The GMAT exam is changing.
And I do not mean in the computerized adaptive way that informs your score!
The Graduate Management Admission Council™ (GMAC™) announced this week that major changes are coming to the GMAT exam’s format and structure, likely in later 2023. (The current GMAT is expected to be offered through early 2024.)
What changes are planned?
1. The exam will be shorter!
The new GMAT Focus Edition will consist of three 45-minute sessions. This new testing experience will require approximately one hour less than the current GMAT, for an improved test-taker experience.
2. It will no longer include written essays!
The updated GMAT will no longer include the Analytical Writing Assessment (essay) section. All questions will be multiple choice.
This might remove the additional anxiety some test takers feel when tasked with writing lengthy timed essays during the same sitting in which they must contend with quant, verbal, and critical thinking exam topics.
3. You will have the flexibility to return to prior questions.
GMAC notes that the new GMAT Focus Edition will allow test takers to mark specific questions within a section and return to them later—similar to options candidates currently have with the GRE exam—and to change up to three question responses per section.
This is in stark contrast to the GMAT’s current structure, which does not allow test takers to return to earlier questions.
You will also be able to choose which section you would like to begin with, which will hopefully help you perform your absolute best on the exam.
4. A new Data Insights section is being added.
Based on feedback from business schools, the GMAC is striving to redesign the test to assess skills most relevant in today’s business world.
5. Score reports will include only one date’s test scores.
The stress about how much of one’s prior exam history will be included on score reports will be removed, with GMAC revealing that a given score report will present a test taker’s scores only from that particular test date.
You will be able to send a score report to up to five schools for free, and you can decide which schools those will be after you view your score.
So, what does this all mean for MBA applicants?
If you are aiming to apply to MBA programs in several years (i.e., from 2024 onward). . .
You will likely be taking the GMAT Focus Edition, if you choose the GMAT for your MBA application exam. (Note: Per current policies, most business schools also accept the GRE, and a growing number of programs accept the Executive Assessment.)
You should plan to follow the updates GMAC provides and wait until the new exam is available before preparing for and completing your testing.
If you are aiming to apply to MBA programs in 2024. . .
Because GMAT scores are valid for five years, you can choose to proceed with your GMAT preparation and exam in 2023 or early 2024, if you feel comfortable and confident with the current exam structure. This could also be a good option if the best time for you to spend two to three months preparing for the exam is sooner rather than later.
The easiest way to discover whether you feel comfortable and confident with the current structure is to take a free online practice test.
If you are applying to MBA programs in 2023. . .
The coming GMAT changes will not likely affect you.
If you prefer an exam that is a bit shorter and more flexible than the current GMAT, or if you struggle to achieve the GMAT score you are targeting, then consider looking into the GRE or Executive Assessment as alternatives, if your target programs accept these exams.