integrated Reasoning Section:

  1. Multi-Source Reasoning
  2. Table Analysis
  3. Graphics Interpretation
  4. 2-Part Analysis

Format and Duration

  1. The IR section consists of 12 questions to be completed in 30 minutes.
  2. It includes various question types presented in the form of tables, graphs, text passages, and multi-source reasoning.

Scoring Criteria

  1. The IR section is scored separately on a scale of 1 to 8.
  2. The score is based on the number of questions answered correctly, with partial credit given for partially correct responses.

Tips for Improving

To enhance performance in the IR section:

  1. Practice interpreting and analyzing data from different sources.
  2. Develop strategies for quickly identifying key information and relationships within complex sets of data.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the different question types and practice time management to ensure completion of all questions within the given time frame.

Types of Questions

The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT exam consists of four question types:

  1. Multi-Source Reasoning assesses your ability to analyze and compare data from various sources to answer multiple questions.
  2. Spreadsheet Analysis evaluates your skills in sorting and analyzing data tables to identify relevant information.
  3. Graph Interpretation measures your aptitude for interpreting graphs and graphical representations to conclude.
  4. Two-Part Analysis tests your problem-solving abilities by evaluating trade-offs, solving equations, and determining relationships between objects.

Each question type challenges different aspects of your analytical thinking and reasoning skills.

GMAT Quantitative Syllabus

The GMAT Quantitative (Quant) section assesses your mathematical skills and problem-solving abilities. Here is an overview of the GMAT Quant syllabus:

Format and Duration:

  1. The Quant section consists of 31 multiple-choice questions.
  2. You have 62 minutes to complete the section.
  3. The questions are divided into two types: Problem-Solving and Data Sufficiency.

Scoring Criteria:

  1. The Quant section is scored on a scale of 6 to 51.
  2. The score considers the number of questions answered correctly, the difficulty level of the questions, and the number of questions attempted.

Tips for Improving:

  1. Review and strengthen your foundational math skills in areas such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data interpretation.
  2. Solve a variety of GMAT-style questions to improve your problem-solving skills and speed.
  3. Learn effective approaches and shortcuts to solve questions efficiently.
  4. Review your incorrect answers and understand the underlying concepts or strategies you need to work on.
  5. Practice solving questions within the allocated time to improve your pacing during the actual exam.

Type of Questions:

  1. Problem-Solving: These questions assess your ability to solve quantitative problems using basic mathematical concepts.
  2. Data Sufficiency: These questions test your ability to determine whether the given data is sufficient to answer a problem.

GMAT Verbal Syllabus

The GMAT Verbal section evaluates your ability to comprehend written material, reason critically, and analyze arguments. Here’s an explanation of the GMAT Verbal syllabus:

Format and Duration:

  1. The Verbal section consists of 36 multiple-choice questions.
  2. You are given 65 minutes to complete the section.

Scoring Criteria:

  1. The Verbal section is scored on a scale of 6 to 51.
  2. The score considers the number of questions answered correctly, the difficulty level of the questions, and the time taken to complete the section.
  3. The score percentile indicates your performance relative to other test takers.

Types of Questions:

  1. Reading Comprehension: You’ll read a passage and answer questions related to the main idea, details, and inferences.
  2. Critical Reasoning: These questions assess your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments, identify assumptions, and draw logical conclusions.
  3. Sentence Correction: You’ll be presented with a sentence, or part of a sentence, containing an underlined portion. You must select the grammatically correct or most effective alternative.

Tips for Improving:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the question types and practice solving them regularly to improve your skills and speed.
  2. Read a variety of articles, newspapers, and magazines to improve comprehension and vocabulary.
  3. Practice analyzing arguments, identifying logical flaws, and drawing conclusions.
  4. Study grammar rules and practice identifying errors in sentence structure, verb tense, pronoun usage, etc.
  5. Learn to allocate time effectively for each question and avoid spending too much time on any one question.

GMAT Cut-Off

Each business school has its unique set of requirements for GMAT scores when considering candidates for admission. While some schools emphasize the overall GMAT score, others may set specific score requirements for individual sections. Generally, most top-ranked business schools worldwide set the average GMAT score around 700, which is considered a good score.

Harvard Business School, for instance, typically requires a GMAT score of 729 or higher for admission. The Rotman School of Management does not specify a GMAT cutoff, but candidates must have appeared for either the GRE or GMAT and submit their scores. Additionally, a minimum of two years of work experience in the finance sector is preferred.

At Stanford Graduate School of Business, the GMAT cutoff ranges from approximately 720 to 740. The class of 2023 had the highest average GMAT score of 733 among admitted students.

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania does not specify a GMAT cutoff, but the average GMAT score for the class of 2023 is 722, with a median score of 730.

NUS Business School, located in Singapore, had an average GMAT score of 670 for the class of 2023. It is worth noting that a significant majority of MBA program applicants at NUS are international students.

Please note that these cutoff scores and averages are intended to provide prospective applicants with a general understanding of the competitive landscape at these top business schools.

It’s a wrap!

Good to have you, finally, on this other side! Looking forward to getting admission to an esteemed business school of global repute? Hope we’ve been able to help you with most of the knowledge that you were asking for. We’ve just finished presenting to you all the details of the GMAT syllabus for MBA & other master’s courses, every question type of the GMAT subjects, and specific details about every topic covered in the GMAT exam syllabus. Nevertheless, do you need some handholding to get you through this? How about a discussion with our expert career counselors to study abroad with decades of experience concerning education in this field?

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Also, read:

  1. GMAT Exam Paper Pattern
  2. Crack the CAE Exam
  3. Advance Placement Exam
  4. GMAT vs CAT
  5. Crack MBA Entrance Exams
  6. MBA in USA without GMAT
  7. How to Prepare for GMAT Exam
  8. Looking For an MBA (Finance)
  9. GMAT Accepting Colleges in India
  10. GMAT vs. GRE
  11. TOEIC Exam


Is CAT and GMAT syllabus the same?

The syllabus of the CAT and GMAT is almost the same. However, the difficulty of the Quant GMAT section is much less than that of the CAT exam. Likewise, there are more types of questions in the oral portion of the GMAT. As for the duration of the exam, you must be patient.

What is the syllabus of the GMAT?

The GMAT Syllabus consists of topics such as Quantitative, Logical, and Verbal Reasoning in sections – Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Complex Reasoning. The GMAT exam also includes an Analytical Writing Assessment section that is not featured in the CAT exam.

Has the GMAT syllabus changed?

Changes to the new GMAT format were made only to the Quantitative and Verbal sections (scored out of 800). The remaining sections – Analytical Writing Section (AWA) and Integrated Reasoning (IR) remain completely unchanged.

Is it possible to complete the GMAT syllabus in 3 months?

Yes, remember that GMAT preparation takes time. Plan to spend about two to three months and 100-120 hours reviewing the material and practicing regularly. Top GMAT scorers spend an average of over 120 hours preparing for test day over some time.

Is the GMAT easy or difficult?

The difficulty level of the GMAT can vary for different individuals. The exam is designed to challenge and assess critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Adequate preparation, familiarity with the content, and practice can help test takers perform well on the GMAT.

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