Recently, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has made significant changes to the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) that affect both its structure and timing. This article aims to explore the reasons behind these changes and the potential consequences they could have for candidates considering applying to business schools.

Changes in the Business World

The business world is undergoing significant transformations that affect the desired competencies and skills of potential employees. Business leaders are more focused on hiring professionals who are able to think critically, solve complex problems, and analyze and interpret data. These changes in the business world have influenced the modifications to the GMAT format.

The latest version of the GMAT test – GMAT Focus Edition – was designed in collaboration with leading business schools, with the aim of reflecting the dynamic of the constantly evolving business world. 

When designing the GMAT Focus Edition, GMAC prioritized skill sets such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and data literacy, which are especially practical in the business environment of tomorrow. 

Feedback from Test-Takers and Business Schools

Through consultations with over 60 worldwide school professionals and nearly 5,400 candidates of diverse demographic backgrounds, GMAC identified several driving themes that informed the direction of the new version of the exam.

Business schools are welcoming the updated version of the GMAT exam, as it better aligns with the expectations and requirements of business institutions. The GMAT Focus Edition is assessed as more efficient, flexible, and insightful, emphasizing data literacy and critical reasoning skills that are particularly relevant in the upcoming business environment. 

Business school leaders especially value the importance of the new Data Insights section, as it helps to prepare candidates for the skills required in the business environment and ensures advanced competencies for the student’s future work. 

As for the test-takers, the shorter exam time, the removal of the essay component, and the possibility to complete test sections in any order are viewed as positive modifications in exam structure, as it improves their experience and reduces stress levels. 

Enhanced Score Report

The GMAT Focus Edition enhanced score report provides detailed feedback and question-by-question insights which will help you to better understand your performance, identify strengths and weaknesses, and adjust future preparation. 

The report will also provide information about how you performed in comparison to others and how you managed your time for each question type. 

The Enhanced Score Report allows you not only to see the performance ranking and the percentage of questions answered correctly but also provides a customized summary report for each section that assesses your strengths and weaknesses and gives you the ability to benchmark against other test takers from the past three years. 

Alignments With The Other Admissions Criteria

The Directors of Recruitment and Admissions teams in prominent business schools think that the updated version of the GMAT exam is in line with the changing business world. The new GMAT Focus Edition ensures the delivery of what schools are looking for while assessing the candidates’ application forms. 

For example, Arnold Longboy, the Executive Director of Recruitment and Admissions at London Business School, believes that the modifications reflect certain competencies that are required in today’s labor market, especially the section of Data Insights which asks test-takers to analyze and interpret data.

Simultaneously, the admissions team representatives emphasize the shortening of the exam’s duration, as it will become more attractive for the test-takers and expand access to a more diverse range of candidates, ultimately promoting inclusivity within business schools. 

Improved Validity and Reliability 

The GMAT Focus Edition has been carefully tested for validity and reliability, ensuring an accurate reflection of your abilities in the tested areas. Validity and reliability are guaranteed by an enhanced score report, which includes information on performance ranking both overall and by question type, a customized summary of personal strengths and weaknesses, a comparison toward other candidates, and more.

You can be confident that the GMAT Focus Edition is an accurate reflection of your skills in the areas being tested. 

Will the New GMAT Version Be More Difficult Than the Previous Version?

Comparing the new GMAT version to determine whether it’s easier or not than the previous one largely depends on the individual candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. 

While the content of the test remains mainly the same, the new section of Data Insights asks you to prepare additional materials and strategies. 

However, some students may even find the new version easier, because of the removal of the essay component and the option to complete test sections in any order. 


As a result of the changes to the GMAT exam, it is now more efficient, flexible, and insightful than before by emphasizing the critical reasoning and data literacy skills that are particularly relevant in the modern business landscape. 

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