Analysis of GMAT structure change in 2018 by plusprep

Changes in GMAT structure 2018

Chances are that you’ve heard about the fact that the GMAT structure changed in 2018 April. In all likeliness however, you may be unsure about the significance of this change to a test-taker.

You may have the following questions.. 

  • Does the change make GMAT more difficult?
  • Does the change in GMAT structure change the scoring?
  • How will this affect my admission chances?
  • Are there any changes to the content or syllabus of the test?

We’ll address all these questions in this post.

Let’s begin with what’s changed and what has remained the same.


The GMAT will continue to be scored in the same 200-800 format; percentile scores will not be affected by this change.

IR and AWA

The IR and AWA sections will remain as they did earlier. Neither the number of questions or the time allocation or the scoring has been changed.

Section Order

The Select Section Order feature released in 2017 will continue to be available as is. Test takers will have the ability to select the Section order among the following section order combinations.

Order I Order II Order III
Analytical Writing Assessment
Integrated Reasoning
8 minute break
Quantitative Quantitative Verbal
8 minute break
Analytical Writing Assessment Analytical Writing Assessment
Integrated Reasoning Integrated Reasoning

So what are the changes in the GMAT structure ?

The following changes have been made in the Verbal and Quantitative reasoning sections alone.

Verbal Section
Before April 2018 Now Decrease of
Number of Questions 41 36 5 Questions
Total Time 75 m 65 m 10 m


Quant Section
Before April 2018 Now Decrease of
Number of Questions 37 31 6 Questions
Total Time 75 m 62 m 13 m 

What is the significance of this change?

  • The test is now 23 minutes shorter in total.
  • It is 11 Questions fewer in total

But won’t this affect the scoring?

  • No, the questions that have been removed have been done so from those that would have been experimental or unscored questions!
  • The distribution of question types among the scored sections will remain the same.

What about my Pacing?

Good question.. Let’s compare the time/minute for Verbal and Quant before and after the change.

Time Per Question (in minutes) comparison 

Verbal Quantitative
Before April 2018 1.83 2.03
Now 1.81 2

The change in time per question is negligible. It’s too small to make any kind of real-world difference to the test taking experience.

Bonus: How to pace myself on the GMAT ?

Quantitative Pacing Chart

5 52 minutes
10 42 minutes
15 32 minutes
20 22 minutes
25 12 minutes

Verbal Pacing Chart

10 47 minutes
20 29 Minutes
30 11 Minutes


The change is purely a “streamlining” effort by the test makers to make the test a bit more ‘convenient’ for test takers. This will not noticeably change the ease of taking the test from a testing perspective though. It does not affect the scoring or have any significant effect on admission criteria. It does make the actual GMAT test day a wee-bit convenient though! 🙂

Next Step: Get a sense of where you stand on the GMAT with our free assessment tool for Quant and Verbal