With the GMAT continuing to lose marketshare to the rival GRE exam, the Graduate Management Admission Council today (June 15) launched a new feature that allows test takers to re-order the four sections of the exam. Dubbed “Select Section Order,” the new option will be available on all tests worldwide beginning July 11th.
From then on, test takers will select their desired section order at the test center on exam date, immediately prior to the start of the exam. Test takers will be able to choose from three options:
- Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original order);
- Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment; or
- Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment.
“The idea of being allowed to choose the section order had been commonly requested by test takers,” said Ashok Sarathy, vice president of product management for GMAC, in a statement. “We conducted a pilot in 2016 to test this feature and received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with 85% of participants surveyed expressing that this new feature boosted their confidence prior to even taking the exam. Our pilot findings also concluded that taking the exam in different section orders continues to maintain the quality and integrity of the GMAT scores.”
IT’S THE LATEST IN A NUMBER OF CHANGES TO MAKE THE GMAT MORE USER FRIENDLY
The change comes as more business schools admit an increasing number of applicants who have submitted rival GRE score reports instead of the GMAT. At Yale’s School of Management last year 22% of the incoming class had taken the GRE. At MIT Sloan, the the total was 18%, while at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Dartmouth Tuck School of Business 13% of the class was enrolled with a GRE score (see Average GRE Scores At Leading Business Schools).
At some business schools, the increases in GRE test takers in the past year have been substantial, more than doubling at Texas A&M (15% to 39%), Southern Methodist University (12% to 35%), and Arizona State University (14% to 30%). The GMAT, however, maintains dominant marketshare among business school students and GMAC claims that nine out of 10 new MBA enrollments at the top 50 U.S. full-time MBA programs are made using a GMAT score.
This latest test option is just the latest in a continuation of the steps GMAC has implemented in recent years to enhance the test takers’ GMAT experience, including:
- the ability to cancel scores online after leaving the test center and the enhanced score reinstatement policies (March 2016),
- removing cancelled scores from school score reports; allowing candidates to retake the GMAT exam after a 16-day time period rather than the previous 31-day retake period; and enabling test takers to access their Official Score Report online using their date of birth instead of an authentication code (July 2015),
- introduction of the GMAT Enhanced Score Report, which provides test takers access to an in-depth analysis of their overall GMAT performance (January 2015), and
- introduction of GMAT Score Preview, enabling test takers to preview their unofficial scores before deciding whether to report or cancel them (July 2014).
“The GMAT exam shows business schools that the test taker is serious about earning a graduate business degree and demonstrates the individual’s commitment and readiness for the rigors of a graduate business program,” said Sarathy.