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GMAT Test Structure, Question Formats, and Time Limits

This page provides an overview of the format and structure of the revised GMAT (launched in 2012). It also provides a description of each exam section. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the exam's overall structure, as well as with the exam's procedural aspects, before you sit for the actual exam.

Exam Structure, Number of Questions, and Time Limits

The revised computer-based GMAT consists of four timed test sections and two optional timed breaks. The overall exam structure is shown below. For descriptions of the exam's components, click on the links or scroll down.

NOTE: Different question types within the Quantitative and Verbal sections are intermingled rather than grouped separately.

The Revised GMAT — Exam Structure
(Total testing time: 3 hrs., 30 min.)

AWA—Analysis of an Argument (30 minutes, 1 essay)

Integrated Reasoning (30 minutes, 12 questions)

Timed break (optional)

Quantitative Section (75 minutes, 37 questions)

  • Problem Solving (23-24 questions)
  • Data Sufficiency (13-14 questions)

Timed break (optional)

Verbal Section (75 minutes, 41 questions)

  • Sentence Correction (14-15 questions)
  • Critical Reasoning (14-15 questions)
  • Reading Comprehension (4 passages, 12-14 questions)

AWA—Analysis of an Argument (30 minutes, 1 essay topic)

During this exam section you'll compose an essay in which you critique a one-paragraph argument in terms of both its logical cogency and the strength of the evidence used to support it. The testing system will select your Argument-Analysis prompt randomly from a large pool; you won't be able to choose among prompts.

To record your response you must use the word processor built into the testing system. Handwritten responses are not allowed.

The Integrated-Reasoning Section

The revised GMAT exam introduces a new 30-minute section called Integrated Reasoning. This newest section is designed to gauge your ability to interpret, analyze and evaluate textual and graphical information presented in realistic, business-related formats. Test takers are awarded a separate score for this new section, on a 0-8 scale — as distinguished from the 0-60 scale used for the Quantitative and Verbal sections.

The Quantitative Section (75 minutes, 37 questions)

This multiple-choice section is designed to measure your basic math, algebra and geometry skills, your understanding of basic quantitative concepts, and your ability to reason quantitatively, solve quantitative problems and interpret graphical data. Each Quantitative question will conform to one of two different formats: either Problem Solving or Data Sufficiency (questions in the two formats are intermingled):

Problem Solving (23-24 questions): Questions in this format require you to work to a solution, which will appear among the five answer choices.

Data Sufficiency (13-14 questions): Each question in this format consists of a question followed by two statements (labeled 1 and 2). Your task is to determine whether the information provided in the two statements suffices to answer the question. The five answer choices are the same for each and every Data-Sufficiency question.

The Verbal Section (75 minutes, 41 questions)

This multiple-choice section includes the following three different question types, which are intermingled rather than grouped separately. Every Verbal question comes with five answer choices.

Sentence Correction (14-15 questions): These questions are designed to gauge you command of the English language and the conventions of standard written English, including grammar, syntax (sentence structure) and diction — but not punctuation. For each question your task is to determine which among five versions of a sentence is the best example of proper grammar and effective expression.

Critical Reasoning (14-15 questions): These questions are designed to gauge your ability to understand, critique, and draw reasonable conclusions from arguments. Each argument is presented in a brief (one- or two-paragraph) passage of text.

Reading Comprehension (12-14 questions): These questions are designed to measure your ability to read carefully and accurately, to determine the relationships among the various parts of a reading passage, and to draw reasonable inferences from the information in the passage. The questions are presented in sets of 3-4, each set based on the same 150 to 350-word passage of text.

The Two Timed Breaks

The GMAT testing system provides two timed breaks:

  • The first break comes after Section 2 (Integrated Reasoning) — i.e., after 60 minutes of actual exam time.

  • The second break comes after Section 3 (the Quantitative section) — i.e., after another 75 minutes of actual exam time.

Both breaks are optional; you may terminate either break at any time and proceed to the next test section.

Immediately after each timed break the next test section will automatically begin. So if you take too long a break, the additional time will be deducted from the next test section.