MUST HAVE 15 GMAT full-length tests with video explanations, rigorous analytics, 200+ conceptual videos, and a set of 12 sentence correction e-books. $50!

INQUIRE
INQUIRE

GMAT Syllabus for 2020 – 2021 Exam | Stepwise Illustration

GMAT Syllabus for 2020 – 2021 Exam | Stepwise Illustration

 
GMAT is a 3.5 hours long online examination consisting of 4 main sections, namely, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), and Integrated Reasoning (IR). It is a computer-adaptive test, scored on the range of 200 – 800 points. However, only the scores obtained in the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections contribute to the total GMAT score; the scores obtained in the AWA and IR sections are provided independently and do not contribute to the total GMAT score. While this article shall delve into the GMAT syllabus and structure in great detail, you may want to experience the test firsthand by taking free full-length GMAT mock test.

What is on the GMAT? – The GMAT Exam Structure

 
The following table provides a brief overview of what is on the GMAT

Test Section No. of Questions Type of Questions Time Scoring
Quantitative Reasoning 31 Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving 62 minutes 6 to 51 (in 1 point increment)
Verbal Reasoning 36 Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction 65 minutes 6 to 51 (in 1 point increment)
Analytical Reasoning Assessment (AWA) 1 Analysis of an Argument 30 minutes 0 to 6 (in 0.5 point increment)
Integrated Reasoning (IR) 12 Graphic Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis 30 minutes 1 to 8 (in 1 point increment)

Source: mba.com

You can learn a great deal about GMAT and start your preparation by downloading our free GMAT app (Android as well as iOS) for tons of free learning videos, exercises, and e-books!

Quantitative Reasoning

GMAT tests the test-taker’s ability to analyze data and arrive at workable conclusions through a mix of types of questions in the Quantitative Reasoning section. The type of questions asked in the GMAT Quant section may be classified into two broad categories, namely, Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving. Let us briefly examine each of these types of questions.

Data Sufficiency

The Data Sufficiency questions require the test-taker to apply their knowledge of basic algebra, arithmetic, and geometry to determine if the provided data is sufficient to solve the given problem. Specifically, a Data Sufficiency question will be in the following format:

A problem statement accompanied by two statements that suggest data to solve the problem is provided. The question is followed by 5 options that suggest if either of the statements alone can solve the problem, if both the statements together can solve the problem, if both the statements together are insufficient to solve the problem, and if only 1 statement alone can solve the problem while the other statement alone cannot solve the problem.

Problem Solving

The Problem Solving questions require the test-takers to apply their knowledge of basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry to select the best answer from the provided answer choices. A Problem Solving question will be in the form of mathematical problems or provided as a real-life situation that requires the application of pure mathematics for the situation to be resolved. The test-taker is to select the right answer from the provided 5 answer choices. Usually, the numbers used in the questions are real numbers and the figures, if not otherwise stated, are drawn to scale.

The GMAT Quant section is scored on a range of 6 to 51, with 1-point increments. This section is computer-adaptive, that is, with every correct response, the level of difficulty of the exam increases. Importantly, GMAT does not allow the test-taker to use a calculator to answer the Quant section.

Following the 2017 update in format, GMAT asks only 31 questions in the Quant section and allows only 62 minutes to complete the section. The mean GMAT Quant score, calculated for the period Jan, 2015 – Dec, 2017, is 39.93.

To be able to perform in this section, one must be thoroughly acquainted with the GMAT Quant syllabus. GMAT does not exclusively provide any syllabus for the Quant section. However, we have identified an exhaustive list of mathematical concepts that will help the test-taker comfortably complete the GMAT Quant section.

Syllabus for GMAT Quantitative Reasoning Section

A test-taker must be acquainted with the following concepts to be able to answer the Quantitative Reasoning section on GMAT:

  • Even and Odd
  • Last Digit
  • Factors
  • Factorials
  • Terminating and Re-occurring Fractions
  • Remainders
  • LCM and HCF
  • Surds and Indices
  • Sets
  • Percentages
  • Mixtures
  • Alligation
  • Ratio-Proportion Variation
  • Profit and Loss
  • Interest
  • Statistics
  • Simple and Quadratic Equations
  • Inequations- based on Factorization
  • Inequations- based on Modulus
  • Inequations- based on Signs
  • Inequations- based on 1 to 1
  • Work
  • Time – Speed – Distance
  • Geometry
  • Solids
  • Co-ordinate Geometry
  • Permutations and Combinations
  • Probability
  • Functions
  • Sequences and Series

Verbal Reasoning

GMAT tests the test-taker’s ability to read, comprehend, and analyze written information through a mix of types of questions in the Verbal Reasoning section.

The GMAT Verbal section is scored on a range of 6 to 51, with 1-point increments. This section is computer-adaptive, that is, with every correct response, the level of difficulty of the exam increases. Following the 2017 update in format, GMAT asks only 36 questions in the Verbal section and allows only 65 minutes to complete the section. The mean GMAT Verbal score, calculated for the period Jan, 2015 – Dec, 2017, is 27.04.

The type of questions asked in the GMAT Verbal section may be classified into three broad categories, namely, Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. Let us briefly examine each of these three categories, below:

Sentence Correction

The Sentence Correction questions on GMAT analyze the test-taker’s ability to ensure that a sentence maintains the standard norms of the English language. Thus, the test-taker’s proficiency in framing grammatically correct sentences and ensuring that the intended idea is effectively conveyed through the sentence is tested. A Sentence Correction question is usually in the following format:

A long sentence is provided and either a part of the sentence or the entire sentence is underlined. The test-taker is to determine if the underlined sentence confirms to the standard English grammar norms or not. The test-taker is to select the answer from a list of 5 answer choices, of which the 1st answer choice is the same as the originally underlined portion of the sentence.

To be able to perform in this section, one must be thoroughly acquainted with the syllabus for the Sentence Correction questions in the GMAT Verbal Reasoning section. GMAT does not exclusively provide any syllabus for the Verbal section. However, we have identified an exhaustive list of the basic concepts in the English language that will help the test-taker comfortably complete the GMAT Verbal section.

Syllabus for GMAT Verbal Reasoning Section – Sentence Correction

A test-taker must be acquainted with the following concepts to be able to answer the Sentence Correction questions in the Verbal Reasoning section on GMAT:

  • Modifiers
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Pronouns
  • Parallelism
  • Comparison
  • Tenses
  • Idioms
  • Redundancy

Reading Comprehension

As the name suggests, the Reading Comprehension questions on GMAT analyze the test-taker’s ability to read and comprehend information. Typically, the test-taker’s ability to understand the broad idea that the author wishes to communicate through the passage is assessed. The test-taker must be proficient in interpreting the logical relationships between sentences and/or parts of sentences and draw inferences. A Reading Comprehension question is usually in the following format:

A short passage, about 350 words long, along with 4 – 6 questions based on the passage is provided. For each question, the test-taker is presented with 5 choices for answers. These questions ask the test-taker to confirm the author’s idea, draw an inference, or apply the information to another context.

To be able to perform in this section, one must be thoroughly acquainted with the syllabus for the Reading Comprehension questions in the GMAT Verbal Reasoning section.

Syllabus for GMAT Verbal Reasoning Section – Reading Comprehension

GMAT does not exclusively provide any syllabus for the Reading Comprehension questions. However, one can get the idea of the scope and context of the Reading Comprehension passages and the type of questions from the list, below:

Context of Reading Comprehension passages:

  • Science
  • Humanities
  • Business and Economics

Types of Reading Comprehension questions:

  • Fact-based
  • Structure-based
  • Inference-based

Critical Reasoning

The Critical Reasoning questions on GMAT analyze the test-taker’s ability to evaluate arguments. Thus, the test-taker’s proficiency in interpreting information and analyzing the presented argument is tested. A Critical Reasoning question is usually in the following format:

A short passage, usually 100 words long, along with 5 answer choices is provided. The test-taker is to determine if the provided statements strengthens or weakens the argument, informs if the argument is flawed, or supports or negates the argument.

To be able to perform in this section, one must be thoroughly acquainted with the syllabus for the Critical Reasoning questions in the GMAT Verbal Reasoning section. GMAT does not exclusively provide any syllabus for the Verbal section. However, we have identified an exhaustive list of the basic concepts that will help the test-taker comfortably complete the GMAT Verbal section.

Syllabus for GMAT Verbal Reasoning Section – Critical Reasoning

A test-taker must be acquainted with the following concepts to be able to answer the Critical Reasoning questions in the Verbal Reasoning section on GMAT:

  • Assumptions
  • Strengthening
  • Weakening
  • Explanation
  • Evaluation
  • Inference
  • Conclusion
  • Para Completion
  • Dialogue
  • Bold Face

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

GMAT tests the ability of the test-taker to apply his/her critical thinking skills to analyze an argument and present a thorough critique of the argument. The test-taker is provided with only one question and allowed only 30 minutes to read, understand, analyze, and present his/her critique of the passage.

Analytical Writing Assessment section on GMAT is scored on a range of 0 – 6, with 0.5 point increments. The ratings, from the minimum to the maximum points, usually suggest if the essay was absolutely illegible or did not answer the topic, was not a sufficient critique of the topic, was seriously flawed, was seriously limited, was only adequate, was strong, or was absolutely outstanding.

The AWA essay is twice evaluated – by a human reader and an electronic rater. The scores are separately provided by each of the raters and an average of both the scores is computed to obtain the final section score. However, if the average score happens to deviate by more than 1 point, a third evaluator, a human reader, completes the assessment process. The mean GMAT AWA score, calculated for the period Jan, 2015 – Dec, 2017, is 4.48.

Integrated Reasoning (IR)

GMAT tests the ability of the test-taker to collate data from multiple sources and in varied formats to solve a given series of problems. The data may be presented in graphical formats, as texts, or as numbers. The test-taker is supposed to integrate the data, apply his/her analytical and quantitative skills to identify and solve the problem.

The GMAT IR section is scored on a range of 1 to 8, with 1-point increments. However, the test-taker must answer all parts of the question correctly for the particular question to be considered correctly answered. GMAT asks only 12 questions in the IR section and allows only 30 minutes to complete the section. The test-taker has the option to use an on—screen calculator to answer the IR section. The mean GMAT IR score, calculated for the period Jan, 2015 – Dec, 2017, is 4.29.

The type of questions asked in the GMAT IR section may be classified into four broad categories, namely, Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, and Table Analysis. Let us briefly examine each of these four categories, below:

Multi-source Reasoning

These questions require the test-taker to refer to data presented in different formats – the information may be presented in the form of a series of text messages, or passages, or graphics, or a combination of two formats. The question that follows is accompanied by multiple answer choices and asks the test-taker to suggest if the data is relevant, or if the given sources of data present any discrepancy among them, or to derive conclusions. GMAT does not suggest any particular syllabus to aid in the preparation for this type of questions. However, one must be proficient in analyzing multiple data formats to arrive at logical conclusions to be able to solve the GMAT IR Multi-source Reasoning questions.

Two-part Analysis

The test-taker is provided with a context and a problem statement based on the context. To solve the problem statement, the test-taker has to select an option, one in each column, from the list of the multiple answer choices. GMAT does not suggest any particular syllabus to aid in the preparation for this type of questions. However, one must be proficient in solving simultaneous equations and evaluating the relationship between two units to be able to solve the GMAT IR Two-part Analysis questions.

Table Analysis

The test-taker is presented with data in the tabular format. The following question typically requires the test-taker to suggest if the provided table consists of enough information to answer the problem, to provide a concrete answer to the problem, or to suggest if the provided information meets certain given criteria. The test-taker must select the correct option, from each column, for the question to be considered correctly answered. GMAT does not suggest any particular syllabus to aid in the preparation for this type of questions. However, one must be proficient in sorting tabular data and possess precise analytical skills to answer the GMAT IR Table Analysis questions.

Graphics Interpretation

As suggested by the name, these types of questions provide the test-taker with the data in any of the graphical formats. The questions are in the format of the ‘fill in the blank’ and each blank consist of a drop-down menu. Typically, a graph is followed by two questions and the answer is to be selected from the multiple choices provided in the drop-down menu. GMAT does not suggest any particular syllabus to aid in the preparation for this type of questions. However, one must be proficient in reading graphs – x/y graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, scattered plots, and statistical curve distribution to be able to solve the GMAT IR Graphics Interpretation questions.

Acing the GMAT with competent marks requires precise planning and dedicated preparation. Prepare for GMAT with our online GMAT preparation program to save on time and gain access to exhaustive GMAT prep resources.

All the best!

Covered by…