The Graduate Management Admission Council today (March 28) said it would begin accepting registrations for the new GMAT exam in the third quarter of this year while allowing test-takers to sit for the test in the fourth quarter. GMAC also provided more detail on the actual exam, confirming an earlier report by Poets&Quants.
The organization, the administrator of the GMAT, will also make official prep for the new test available by late in the second quarter of this year.
The timeframe for the introduction of the test as well as the more specific details (see below table) were revealed in an update on GMAC’s website. The current version of the GMAT exam will continue to be available to candidates until early next year. When GMAC originally announced the new test in early March, it merely said the new test would be made available later in 2023.
THE NEW GMAT EXAM IS NEARLY AN HOUR SHORTER THAN THE CURRENT TEST
Faced with major declines in standardized test taking, GMAC is shortening the GMAT exam by nearly an hour, eliminating its essay requirement and making all questions multiple choice. The updated test represents the single biggest change to the GMAT since the test was moved from paper to computer in June of 1997.
The revamped test called the GMAT Focus Edition will contain only three 45-minute sections that can be taken in any order by a test taker. GMAC will also allow test takers to bookmark and change up to three answers per section, allowing students to optimize their test-taking strategy. Another feature of the new test permits students to select programs after they receive their scores at both test centers and online. Each official score report will only contain one exam score, giving test takers the option of deciding if they want to share previous scores with schools.
Currently, the GMAT is composed of four sections and is three hours and seven minutes long, excluding optional eight-minute breaks. The new test will be three sections and take just two hours and 25 minutes, without breaks. GMAC is tossing out the 30-minute-long analytical writing assessment and keeping the sections on quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and integrated reasoning.
GMAC CALLS THE NEW GMAT ‘MORE EFFICIENT, FLEXIBLE, AND INSIGHTFUL’
Squeezing time out of the hardest part of the exam, the quantitative reasoning section, may make it somewhat easier for test takers. Currently, that section alone takes 62 minutes to complete and is composed of 31 questions. In promoting the new test, GMAC claims it will now take test-takers less time to prep for the GMAT.
GMAC says the new test is “more efficient, flexible, and insightful by honing in on the higher-order critical reasoning skills and data literacy especially relevant and applicable in the business environment of tomorrow.”
The move to a new test is the first big bet by CEO Joy Jones who helped to lead the development of the exam as chief product officer before becoming CEO of GMAC in October of last year. The changes, says Jones, are meant to boost the GMAT’s relevance and value. “We have been working on this for at least two years,” she says. “We spent a lot of time having conversations with schools and stakeholders to find out what they are looking for from a business school perspective. It is a big move for our organization. It is a chance to be courageous and put it out in the world that GMAC is committed to evolving with the stakeholders we serve.”
THE NEW GMAT IS THE RESULT OF CONSULTATIONS WITH 60 BUSINESS SCHOOLS
In all, admission officials, faculty, program directors and deans at 60 business schools worldwide were interviewed for the project. Nearly 5,400 candidates were either surveyed or participated in focus groups to gain a sense of how test-takers are using the exams and to determine the types of changes that would add the most value. “We used that collective feedback to help shape the test,” adds Jones.
The new trimmed-down GMAT exam will 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.
“This section measures your algebraic and arithmetic foundational knowledge and how you apply this knowledge to solve problems,” according to GMAC. “These types of questions require some knowledge of arithmetic and elementary algebra. Answering these questions correctly relies on logic and analytical skills, not the underlying math skills. You cannot use a calculator while working on this section.”
GMAC RELEASES NEW DETAILS ON THE NEW GMAT
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. “This section measures your ability to read and comprehend written material and to reason and evaluate arguments,” according to GMAC. “Reading Comprehension questions measure your ability to understand words and statements, understand logical relationships between significant points, draw inferences, and follow the development of quantitative concepts. Specifically, the following reading skills will be tested: main idea, supporting idea, inference, application, logical structure, and style.
“Critical Reasoning questions measure your ability to make arguments, evaluate arguments, and formulate or evaluate a plan of action,” explained GMAC. “Critical Reasoning questions are based on a short reading passage, usually fewer than 100 words. Typically, the short text comes with a question that asks you which of the five answer options strengthens or weakens an argument, tells why the argument is flawed, or strongly supports or damages the argument. You will not need specialized knowledge of the subject matter to answer the questions.”
The 30-minute analytical writing section of the test is being dropped completely.
A NEW DATA INSIGHTS SECTION OF THE TEST IS EXPANDED
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.
In its latest announcement, GMAC explained that data insights will leverage “Integrated Reasoning and Data Sufficiency question types to measure a newly calibrated digital and data literacy dimension—one of the most relevant and in-demand skills in business today.” The new section, added GMAC, will “ask candidates to assess how multiple sources and types of information – including graphic, numeric, and verbal – relate to one another and can be leveraged to make informed decisions. Questions may require math, data analysis, verbal reasoning, or all three. Candidates can use an on-screen calculator while working on this section.”
GMAC said test-takers will find the following question types in the data insights section of the exam:
Data Sufficiency: Measures your ability to analyze a quantitative problem, recognize which data is relevant, and determine at what point there is enough data to solve the problem.
Multi-Source Reasoning: Measures your ability to examine data from multiple sources including text passages, tables, graphics, or some combination of the three—and to analyze each source of data carefully to answer multiple questions. Some questions will require you to recognize discrepancies among different sources of data, while others will ask you to draw inferences, or require you to determine whether data is relevant.
Table Analysis: Measures your ability to sort and analyze a table of data, similar to a spreadsheet, in order to determine what information is relevant or meets certain conditions.
Graphics Interpretation: Measures your ability to interpret the information presented in a graph or other graphical image (scatter plot, x/y graph, bar chart, pie chart, or statistical curve distribution) to discern relationships, and make inferences.
Two-Part Analysis: Measures your ability to solve complex problems. They could be quantitative, verbal, or some combination of both. The format is intentionally versatile to cover a wide range of content. Your ability to evaluate trade-offs, solve simultaneous equations, and discern relationships between two entities is measured.
The new exam may well stem continued losses in market share for the GMAT caused by the alternative test, the GRE, that more and more applicants are taking. As Stacey Koprince, director of content and curriculum at Manhattan Prep, explains, “The exam makers have gone to great lengths over the past few years to emphasize that the GMAT is the best exam to measure prospective students’ success in business school, at a time when the GRE was cutting into their market share. This change makes the GMAT even more tailored to business schools than it was before. It might be hard for the GRE makers to make similar changes since it really has to be an admissions exam for a wider variety of graduate degree programs, including business, education, engineering, and veterinary medicine.”
DON’T MISS: MEET GMAC’S NEW CEO: JOY JONES’ BIG BET ON A NEW GMAT or REVAMPED GMAT EXAM WILL BE NEARLY ONE HOUR SHORTER
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