GMAT Focus Edition: The New GMAT Version

GMAT Focus Edition

GMAT is a universally recognized, computer-adaptive test for MBA admissions, that evaluates the test-taker’s analytical, verbal, quantitative, and writing skills. The GMAT is used by business schools to gauge applicants’ aptitude and potential for success in rigorous academic business programs globally.

In July 2023, the  Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced the launch of the new version of GMAT, which aimed to be more efficient, flexible, and insightful than the current version of the GMAT. The new version of the GMAT exam called GMAT Focus Edition prioritizes key skills crucial for business school success in modern times.

Will GMAT Focus Edition Replace GMAT?

The GMAT Focus Edition will be available in the fourth quarter of 2023. However, candidates will have the flexibility to choose between the new version and the “old” GMAT for a few months in late 2023 and early 2024. This way test-takers get the chance to make a decision that best aligns with their preferences and needs.

Will B-Schools accept the GMAT Focus Edition score for the Fall 2024 Intake?

As of now, acceptance of the GMAT Focus Edition score for the Fall 2024 intake is unclear. However, GMAC expects most schools to accept it by then. Applicants should verify with their chosen schools and check the GMAT website for updates. Some schools already accepting the Focus Edition include Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Chicago Booth, NYU Stern, London Business School, INSEAD, and HEC Paris. More schools may announce acceptance in the future. 

Prospective students applying for Fall 2024 are advised to stay informed and verify individual school policies regarding the GMAT Focus Edition score.

Why is the GMAT Focus Edition Launched?

The GMAT is valuable for business schools to evaluate applicants’ preparedness for graduate management programs. As the business world evolves, success requires new skills. The GMAT Focus Edition addresses the changing needs of business schools and the industry, adapting to the demands of the modern business landscape. The new exam emphasizes on data literacy, an increasingly important skill in today’s business world.

What is the difference between GMAT and GMAT Focus Edition?

Features Traditional GMAT GMAT Focus Edition
Number of sections 4 sections- Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Data Insights, Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) 3 sections- Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Data Insights. 

(The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section is removed.)

Length 3 hours and 7 minutes 2 hours and 15 minutes
Content Assess a wide range of skills like problem-solving, data analysis, critical thinking, and reading comprehension Focuses on skills such as problem-solving, data analysis, and data interpretation crucial for business success
Scoring Scores on a scale of 200-800 Scores on a scale of 205-805
Availability Available now Available in Q4 2023

Is Focus Edition GMAT Better?

The GMAT™ Focus Edition is designed to be more efficient, flexible, and insightful, but whether the Focus Edition GMAT is better or not depends on your individual needs and preferences.

Let’s discuss the distinguishing features of the GMAT Focus edition in detail that can be advantageous for the test takers.

Features of GMAT Focus Edition

1- It is shorter: In comparison to the 3 hours and 7 minutes of the traditional, the GMAT Focus Edition is only 2 hours and 15 minutes in duration, with only three sections (45-minute each). Its shorter duration reduces test-taking fatigue, allows better focus on questions, and suits those with limited time or who are not comfortable with long exams. With less time spent taking the test, candidates can now dedicate more time to other aspects of their MBA applications.

2- It does not have an AWA section: The GMAT Focus Edition eliminates the 30-minute Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section from the traditional GMAT exam, which benefits candidates who are time-pressed or are not comfortable with essay writing. Not having to write an essay as part of their test reduces stress, and allows students to focus on individual strengths and improve other areas like quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning.

3- It is more focused on data literacy: The Data Insights section is not the same in the GMAT and the GMAT Focus Edition. In the GMAT Focus Edition, the new Data Insights section evaluates data literacy’s growing significance in the business world. It assesses candidates’ skills in analyzing and interpreting data from various sources. In contrast, the GMAT’s Data Insights section combines Integrated Reasoning and Data Sufficiency, focusing less specifically on data literacy than the GMAT Focus Edition.

4- It is more flexible: The GMAT Focus Edition is more flexible than the GMAT in many ways. The former allows candidates to review and edit their answers during the test, change the answers upon making a mistake, and select the order of the sections as per their preference, which is not possible in GMAT. GMAT Focus Edition allows sending scores to 5 schools, whereas the GMAT permits sending to 4 schools.

5- It provides more detailed performance insights: The Official Score Report for the GMAT Focus Edition offers more detailed performance insights including section-level insights, question-level insights, content domain insights, and time management insights. All these insights help in identifying the strengths and weaknesses, track progress over time, and modify your preparation efforts.

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Percentile Scoring pattern in the new GMAT Focus Edition

The new GMAT Focus Edition has a different percentile scoring pattern than the current GMAT exam. It simplifies score comparison between the two exams and helps you understand how your score compares to others. A percentile ranking of 75% means you performed better than 75% of test-takers, while 25% performed better than you.

It is important to note that the percentile rankings in the GMAT Focus Edition and scores in the GMAT are not the same. A percentile ranking of 75% on the GMAT Focus Edition doesn’t mean a score of 750. The actual score depends on the test’s difficulty level.

In the GMAT Focus Edition, percentile rankings are determined by comparing your scores to a large group of test takers who took the same exam simultaneously. Your percentile ranking is based on where your score falls within this group’s distribution, with the highest scores at the top and the lowest scores at the bottom.

 In Conclusion

The GMAT Focus Edition marks an exciting evolution in standardized testing, tailored to meet candidates’ efficiency and skill needs in the ever-changing business world. 

As you prepare to embrace this new exam pattern, let LilacBuds Consulting be your trusted ally. With our expertise and personalized guidance, LilacBuds will help you navigate the GMAT Focus Edition intricacies, ensuring you are fully equipped to excel in this innovative assessment.


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