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Since it was first developed in the 1950s by an association of business schools, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) has undergone a number of changes.
Some of these changes have been designed to increase the test’s validity and usefulness for the business schools that rely on it; others have been designed to keep the test attractive to students and competitive with the GRE.
The test’s most recent changes, unveiled in July 2017, fall into the latter category. The “Select Section Order” update allows test-takers to do exactly that. When they begin the test, they will be able to choose from three options for testing order:
– Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (the original order)
– Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
– Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
Changing the test section order will not change the placement of the optional 8-minute breaks, which will occur after the Integrated Reasoning and Quantitative sections in the first option, after the Verbal and Quantitative sections in the second option, and after the Quantitative and Verbal sections in the third option.
The other update announced in July was the removal of the “profile update” screen, which previously was displayed after candidates had completed the test but before revealing their score. Test-takers are still able to update their profile on the MBA.com website.
How do the GMAT changes affect me?
The “Select Section Order” update adds a new layer of decision-making to the test-taking process. Students will be able to shape their test-taking strategy in order to compliment their strengths and weaknesses.
You may prefer to start the test with your strongest section, in order to boost your confidence, or to start with your weakest section in order to tackle it with your brain fresh (or to get it out of the way).
It’s worth noting, however, that the pilot study conducted by the GMAC before officially unveiling the test changes determined that adjusting the order of the test sections did not affect the validity of the scores.
Regardless of the approach you think is best, it’s worthwhile to practice taking the test in several different configurations, in order to determine which approach is best for you.
Fortunately, the GMAC has released a new version of the free GMATPrep software which allows you to practice the test under authentic conditions, including the new section select option.
Your next step
Are you taking the GMAT in order to get into business school? EXPARTUS can give you the expert advice you need to get going on the best footing possible.
Our experienced admissions consultants can provide services ranging from school selection advice to essay editing, allowing you to become the clear choice for b-school admissions. To learn more, get in touch with us at [email protected]
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