The GMAT is going to feel different soon! Know what that means for your prep.

Did you hear the big news that’s been doing the rounds?! The GMAT has changed. Starting 16th April 2018, the GMAT is going to start feeling a little less tedious.

Changes in GMAT 2018

This does not imply less studying on your part, neither does it imply fewer sections on the test. All it means is fewer minutes of test-time! You will you no longer be spending 4 hours within test conditions from here on out. The GMAC (the organizers of the GMAT) has finally realized how hard it can be to sustain attention for that long and has taken off 30 whole minutes from the total test time. So, yes, it is now a 3.5-hour long test. Yay!

So, how did the GMAC do this without affecting the question types, content and scoring? That’s what I’m here to write about. It’s true; the changes don’t necessarily imply any change in your prep strategy. In fact, let’s say you are almost done with your prep, there will be nothing you’ll have to pick up anew.

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One of the bigger factors that contribute toward GMAT test time is the total number of questions that appear on the test. Of these questions, the majority are scored, i.e. answering them correctly will enhance your score, but there also exist a percentage of unscored (experimental) questions that the GMAT poses to candidates as part of its assessment of difficulty level. In its bid to enhance the test-taking experience, the GMAC has now decided to cut short the number of experimental questions on the test, thus making the test shorter by 23 minutes. Further to the 23-minute deduction on the verbal and quantitative sections overall (the change in number of questions has been contained within these two sections only), the time devoted to the tutorial screen display at the start of the test has been slashed too and the tutorial instructions have been made available in advance instead. So, now candidates can view and review the tutorial, from the convenience of their homes, prior to appearing for the exam. Factor in the breaks between sections, and it all effectively stands to a net 30-minute reduction in test time!

Of course, experimental questions will still exist on the test, but they will appear significantly less frequently. As per GMAC’s official website, the time spent on the quantitative section will drop from 75 minutes to 62 minutes, and on the verbal section from 75 minutes to 65 minutes. The number of quantitative questions will reduce from 37 to 31 and the number of verbal questions from 41 to 36. However, since the GMAC has very clearly stated that this does not change the average time per question and the scoring algorithm, know that this does not call for a change in the way you prepare for the two sections. Yes, the test is shorter, but your experience of each question remains the same. You may however need to re-strategize your pacing during the test, considering you may have gotten used to sparing 75 minutes for each section. To this end, it might help to track time when practicing full-length sectional questions.

This change is part of the test’s attempt to make the test-taking experience friendlier and is the first major change in the structure of the test since the introduction of IR section in 2012. Note that the IR and AWA sections remain exactly as they are; 30 minutes for each section and no change in the number of questions.

So, what now? If your test is scheduled for after the 16th of April, do you need to be concerned?

Well, certainly not. Like I said, the changes do not dictate a different kind of preparation from the content perspective. The GMAT Official Practice Exams reflecting the shortened Quantitative and Verbal section lengths shall be released soon; no later than April 30, 2018 is what GMAC is claiming. So, you should, very soon, be able to simulate your practice as per the new format. If you have your GMAT exam scheduled on or prior to May 6, 2018, you can reschedule to another date with a fee waiver, provided you call GMAC with your reschedule request on or prior to April 11, 2018.

If you have any further queries about the changes in the GMAT, just head over to GMAT’s official site to have them answered.

If you’d like tutoring sessions to match up to a fast-approaching test date, get in touch with our course advisor to schedule private tutoring sessions right away.

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