GMAT 2020 – A Complete Study Guide to know GMAT Inside Out


Success comes to those who have patience and perseverance. There is no shortcut to achieving your goals, but there are certain ways that can help you build a promising career. MBA is amongst the most sought-after and globally recognized programs that strive to develop an individual’s business acumen and augment one’s career skills. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a global level exam that opens the doors to the top MBA colleges in the world! If you are someone aspiring to pursue an MBA abroad and want to understand the admission process as well as tips and tricks to ace the GMAT, then here’s a blog that will cover all the details pertaining to it comprehensively!

Why is GMAT Important?

The management aptitude test aspirants often ask questions like, “what is the importance of the test?” or “ How can the GMAT help in my career growth?”. The importance of the aptitude test is not just limited to the MBA admission process but can also help you prepare for the future! Enlisted are the major reasons why one should take the management test:

  • More than 2,100 institutions around the world accept GMAT scores for their admission process.
  • It examines your analytical reasoning and critical thinking which constitutes an important part of the skill sets to pursue an MBA.
  • The score obtained in the test can help you study MBA from some of the top management schools thus increasing your job opportunities.

GMAT Eligibility Criteria

NationalityAll Nationalities Accepted
Age Limit18 Years
Candidates belonging to the 15-17 age group require written proof of their guardian’s consent before taking the GMAT exam.
No upper age limit has been prescribed
Academic QualificationBachelor’s Degree
Number of Attempts5 Times in a Year
Retaking the GMAT exam16 Days (Minimum)

GMAT 2020 Exam Pattern

The management aptitude test is a three and a half-hour long exam with each section designed to test a set of specific skills. Given below is the GMAT paper pattern along with the question-type division:

GMAT Exam Pattern

In April 2018, the GMAC made some changes in the exam pattern and sections. The total number of questions was reduced under the quantitative and verbal section of the GMAT. The changes were minimal and did not affect the structure at large. Here’s what you need to know about the latest modifications done in the exam structure:

GMAT Exam Pattern

Before April 2018

SectionNumber of QuestionsTime
Quantitative3775 minutes
Verbal4175 minutes

After April 2018

Section Number of QuestionsTime 
Quantitative 3162 minutes
Verbal 3665 minutes 

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GMAT Exam Dates

GMAT has no fixed or official dates. The exam is conducted multiple times in a year giving candidates the opportunity to select suitable dates as per their convenience. One needs to keep a gap of 16 days in between if planning to retake the exam. In a year, aspirants can only sit for this exam 5 times in a row. The registration process must be initiated 2-3 months before the exam. 

GMAT Registration

Applicants are provided with the flexibility to apply for the GMAT exam via both online and offline [phone/mail] modes. While for registering through call, candidates will be required to spend an additional $10, for application sent through the mail, cheque or money order is accepted. Here is a step by step guide on how to register for the coveted exam:

  • Visit the official website and click register
  • Add all the relevant information in the form
  • Schedule your test and submit the fee
  • Collate the list of schools you want to share your scorecard with
  • Review your details
  • On completion, log in to your account and select your test date and center

GMAT Confirmation Letter

Like other competative exams have admit cards, GMAT exam has a confirmation letter, received by candidates after the completion of the registration process. It includes Name of the Candidate, Exam Date, Exam Centre and Time of the examination. It is advised to take a copy of this letter on the day of test along with a valid ID proof. 

Exam Fees

All the applicants, irrespective of the country they are applying from have to pay $250 [Approx. Rs. 17,000] as the GMAT registration fee. We have given a rundown on the rescheduling costs and the charges incurred on cancellation as per the new structure which is in effect from 2019:

TimelineCancellation ChargesRescheduling Fees
1-14 days prior to the examUS $50 will be refundedUS $150
15-60 days before the examUS $75 will get refundedUS $100
>60 days prior to the exam dateUS $100 RefundUS $50

Note: No show-policy still exists and thus, no refund will be generated or the requests to cancel or reschedule the dates will not be accepted.

GMAT Test Centres

GMAT is conducted all over India across various exam centres. Candidates get a chance to choose the desired centre as per their location. While registering for the exam and selecting the exam date, candidates get to choose the best-suited GMAT test centre.

How to Reschedule GMAT?

There can be various reasons to reschedule the exam date. Although there are certain provisions under which you can reschedule GMAT exam and even cancel before its actual date but you need to follow certain rules for the same. Listed below are the guidelines one should be aware of:

  • As seen in the above-mentioned table, for rescheduling the exam, candidates are required to submit a rescheduling fee. This includes charges for the changes in the time slot, date, and location of the exam. 
  • If a candidate has not been able to reschedule the exam and is late, then no refund is initiated for the rescheduling.
  • The rescheduling process is done through the online portal or via phone call. If the candidate needs to reschedule the location of the GMAT exam, it needs to be done through a phone call. The fee for rescheduling to another location is $10 (Rs. 713 approximately).

GMAT Syllabus 2020

This computer-based test, that measures an applicant’s ability on various parameters has four sections. The GMAT syllabus of these parts have been given a rundown below:

PatternSectionsTotal QuestionsTimeScore
Analytical WritingThis section is designed to test the candidate’s written communication skills as well as critical thinking through Argument Analysis. The syllabus for analytical writing can range from business-related topics to general awareness130 minutes0-6 [0.5 mark increments]
Integrated Reasoning1. Graphics Interpretation
2. Two-part analysis
3. Table analysis 
4. Multi-Source Reasoning
1230 minutes1-8 [1 point increments]
Quantitative Reasoning1. Problem Solving 
2. Data Sufficiency
3162 minutes6-51 [1 point increments]
Verbal Reasoning1. Critical Reasoning 
2. Reading Comprehension
3. Sentence Correction 
361 hour 15 minutes6-51[1 point increments]

Analytical Writing Assessment
This section of the GMAT exam is designed to test your ability to analyze different arguments. You are required to examine and explain the reason behind an argument and describe a critique for the same, Use a methodological approach to explain your answer. While explaining your answer with various examples, be sure of the grammar usage.

Integrated Reasoning
The reason why this section is incorporated in the GMAT exam is to test your analytical skills which you can use to solve complicated problems. It consists of 4 types of questions namely Table Analysis [answers in the form of yes/no], Graphics Interpretation, Multi-Source Reasoning [True or false, yes/no or multiple-choice options are the ways in which you can answer the questions], and Two-part Analysis.

Quantitative Section
The third section of the GMAT comprises of various arithmetic questions to test your mathematical abilities. The questions, which are asked in the form of multiple-choice questions are bifurcated in two categories:

  • Data Sufficiency Questions: This section measures your ability to systematically arrange different data. The questions are provided with certain statements and five multiple-choice answers, the answer choices always remain the same. This section needs strong quantitative knowledge combined with analytical skills. 
  • Problem Solving Questions: The probability questions asked are aimed at testing your analytical skills. This is one of the most difficult parts of the GMAT as the questions are tricky and puzzling. 

Verbal Reasoning
This section of GMAT is the longest and consists of 36 questions. The primary objective is to test your ability to read, write and construct coherent sentences. The sub-sections are namely Reading Comprehension [a passage and multiple-choice questions on the same are given], Critical Reasoning [contains arguments with five answer choices. You have to identify the key points that strengthen your argument, analyze the argument logically and choose the correct option], and Sentence Correction [sentences will be underlined with five answer choices and you will be required to analyze and select the right one]

Make sure that the answer is grammatically correct. Read our blog on sentence correction rules so as to score well in this part.

Want to ace the quantitative section? Then you can go through the following blogs so as to get a better picture:

Profit and Loss QuestionsTime and Distance Questions
Percentage QuestionsProblems on Trains
Simplification QuestionsRatio and Proportion Problems

GMAT Result and Score

The GMAT scorecard comprises a fixed scale that appears on the Official Score Report. Useful for both candidates as well as their chosen institute, here are the 4 sections of the exam and their prospective GMAT scores: 

SectionScore RangeHow is it Done?
Analytical Writing0-0.6Essays are first scored independently twice and then an average is calculated.
Integrated Reasoning1-8Since some questions carry multiple parts, one needs to answer all the questions.
Verbal and Quantitative6-51Depending on the number of questions attempted, the number of correct answers, and the difficulty level, the final score is calculated.

The scores obtained to assist the admission committee by providing them with an insight into the candidate’s proficiency in varied aspects. The aggregate GMAT score is the total of your quantitative and verbal scaled scores. Also, it should be noted that the number of questions, as well as the difficulty level of these sections, can also impact your GMAT score. 

Score Validity

The GMAT score is valid for up to 5 years from the exact date that the exam was taken. For example, if you took the GMAT in April 2019, your score will be valid until April 2024. GMAT score validity helps you in various ways. For example, if you, for some reason, couldn’t complete the admission process then, you can use the score you secured five years ago and pursue an MBA from your dream university!

Top Universities Accepting GMAT Scores

If you are wondering about how to get into Harvard Business School or other coveted institutes abroad, then here are the average GMAT scores of some of the world’s leading Business Schools :

MBA Programs2019 Score2018 Score2017 Score2016 Score
Harvard Business School730729729729
MIT Sloan School of Management 727728722724
Columbia Business School727732724720
Yale School of Management 720724727725
Cornell (Johnson)696699700700
UCLA (Anderson)719719716715

Note: These are average scores and may vary.
Comparing these scores will give you an overview on how to improve your performance. 


GMAT is an international-level entrance exam that one needs to qualify in order to apply for Business and Management courses like MBA in top-ranked B-schools. There are various aspects that come into the picture when we talk about GMAT vs GRE and this has been elucidated in the points given below:

Duration3 hours, 30 minutes3 hours, 45 minutes
AdmissionFor admission into Business SchoolsWide variety of graduate school programs
Quantitative SectionMore DifficultDifficulty level low
Verbal SectionEasy. It includes general English which focuses on grammar and reasoningDifficult in comparison to GMAT. It’s vocabulary and reading passage section is slightly tough
QuestionsOnce answered, the candidate cannot return back to the questionCan return to a question in a section

GMAT Preparation Tips

The only trick to ace your GMAT is to strengthen your conceptual knowledge. Enlisted are a few general tips that could help you prepare for the GMAT exam better:

  • Practice on a Computer: The exam is purely computer-based and runs for a duration of 3-hours. There are some people who can not pull the mental fatigue of sitting in front of a computer for a long time. Make sure you are prepared for it and the best way for this is to practice as many sample papers as you can, on a regular basis.
  • Track your Time: Every section on the GMAT comes with specific time duration and you need to answer every question in the stipulated time. Start this exercise of tracking your speed with a timer when you practice for the exam.
  • Feed the Brain: Having good memory aids in solving questions effectively. Start by solving sample papers, mark your incorrect questions and redo them until they’re perfect. Talk to those who have already taken the exam. You can even solve scores of questions or clear your concepts of difficult topics from some of the best books for GMAT!
  • Find your Forte: It’s impossible to be perfect at everything. There will be some sections of the GMAT exam which will take you longer to learn. But there will be some which won’t take you long to ace. Thus, gauge through your strengths and weaknesses and prepare accordingly!
  • Keep an Eye for Mistakes: Make a habit of identifying and working on your mistakes. If you get stuck on a question, eliminate the process of guessing and answering incorrectly. Take your time and fill the answer which completes the sentence!

If you’re looking for some more help on how to prepare for the exam, here is an article that might help you with the grammar section: 50 Difficult Words (with Meanings).

How to Crack GMAT in 3 Months?

An average student is likely to take 6 months to fetch a good GMAT score. But, if you plan then you can get through the exam in just 3 months. All you need to do is follow the correct study plan for the same. Regular practice, revision of old topics with a combination of new ones, mock tests, etc are some of the factors that can help you in cracking GMAT in 3 months!


What is the average GMAT Score for different B-Schools in the USA? 
Depending on the course and the university, the average GMAT scores can vary across countries. In recent years, it has been observed that the average score around the world is around 551.94. However, this score is applicable for anyone attempting the GMAT exam, including those who do not go ahead and apply for an institution. Here is a list of some of the average scores accepted by the B-Schools in the USA: 

Business SchoolGMAT Score 
Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania732
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University 724
Yale School of Management721
NYU Stern School of Business720

Is there any way to predict your actual GMAT score? 
Predicting the actual GMAT score is no easy feat. However, you can take the free tests offered by the GMAC or the practice materials available online as well as offline to gauge through your performance. Since variation in practice test scores are normal and expected, It is advised that the practice tests should only be a part of simulating the test and not as a way of predicting one’s GMAT score. 

What is the average GMAT Score for different B-Schools in Europe?
As per a GMAC report, the mean GMAT score has risen up 6 points since 2016. Keeping this data in mind, let us have a look at some of the European B-Schools and the average GMAT score required by them: 

Business Schools Average 2018 GMAT ScoreAverage 2017 GMAT Score
London Business School707708
INSEAD711 712
Cambridge Judge Business School 693695
IESE Business School686690
HEC Paris691691

How long does it take to prepare for GMAT?
The GMAT preparation demands a serious commitment from the candidates and can span over two to three months or even more. Formulate a study schedule based on your strengths and weaknesses and then allocate specific hours for each section.

However, the study schedule and the hours devoted to GMAT preparation depends on the individual’s capacity. For instance, an average of 120 hours of studying divided into ten weeks of studying will give you approximately 12 hours a week and will include tutoring sessions as well as class sessions. It is advisable to spread these hours evenly and start your preparation at the earliest. 

How many times can you give the GMAT exam? 
For those who couldn’t crack this exam in the first attempt, the best part is that a candidate can retake the exam up to 5 times in a year. To reappear for the exam, candidates have to submit a written request to the GMAC. Candidates have to keep in mind that you have to wait for a minimum of 16 days before reappearing for the test.

GMAT is a prestigious and crucial exam that can help you enter the corporate industry. We hope that this extensive article on the same has helped in clearing some of your confusions related to the preparation for the exam. If you’re planning to appear for the aptitude test and need further assistance, Leverage Edu‘s experts can guide you on how to strategize better so that you can ace the test and soar towards your dream college!

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