In March 2023, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced that the new GMAT™ Focus Edition will be launched sometime later this year. Few specifics have been shared to date, but this article will sum up what you need to know now about this soon-to-be-available MBA application option!
#1. The current GMAT is still here
The existing GMAT will still be offered through at least the start of 2024. So, if you are already preparing for the GMAT, keep doing what you are doing as the GMAT™ Focus Edition will not have a major impact on admissions for the first round (and possibly the second or third rounds) of the 2023 admission cycle.
Of course, a major part of that prep should be manual calculation practice; even if you were to take the GMAT Focus in the future, the problem solving section is expected to still not allow use of a calculator!
For more free videos to help prep for the current version of the GMAT visit this GMAT Prep YouTube playlist.
#2. A (somewhat) shorter exam
The GMAC is marketing the Focus Edition as a more “efficient” test. It will be only 2 hours and 15 minutes long, comprised of three 45-minute sections – Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and a new Data Insights section. Upon further investigation though, that truncation is primarily because the new test won’t have an essay – the part that most applicants cared least about already.
Breaking down the time changes, both the 65-minute Verbal and 62-minute Quantitative sections will be shaved by 15-20 minutes each. However, the currently 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section will be getting a 50 percent bump in duration as part of a new Data Insights section.
#3. New strategic wrinkles
A new question review function will allow Focus Edition test takers to review questions and change as many as three answers per section after initial selection. This functionality is the biggest curiosity for GMAT experts such as myself, since the exam apparently will remain adaptive. Ultimately, this ability could lead to more challenges than benefits by introducing second guessing opportunities, but the GMAC is certainly promoting the added flexibility as a positive.
#4. A single score
Exact details on the new scoring system of the GMAT™ Focus Edition have yet to be released as of the posting date of this article. That said, it is known that the individually reported scores that were not included in the 800 score of the current exam will go extinct.
While the Analytical Writing Assessment essay has been eliminated, the Integrated Reasoning section is being promoted! The IR section will no longer be reported as an isolated individual score out of 8, but now as part of the new Data Insights section, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, Multi-Source Reasoning, and Two-Part Analysis questions will be an equal part of the overall score. That overall score is expected to be still in ten-point increments but will now be out of 805 rather than 800.
#5. Additional customization
Online and in-person administration options will remain available for the official GMAT™ Focus Edition, but now every test taker will be able to choose their specifically preferred section order as opposed to being limited to the three ordering options that exist for the legacy GMAT. The standard Focus Edition score report both online and in-person will be similar to the Enhanced Score Report that is currently only available for an in-person GMAT administration. The GMAC will also allow test takers to see their test results before choosing to send their scores to up to five institutions as part of their exam fee.
About the author
Stefan is an experienced education professional leading the effort at MyGuru to deliver uniquely engaging online tutoring. Under his guidance, MyGuru and Analyst Prep have launched an affordable GMAT prep course to cover all aspects of the current exam and already working on a GMAT Focus course! Stefan is also a test prep professor at Northeastern Illinois University holding a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Southern California and a Master's degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, who has participated as an invited test prep expert at live college admissions events globally for schools such as the University of Chicago and ESMT Berlin.