GMAC’s new GMAT-Focus Edition dust has barely settled and we have thoughts.
This fall, a new GMAT-Focus Edition will be joining the GMAT-EA-GRE trifecta of standardized admissions tests for entry to business school, providing an additional choice to test takers. And then there will be four tests to choose from… at least until June of next year when the current GMAT will be shelved.
A little history. Once upon a time, the GMAT was the only “game” in town for business school hopefuls. Then in 2006, ETS brokered a deal with business schools whereby their test, the GRE, started to be accepted – widely – for consideration of acceptance. As it gained popularity with test takers, it secured an even bigger piece of the admissions-test pie. Fast forward to today, and a majority of business schools accept both tests, leaving it up to the test taker to decide which one to take.
There is a (mis)perception that the GRE is an easier test. On a recent MBA Waves episode, where I am a co-host, our guests, ETS professionals Jay Bryant, the Associate Director of Business School Relations, Western USA & Canada, and Mary Theresa (MT) Taglang, Associate Director of Business School Relations, Central/Midwest USA & Canada, spoke about this.
Both GRE and GMAT are challenging to most test takers and require focus and preparation in order to earn a top score. The new GMAT-Focus Edition will also be difficult. While it will be shorter than its GMAT predecessor and the GRE, it is still longer than GMAC’s Executive Assessment. This is the shortest of all the applicable business school admissions tests, clocking in at 90 minutes. Some schools even accept the EA for the regular MBA programs, not just Executive MBAs!
Between the time GMAT-Focus Edition launches and the current GMAT sunsets, you will have a choice of which GMAC test to take. You can hasten your study to take the current and known GMAT version (available through June 2024) or take a gamble with the new Focus Edition format, available, we’re told, this autumn.
Want some more deets on how this new test stacks up? Below is a comparison chart between the new GMAT-Focus Edition and the current GMAT and GRE tests. One thing IS for certain: all tests require preparation and each is designed to distinguish your analytical reasoning skills so that business schools can be assured that you’re prepared for their academic and cognitive rigor. With the information currently available, you can determine for yourself whether the new GMAT-Focus Edition is in your future or not!
Some things to note:
- The new GMAT-Focus Edition is swapping out its Integrated Reasoning with a Data Insights section. This might be just a name change, because similar to the IR, it’s expected to consist of data analysis, interpretation, and visualization, as well as data-driven decision making. This will provide the test taker with an opportunity to highlight critical reasoning skills a business leader is expected to have and use in order to succeed in school and professionally.
- This new Data Insights section is 50% longer than the current IR (30 minutes) and its scoring is combined with the quantitative and verbal scoring for one score. This means it will gain greater prevalence as a factor in the overall score and thus, the school’s consideration. This contrasts with the Integrated Reasoning section, which is scored on a scale of 1 – 6 only and is discrete from the overall 200 – 800 scoring.
- You really can take the test sections in any order.
- The enhanced score report is free and you can send them to schools after seeing them and pick and choose what scores they see.
GMAT Club featured some interesting observations based on the newest Official Guide’s Table of Contents (which is currently no longer able to be viewed on Amazon, but they shared some screenshots, which I’ve shared below) They, and I surmise the following; however, we cannot fact check this at the time of this publication:
- Sentence Correction questions may be less emphasized or will be removed
- There may be no Geometry in the Quant section or have less prevalence.
Reading Comprehension is still an important section on all exams and in your business school program. Reading effectively and efficiently is simply a wise skill to incorporate into your test preparation process. Check out MindFlow Speed Reading to upgrade your reading skills, increase your speed (up to 5x!), and improve your reading performance and score (up to 26%!). And here is a free reading speed test to determine if you need to improve!
No matter which GMAT version, this test may still be your choice because some industries, such as investment banking and consulting, may want to see your GMAT score on your resume, post-MBA. If these are not the job-trajectories you’re on, however, you’ve got more choices.
In conclusion, ETS and GMAC are businesses and their products, in part, are driven by market changes, as well as the insight, feedback, and needs from their customers, their partnering business schools. They will adapt the tests to meet the schools’ needs, which is to identify the reasoning and critical thinking of the test taker. While there is still some mystery as to what this newest GMAT product will contain, you can be sure that being prepared for the test you choose will be most important. We’ll continue to update this article as we find out more information!
Here are some links to learn more about this topic.
Watch the MBA Waves with special guests from ETS, Jay Bryant (ETS, Associate Director of Business School Relations, Western USA & Canada) and Mary Theresa Taglang (ETS, Associate Director of Business School Relations, Central/Midwest USA & Canada) on the recent MBA Waves, here.
Read the CTP blog article about the GMAT versus the GRE.
And always reach out to us with questions on how you can best prepare!