The GMAT focus exam is just about to arrive and brings TONS of changes to what is still the most popular test for MBA applicants. It’s shorter, there’s no essay and it’s more “tomorrow” – but should you wait to take it?
Angela Guido has SO MUCH TO SAY about the new GMAT and GRE exams and how they affect your MBA candidacy. This video gets right to the point: should you take the GMAT focus, the old GMAT or the GRE? Who should take the GMAT focus edition? Is the GMAT focus edition any good?
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Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
The GMAT test prep industry is a multimillion-dollar industry. Loads and loads of smart people have dedicated hundreds and thousands and possibly millions of hours filling the internet, filling books, filling the world with materials that make the GMAT, as it stands today, more accessible to you. Many of those resources expire when the GMAT Focus Edition comes online. Okay, who am I? What is this? What day is today? It's Monday! I am Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol. Former GMAT instructor, current MBA and career coach, and someone who is passionate about helping you achieve your career dreams. For many of you, that entails applying and attending business school. For most of those of you, both who are applying to business school, that means you're going to have to deal with either the GMAT or the GRE. You probably heard about the new GMAT Focus Edition that is scheduled to come out later this year. I'm going to help you answer the question today, Should you wait for the GMAT Focus Edition?
- Registration August 29
- Tests start end of ’23 (expected October 26)
- No more old GMAT from ‘24
My advice as a former GMAT instructor and MBA Coach for 15 years is no. Do not wait for the GMAT Focus exam. Either take the GMAT before the transition or take the GRE. Let me explain. First of all, let's talk about what is the GMAT Focus Edition and when is it coming? What can you expect? What we know is that according to the creators and purveyors of the GMAT, the GMAT Focus Edition will be available for registration at the end of August. Around August 29th, they will open registration for the GMAT Focus Edition, and the first test settings will happen sometime between October and December of 2023. We will know which dates it's available starting in August, at the end of August. According to the GMAT test writers, starting in 2023, the GMAT Focus Edition will be the only GMAT version available, which means that you will no longer have the option to take the regular old GMAT. This is very important information for anyone who has begun preparing for any exams. I’m going to come back to that in a minute.
- No essays
- No sentence correction
- No integrated reasoning
- ~ 1 hour shorter
- No geometry, less data sufficiency
So, what's different about the GMAT Focus edition? Well, some good news, especially for you non-native speakers of English, they have gotten rid of two of the trickiest parts of the verbal test. They've gotten rid of the essays (which let's face it, nobody ever took very seriously) and they've gotten rid of sentence correction, which was a lot of complex English grammar, some of which was not even internally consistent with one test to another. They've gotten rid of some of the more challenging calibrations of your English abilities, and they replaced it with several more integrated reasoning-style questions. They also shortened the test, which means that instead of about three hours and change, you will be in and out of there in two hours and fifteen minutes, which let's face it, for any of us with a short attention span, which is all of us, am I right? There are some other differences within the fiber of the test. There will be no more geometry. There will be a lot fewer data sufficiency questions, which is very good news for all of us. And there will be, again, an increased emphasis on the IR, integrated reasoning-style questions. This is why, for most of you, I'm really recommending that you take the test now before they switch to the integrated reasoning, focused edition of the GMAT. Here's why. Integrated reasoning was introduced ten-ish years ago. It was when I was still teaching the GMAT, which was more than ten years ago. So it was introduced many, many years ago. It freaked people out because it's a lot more complex than just the multiple-choice questions. It's a lot harder to study for. It's a lot harder to predict what's going to be in that section. And for all of the multi-million-dollar GMAT prep industry, it's a lot harder for them to break down those questions and teach them to you in a way that allows you to actually improve on integrated reasoning. What's more, it never counted towards your full GMAT score, which means that test prep companies have kind of ignored it. There is no really excellent integrated reasoning preparation resource that currently exists to the same level as all the many GMAT test prep companies who've been around now for decades.
- You’re a management consultant
- You do this stuff already
- You’re just great
Here's who might want to wait for the GMAT Focus Edition. If you're a management consultant, if you use the kind of data analysis and integrated reasoning skills that you will find if you go take a free practice test on the GMAT and practice integrated reasoning. If you're naturally good already, if you use those data analysis and reasoning skills in your job, you're probably going to find the new GMAT to be not too much of a challenge for you because you're already fairly good at those skills. For almost everyone else, in order to prepare adequately for that test to get the highest possible score that you can achieve, you're probably going to need a little bit of help. Whether that means you're going to buy a book that walks you through all the math that's on the quantitative section or walks you through reading comprehension and critical reasoning approaches, you're going to want to take advantage of some resource, whether it's a book, or a class, or tutoring, to really help you do your best on that test. And guess what? 50% of the new test will have no history of preparation starting in January. That means the playing field is leveled, you're going in cold. You're not going to be able to go to a tutor who's got years and years of experience getting people's scores from whatever it is to whatever you want it to be using the substance of the test because part of the test is going away and a whole new section is coming in and it's going to affect the scores. The GMAT test prep industry is a multi-million-dollar industry. Loads and loads of smart people have dedicated hundreds and thousands and possibly millions of hours filling the internet, filling books, filling the world with materials that make the GMAT, as it stands today, more accessible to you. Many of those resources expire when the GMAT Focus Edition comes online. So if you want to stand on the shoulders of giants, if you want to take advantage of all the brilliant minds and many not so brilliant minds who have been dedicated to making the GMAT more accessible all this time, now is the time to take advantage of those resources while you still have the chance to take the old GMAT exam.
Another thing to consider is that some schools, most notably Harvard, are not accepting the GMAT Focus Edition this year. If you're applying in round two of this year to Harvard, you've got to take the old GMAT exam and not the new one. The reason they're not taking the new GMAT Focus Edition (it's a longer discussion for another video) is because there's no data on this new test. The old GMAT has years and years of statistical data correlating the GMAT test with actual MBA performance. You better bet that schools are tracking student success on campus and how that correlates with the GMAT exam, and they are factoring this into their admissions calculation every year. The GMAT focus exam will have no data on that, because up until now, the integrated reasoning section, which will comprise a big part of the GMAT focus exam, has not been factored in to any decisions that schools made. Now, they can probably go back and look at the data of integrated reasoning and how that compared to performance, but they weren't making decisions on that. So that data is not going to be useful to them. It's going to be many years before the GMAT focus exam can be directly tied to student performance on campus. Then there's no telling how the GMAT focus exam is going to affect the rankings weighting, which for many schools is the primary driver of their concern about the GMAT in the first place. Again, a subject for another video. So if you're contemplating which exam you should take and whether you should take the GMAT Focus Edition or the regular GMAT, here's my advice: take the regular GMAT. If you've invested even one hour in studying for the GMAT and you've decided that the GMAT is your test, get it done by the end of this year. Get it done before they switch to the GMAT Focus Edition because all the resources of the world are available to you now and starting in January, the game changes entirely.
If you're still weighing which exam you should take between the GMAT and the GRE, to me at this moment and frequently — again, a subject for yet another video — the right answer is probably the GRE, because the GRE is also changing, but it's not changing in its content, it's just changing in its length. They're getting rid of the unscored section, which reduces anxiety, reduces test time, and actually makes the test much more accessible to you. And schools are already taking the new GRE exam, including Harvard. Again, the subject for another video. I have a lot to say about these tests, and I'm going to lay it all on the line here on MBA Mondays because I want you to make the best choice for you. So if you're watching this video and it's still 2023 and you are like, which test should I take? The GMAT or the GRE? The GRE is the safe bet because there's all kinds of materials and those will continue to be useful next year. The GMAT Focus is going to change the entire game. In a few years, we may all love the GMAT Focus exam, it may be the better choice, but right now, in this interim period on the cusp, if I were you, I would avoid it. Take the old GMAT or the GRE and put your best foot forward in your MBA applications. We have other videos about why these tests are important, how they affect admissions decisions, and why they're not going to get you into school, but they could potentially keep you out. So take this decision very, very seriously. I am wishing you all the best on your MBA journey and beyond. I will see you next week on MBA Monday!
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