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Complete Guide to Your GMAT Sections

Categories: GMAT, GMAT, Tips and Tricks |

The GMAT is to business school what the SAT is to undergraduate school. It’s a necessary step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The GMAT, or the Graduate Management Admission Test, is your ticket into the business program of your choice and a lot of time and study should be taken as you prepare to take the monumental exam.

As you begin studying, a little research into the structure of the exam will help prepare you for what to expect and will help you create a solid study plan. The GMAT consists of four main sections: Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, and the Analytical Writing Assessment. Here’s a further break down of each section:


This is the longest section of the test at 41 questions and you are allotted 75 minutes to complete it. There are a few different kind of questions including those to test reading comprehension and critical reasoning as well as some basic grammatical sentence correction.

The reading comprehension questions are exactly what they sound like. They will test your ability to analyze a specific academic passage to determine the intended reasoning and attitude. Critical reasoning is designed to test your ability to evaluate arguments. After reading a short argument you’ll be asked questions to determine your ability to analyze it. Sentence correction questions are straightforward, consisting simply of sentences with underlined sections that’ll you need to find the correct series of words for.


Quantitative is the only other section that allows 75 minutes for completion although it is slightly shorter with only 37 questions. These questions make up the mathematical portion of the exam and consist of problem solving and data sufficiency.

The problem solving is your basic mathematical test consisting of multiple-choice questions. They cover anything from high school math to algebra along with geometry questions. Questions falling in the data sufficiency category are a little more unique as they are presented in a way to test your critical thinking skills. You’re given a question along with a couple sets of data and the only thing you need to do is determine whether you have all of the information required to find the answer to the question.

Integrated Reasoning

One of the two 30 minute sections, the integrated reasoning portion has only 12 questions total and includes a few different categories within the section. These categories include multi-source reasoning, graphics interpretation, two-part analysis and table analysis.

These questions are designed to really make you think and determine your logic and analytical skills.

Analytical Writing Assessment

Just as it sounds, the analytical writing assessment is the writing portion of the GMAT. You are allotted 30 minutes for this category in which you must create a well-structured essay based on a brief argument. You will not be arguing your opinion but instead analyzing the original author’s presentation of his or her opinion.

This writing portion is designed to determine your overall writing skills as well as your analytical skills. Writing clearly and logically is important. This portion of the exam is actually scored by both a human grader as well as a computer grading system as opposed to the other portions which are graded simply on a computer system.

Section Overview

These sections make up the GMAT and all serve a similar purpose, to identify your basic knowledge and understanding and your ability to analyze and think logically, important factors in the MBA program. The total time allotted for the whole exam is three and a half hours and can actually be done in whatever order you choose.

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