Are you applying to business school this application season and are wondering whether you should take the “classic” GMAT or the new GMAT Focus? The answer depends on several factors, most importantly when you are planning to apply. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced in August 2023 that the GMAT Focus will be available for test takers starting November 7th, 2023. However, GMAC provided a much less specific timeframe for when the classic GMAT will be phased out and stated that the test will be available “until early 2024”. Since most business schools have their Round 1 deadlines in the early fall, the GMAT Focus will not be available for applicants who are hoping to apply in the first round. For Rounds 2 and 3, which typically have deadlines between October and April, many schools will accept the GMAT Focus. Keep in mind that since GMAT scores are valid for five years, you can still take the classic GMAT test and apply with that score until early 2029.
Some schools, including Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, made the decision to not accept the GMAT Focus until 2024—HBS will accept the test only from applicants to its 2+2 program, which has its deadline set in April 2024, and Wharton will only accept it starting January 2024, when the classic GMAT will not be available anymore. For more schools and their policies on the GMAT, see our chart below.
|Accepted in Round 2?||Accepted in Round 3?|
|Columbia Business School||Yes||Yes|
|Harvard Business School||No||No*|
Information is subject to change. For the most up to date information, consult the school directly.