GMAT Focus Edition

The GMAT exam is designed to test your fitness in the business world, and its various challenges, problems, and solutions. Let us look at what GMAC, the testing agency of GMAT has to say about this, “The GMAT exam is designed to test skills that are highly important to business and management programs. It assesses analytical writing and problem-solving abilities, along with the data sufficiency, logic, and critical reasoning skills that are vital to real-world business and management success.” While the spirit of the exam remains the same, there are some modifications that you must pay attention to, which we have been notified in 2023. Change is permanent in life, a philosophy you must remember while preparing for the GMAT.

Change 1: What’s cut, what’s added

The original GMAT has an Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section, or the essay section. The new GMAT or the GMAT focus has done away with this section. Now it only has three sections, which include quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and integrated reasoning.  In addition, there will be one data insight question.

Here’s a tabular representation to simplify it for you:

              Current Version               GMAT Focus
Quantitative reasoning                     YES  YES
Verbal reasoning                     YES  YES
Integrated reasoning                     YES  Replaced with data insight
Analytical writing assessment                    YES  NO

Change 2: Shorter length

The old GMAT is 3 hours and 7 minutes long, while GMAT focus will be approximately an hour shorter at 2 hour 15 minutes. 

Change 3: Reduced sectional time

Now all sections will have uniform time, contrary to the earlier format

Current VersionGMAT Focus
Quantitative reasoning62 mins45 mins
Verbal reasoning65 mins45 mins
Integrated reasoning30 mins45 mins

Change 4: Flexibility

We had to follow a chronological order of questions, question 25 will have to be attempted or skipped to reach question 26. The new GMAT however offers you flexibility. If you are doing question number 5, and believe question number 4 was wrong, then you can go back and correct yourself. Students can also review and bookmark as many questions as they like. According to the GMAC, these changes are provided sot that the candidates to optimize their test strategy. How this change will be implemented in the computer system of the test remains to be seen.

Change 5: Data Insight

While we do not have an essay/writing section, it has been compensated or replaced with a ‘Data Insight’ section. While you will not know which these questions are a part of data insight, they will be utilized to polish future tests. All in all, it won’t make a difference to you. 

Change 6: Better score report

The new GMAT focus comes with a better score report, which is included with the registration. So far, candidates have had to purchase an enhanced score report ESR by paying $30 to get detailed insights on their performance. The new GMAT will contain a report which will presumably function like an ESR.


With a new format come new speculations, which are just what they are, not verified facts. Some of them include:

  • There will be 23 verbal questions, 11 for CR and 11 for RC. Some speculations suggest sentence correction will be removed.
  • There will be 23 to 25 questions in the quant section. In fact, some experts believe there will be no geometry in the new format.
  • Also, data sufficiency questions will not be a part of quantitative reasoning, but will be a part of new data insights section.

However, these are unofficial claims yet to be verified.

When will it come into force?

The new edition of the GMAT will come into force in June 2024, it is worth weighing your options regarding the two formats and which one is better suited to your needs.

In a nutshell:

The Original GMATGMAT focus edition
Exam duration3 hrs 7 mins2 hrs 15 mins
Essay/MCQYes, and MCQ No, only MCQ
Sections and timeQuantitative reasoning- 62 minutes; Verbal reasoning- 65 minutes; IR- 30 minutes; AWA- 30 minutesQuantitative reasoning- 45 minutes; Verbal reasoning- 45 minutes; IR- 45 minutes
Sectional orderOrder 1- Verbal, Quant, IR and AWA;Order 2- AWA and IR, Quant, Verbal;Order 3- Quant, Verbal, IR and AWAOrder is flexible
FlexibilityCannot go back to attempted questionsCan go back to up to three questions
Sending score to schoolsSend score to 5 schools before score is received Send score to 5 schools after score is received
Score reportHave to pay 30 USD to get a detailed score reportDon’t have to pay additional fee for official, detailed score

Our take

The new format will eclipse the old one by June 2024, if you are preparing and honing yourself to the old format, we recommend you stick to it. For the new test takers, the GMAC is still focusing on quantitative, analytical, and verbal skills.