(The Free Press Journal publishes articles by study abroad consultants, Consulates, foreign universities, international students, and much more every Saturday to give its readers a glimpse of the world of overseas education.)
If you are planning to pursue a business degree, you might have heard of the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, which is a crucial component of the application process for many business schools worldwide. The GMAT is a standardised test that assesses your academic ability in several areas, such as analytical writing, integrated reasoning, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning.
Recently, the GMAT has undergone some changes with the introduction of the new GMAT Focus Edition, which has raised questions for aspiring business students about which test to take. If you are in a similar predicament, this article will help you determine whether you should sit the current GMAT exam or wait for the new GMAT Focus Edition.
Stephanie D’sa and Ishita Jain | |
When to take the test?
Your decision about which test to take should be influenced by when you intend to apply to business school. If you plan to submit your application in early autumn 2023, it would be best to sit the current GMAT exam since registration for the GMAT Focus Edition exam opens on August 29, 2023, with appointments available to sit the new test from October to December 2023 and beyond. On the other hand, if you plan to apply in 2024 or beyond, you can wait and sit for the new GMAT Focus Edition.
When can you start preparing for the GMAT Focus Edition?
The official free GMAT Focus Edition prep materials will be available on MBA.com from June 6, 2023, which gives you sufficient time to prepare for the new exam.
What are the differences between the current and new GMAT exams?
Both the current GMAT and GMAT Focus Edition are accepted by over 2,400 business schools and over 7,700 programs worldwide. However, there are differences between the two exams that you should consider when making a choice.
The current GMAT exam consists of 80 questions divided into four sections, namely, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment. The test takes slightly over three hours to complete. In contrast, the GMAT Focus Edition consists of three sections, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and the new Data Insights component, with 64 questions in total, and takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete.
Another difference is that the GMAT Focus Edition is fully multiple-choice, meaning that the analytical writing component of the current GMAT has been eliminated. It's important to note that the scoring range for the GMAT Focus Edition is different from the current GMAT exam.
Which test is cheaper to sit?
The GMAT Focus Edition exam fees will be similar to the current GMAT exam, so the cost should not be a deciding factor in your choice of the exam.
Can you retake the GMAT Focus Edition test?
Yes, you can. Both the current and GMAT Focus Edition exams allow candidates up to five attempts in a rolling 12-month period, with a lifetime limit of eight attempts.
Will the scores change with the new GMAT Focus Edition?
Yes, the scoring range for the GMAT Focus Edition is different from the current GMAT exam. The Focus Edition has a maximum score of 805 and a minimum score of 205. It consists of three sections, each with a maximum score of 90 and a minimum score of 60. The GMAT Focus Edition includes a more detailed scorecard with no extra charges. For the current GMAT exam, a basic score report is included, with an enhanced score report available for an additional fee.
In summary, the choice of which GMAT exam to take ultimately depends on when you plan to apply to business school. If you're applying in early autumn 2023, stick with the current GMAT exam. However, if you plan to apply after December 2023, the new GMAT Focus Edition may be a better choice due to its shorter duration and increased focus on data interpretation.
Regardless of which exam you choose, it's important to prepare thoroughly using the right GMAT prep materials and with help from top-notch faculty. Finally, remember that you can retake the exam up to five times in a rolling 12-month period, but it's best to aim for a high score on your first couple of attempts.
Stephanie is Manager and Ishita, Senior Manager, OnCourse Vantage, an overseas education consultancy in Mumbai.