GMAT Focus Edition: What You Need to Know for 2023 and Beyond

Everything you need to know about the new GMAT Focus Edition, including what changed, an overview of the structure, score reporting, how to ace it, and more.

Aniekeme U.

By Aniekeme U.

Posted March 13, 2024

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Hi, I’m Aniekeme U., a professional admissions coach and TEDx speaker on the power of stories. I earned my MBA from Wharton, where I served on the board of Wharton Storytellers and was an Executive Communications teaching assistant. I am an international who moved from Nigeria to attend Columbia University, where I earned a BS in chemical engineering and served on Columbia’s Global Recruitment Committee. I took the GMAT when I applied to business school. It was a lot of work to get ready for, and it is a pain for a lot of my clients as well.

Believe it or not, the GMAT Focus Edition is great news! Here’s everything you need to know about the exam.

Overview of the GMAT Focus Edition

The GMAT is changing for the first time since 1997.

If you’re considering pursuing an MBA, you’ve probably heard of the GMAT by now. It’s one of the most common standardized tests required for admission, along with the GRE. Well, GMAC, the administrators of the GMAT, recently made several important changes to the exam.

The GMAT Focus Edition is a computer-adaptive test designed to showcase the skills and concepts that business schools actually care about. Official prep materials became available in June, registrations will open on August 29, and testing will start sometime between October and December of this year.

Structure of the GMAT Focus Edition

The GMAT Focus Edition is all about efficiency. There are three sections, each lasting 45 minutes, with only multiple-choice questions. That means it’s almost an hour shorter than the original GMAT (2 hours 15 minutes compared to 3 hours 7 minutes). The sections are Quantitative Reasoning (21Qs), Verbal Reasoning (23Qs), and Data Insights (20Qs). And, there is no longer an essay component.

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What Changed?

Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section now focuses solely on problem-solving questions. You won’t have to deal with data-sufficiency questions anymore. As for the Verbal Reasoning section, sentence correction questions have been removed, and only reading comprehension and critical reasoning questions remain.

New Data Insights Section

This new section, Data Insights, combines elements from data sufficiency (formerly in the Quantitative Reasoning section) and integrated reasoning. You might need to do some math, analysis, and verbal reasoning, or a mix of everything. And, you can use an on-screen calculator for this part.

Score and Score Reporting

The highest possible score for the GMAT Focus Edition is 805. They’ve evened out the weightage of all three sections toward your final score. It’s slightly different from the old version, where the highest score was 800, based only on Quant and Verbal. Also, you no longer have to choose which schools you want to receive your report before the exam. You can pick up to five schools for free within 48 hours after you get your official score report.

Additional Exam Features

The GMAT Focus Edition has even more new features, including:

  • Question Review and Edit – you can bookmark and review as many questions as you want and change up to 3 of your answers per section
  • Select Section Order – you can choose to take the test in any order you’d like
  • Performance Insights  – you can now receive an enhanced score report for free to help you assess your strengths and focus areas

Why It Was Created

Why did the Graduate Management Admissions Council, the GMAC, create the GMAT Focus Edition? Two reasons:

1. Enhanced Test Experience: The GMAC wanted to improve the whole testing experience. So they added features like section order selection, an enhanced score report, and a more flexible way to send your scores. These changes, they hope, will help you prep and perform better.

2. Relevance to Business Needs: Business school and employer preferences are constantly changing. The GMAT Focus Edition is designed to stay aligned with what they need. Primarily, the new version emphasizes data analysis, a vital skill in today’s business world. The GMAC also realized that the essay section and some question types weren’t as practical, so they decided to focus on more relevant skills and competencies.

The result? A shorter, more targeted, and more flexible exam that reflects the real needs of the business world.

Recommendation

If you’re applying in 2023 and already prepping for the regular GMAT, keep going. That version of the exam will continue to be offered till 2024. And, schools like HBS have announced that they will not be accepting the GMAT Focus Edition this application year (to maintain evaluative consistency across application rounds).

If you’re applying in 2024, you can start preparing for the GMAT Focus Edition using the old GMAT prep materials. Just skip the data sufficiency questions in the Quantitative Reasoning section and the sentence corrections in the Verbal Reasoning section

I hope you found this article helpful. The GMAT Focus Edition is a welcome change for test-takers everywhere, and I hope it eases some of your GMAT worries. If you’re interested in working one-on-one with me, you can view my profile here. I offer comprehensive, hourly, and customized packages to help you get into your top business school. I look forward to working with you!

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