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GMAT Focus Edition 2023/ GMAT change 2023

The GMAT Focus Edition, a new iteration of the GMAT exam designed by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), is set to be introduced in the last quarter of 2023, specifically between October and December. The existing version of the GMAT exam will remain operational until sometime in 2024, after which it will be phased out. The legacy exam will continue to be accessible until at least early 2024, as confirmed by GMAC. The forthcoming exam will place a stronger emphasis on business skills and executive decision-making, aligning with practical applications in business school and one’s career.

If I'm Currently working on the GMAT/Application in 2023. What Should I Do?

Continue your preparations and disregard any excessive anticipation. GMAC has given ample notice to individuals considering the new GMAT version, so there’s no need to alter your approach if you don’t wish to. If you intend to submit your application in 2023, opt for the existing GMAT version and dismiss concerns about the new GMAT Focus Edition. Remember that you have the flexibility to adapt later: if circumstances change, you can switch to the new exam or even take both and submit the higher score. Since the content and question types largely overlap between the two exams, the groundwork you lay for the legacy GMAT will still be valuable for the new GMAT.

Current GMAT or the new GMAT Focus?

The new GMAT Focus is scheduled to launch in Q4 2023 (after October). If you aim to complete your GMAT by 2023, stick with the legacy version. If you plan to commence your studies soon but delay the decision regarding which exam to take, start by focusing on the question types and content areas that are covered in both versions of the GMAT. If you intend to start studying in 2024, opt for the new GMAT Focus. You don’t need to take any immediate action, as the GMAT prep materials and practice tests will be updated by the time you begin your studies.

Will my “current” GMAT scores still be accepted by business schools in 2024 (or later)?

Absolutely! No need to worry. Your GMAT scores remain valid for five years from your test date. Business schools are not phasing out the legacy exam; they are merely adding the new exam to their accepted options, similar to their acceptance of the GRE and EA. As long as your scores are within their validity period (which is also five years for these exams), business schools will consider them.

GMAT Focus launch

GMAT Focus is set to launch in Q4, which spans from October to December. Registration for this new exam will commence on August 29th. Official practice materials for GMAT Focus have already been released as of June 6, 2023.

Current GMAT Will Be Phased Out

The current version of the GMAT will be available until at least “early 2024,” although GMAC has not yet specified a precise retirement date. It’s likely that it will be accessible until February or March 2024, but potentially not beyond. If you’re planning to take the current version, make sure your first attempt is before the end of 2023, allowing ample time for a potential second attempt.

Different in the GMAT and what's Included in the GMAT Focus?

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has provided official information about the changes in the new GMAT Focus. Here’s an overview of the structure of the new GMAT Focus:

GMAT Focus / Test Section TIME # of problems Details
Quant 45 min. 21 Changed: geometry removed
Changed: Data Sufficiency moved to Data insights section
Problem Solving
Verbal 45 min. 23 Changed: Sentence Correction removed
Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension
Problem Solving
Data Insights 45 min. 20 Data Sufficiency added
All four (current) Integrated Reasoning problem types

The AWA/Essay section has been removed from the new GMAT Focus. Test takers have the flexibility to choose the order in which they complete the three sections.

Scoring Scale for the New GMAT Focus

The new GMAT Focus Total score encompasses performance across all three sections of the exam:

Section Score range Details
TOTAL SCORE 205 to 805 In 10-points increments (for example 695 and 705 will be possible scores)
Quant 60 to 90 In 1-point increments
Verbal 60 to 90 In 1-point increments
Data Insights 60 to 90 In 1-point increments

Additionally, GMAT Focus score reports will now display scores from a single test sitting. Therefore, if you take the exam multiple times, you have the option to select which set of scores you want to share. It’s worth noting that the option to “superscore,” which involves combining the best scores from different test sittings (e.g., combining the highest Quant score with the highest Verbal score from separate tests), will not be available.

Is GMAT Focus an Adaptive Exam?

Yes, the GMAT Focus employs an adaptive exam format, similar to the current GMAT. Following your response to each question, the exam selects the subsequent question based on your performance up to that point. This method, recognized as the most sophisticated type of adaptive algorithm, enables the test to precisely gauge the score of each test taker. However, it often introduces heightened tension for test takers, as answers must be given in real-time without the option to revise them later.

Yet GMAC is introducing an innovative approach. With GMAT Focus, you have the ability to modify up to three answers in each section, despite the exam’s continued use of question-adaptive principles. This innovation appears to be primarily aimed at alleviating stress during the testing process—an initiative I commend GMAC for taking.

Initially, I had concerns that the limitation of altering only three answers per section could amplify stress. However, the stress of knowing you can modify all your answers is equally challenging. Consequently, this constraint encourages the cultivation of our business-oriented decision-making skills. More often than not, our initial well-reasoned choice is the optimal one, and sticking with it is advisable. Occasionally, circumstances change due to errors or newfound information, prompting an adjustment.

Yet, if uncertainty arises due to self-doubt, it’s best to leave the answer untouched. Your initial response is usually the superior one unless an actual mistake is evident. Moreover, if you find yourself caught between two options, a resolution won’t likely materialize within the next 30 seconds. It’s advisable to cease expending time needlessly, retain your answer, and proceed.

What’s covered on both versions of the GMAT?

If you have the flexibility of time, you can begin your study preparations now and make a decision later regarding which version of the exam to take. While GMAC has yet to release complete details, the majority of question types and content areas are expected to be common to both exams.

 It’s advisable to start by focusing on the following areas:

Verbal Question Types:

  • Critical Reasoning
  • Reading Comprehension

Quantitative/Data Insights Question Types:

  • Quantitative:
    • Problem Solving
  • Data Insights
    • Data Sufficiency (previously part of the Quant section)
    • Tables
    • Graphs
    • Multi-source reasoning
    • Two-parts

Quantitative/Data Insights Topic Areas:

  • Arithmetic (including number properties)
  • Algebra
  • Statistics
  • Fractions, ratios, percents
  • Word problems (including sets, probability)

Given the recent announcement of the change, current study materials are geared toward the existing exam format. However, the new exam is essentially a subset of the soon-to-be-retired version. As such, you can still utilize “old” study materials—just exclude the sections on geometry and Sentence Correction for the time being. Should you later decide to opt for the current/old exam, you can incorporate these areas into your study plan.

The official GMAT Focus practice tests are accessible in the free official starter kit, and additional paid practice tests will be introduced soon. It will take test prep organizations some time to explore the workings of the new algorithm and subsequently develop practice tests that effectively mirror the actual exam. It’s recommended to approach new practice tests with caution, as effective emulation of the updated scoring and algorithm requires thorough research—a process that takes time.

For those just embarking on their preparation journey, it’s beneficial to enhance skills using the free GMAT Foundations of Math eBook (excluding the geometry chapter) and the free GMAT Foundations of Verbal eBook (excluding the Sentence Correction chapters). Additionally, enrolling in the Free Starter Kit is advisable. This resource already provides comprehensive information about the current exam, and as further details about the GMAT Focus emerge, the Starter Kit will be diligently updated to keep test takers informed.

Wishing you productive and successful studies!

All the information about the new GMAT Focus. Application, release, score and much more.

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