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Yesterday, the GMAC made official the launch of the next generation of the GMAT exam: the GMAT Focus Edition. This new GMAT exam promises to be “more efficient, flexible and insightful”, according to the press release.

Don’t abandon your GMAT prep just yet, as the GMAT Focus is only going to be launched in a latter date. Meanwhile, the current version of the GMAT exam will continue to be available till next year.

Captured from the GMAC site on 2023-03-09 at 12:25

What are the differences between the GMAT Focus and the standard GMAT?

While there’s very little information available as of today, this is what we know so far:

  • Three 45-minute sections with a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes (vs. 3 hours and 7 minutes today)
  • The AWA section is removed and there will be a Quantitative Reasoning and a Verbal Reasoning section
  • You will be able to bookmark and review as many questions as you want and change up to three answers per section.
  • No timeline provided except “available later this year” and the current generation of the GMAT exam will be made available till early 2024.

What can we anticipate for the new GMAT Focus?

Based on what we know, this is what we can anticipate:

  • There is a bit of mystery on what the third section will be as there’s no clear mention of Integrated Reasoning on the official release info. However, Integrated Reasoning was increasingly appreciated by business schools as a clear assessment tool. As such, we expect an enhanced Integrated Reasoning section (that would likely be renamed).
  • The new GMAT Focus will likely be less adaptive because of the Question Review & Edit feature. Since they have emphasised a lot on “test strategy optimization” in their communication, we could anticipate a section adaptive nature as used in their Executive Assessment.
  • A lot of confusion for 2024 MBA applicants with one more option for them to consider. However, our recommendation is to stick to the current generation of the GMAT exam because of the available data for Admissions Committee. It will be very hard for them to assess the new GMAT scoring in comparison to the 800-point test, and we believe that candidates who submit current GMAT scores would be less at risk.
  • Despite the GMAT score inflation we have witnessed over the last decade, it seems that the GMAC is set to make the GMAT easier. While we were never big fans of the GMAT, scoring a 95th percentile (and above) in a hard exam helped applicants to strengthen their applications. With an easier test, competition is set to become more intense

Conclusion

Overall, the GMAC didn’t have the choice.

The GMAT test-taking volume went down by ~50% since 2018 and changes were almost inevitable as the test has been under pressure to evolve.

The fact that a few leading Full-Time MBA programs like Columbia were accepting EA scores also indicated that business schools were becoming increasingly comfortable with simplified tests.

It remains to be seen how business schools will react to the GMAT Focus versus the standard GMAT, and where the Executive Assessment fits into this new reality.

Whatever path you wish to take, we are always here to support and help you.

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