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GMAT Focus Edition: the Key Changes

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“We want to encourage people with a broad set of qualifications, undergraduate backgrounds and lived experiences to understand the richness of their choice and take that leap forward on their business school journey.” said Joy Jones, CEO of GMAC

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a crucial part of the application process for many business schools. With the introduction of the GMAT Focus Edition, it’s essential for aspiring graduate students to understand the changes and how they could impact the application process. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the GMAT Focus Edition, summarizing key information from official sources, so you can make informed decisions about your business school applications.

GMAT Focus Edition: What to Expect

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The GMAT Focus Edition is a new version of the GMAT, a mainstay exam of graduate admissions designed to asses skills that matter to business schools. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), registration for this updated test will open in August 2023. The primary goal of the GMAT Focus Edition is to streamline the testing experience while maintaining the same high standards as the previous version of the exam.

The GMAT Focus Edition introduces several important updates aimed at enhancing the test-taking experience. These changes are outlined below:

  • Reduced Exam Duration: The GMAT Focus Edition has three 45-minute sections. This makes the test significantly shorter than the regular GMAT, giving test takers back an hour or so of their time.
  • Streamlined Content: The GMAT Focus Edition retains a Quantitative Reasoning section as well as Verbal Reasoning section. The former will continue to test problem solving sklls, but the latter section now focuses only on critical reasoning and reading comprehension, removing sentence correction. Instead of an Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section, the new GMAT has a new Data Insights section, testing data analysis and use-cases for synthesis of insights.
  • Flexible Testing Features: The Focus Edition does not limit users’ ability to bookmark questions or review questions within their currently tested section. Additionally, they can change up to three final answers, and perhaps most significantly can complete the test sections in any order.
  • Enhanced Reporting: The new GMAT aims for more relevance to test-takers and the business schools to which they apply. Therefore, test results will include not only the Total Score (205-805), but also a detailed breakdown of insights to help the students assess which skill areas were more challenging, and which were strongest.

What This Means for the GMAT

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Naturally, the current GMAT’s days are numbered. Expect it to be phased out sometime in early 2024, but if that’s the version you’ve taken or have prepped to take you don’t need to make any major changes. GMAC supports all GMAT scores as valid for 5 years, so there will be an extended transition period to the new test scores.

In the meantime, it will be important to keep in mind that the scores do not translate. Here’s it’s worth quoting GMAC themselves: “Because the Total Score scale and the score scale distribution have both changed, comparing total scores or section scores from the current version of the exam to the GMAT Focus Edition is not appropriate, accurate, or a meaningful comparison of performance. Scores of 600 and 605 may look similar, but they represent very different performance levels on different skills.”

Preparing for the GMAT Focus Edition

The introduction of the GMAT Focus Edition is a significant change in the business school application process. By understanding the updates and utilizing the available prep resources, aspiring graduate students can confidently navigate these changes and excel in their applications. At Magoohs we’re ready for the change, and ready you prepare. GMAC also provides a variety of resources for test-takers to prepare for the GMAT Focus Edition.


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