GMAC, the organisation that administers the GMAT, said that test takers could choose between three options:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original order)
  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

The change regarding the GMAT section order will go into effect on July 11, 2017 at 12:01 am local time. All exams appointments scheduled for July 11 or later will include these changes at the test centre.

Here are the answers to some of the most important questions regarding the latest changes.

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What is included in the 2017 GMAT release?

There are 2 changes included in the 2017 GMAT release. The first is the already mentioned more flexible GMAT section order. The second is the removal of the profile update screens at test centres. There is a series of profile questions (e.g. undergraduate degree, years of work experience, demographics) presented on the computer monitor at the test centre following the exam. These screens will be removed from the testing monitor; they will still be available for you to access and update on mba.com at any time prior to or following your GMAT exam.

Why is the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) making these changes?

The Select Section Order feature has been a commonly requested and strongly favoured feature throughout GMAC’s research, according to the organisation.

As for the second change, removing the extra profile screens will provide a more streamlined test centre experience. By removing these screens, test takers will be able to see their unofficial scores immediately following the exam and the examinee’s overall time at the test centre will be reduced.

How do I select my preferred section order for my GMAT exam?

You will select the section order at the test centre. The Select Section Order screen will be presented on the computer after you select the schools to send your score report, after the navigation tutorial, and immediately prior to beginning your GMAT exam.

You will be presented with the three section order options and you will have two minutes to make a selection. If you do not make a selection within two minutes, the original order will be selected as a default.

Will my breaks be impacted by the section order I select?

You can take two optional 8-minute breaks that will be spaced at relatively even time intervals throughout the exam based on your section order selection. The break schedule for the section orders will be as follows:

Break schedule for the section

Remember that the breaks are optional; if you don’t want to take your break, you can skip through it and continue to the next section of your exam. If you exceed the time limit for your break, the time will be deducted from the next section of your exam.

Which section order should I select?

There is no “correct” or “recommended” section order to select.  This option gives you more control and flexibility to take the GMAT exam based on your strengths and testing preferences.  Some people may prefer to take their strongest section first to build up their confidence and “warm up” for the other sections. Others may prefer to their weakest section first so they can tackle it with a fresh mind.

We suggest that you think through your strengths and the testing strategies that work best for you prior to your GMAT appointment.

If you are not sure, just take the exam in the original section order.

Can I skip any of the sections?

No, you must complete every section of the GMAT exam and you cannot skip any sections. A section is considered complete once you answer every question, or you run out of time for that section.

Will my GMAT section order choice be displayed on my score report?

No, the section order you selected will not be shown on any unofficial or official score report. Schools will not know which section order you selected.

Are there study and preparation materials available that simulate the GMAT exam in different orders?

The Select Section Order feature is not currently available in the full-length practice exams in the mba.com store, which includes GMAT Prep and Exam Packs 1 and 2. These products will be updated with the Select Section Order feature by July 31, 2017.

You can still download or purchase any full-length exam product via mba.com/store between now and the release of the updated versions. When the software is updated to include the Select Section Order feature, you will be eligible for a complimentary upgrade of GMAT Prep or Exam Pack.

In the meantime, you can use the Test Bank Tool in the Online Official Guide to build your own question sets by question type in your preferred order.

GMAC recommends that if you are not comfortable with a different section order, you can take the GMAT exam in the original section order.

I already have a GMAT exam scheduled. Should I reschedule it to take advantage of this new feature?

The decision to reschedule is up to you. For those that have already done significant preparation for the GMAT and are already prepared to take the exam, you may feel comfortable proceeding with your exam as scheduled, as the original section order will be available.

If you would like to reschedule your GMAT exam to take advantage of the new Select Section Order feature, you can call GMAC Customer Service to reschedule your exam. Both your reschedule fee and phone fee ($10) will be waived if your request is received within a 7-day grace period of the announcement (request via phone must be received on or prior to 22 June, 2017). Remember, you have to call in to customer service by 22 June to have the fee waived.

After the grace period, you may reschedule your GMAT exam online, at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment, for the standard reschedule fee.

Source: GMAC

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