Shortened GMAT Exam Debuts April 16

The Graduate Management Admission Council has announced it is shortening the length of the GMAT exam by 30 minutes as part of its ongoing focus on creating the best possible testing experience and offering user-friendly features.

The new, shorter exam – 3.5 hours instead of 4 – will be available for test-takers worldwide beginning April 16.  The quality of the exam remains unchanged in terms of reliability, validity, security and integrity. GMAT scores before and after this change will be the same and comparable across time.

The time savings are achieved by streamlining the two longer sections of the exam, the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections, reducing the number of unscored, research questions in these sections. Several tutorial and instruction screens that test-takers see at the test center have also been simplified.

This includes a 23-minute reduction in the exam sections, as well as additional time and content reduction across several non-exam screens at the test center (e.g. Tutorial, Section Instructions).

The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections of the GMAT exam will be shorter by 13 and 10 minutes, respectively. The new section structure is as follows:

  Old Structure (Reference) New Structure (After April 16)
Section # of Questions Section Time # of Questions Section Time
Quantitative Reasoning 37 75 minutes 31 62 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 41 75 minutes 36 65 minutes

There are no changes to the exam’s Analytical Writing or Integrated Reasoning sections. The way the GMAT exam is scored, the content of the exam, the question types and the average time per question are not changing.

“We are always looking for ways to help build candidate confidence and streamline the test experience, all with one goal in mind—to help GMAT test-takers do their very best on exam day,” said Vineet Chhabra, senior director of product management for GMAC. “We believe candidates will have less anxiety and feel better prepared, which can contribute to a better reflection of their true performance on the exam.”

These changes are part of a series of candidate-friendly enhancements to the GMAT exam in recent years, all focused on improving the testing experience, including:
•    Exam section order selection at the testing center (Select Section  Order)
•    Making unofficial scores available immediately, before leaving the test center following the exam
•    Updates to score cancellation and reinstatement options

“Through our ongoing market feedback and operational reviews, we were able to identify this opportunity to shorten the exam, without changing its reliability,” said Chhabra.

“This change will not affect GMAT exam scoring as the number of scored questions will not change. The scoring algorithm will be the same; the Total Score and individual Quantitative and Verbal section scores will be comparable to the exams taken prior to this change. There is no action or change required on the part of business schools and universities. We are providing candidates with a better testing experience, while providing business schools with the same high quality, fair and reliable scores,” Chhabra added.

Along with these changes, GMAC is providing a new, online tutorial that mimics the screens that test-takers see on exam day, further enhancing and streamlining the test center experience. By moving the tutorial information online, to www.mba.com, test takers can access it prior to arriving at the test center, at their convenience and as often as they wish.

To align with the changes, GMAC is launching new GMAT Official Prep tools to match the structure of the shorter exam. The GMAT Official Practice Exams and Practice Questions will be available on an online platform for better ease-of-use, as well as some feature improvements such as single sign-on and ability to access prep materials across multiple devices.

GMAT Official Prep tools are the only official source of retired GMAT questions, and the Council’s research shows that candidates who use official products score an average of 18 percent higher on the GMAT exam than those who don’t. The updated practice tools will be available by the end of April.

To learn more about the changes, please review these FAQs.

Image by Flickr user Heather Katsoulis (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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