A Guide to Understanding the New GMAT

So you may have heard that the GMAT is changing; here is some info on that change.

What’s being added?
The GMAT is adding an Integrated Reasoning Section to the exam. This section will be 30 minutes. This section will NOT be computer adaptive (it will not adjust the level of difficulty). A new score reflecting just this section will be created.

What’s being cut?
The AWA Analysis of Issue is being cut.  The only essay you will have to write is the Analysis of Argument Essay.

What’s staying the same?
Everything else. The Quant Section, Verbal Section, and the scoring for these sections (i.e. the score that is out of 800) will remain the same. Also, the length of the test will remain the same since a 30 minute essay is being replaced by the 30 minute integrated reasoning section.

When will these changes occur?
The new section debuts on June 5, 2012.

About the New Section

What is the new integrated reasoning section like?

  • The new 30-minute section will only have 12 questions.  The entire section will not be standard multiple choice.  Some questions may include a drop down list for example.
  • Sample topics for this section: graph interpretation, table analysis, reasoning
  • Unlike the Quant and Verbal sections, this new section is NOT computer adaptive.  Nonetheless, you can’t skip questions and come back later.
  • At the time of this writing (September 2011), the order in which the sections appear has not been decided.
  • You will have a calculator (on your computer screen) that can only be accessed during this section.
  • Official Prep Material (i.e. from GMAC) will be available in April 2012.
  • This new section will have a new separate score.


This change is rather minor and there is no reason to sweat it. Of the current three and a half hour test, only 30 minutes is changing. According to GMAC, they are changing the GMAT because “in the most recent survey in 2009, 740 business school faculty said 21st century business students need to be able to evaluate different types of information to solve complex problems, convert data between different formats, and evaluate tradeoffs and outcomes.” In my opinion, GMAC is doing this to stay relevant (i.e. get some press/show they are adapting to the times). GMAC is also following a wave of similar changes that are being made/have been made for the GRE, SAT, and ACT. Also, cutting one AWA does not really affect the GMAT’s usefulness as most people had similar scores on each of the two AWA’s.



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