How to prepare for the new GMAT Focus Edition

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a crucial exam for individuals seeking admission to graduate business programmes. As of 2024, there will be a significant change in the GMAT format with the introduction of the new GMAT Focus Edition. In this article, we will run through everything you need to know about the GMAT Focus, alongside its key differences from the old GMAT, as well as how to prepare for it.

Starting in February 2024, the GMAT Focus Edition will be the only version of the GMAT available for candidates, replacing the previous versions of the exam. Until then, you can choose to take the old GMAT or GMAT Focus Edition.

Remember, The Profs are here to provide you with expert guidance and support throughout your GMAT journey. Our experienced GMAT tutors are well-versed in both versions of the GMAT and can advise you on which one you should take, as well as how to nail it.

We also have two other articles you might find useful:

New GMAT Focus Edition: what you need to know

What is the GMAT Focus Edition?

The GMAT Focus Edition is a new version of the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) that is set to launch in 2024. This update brings several important changes that test-takers should be aware of. The exam is designed to evaluate the analytical, quantitative, verbal, and reasoning skills of individuals seeking admission to graduate business programmes. One of the most popular courses to require the GMAT is the MBA programme.

Why is there a new GMAT?

The GMAT Focus Edition is considered a next-generation exam and aims to improve the test-taking experience and the relevance of the assessment. It has adapted its topics and sections to reflect the changing business industry e.g. Geometry has been removed and a Data Insights section has been added as much business now requires data reading rather than geometry. It focuses on aligning the assessment with the skills required by top business schools. 

How many times can I take the GMAT Focus?

You can take the GMAT up to 5 times during a rolling 12-month period and 8 total lifetime limits. This applies to all versions of the GMAT, online or at a test centre. 

Don’t forget, with help from our talented team of GMAT tutors, you won’t need to retake the GMAT. Make your first time count!

How to register for the GMAT Focus Edition

Create or log in to your account on MBA.com and register for the GMAT Focus Edition here. You can take it at a test centre or in the comfort of your own home.

Testing appointments for the GMAT Focus Edition began in November 2023. This means that candidates can start scheduling their exams and preparing specifically for the GMAT Focus Edition.

What is the difference between the old GMAT and the GMAT Focus?

As the GMAT undergoes a significant transformation with the introduction of the new GMAT Focus Edition, students need to understand the differences between the old and new versions. 

The GMAT Focus Edition is supposed to be more efficient and flexible than the old GMAT. Hence, it now provides better performance insights than before and is nearly an hour shorter.

The old GMAT follows a fixed difficulty level for each section. All test-takers receive the same set of questions, regardless of their abilities. Alternatively, the new GMAT Focus Edition will employ advanced adaptive algorithms, tailoring the difficulty level of questions based on the test-taker’s performance. This personalised approach aims to provide a more accurate assessment of the candidate’s abilities.

The GMAT Focus Edition puts more emphasis on evaluating a candidate’s ability to analyse complex data sets, simulate real-life scenarios, and make informed decisions.

Here are some important changes to keep in mind:

  • There is no longer an Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), hence candidates will no longer write essays.
  • Geometry has been removed from the Quantitative Reasoning section and the questions have been reduced from 31 questions to 21.
  • The GMAT Focus Edition has 3 sections instead of 4.
  • There is a new section called Data Insights, which will absorb the old Integrated Reasoning section.

What will happen to the old GMAT?

The classic version of the GMAT exam will continue to operate until February 2024 when it is replaced with the GMAT Focus Edition. After this point, the old GMAT will be retired and it will only be possible to take the new GMAT. Old GMAT test scores will remain valid for 5 years after having been taken. 

The structure of the GMAT Focus 

A great thing about the new GMAT Focus is that you can tackle the sections of the test in the order you prefer. You can even bookmark, review or edit already completed sections – with the ability to change up to three of your answers per section.

QuestionsTiming 
  1. Data Insights
2045 minutes
  1. Quantitative Reasoning
2145 minutes
  1. Verbal Reasoning
2345 minutes
Total 64135 minutes

Note that all GMAT tests are in English. However, if English is not your strong suit don’t let that stop you. You should never allow language to be an obstruction. At The Profs, we have skilled English Language tutors who can support you!

So, what does each section include?

  1. What can I expect from GMAT Focus Data Insights? This section will focus on data sufficiency, multi-source reasoning, table analysis, graphics interpretation and two-part analysis.
  2. What can I expect from GMAT Focus Quantitative Reasoning? This section measures your algebraic and arithmetic foundational knowledge, and how you apply this knowledge to problems. This will be structured as problem-solving questions.
  3. What can I expect from GMAT Focus Verbal Reasoning? The verbal section will incorporate reading comprehension and critical reasoning. 

For further information on each section, see here.

Feeling overwhelmed by the GMAT Focus Edition? Allow our expert GMAT tutors to guide you through the process so that you can confidently smash this exam!

For further information, be sure to check out the official GMAT updates and MBA.com. You can also try out this GMAT Focus online quantitative diagnostic tool.

How will the GMAT Focus Edition be scored?

The GMAT Focus Edition will be scored slightly differently from the original GMAT. Now, the total score ranges from 205 to 805, whereas the original GMAT exam’s total score ranges from 200 to 800.

The contribution of each section score to the total score is equally weighted across sections.

Which GMAT should I choose? Choosing the right version for your success

Until February 2024, you can choose which GMAT to take between the old and the new. Choosing the old one shouldn’t pose any disadvantage as the score will be valid for 5 years. 

So, which GMAT test is right for you?

Both versions have their unique features and advantages, so be sure to consider your individual needs and preferences when making your choice. You want to choose the test that speaks to your natural abilities and hence will be easier for you to score highly.

If you’re good at writing and essays are a strength of yours then you might opt to take the original GMAT as this includes an Analytical Writing Assessment section. Whereas, if grammar, syntax and sentence structure are not your strong suit, you may wish to take the new GMAT and avoid this part.

Similarly, the GMAT Focus has removed all the geometry questions from the old GMAT so you should consider whether you excel at geometry or not when making your decision. On that same note, the new GMAT includes a new section called Data Insights. Check out examples of questions within this section to determine how comfortable you are with this material. 

Of course, you can always learn, practice and perfect your skills, especially with our talented team of GMAT tutors. However, it is worth looking into both versions of the test because if you have a clear preference or difference in ability, it’s worth pursuing the test you’re most likely to smash! 

Also, if you have already invested time and effort into familiarising yourself with the old GMAT format and practice materials, sticking with the old version might be a logical choice!

Think about who you are as a person. The old GMAT didn’t allow you much flexibility regarding the order in which you answer questions along with the ability to edit them. However, the new GMAT does. Think about if you need these features or whether they would just cause you to waste time and second-guess yourself. 

Similarly, the new GMAT Focus Edition offers adaptive testing, providing a customised assessment tailored to your strengths and weaknesses. If you value personalised feedback during the exam, the new version might be a more attractive option.

A big part of your decision should be the university you want to apply for as some universities do not accept the GMAT Focus Edition yet. Similarly, every university is different and some express a preference for a particular GMAT test or EA or GRE scores. Always check your chosen course page on your desired university’s website!

Need help choosing which GMAT test to take and/or getting the kind of top score that will unlock opportunities? Don’t worry, our expert GMAT tutors can help you! Many of our students succeed in achieving high scores and getting into top business schools, like Cambridge Judge, LSE, Imperial, Berkeley Haas and Harvard!

Also, consider whether you should take the GRE or EA instead. Again, speaking to our team can help you discover the best test for your success. We have excellent tutors for each exam type, as well as helpful articles on how to prepare for the GRE and EA.

Here is a free online quiz that can help you choose the best test for you.

What schools accept the GMAT Focus?

The list below runs through some of the universities in the United Kingdom and the United States that accept the GMAT Focus:

  • Berkeley Haas
  • Chicago Booth
  • Columbia Business School
  • Cornell Johnson
  • Dartmouth Tuck
  • Duke Fuqua
  • INSEAD*
  • Michigan Ross
  • MIT Sloan
  • Kellogg
  • NYU Stern*
  • Stanford
  • UCLA Anderson
  • UVA Darden
  • Yale SOM
  • Cambridge Judge
  • Oxford Saiid Business School
  • London Business School
  • Imperial College London
  • London School of Economics

Please note that this list details what business schools accept the GMAT Focus for rounds 2 and 3 2023-2024. However, those marked with an asterisk only accept the GFE for round 3.

You should note that Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania have chosen not to accept the GMAT Focus Edition until 2024. 

How do I get a waiver/exemption for the GMAT Focus?

Firstly, you should not try for the GMAT waiver if you lack sufficient work experience, leadership background, or quantitative academic achievements, or face other application weaknesses. This won’t be strategic and your chances for approval are low.

Those who apply for a GMAT waiver usually have years of professional work experience under their belt as well as a strong academic history (including a bachelor’s degree) and professional certifications like the CPA or CFA. They will also be able to demonstrate their leadership and problem-solving skills through their experience. 

If you do decide to apply for a GMAT waiver, remember that every school has a different process. Some schools require GMAT waiver requests before application submission, while others incorporate it within the application. Always check your school’s guidelines and deadlines. Similarly, you should check the GMAT waiver section of your chosen course on your desired university’s website as they might specify their own eligibility rules for the GMAT waiver e.g. a specific number of years in X profession.

Also note that over the last couple of years, diversity has grown more and more important to the GMAT waiver. If applicable, emphasise your diverse perspective and contribution to MBA communities in your application to make a powerful statement to the admissions committee. Craft a unique and compelling GMAT waiver letter. 

Need help with applying for a GMAT waiver? Our team has tonnes of experience in this area and has helped numerous students obtain GMAT waivers and gain admission to top business schools. We also have expert writing tutors who can help you create the perfect waiver letter!

Do not consider a GMAT waiver if you can get a GMAT score that surpasses the average score for your desired programme, as it can massively strengthen your candidacy!

How to prepare for GMAT Focus Edition: top tips

  • Start early: Begin your preparation for the GMAT Focus Edition well in advance to give yourself enough time to cover all the necessary topics and practice effectively.
  • Understand the format: Familiarise yourself with the structure, timing, and sections of the GMAT Focus Edition.
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Take a practice test or a diagnostic test to identify areas where you excel and areas that require more work. This will help you tailor your study plan accordingly.
  • Create a study plan: Develop a structured study plan that covers the topics and sections of the GMAT Focus Edition. Allocate sufficient time for each section and ensure you have a good balance between theory and practice.
  • Utilise reliable study materials: Use reputable GMAT Focus Edition study guides, practice tests, and other educational resources to ensure you are prepared with accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Practice time management: The GMAT Focus Edition is a timed exam, so it’s crucial to practise proper time management during your preparation. Work on improving your speed and accuracy to answer questions within the given time limits.
  • Learn key test-taking strategies: Familiarise yourself with effective test-taking strategies specific to the GMAT Focus Edition. These strategies can help you navigate through the exam and make the best choices, especially in challenging or time-constrained situations.
  • Take regular practice tests: As you progress in your preparation, regularly take full-length practice tests to simulate the real exam environment. Analyse your performance and identify areas of improvement.
  • Review and analyse mistakes: After each practice test or study session, carefully review and analyse your mistakes. Understand the concepts you struggled with and work on strengthening those areas.

Seek professional personalised support from our skilled GMAT tutors! They can provide invaluable insights and tips to maximise your performance.

For more information, utilise the GMAC website and check out this official GMAT book for further preparation. Free resources are available here.

Get assistance from an expert GMAT tutor

At The Profs, we understand the significance of the GMAT in your business school journey. Our team of expert tutors specialise in GMAT preparation and can guide you through the intricacies of both the old GMAT and the new GMAT Focus Edition.

Additionally, if you require personalised GMAT tutoring or assistance with your university admissions process, our experienced tutors are here to support you. Contact our staff to explore our range of tutoring services and see how we can help you achieve your goals.

We have professional:

All of whom have a track record of success and can help you achieve your specific goals!

Contact us today to schedule your tutoring sessions and secure your dreams.

FAQs

Will GMAT Focus replace the GMAT?

Yes. The classic version of the GMAT exam will continue to operate until February 2024 when it is replaced with the GMAT Focus Edition. After this point, the old GMAT will be retired and it will only be possible to take the new GMAT. Old GMAT scores will remain valid for 5 years after having been taken. 

When will GMAT Focus Edition be available?

Testing appointments for the GMAT Focus Edition already began in November 2023. This means that candidates can already schedule their exams and prepare specifically for the GMAT Focus Edition. 

For the latest information, we recommend visiting the official GMAT website or contacting the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the organisation responsible for administering the GMAT exam.

Will GMAT Focus be easier?

The difficulty of the GMAT Focus is supposed to be on par with the original GMAT exam. However, it’s been changed to be better engaged with current business content and how the business world operates today, hence the material is slightly different. 

The essay section has been removed and replaced with Data Insights, and geometry questions have been withdrawn from the quantitative section. So, you might find it harder or easier than the original GMAT depending on where your strengths lie. For more information, read this article.

Unsure which GMAT you should take or worried about achieving highly? Don’t worry, our expert GMAT tutors have got your back.

Will Harvard accept GMAT Focus Edition?

Harvard Business School, like many other top business schools, accepts the GMAT as a valid exam for admissions. However, it is not yet accepting the GMAT Focus Edition. 

Keep an eye on the official admissions requirements and guidelines provided by Harvard Business School to ensure you are up-to-date with their specific requirements for your chosen course.

Does LBS accept GMAT Focus Edition?

London Business School, like many other top business schools, accepts the GMAT as a valid exam for admissions. It is now accepting the GMAT Focus Edition. 

Keep an eye on the official admissions requirements and guidelines provided by LBS to ensure you are up-to-date with their specific requirements for your chosen course as these may change.

Should I write GMAT or GMAT Focus? 

You should write GMAT Focus if you are referring to the new GMAT test (GMAT Focus Edition) as this will help distinguish it from the old GMAT which is being phased out. If you are referring to the original GMAT, you can write GMAT. If you wish to discuss both, you should write ‘GMAT and GMAT Focus’. 

The GMAT Focus Edition can also be abbreviated as GFE, although you should always clarify what your abbreviation stands for.

How long is the GMAT Focus?

The GMAT Focus is a 135-minute exam, which can be broken down into three 45-minute sections. It is almost an hour shorter than the old GMAT.