The GMAT has changed! As of July 11, 2017, GMAT test takers will be able to choose the order in which they take GMAT test sections.
After this GMAT test change, you will choose your section order at the test center on GMAT Test Day, following the computer tutorial and just before you begin your test. There are three orders you will be able to choose from:
- Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative, Verbal (this is the original order)
- Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
- Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
What the GMAT test change means for you
So how will the GMAT test change, which is called Select Section Order, affect you while preparing for the GMAT?
First, it’s important to understand that the testmaker, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), is implementing this feature for two reasons, based on a 2016 pilot study:
- Test takers report greater satisfaction with the test when they can control section order.
- Psychometric testing in the pilot study showed that different section orders have no effect on the validity of scores. In other words, a candidate who takes the AWA section first and scores a 700 and a candidate who takes the Quantitative section first and scores a 700 both demonstrate the same ability, statistically, on the GMAT. Because of this, business schools can rest assured that all candidates’ scores have equal integrity.
Will this affect your GMAT score report?
No. The business schools that receive your score report won’t see the section order you selected on the GMAT. Therefore, if you feel more comfortable taking the test sections in one order rather than another, you should certainly feel free to do so. Take the opportunity to feel your best so you can do your best.
Here are some questions to think about when planning for this GMAT test change:
- Do you want to take your weakest section first when your mind is freshest?
- Do you want to take your strongest section first to build your confidence?
- If the schools you’re applying to care less about one section than another, do you want to take that section first in case you’re nervous as you start the test? Or do you want to take it last when you’re the most tired?
- Even after thinking it over, do you truly have no preference? That’s perfectly okay. If you don’t care what order the sections are in, then just select the default and move forward through the test.
Are Test Day breaks affected?
Two optional eight-minute breaks will still be offered after each major section of the test and we still recommend that you take these breaks.
Should you adjust your GMAT study plan?
To determine which order works best for you, start taking practice tests in different orders as you prepare for the GMAT. Once you’ve decided on your ideal test section order, take a couple more practice tests in that order to simulate the thought process you’ll experience on Test Day as closely as possible.
Over the coming weeks, Kaplan will incorporate this new Select Section Order feature into our full-length practice tests, allowing students to try out this feature so they can choose their test section order with confidence on Test Day.
Changes to profile update option
GMAC has announced another GMAT test change as well: Effective July 11, the profile update questions that have appeared on the computer screen after the test will no longer appear. If you need to update your profile, you will still be able to do via mba.com after the test. GMAC has removed these questions so you can see your unofficial scores more quickly and spend less time at the test center.