There are many questions about the upcoming GMAT exam. Will it be shorter? Will it be easier? Will it have the same content? When will it start? In short, the main differences of the new GMAT, which is called the GMAT Focus Edition, are the following: removal of the sentence correction section, removal of the AWA essay, and a new Data Insights section to replace the Integrated Reasoning section. Additionally, you will be able to go back to questions and see your score before sending your scores. Even though these are the main differences, this blog post will dig deep into the answers to these questions and so much more!
Why are they changing the test?
The reason that GMAC (the creators of the GMAT) are changing the exam is within the name of the new exam: they are now “focusing”on the test takers and graduate schools to make the experience better. Hence, they named the new exam the “focus GMAT”. Over the years, the number of individuals that take the GMAT have declined (pictured below), especially post pandemic. Additionally, now that business schools are accepting the GRE exam, the GMAT needs to adapt to make their exam more appealing to students. Hence, they are making the test taking experience better by shorting the exam and including less material to study. These changes will hopefully make more individuals take the GMAT exam and apply to business school.
What changes will occur?
The main changes are listed below:
- The exam will be shorter. The previous GMAT was 3 hours 7 minutes; however, the new shorter Focus GMAT will only be 2 hours 15 minutes.
- The scoring will change. Previously the GMAT was scored from 200 to 800, but now it will be scored from 205 to 805.
- Removal of the Analytical Writing Assessment (essay) section. In the previous exam there was an essay section that was titled “Analytical Writing Assessment”, which proposed an argument and asked the test taker to take an analysis and effectively critique the argument. However, the new GMAT will no longer include the section.
- The verbal section will not include sentence correction questions. The old GMAT verbal section included reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. However, there will no longer be sentence correction questions on the verbal section of the exam. This now eliminates 1/3 of the material to study (an arguably the most time consuming portion) of the verbal section.
- You will be able to return to previous questions. In the past, the GMAT was an adaptive exam that did not allow you to go back to questions. Meaning, once you selected an answer choice and moved to the next question, you would never be able to pewit he previous question again. However, this is now changing. Meaning, even though the exam will still be adaptive, you will be able to mark questions within a given section to go back to them and change up to three responses.
- There will be a new Data Insights Section. On the previous GMAT, there was the integrated reasoning section; however, that section will be removed and replaced with the Data Insight section, which will include questions encompassing Data Sufficiency, Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, and Two-Part Analysis.
- Score Reports will only include one test date. In the previous exam, your score report would include your scores of all previous GMAT exams that you took; however, now your score report will only include one test score.
- You can send your scores after you see your score. In the past, you would need to select 5 schools to send your exam score to prior to taking the exam. This was nerve racking to send your scores without knowing if it’ll be good or not. However, now you can send your score after you know your score.
- More details will be given in the score report. The old exam only gave you your score but did not give any insight into your strengths and weakness to improve on the next test; however, the GMAT focus edition will include a more detailed score report so test takers can focus on their downfalls on the exam to increase their score on future test taking attempts.
Source: the official GMAC website.
What will be the format of the GMAT Focus Edition?
The new format will be composed of three sections: Verbal, Quantitative, and Data Insights. Each of the sections will be 45 minutes long. The Verbal section will have 23 questions, the quantitative section will have 21 questions, and the data insights section will have 20 questions.
Will the exam be shorter?
As you can see, GMAC is eliminating a few sections of the current GMAT, such as the essay and multiple questions within the verbal and quantitative sections. Therefore, naturally, the exam will be shorter. The previous GMAT was 3 hours 7 minutes; however, the new shorter GMAT will only be 2 hours 15 minutes.
|Section||How long?||How many questions?|
|Verbal Reasoning||45 minutes||23 questions|
|Quantitative Reasoning||45 minutes||21 questions|
|Data Insights||45 minutes||20 questions|
Will the exam be easier?
Even though the exam will be shorter, unfortunately, the content will still be the same difficulty; therefore, the exam will not be easier. However, some may argue that even if the content is the same, the exam will be easier since you need less stamina for a 2 hour and 15 minutes exam as opposed to a 3 hour and 7 minute exam. Additionally, some may argue that the sentence correction section is one of the harder sections of the exam; therefore, if you have that opinion, then the new Focus GMAT might be considered easier since that section is removed.
When will the new Focus GMAT start and the old GMAT end?
Registration for the new Focus GMAT will open August 29th, 2023, with test dates available later in 2023; However, you will still be able to take the old GMAT Exam until early 2024, in which it will be slowly phased out. Therefore, if you are hoping to take the old exam, I would register for it in 2023 to ensure yourself a testing seat.
Will the scoring scale be the same?
No! Currently the GMAT is scored from 200 to 800 points; however, the new GMAT will be scored from 205 to 805. The score change is designed so test takers and universities can distinguish which exam the student had taken. Therefore, since the score is changing, GMAC (the creator of the GMAT) is encouraging individuals to look at the percentile as opposed to the actual score when assessing a student.
Will business schools care which exam you take?
No. Business schools will all value the old and new GMAT the same. They will not take preference of one exam over the other.
Will my old score still be valid?
Absolutely! Your old GMAT scores will still be valid for the typical duration of 5 years.
What materials can I use to study for Focus GMAT?
Starting June 6th, 2023, GMAC will have new practice tests on their website that will resemble the new testing format for the revised Focus GMAT. Just like for the old exam, they will have 2 free practice tests and 4 paid practice tests. However, until the old exam is completely phases out, they will also offer 2 free and 4 paid practice tests in that format as well.
Is it better to take the focus GMAT or the old GMAT?
If you are deciding between the new GMAT or the old GMAT there are a few considerations. First and foremost, make sure to check when your applications are due. If they are due in the end of 2023, it would be best to take the old GMAT exam to ensure that you receive your scores in time. However, if your application deadline is in 2024, then it is up to you!
If you have been practicing with the longer exam and want to resemble what you have been practicing, then the older GMAT might be the right fit for you. Also, the older exam has the sentence correction section, so if you are good at that section you may want to take that exam. Conversely, if sentence correction is a weakness, you may opt to take the GMAT Focus Edition. Additionally, if you have trouble with stamina and don’t like writing, the the new revised version of the GMAT would be best since it eliminates the essays and it is a shorter exam overall. However, all-in-all it is up to you as business schools do not care which exam you take.
How can I prepare best for the new exam?
Many individuals just jump into practice tests and take them over and over. However, without studying the actual content of the exam, improvement will be limited. Therefore, the best way to study for this exam is to first understand all the content on the test, then review test taking tips/tricks while tackling small dills to build up stamina, and then dealing into the full length exams with revising content in between each exam. If you are having trouble creating a study plan like this or sticking to the study plan, reaching out to a tutor could be helpful. Tutors typically save you time and effort so instead of you reading an entire 500 page book on the GMAT or spending endless hours surfing the web, they are a one-stop-shop that can relay all of the valuable tips and tricks while focusing on your specific strengths and weaknesses.
Additionally, using Prep For Success’ free GMAT resources is a great way to prepare for the exam. Some of the most valuable resources are their blog posts are all the formulas on the quantitative section of the GMAT, critical reasoning and general reading compression tips and tricks.
Best of luck studying for the GMAT! And never hesitate to reach out.
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