The GMAT™ Focus Edition is meticulously crafted with the candidate’s experience at its core and brings a refined approach to the graduate school entrance exam landscape. In its shortened format, this test demands less time and offers greater flexibility, allowing candidates to sculpt their testing journey. Let’s dive into the key sections, the optimal test order, timing considerations, breaks, and the pivotal takeaways for aspirants gearing up for this revamped assessment.


Understanding the GMAT Focus Edition

This edition, spanning two hours and 15 minutes, comprises three sections, each ranging from a minimum score of 60 to a maximum score of 90. A maximum score of 805 is possible on the test, and a minimum score is 205.


Section 1: Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning part assesses mathematical skills and literacy, testing problem-solving and data interpretation. These Problem-Solving questions require basic math, algebra, and word problem skills.


Section 2: Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section assesses reading comprehension and critical thinking. Two types of multiple-choice questions will test your ability to understand, infer from written content, and evaluate arguments. Reading Comprehension questions with passages up to 350 words assess your ability to comprehend, deduce, and find logical links between subject pieces. Then, there are Critical Reasoning questions to test your ability to evaluate short arguments.


Section 3: Data Analysis

The Data Insights portion assesses your proficiency in reading and interpreting data in various formats, such as tables and graphs. It mimics how managers now combine data from many sources to find patterns, make decisions, and solve business problems. This GMAT Focus Edition section includes Data Sufficiency, Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, and Two-Part Analysis questions.


Crafting the Ideal GMAT Focus Test-Taking Section Order

Choosing the order of sections becomes an important decision. While candidates select their order from six possibilities, a thoughtful strategy is imperative. Highlighting your strengths, whether excelling in Quantitative Reasoning or performing better after warming up, can significantly influence test performance. Practice simulations provide a testing ground to identify the optimal sequence to get the best results.


Taking the GMAT Focus Edition

The timing of the exam aligns with the application deadlines for targeted programs. Typically recommended for Round 2 or 3 admissions in December 2023 or early 2024, it’s crucial to sync this with individual program timelines available on respective school websites.

After the previous GMAT Exam expires on January 31, 2024, only the GMAT Focus Edition will be available for students to take starting February 1, 2024.


Timing Solving Problems

You’ll need an estimate of how long every problem takes to make appropriate executive judgments.

Most GMAT problems need a crucial choice within two minutes. Do not spend more time than this per question; otherwise, you will find yourself running out of time by the end of the test.


Taking Breaks During Testing

One 10-minute break is available after the first or second segment of the exam. You cannot take another break after the second segment if you take one after the first.



Follow the on-screen directions to take your break, and remember:

  • Wait for the planned break message during your exam to take a break.
  • Skip the break, and your exam starts in 60 seconds.
  • Take a break from your desk to use the restroom, but keep your camera running.
  • You can’t use your phone or other forbidden gadgets during break.
  • Please do not change your desk/workstation settings.
  • If you don’t return from your break in time, the extra time will be subtracted from the following exam portion.

Note: If you leave your computer before your break, the proctor will end your exam, so you cannot continue testing.


Key Takeaways for GMAT Focus Aspirants

Sustaining Rigor: Despite fewer mathematical problems and streamlined verbal sections, the GMAT remains rigorous, particularly for top percentile scores. The increased focus on Data Insights emphasizes practical, data-driven problem-solving skills crucial in modern business.

Navigating Differences: The redesigned format may make the GMAT easier and more enjoyable for someone aiming for solid but not top-tier results—new user-friendly features like reviewing and editing responses and choosing sections will enhance flexibility and ease.

Prep First Approach: Although changes may occur, a deliberate approach to preparedness remains crucial. To succeed on the GMAT, aspirants must adjust to the new structure, focus on their talents, and organize their study time.

In conclusion, the new GMAT, while more accessible, still needs careful preparation and data analysis, which are essential for business schools and beyond.

Join the newsletter.

Stay up to date with prep essentials.

Ready to start your prep?

Get in touch today, and one of our prep experts will be able to guide you on finance options and what course is best for you.

Get your best score. Period.