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GMAT Focus Edition Officially Replaces Traditional GMAT Exam

The traditional three-hour version of the business school admission is replaced by the shorter Focus Edition, effective February 1st, 2024

Thu Feb 1 2024

The GMAT Focus Edition first opened to test takers in the fall of 2023, offering a reduced examination time of just two hours, and 15 minutes, plus changes to the examination format. Now, this shorter edition of the test is replacing its traditional counterpart.

From February 1st, 2024, the GMAT Focus Edition is the only available version of the GMAT exam. This update brings with it alterations to GMAT preparation requirements and the GMAT scoring system.

About the GMAT Focus Edition

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) was first launched in 1953 as a tool for business schools to evaluate candidates’ preparedness for graduate business programs, the MBA chief among them.

It has since become the most widely used psychometric test for business school admissions, with 80% of candidates relying on the GMAT exam for entry to top schools.

To keep the test up to date with candidates’ and business schools’ evolving requirements, the test’s creator, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), consulted with hundreds of business school professionals and conducted concept tests with thousands of prospective students.

GMAC then created the GMAT Focus Edition. This updated test aims to deliver insights to schools about the skills candidates need for the future, in a more applicant-friendly package.

The GMAT Focus Edition offers three major changes to the original test:

  1. It is shorter and more flexible, with just three sections that can be taken in any order.
  2. Its structure has been updated, with no more Analytical Writing Assessment or Integrated Reasoning section. The three sections now test Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights.
  3. It has a new scoring system, with each section receiving equal weight and total scores ranging from 205 to 805.

What do schools and candidates say?

According to GMAC, responses from applicants and schools alike have been appreciative.

For candidates, the new test requires less content to prepare and is more accessible, thanks to its shorter runtime.

“We have been reassured and encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we have received from many who have taken the latest edition of GMAT and gained newfound confidence to pursue advanced business education,” says Joy Jones, GMAC’s CEO.

The updated focus of the test – assessing in-demand skillsets like critical thinking and data analysis – is valuable for schools.

“It has helped bring us closer to meeting the needs of MBA program candidates while improving upon business schools’ talent selection in the ever-changing business environment,” says Sun Long, executive director of the international MBA at Fudan University in China.

Applicants who worry that the shorter test will be taken less seriously by MBA recruiters can set that worry aside.

“The redesign makes the exam more focused, more accessible, and less daunting. But more focused doesn’t mean easier or less valuable. It just means smarter,” says Rodrigo Malta, managing director of MBA recruitment and admissions at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.

What if I took the GMAT before February 1st, 2024?

If you took the traditional version of the GMAT on or before January 31st, 2024, don’t worry. Your scores are still valid for five years and will still be accepted by business schools.

To understand your score’s competitiveness compared to the GMAT Focus Edition scores, you can use GMAC’s handy concordance table.

How can you prepare for the GMAT Focus Edition?

Thanks to eliminating the Analytical Writing Assessment and the Integrated Reasoning sections, prepping for the GMAT Focus Edition is more streamlined than before.

However, much of the exam is still the same, and any Quant or Verbal prep you’ve done will still stand you in good stead for the exam.

To support your GMAT Focus Edition study, consult the best GMAT prep books or enroll in a GMAT prep course.

Image © Jenny Ueberberg on Unsplash, reproduced under this license.