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GMAT Question Types

GMAT Question Types

The GMAT has several question types
There are several different types of questions asked on the GMAT. Below we introduce each question type and discuss how it fits within its section. Separately we devote one page to each major question category, providing a thorough description and a sample question of moderately advanced difficulty (i.e. somewhat harder than average). You will also find a detailed explanation for each sample question.

Analytical Writing & Integrated Reasoning

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section consists of one 30-minute essay, Analysis of an Argument. The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section offers four question types: graphics interpretation, multi-source reasoning, table analysis, and two-part analysis. You are given 30 minutes to address 12 questions, an average of 2 minutes 30 seconds per question. Most questions are accompanied by two or three sub-questions to answer.

Quantitative Section

The quantitative section consists of Problem Solving (PS) and Data Sufficiency (DS) question types. You have 75 minutes to answer 37 questions, an average just above 2 minutes per question. The PS and DS questions are intermingled, not presented as separate blocks of questions. You can expect 19 to 22 PS questions and 15 to 18 DS questions out of the 37. Both PS and DS questions rely on arithmetic, algebra, and geometry concepts, both in word-problem and non-word-problem formats. This is discussed in more detail on the Problem Solving page. These concepts are interspersed throughout the 37 math questions; they do not appear in discrete blocks. Several questions, particular more difficult questions, make use of multiple concepts.

Verbal Section

The verbal section consists of Sentence Correction (SC), Critical Reasoning, (CR), and Reading Comprehension (RC) question types. You have 75 minutes to answer 41 questions, an average of one minute 50 seconds per question. The SC, CR, and RC questions are intermingled, not presented as separate blocks of questions, except that all RC questions related to a given passage appear in a row. You can expect 14 to 17 SC questions, 11 to 14 CR questions, and 12 to 14 RC questions out of the 41. Process of elimination is particularly important on verbal question types because verbal questions ask you to find the best answer, as opposed to one definitely correct answer. Unless you are running low on time, be sure to review all five answer choices, even if you come across one that you like. You will often find it easier to eliminate three answers on verbal questions, whereas choosing one of the other two answers may be trickier.

Experimental Questions

Up to 10 questions in the quantitative section and up to 10 questions in the verbal section will be experimental questions that do not count towards your score and that do not impact test adaptiveness. An undisclosed number (probably two or three) of questions in the IR section will also be experimental. The GMAC is testing the validity of these questions before incorporating them into future GMAT administrations. Experimental math and verbal questions do not have an assigned difficulty level, so you may encounter a question with difficulty that seems inappropriate (i.e. question is too easy or too hard) given what you think is your prior performance. If so, such a question may be experimental. That said, you will not be able to easily identify which questions are experimental, nor should you spend any time trying to do so. Treat each question as if it counts and answer each question to the best of your abilities within the time constraints.