About the GMAT Focus Edition

The new Focus Edition of the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) has a scheduled launch date of November 7, 2023 and will replace the original version. 

The GMAT is the most widely-accepted admissions test for graduate business programs in the world. Whether you’re planning on staying close to home or flying out of the country for part of your education, there’s a very good chance that it will help you get into the school of your choice.

The GMAT is not an abstract test that measures general knowledge – it seeks to measure the skills that businesses actually care about and the things that a graduate program is intending to teach. It’s also widely believed to be a good indicator of how well you’ll perform in the classroom – so doing well on the test is a great way to establish yourself as the kind of serious student schools are searching for.

GMAT Focus

GMAT Focus test dates start Nov. 7, 2023. Be cautious about whether to take the new Focus test. Some schools will only accept the new version for the next season. For example, Wharton will  accept the Focus Edition only after Jan. 31, 2024, after Round 2 deadlines and Harvard has made a similar announcement for its regular admissions MBA program. Other top-ranked business schools should be open to the new Focus version.

The three sections of the Focus edition include quantitative, verbal, and the new data insights. Data insights questions will include questions from the previous integrated reasoning section, along with data sufficiency questions. Data sufficiency has been scaled back, with fewer pure math questions and more word problems. The Focus edition will not have: geometry, sentence completion, and the essay. So, the integrated reasoning questions are now more important than before.

The Focus edition will be on an adjusted scoring curve and total scores will be adjusted downward on the new test.  665 on the new test, according to a comparison table GMAC released. Here’s an overview:

What Kind Of GMAT Services Are Available?

By this point, you might be starting to feel a little nervous – but relax, because it’s easier to get a good score than most people realize. There are options like Mock Exams, Prep Books, and Dedicated Courses that focus on teaching you the things you’ll need to pass this test.

You’ll also have the opportunity to read reviews from people who’ve made use of these services – and you should absolutely do so before using any of the services listed above. Those help services can be expensive, and you shouldn’t gamble your future on a course that won’t actually help you pass the exam.

Ignore the hype, ignore the marketing, and listen to what real people are saying before you make a decision. That’s the best way to focus your learning and make sure you can get the most from your preparation and final score.

That’s the kind of help we offer here at MBA Insight. Check out our GMAT Test Prep Reviews to find the perfect fit for your test preparations.

Questions & Answers with our Test Prep Partners

Target Test Prep (TTP): How is TTP adjusting to the GMAT Focus edition?

The Target Test Prep team has been hard at work for months to bring our award-winning GMAT study method to students planning to study for the Focus Edition, and we launched a brand new course for students preparing for the GMAT Focus Edition. The GMAT Focus course retains all of the features that have made our standard GMAT course a favorite among test-takers but is designed to empower them with the knowledge and skills they need specifically for the GMAT Focus Edition. For students who already use the Target Test Prep online self-study course, they can toggle between our standard GMAT course and our GMAT Focus course for FREE with a simple click. So, GMAT test-takers don’t have to worry about incurring an additional cost if they’ve changed their mind about which GMAT they want to study for.

Target Test Prep: What advice do you have for GMAT Focus students that is different than GMAT regular edition students? For example, should they prepare for as many hours or will it be less time investment because the Focus is shorter?

It’s true that the removal of Sentence Correction in Verbal, Geometry questions in Quant, and the AWA section means that there is less content for GMAT Focus test-takers to prepare for. So, there is no denying that, in total, students should be able to shave some time off their preparation. That said, given the increased emphasis on Data Insights, test-takers may want to devote more time to studying for that section than standard GMAT test-takers typically have devoted to studying for Integrated Reasoning.

Additionally, our analysis of the predicted score percentiles released by GMAC indicates that GMAT Focus Quant is significantly harder than standard GMAT Quant. So, Focus test-takers may need more time to prepare for that section to reach their score goals than standard GMAT test-takers, particularly if it has been a while since they’ve been exposed to the math concepts tested.

In fact, predicted GMAT total score percentiles indicate that, overall, the GMAT Focus Edition is somewhat harder than the standard GMAT. So, while test-takers should be able to reduce their preparation time somewhat for the Focus Edition, we would caution people against assuming that the difference in prep time needed will be massive. Of course, how high a test-taker’s score goal is and how far that person is from the goal will be important factors in determining the study time necessary.

Learn About Target Test Prep

The Princeton Review: How is the Princeton Review adjusting to the GMAT Focus edition?

When tests change, we do, too! We’ve spent a lot of time studying the practice tests released by GMAC for GMAT Focus. We’ve learned a lot about how GMAT Focus differs from the legacy GMAT and how it is similar.
Based on what we’ve seen, we will:
  • Continue to use our methods and approaches that apply to GMAT Focus
      • The good news is that many of our core methods — the ones we know produce the best score improvements — apply to GMAT Focus
      • This is particularly true for the Quant and Verbal sections
  • Develop new material as needed, particularly for the Data Insights section
  • Make use of the GMAT Official Guide from the test writers
  • Update our practice tests to match the functionality (such as the ability to select section order and change the answer for up to 3 questions per section) and content distribution of GMAT Focus
  • Train our teachers to extend their GMAT expertise to GMAT Focus

The Princeton Review: What advice do you have for GMAT Focus students that is different than GMAT regular edition students? For example, should they prepare for as many hours or will it be less time investment because the Focus is shorter?

While there are new features and some adjustments to the content distribution for GMAT Focus, GMAT Focus and the legacy GMAT share many features.
While some content has been eliminated (Sentence Correction and Geometry), the question types that were part of the Integrated Reasoning section have been included in the new Data Insights section. The Data Insights section, unlike the Integrated Reasoning section from the legacy GMAT, is part of the overall score. That means that the question types from the Integrated Reasoning section have renewed emphasis. In addition, fewer questions in each section means fewer opportunities to recover from mistakes. As a result, test-takers who are aiming for top scores should spend about the same amount of time preparing to take GMAT Focus as test-takers aiming for top scores spent preparing to take the legacy GMAT.
However, test-takers who have strong skills in one content area, such as Quantitative, may find that they can spend a little less time preparing for GMAT Focus.