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“Focus”Ing in on the GMAT® Focus Edition: What You Need to Know

As part of a continuing trend in standardized testing, the GMAT®, or Graduate Management Admissions Test, is shortening its length, reformatting its different sections, and moving towards a digital model with the stated aim of improving accessibility and reducing the stress placed on students taking the exam. 

As of February 1st, the GMAT® has been reworked into the GMAT® Focus Edition. The new exam will total two hours and 15 minutes, which is about an hour shorter than the previous exam format; it will be divided into three 45-minute sections. We’d like to provide a breakdown of each section, with a table at the end to summarize.

  1. Data Insights (previously called Integrated Reasoning): The Data Insights section measures your ability to analyze and interpret complex data from multiple sources. It assesses subskills that include Data Sufficiency, Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics, Interpretation, and Two-Part Analysis (as in multiple steps). Success in this section demonstrates your capability to make informed decisions based on diverse information. This section is 45 minutes long and contains 20 questions. 
  2. Quantitative Reasoning: This section evaluates your mathematical and problem-solving skills. Questions cover topics like algebra, geometry, and arithmetic. Success in this section demonstrates your proficiency in quantitative analysis, essential for the rigors of business school. This section is also 45 minutes long and contains 21 questions. 
  3. Verbal Reasoning: The Verbal Reasoning section assesses your ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate written material. It includes questions on reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and some topics in sentence correction (i.e. grammar). Proficiency in verbal reasoning reflects your capacity to comprehend complex texts and communicate effectively in a business context. The section is 45 minutes long, just like the other two sections, and contains 23 questions, making the total exam 64 questions. 

As far as what other changes have been made to the exam, there are a few worth noting. When taking the exam, you will have a choice at the beginning as to which order you take the sections in. Previously, this was from a preset order of sections, but with the new exam, you’ll be able to complete the exam in any order you’d like. 

Scoring is also changing. Scores were previously on a scale of 200 to 800, with the average score being around 560 (data from 2021). Achieving a score above 700 was generally considered excellent and can significantly enhance your chances of acceptance into competitive programs.This grading scale is not changing all that much for the GMAT® Focus Edition, with scores now ranging from 205 to 805. This was done to easily differentiate between the exams for admissions committees, which may be important for them, as the GMAT® Focus Edition removes the Analytical Writing Assessment task entirely. Previously, this was a timed 30-minute essay analyzing a business decision, taking into consideration the arguments made and weighing advantages and disadvantages. This will no longer be on the exam. 

Here’s a summarized breakdown of the new exam’s sections:

SectionTimeNumber of QuestionsSubcategories
Data Insights45 Minutes20Data Sufficiency, Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, and Two-Part Analysis.
Quantitative Reasoning45 Minutes21Statistics, Number Properties, Linear Equations Inequality, Ratio Proportion, andProbability Functions
Verbal Reasoning 45 Minutes 23Main Idea, Supporting Idea, Inference, Application, Logical Structure, and Style.
Whole Exam2 Hours 15 Minutes64All of the above

And here is a table showing how each of those subcategories (i.e., the types of topics each section of the exam will be testing) correspond to an equivalent topic on the GRE®, but not just any topic, rather, the topics as they exist within the Zinkerz curriculum!

GMAT® Focus Edition TopicGRE® Equivalent (If Applicable)
Data Sufficiency Varies by Question
Multi-Source ReasoningVaries by Question
Table AnalysisTables
Graphics InterpretationBar Graphs, Distribution Curves, Line Graphs, Pie Charts
Two-Part AnalysisVaries by Question
StatisticsStatistics and Data Analysis
Number PropertiesInteger Properties, Counting, Number Theory
Linear Equations InequalityInequalities, Equations of Lines
Ratio Proportion Ratios and Proportions
Probability FunctionsProbability
Main IdeaMain Idea
Supporting IdeaSupport
InferenceImplication
ApplicationArgument, Detail 
Logical Structure Point of View, Argument, Purpose
StyleWords in Context, Text Completion 

And lastly, since there is some ambiguity here, we’d like to clarify what the bolded sections above actually cover, as they can correspond to several different types of GRE® questions. 

Data Sufficiency measures your ability to analyze a quantitative problem, recognize which data is relevant, and determine at what point there is enough data to solve the problem.

Multi-Source Reasoning measures your ability to examine data from multiple sources including text passages, tables, graphics, or some combination of the three—and to analyze each source of data carefully to answer multiple questions. Some questions will require you to recognize discrepancies among different sources of data, while others will ask you to draw inferences, or require you to determine whether data is relevant.

Lastly, Two-Part Analysis measures your ability to solve complex problems. They could be quantitative, verbal, or some combination of both. The format is intentionally versatile to cover a wide range of content. Your ability to evaluate trade-offs, solve simultaneous equations, and discern relationships between two entities is measured.

We sincerely hope that this has been a helpful starting point for thinking about you or your child’s potential future advancement into the business world by getting an MBA. As always, Zinkerz will be here every step of the way!

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