GMAT Focus Edition – All You Need to Know About the New GMAT Format

10 April, 2024
parthiva mewawala

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) has long been the standard assessment for aspiring business school students. It is a crucial component of the admissions process for graduate business programs worldwide. However, the GMAT, like all standardised tests, we’ve witnessed many GMAT changes over the years. In this blog post, we’ll explore the GMAT Focus Edition – the latest version of the GMAT, and all the essential information you need to know about it.


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Classic GMAT Pattern

Before you embark on your GMAT preparation journey for the GMAT 2024 exam, it is vital to grasp the structure of the Classic GMAT test. The Classic GMAT exam requires a total time commitment of 3 hours and 7 minutes to complete. It is conducted exclusively in English and is administered in a computer-based format. GMAT scores fall within the range of 200 to 800, serving as the evaluation scale. Each section of the Classic GMAT has its prescribed time limits, which vary based on the specific section. Additionally, candidates are granted the flexibility to tailor their test-taking experience by selecting from three distinct combinations.

The Classic GMAT exam is divided into several segments, each with its own designated time allocation:

  • The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section involves crafting a 30-minute essay where you analyse a provided argument. Notably, scores from the AWA and Integrated Reasoning (IR) sections do not factor into the overall GMAT score, which ranges from 200 to 800.
  • The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section contains various question types (totalling 12) that you must address within a 30-minute window.
  • The Quantitative Reasoning (QR) section consists of 31 questions to be solved in 62 minutes. Your performance in this section is pivotal in determining your final GMAT score within the 200-800 range.
  • The Verbal Reasoning (VR) section consists of 36 questions to be completed within a 65-minute timeframe. Success in both the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections collectively contributes to your overall GMAT score.

The Classic GMAT format is given below:

Old GMAT Format

GMAT Focus Edition – GMAT New Pattern

In response to the ever-evolving business landscape and the changing demands for success, the Graduate Management Admission Council has taken significant steps to introduce vital GMAT changes and create a new GMAT format. They have unveiled a substantial test modification and are set to introduce the GMAT Focus, a completely new iteration of the GMAT, that commenced on November 7, 2023.  The Classic GMAT is expected to be retired by the first quarter of 2024.

The GMAT Focus Edition pattern significantly differs from the current GMAT exam pattern. GMAT Focus Edition will last 2 hours and 15 minutes and contain 64 questions spread over three sections (QR, VR, and DI). 

  • Quantitative Reasoning: The new GMAT Focus Edition has a shorter quant section with no geometry or Data Sufficiency questions. The new version contains 21 Problem-Solving questions in 45 minutes.
  • Verbal Reasoning: Sentence Correction isn’t included in the new GMAT Focus Edition. The new verbal section consists of 23 Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension questions in 45 minutes.
  • Data Insights (formerly Integrated Reasoning): The GMAT Focus Edition features a new-sounding section called Data Insights, which consists entirely of the old Integrated Reasoning question types mixed with Data Sufficiency. You’ll see 20 Data Insights questions in this section, with 45 minutes to finish them. 

The GMAT Focus Edition format is given below:

New GMAT Format

Major GMAT Changes – What Does the New GMAT Format Look Like?

There are a bunch of GMAT changes that make up the new GMAT Focus Edition, but here are the main ones:

  • Reduced Exam Duration: The new GMAT format comprises three sections, each lasting 45 minutes. This results in a notably shorter test duration than the standard GMAT, essentially returning approximately an hour to test-takers.
  • AWA is not part of the new GMAT Focus Edition: From the point of view of the GMAT, the AWA section did nothing but raise the cost without adding any real-world value. Thus, the impact of this change is minimal.
  • No Sentence Correction Questions: The new GMAT Focus comes to your rescue, especially for those who aren’t fans of Sentence Correction. By eliminating this hurdle, the GMAT Focus allows you to concentrate on other areas and boost your overall performance.
  • No Geometry Questions: This is also probably good news. Typically, one sees only about 5 to 6 geometry questions in the GMAT, but a lot of prep is needed to learn how to tackle these questions.
  • On the new GMAT, your composite score is on a scale from 205-805: Well, anybody looking at the score will immediately know whether you took the old GMAT (if the score ends with a zero) or the new GMAT Focus Edition (if your score ends with a five).
  • The new Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights sections are graded on a scale from 60-90: This is a good thing. The previous quant and verbal section scores had some complexities – both were technically rated on a range from 1-51. Still, their score distributions varied significantly, confusing test-takers trying to make sense of how to compare the two scores. With the new scoring scale, it will be simpler to interpret.

Read how to improve your scores on the quantitative aptitude and verbal reasoning section in our blogs – 6 tips to improve your GMAT quant score to Q50+ and Improve your GMAT verbal score from V30 to V40.

  • Bookmark and edit questions
  • The bookmark feature allows you to click on a particular question and bookmark it in case you want to come back to that question. If you think about it, this is a small change, but it will reduce a great deal of stress.
  • The edit feature allows you to edit three answers. This is a feature that most candidates will absolutely love!
  • Select colleges after the test: In contrast to the current format, which requires selecting schools before taking the test, this updated approach allows you to make a more informed decision.

The table below helps us understand all the differences between the Classic and Focus GMAT editions:

Old GMAT Format vs New GMAT Format

Changes in the Test Preparation Strategy to Tackle the New GMAT Format

  • Understand the GMAT New Pattern: Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the GMAT Focus Edition format, which includes three sections instead of four (Data Insights, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning). Knowing what to expect will help you plan your study approach effectively.
  • Update Study Materials: Ensure your study materials align with the new format. Look for updated prep books, practice tests, and resources specifically designed for the GMAT Focus Edition.
  • Practice Data Insights: The Data Insights section is a new addition. Dedicate sufficient time to practice data sufficiency and integrated reasoning questions, as they are unique to this section. Strengthening your data analysis skills will be crucial.
  • Manage Time Wisely: Time management becomes even more critical with a shorter test duration. Practice time-conscious strategies and pacing to complete each section within the allocated time.
  • Skip AWA and Sentence Correction: Remember that the AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) and Sentence Correction sections have been removed in the GMAT Focus Edition. Allocate the time you would have spent on these sections to other areas of your preparation.
  • Adapt Your Test-Taking Strategy: Adjust your test-taking strategy to the new format. Consider practising with the option to choose your preferred order of sections to find what works best for you. To learn how you can build a GMAT preparation strategy, read our blog on how to create a GMAT study plan.
  • Simulate the GMAT Focus: Take practice tests that mimic the GMAT Focus Edition. Familiarise yourself with the new question types and sections to build confidence in the actual exam.
  • Stay Updated: Keep an eye on official GMAT announcements and updates to stay informed about any changes to the GMAT Focus Edition. Adjust your preparation accordingly as more information becomes available.

Remember that adapting to a new test format may take some time, so be patient and persistent in your preparation. Practice, adapt, and refine your strategies to perform your best on the GMAT Focus Edition.


Score Conversion (GMAT Classic to GMAT Focus)

The GMAT Focus Edition’s Total Score ranges from 205 to 805, while the GMAT Classic Exam has a total score range of 200-800. Because the exam scores are not on a standard scale, GMAT Focus Edition scores cannot be compared to scores from the previous version of the exam. While scores of 600 and 605 may look similar, they represent very different performance levels on different skills. 

If you are trying to understand your relative competitiveness, you can use the concordance tables below to show score distributions between the two versions of the exam by percentile.

      old gmat vs new gmat format percentileold gmat vs gmat focus edition percentile

One can visit the Official GMAT website to get detailed information about the score conversion.