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New GMAT Feature Offers Test-Taking Personalization

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For hopeful business school students taking the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), a significant change will be going into effect on July 11, 2017.

Previously, those taking the GMAT tackled exam sections in a set order: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and finally the Verbal section. The amendment made by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) offers considerably greater flexibility, giving test-takers some choice in the order in which they complete these tasks.

The new GMAT feature, officially titled the Select Section Order, was implemented based on research from GMAC.

“GMAC is committed to continuously improving the GMAT experience by providing control and flexibility for candidates. The Select Section Order feature has been a commonly requested and strongly favored feature throughout our research, and the pilot study we conducted in early 2016 validated this research.”

The goals of the pilot test were to determine the most popular selection orders and to verify that changing section sequences did not meaningfully change outcomes for those taking the test.

Along with the aforementioned traditional GMAT order, those taking the exam have the option to complete it in the following additional orders:

  • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

GMAC also laid out what the test could look like on its website, with the included optional-eight minute breaks:

The new order options aren’t the only changes underway with the GMAT. Over the next few months, GMAC will be refreshing its test materials and website, which also includes a major change to profile pages that not only reduces the amount of time it takes to complete the exam, but also gives test-takers a chance to know their scores immediately after completion.

“We also hope that removing the extra profile screens will provide a more streamlined test center experience,” GMAC explains. “By removing these screens, you will be able to see your unofficial scores immediately following your exam and your overall time at the test center will be reduced.”

The modifications to the exam may be a direct result of increased competition from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). In recent years, more and more business schools have begun accepting GRE scores in lieu of the GMAT. Nearly eight years ago, around 24 percent of business schools accepted the GRE, but that figure has dramatically increased to nearly 92 percent according to recent Kaplan survey data. However, the data also show that there is still a minor bias among business school admissions in terms of preferring GMAT to GRE scores.

Practice examinations available from GMAC will not be available until the end of July. However, those who do purchase a full-length exam from in the meantime “will be eligible for a complimentary upgrade of GMAT Prep or Exam Pack,” according to GMAC.

Studying for the GMAT? Click here for tips, including section-by-section breakdowns, financial advice, and more.

Matthew Korman
Matthew Korman is a contributing author and editor for Clear Admit. Since graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism and political science, Matthew has worked with numerous academic institutions, in addition to roles as a music industry writer, promoter, and data analyst. His works have appeared in publications such as NPR and Sports Illustrated.