The new trimmed-down GMAT exam will not only be nearly an hour shorter than the current test. It will also have far fewer questions for test-takers to answer.
Long considered the most difficult part of the test, quantitative reasoning, will be reduced by ten questions to 21 from 31, which is how the Graduate Management Admission Council is reducing the time for that section to 45 minutes from 62 minutes. The questions on the verbal reasoning portion of the test are being cut by 13 challenges to 23 questions from 36 currently, while the time to take this part of the test is brought down by 20 minutes to 45 from 65 minutes currently. The 30-minute analytical writing section of the test is being dropped completely.
The only section of the GMAT that will get boosted is the integrative reasoning section of the test, to be newly called data insights. It will feature 20 questions, up from 12, while the time devoted to this portion of the test increases by 50% to 45 minutes from 30 minutes. The new data insights section includes questions on data sufficiency, multi-source reasoning, table analysis, graphics interpretation, and two-part analysis.
THE NEW GMAT EXAM WILL INCLUDE A NEW SECTION CALLED DATA INSIGHTS
All of these details have been sourced through a leaked graphic on the new exam (see below) obtained by Poets&Quants. The new test will usher in the most consequential changes to the test since it moved from a paper-and-pencil exam to a computer-adaptive format in 1997. Dubbed the “GMAT Focus Edition”, the GMAT-lite test will be rolled out later this year, most probably before the middle of 2023. The current version of the GMAT will be available through “early 2024,” according to GMAC.
The new focus edition will reduce the time to take the test to two hours and 15 minutes, excluding breaks, from three hours and seven minutes, without the optional eight-minute breaks. Within each of the three 45-minute sections, test-takers will be able to flag questions and then go back and change three question responses before the end of that section time.
THE NEW GMAT EXAM WILL ALSO FEATURE OTHER NOTEWORTHY CHANGES
Chris Kane, head of test prep at Menlo Coaching, also cites a number of additional changes. “Sentence Correction will be removed from the GMAT Focus Edition and the Verbal Reasoning section will contain exclusively Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension questions, with some possible changes to the “flavor” of the Critical Reasoning questions,” he says. “Geometry will be removed as a quant content area and likely there will be some other minor changes to other quant content areas being tested. The Quantitative Reasoning section will still contain both Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency questions.”
He is advising test-takers to take a wait-and-see approach. “With any change like this,” Kane adds, “it is beneficial to wait a little while and gain more information from those who have taken the new test and to see what new resources become available for preparation. Likely, there will be some delays and/or issues with the new version upon its inception. For sure, it will be a confusing 12 months as the new test is rolled out and the current version continues to be administered.”
Most consultants who help candidates prep for the test say the changes appear to be student-friendly. ‘While there is not yet a lot of information on the GMAT Focus Edition, from what we can see, these are very student-friendly changes,” says Stacey Koprince, director of content and curriculum at Manhattan Prep. “It’s hard to say that an exam that’s one hour shorter will frustrate test takers, particularly when GMAC has also indicated that there will be fewer topics to study. Not including break time, the new GMAT will be more than an hour shorter than the GRE. Test takers will be able to review problems after the fact and change a small number of answers. And there will be no essay. In our opinion, these changes sound great.”
Some admission consultants believe a quicker test could encourage more prospective students to apply to business school. “By offering a shorter and more applicant-friendly exam, GMAC may be able to help MBA programs increase the number of applicants — ones who were on the fence about committing time to GMAT study may decide to apply after all with this new exam format,” says David White, a founding partner of Menlo Coaching, which has a tutoring service to prep test takers.
For those who are considering taking the GMAT in the coming months, Kane offers the following advice:
- Prepare for the current version through the end of this year with a few caveats noted below.
- If you are preparing for the current version of the GMAT and the new GMAT Focus Edition test becomes available, you can always make the shift to the Focus Edition.
- We would recommend this move if you are really struggling with SC (usually a strength with our students) or if you are just not reaching your score goal on the current version.
- Almost all of your prep will be relevant but you can then pivot away from SC and Geo, and add in preparation for the Data Insights section.
- Think of the GMAT Focus Edition as a backup plan for those applying in the upcoming cycle.
DON’T MISS: Revamped GMAT Exam Will Be Nearly One Hour Shorter
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