What You Need to Know About GMAT Focus

The GMAT Exam has been around since 1954, and has ever since modified itself to suit the changing needs of business schools. We shall focus on the latest edition of 2023.

Earlier this year, GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council), the makers of the GMAT Test released a new version of the test called the GMAT Focus. What you need to know about GMAT Focus is that it’s a better, more focused testing system that has removed components deemed unnecessary by the council over the years. It’s called GMAT Focus because the test will now focus on skills that are needed in business school.

This modified version of the earlier GMAT may have generated a few doubts and questions, which we will try to address in this blog post.

But First, What’s the GMAT?

GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is a global testing system that business schools use to assess a candidate’s abilities to admit them. This test has been around for over seventy years and has a reputation preceding many other similar tests which you will come across today. However, over 2000 business schools over the globe accept the GMAT Score, making it the test most sought after.

Why the Change to GMAT Focus?

The earlier GMAT test consists of four sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, And Analytical Essay. The quantitative section is essentially the Math section, which includes geometry. Now, over the years, the council realized that no business requires you to calculate the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle, does it? Nor do they need you to articulate a well-reasoned essay on school academics.

These sections were simply irrelevant to the realm of business and hence the council decided that they should remove them, retaining only skills relevant to businesses.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the older GMAT and the New GMAT Focus:

Dates of Availability Available till early 2024 Will be available after November 2023
Test Structure 4 sections:
Quantitative (31 Questions)
Verbal (36 Questions)
Integrated Reasoning (12 Questions)
3 sections:
Quantitative (21 Questions)
Verbal (23 Questions)
Data Insights (20 Questions)
Duration 3 hours, 7 minutes
Quantitative (1 hour 2 minutes)
Verbal (1 hour 4 minutes)
Integrated Reasoning (30 minutes)
Essay (30 minutes)
2 hours 15 minutes:
Each section is timed at 45 minutes
Section Order 3 available section orders 6 possible section orders
The section can be taken in any order
Adaptive Quantitative and Verbal sections only All 3 sections are adaptive
Overall Scores 200-800 in 10-point increment
Based only on Quantitative and Verbal sections
205-805 in 10-point increments
All 3 sections contribute in equal parts
Section Scores Quantitative and Verbal
6-51 in 1-point increments
Integrated Reasoning
1-8 in 1-point increments
0-6 in half-point increments
All sections use the same scale
60-90 in 1-point increments
(Adapted from the Princeton Review)

As you can see, the number of sections and the overall time for the test has significantly reduced by almost an hour. The new test has omitted sections that aren’t crucial for business school, giving a breather for students to prepare to their fullest potential for the 3 sections in GMAT Focus.

As given in the table, the older version will still continue till early 2024, so if you’ve already begun preparing for this version, you can still go ahead and take the GMAT. However, if you wish to take the new GMAT Focus, you can do so from this November onwards, in 2023.

What About Candidates Who Have Already Appeared for the Old GMAT?

As your GMAT score is valid for five years from the date of the test, previous test-takers may be facing many doubts and apprehensions as they’ve spent a great deal of time and energy on taking the test. But there’s nothing to worry about. The old GMAT Score will very much be valid for the next five years, alongside the new GMAT Focus.

The GMAC has been very cooperative in trying to clear out any doubts, and they have even published all the necessary information on their website. Earlier, the total score was calculated using only the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning Scores. This resulted in a lot of discrepancies and inconsistencies while considering the students’ scores in different business schools. To combat the uneven distribution, the new GMAT Focus Total Score considers all 3 sections equally.

Are the Old Scores and New Scores Considered on the Same Level?

As mentioned earlier, the validity of the old GMAT Test continues as is, but the new GMAT Focus Total Score is calculated differently. To compare the old and the new scores, GMAC advises students to look at the percentile and not the score itself. For this, the GMAC website has published the table with each percentile, adjacent to the GMAT and GMAT Focus scores. With the help of this table, you can find out which score you’ll need to achieve to get into the college of your choice as well. They’ve also changed the total score scale by 5 points so you can differentiate between the older and newer versions:

GMAT™  Focus Edition – 205-805

GMAT™ Exam – 200-800

GMAT Focus Test Dates to Keep in Mind:

  • As one can take the GMAT Test from home, at any given time of the day, the last date for the previous GMAT Exam is the 31st of January, 2024. Post this, you will not be able to take the previous test anymore.
  • The only version of the GMAT available from 1st February 2024, will be the GMAT Focus Edition.
  • Testing appointments for the GMAT Exam will be available through January 31, 2024. This date was chosen to ease over the in-progress business school applications. It would also provide several options for those meeting the current Round 1, 2, and 3 deadlines.
  • Candidates will still be allowed to take the GMAT Exam from test centers and online through January 31, 2024.
  • GMAT Exam scores will still be valid for five years from the candidate’s appointment date. In other words, you will receive valid GMAT Scores from 31st January 2024 through 31st January 2029.

GMAT™ Focus Edition Timeline

– Registration for the new test is open. You can click on the link to register for the exam.

– The testing begins on 7th November, 2023.

For further assistance and concerns about the GMAT Focus, you can reach out to GMAC. They have provided all the necessary information on their website.