The GMAT™ Focus Edition announcement made by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) in March 2023 introduced more questions than answers for MBA candidates. Finally, the GMAC has announced a rollout calendar for the new exam to provide some clarity for someone interested in waiting to take the new GMAT version!
While the details are still a bit vague, the official mba.com webpage for the GMAT™ Focus Edition has narrowed down the timeline from sometime in 2023 to a more specific calendar by quarter:
- Late 2nd Quarter 2023 – Official Focus Edition prep materials will become available
- 3rd Quarter 2023 – Focus Edition exam registration will open for candidates
- 4th Quarter 2023 – Official Focus Edition test administrations will begin online and in person
Based on currently available Amazon webpages, it seems that versions of the Official Guide 2023-24 textbooks will be released for the India market June 6, which aligns with the late 2nd quarter timeframe for official prep materials.
Tailoring your GMAT prep for the Focus Edition
Because the GMAT™ Focus Edition won’t be available until October 2023 at the absolute earliest, anyone applying in round 1 of the 2023-24 admissions cycle cannot wait to take the new GMAT. Even those planning to apply in round 2, should expect to take the GMAT (or GRE / Executive Assessment) as it currently exists, since 4th quarter 2023 could mean as late as December 31, 2023. However, MBA candidates trying to get ahead of the game by taking the GMAT in advance of 3rd round admissions in 2024, the 2024-25 admissions cycle, or even later, can begin Focus Edition prep in earnest this spring. Since there are many known areas of overlap between the two GMAT versions you’ll simply need to focus on content from current GMAT prep materials that will be relevant to both exams.
Begin study with content on both GMATs
The legacy GMAT will remain available for MBA candidates through at least the beginning of 2024, so if you are on the fence about which exam you want to take begin your prep by using official practice materials limiting yourself to content that will be relevant to both the current GMAT and a possible GMAT Focus Edition administration at the end of the year. Because efficient mathematical problem solving will remain of paramount importance in both versions of the GMAT, the most important skill to build first will be mental math and manual calculation.
For more free videos to help prep for the current version of the GMAT visit this GMAT Prep YouTube playlist.
Additional quantitative content areas that will remain relevant to both the current and GMAT Focus Edition include:
- Problem solving
- Data sufficiency
- Word problems
The biggest quantitative area to avoid if you are considering both exams is geometry, which has been speculated to be eliminated in the Focus Edition.
Overlapping Verbal and Integrated Reasoning content areas to cover include:
- Reading comprehension
- Critical reasoning
- Two-part analysis
- Multi-source reasoning
- Table analysis
- Graphics interpretation
Sentence corrections are rumored to be eliminated on the verbal section of the Focus Edition and Integrated Reasoning format questions will be more important on the new version of the test as they will be incorporated into the overall score for the first time.
Decide which test to take
Once official GMAT™ Focus Edition practice exams are available, likely in June, take one of them and one of the legacy GMATPrep practice tests to determine which version is preferable to you. Do not assume that the Focus Edition must be easier simply because it is shorter. Many candidates have found Integrated Reasoning format questions to be quite difficult and sentence corrections to be the easiest question type on the verbal section. If that sounds like you, then the current GMAT may be better for you to take. The only way to find out which GMAT is best for you will be to try both practice exams once they are available this summer!
About the Author
Stefan is an experienced education professional leading the effort at MyGuru to deliver uniquely engaging online tutoring. Under his guidance, MyGuru and Analyst Prep have launched an affordable GMAT prep course to cover all aspects of the exam and are developing a GMAT Focus course for release later this year. Stefan is also a test prep professor at Northeastern Illinois University holding a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Southern California and a Master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, who has participated as an invited test prep expert at live college admissions events globally for schools such as the University of Chicago and ESMT Berlin.