All you need to know about the shorter GMAT pattern starting April 16th 2018

Reading Time: 5 minutes


On 3rd, April 2018, GMAC announced some major changes to the GMAT test timing and to the number of questions you’re going to be having in both Quant and Verbal.

The new GMAT exam will be shorter by 30 minutes from April 16th, 2018.


Here is a quick overview of the changes:


  1. 1. The GMAT exam will now be 3.5 hours instead of 4 hours, including breaks and instructions.


  1. 2. The 4 sections (IR, AWA, Verbal & Quant) remain the same.


  1. 3. The section selection order continues to be there.  


  1. 4. The GMAT quant questions have been reduced from 37 to 31 and the time allocated to the Quant section been reduced from 75 minutes to 62 minutes. You get 2 minutes per question


  1. 5. The GMAT verbal questions have been reduced from 41 to 36 and the time allocated has been reduced from 75 minutes to 65 minutes. In terms of the timing, you still have the same 108 seconds per question.


Totally put together you have barely 127 minutes for both Quant and Verbal section compared to 150 minutes in the old GMAT.



GMAT pattern change April 2018

Why has GMAT made this change?

As you know that in the old GMAT out of 41 verbal questions, 11 questions were experimental. With the new GMAT pattern, the number of experimental questions in the verbal section has been reduced from 11 to 6.


Similarly, in the GMAT quant section, the number of experimental questions has been reduced from 9 to 3.


So the total number of questions that are counted towards the GMAT score remains the same, what really has reduced is the experimental questions.



We feel there could be a couple of reasons behind the reduction of experimental questions in the GMAT:


  1. 1. The reduced attention span of test takers.

GMAT is one of those tests where a lot of people find it very hard to keep the attention span. With falling attention span these days, even if a guy is very smart, at some point he is going to get a little fatigue – We think that was playing into aptitude!


Though you could be smart just because the test is so long, you are not really able to do your best.


So in today’s world, shrinking the number of minutes and the number of question available is something that is probably a demand in the test.


Especially if you compare it with something like the GRE


Where in the GRE you have the section for 30-35 minutes. In terms of the total time available, you’re actually going to do something very similar to GRE


  1.   2. Better calibration of GMAT algorithm


GMAT has been conducting the test for many years now


With so many re-takers and so many data points that they have probably, they don’t need 20 experimental questions!


They are able to do that today with far fewer questions


So the calibration of the Algorithm has also gotten smarter. and hence fewer experimental questions are required.




Should you reschedule your GMAT exam?


If you have already booked the test and are in the “zone” then no need to break the momentum.


Go ahead and take your test. The last thing you want is to reschedule and lose the momentum.


We personally don’t see a reason to reschedule because the questions have reduced proportionally and the average time per question still remains the same.


However, for any reason, if you feel that better mental energy management with a shorter format outweighs the slowdown in your tempo – then go ahead and reschedule.


If you have booked your GMAT exam on or before May 6th, 2018 and want to reschedule it then you can do so for free on or before April 11th, 2018.




Which Questions have reduced under the Quant & Verbal section?


Since the total number of questions would be reduced, the ratio of problem-solving and data sufficiency would probably still be equal


In case of verbal, we are assuming there is going to be a split of 12 questions in sentence correction, 12 in critical reasoning and 12 in reading comprehension


Instead of conventional 4 Reading comprehension passages, you’re probably going to get three reading comprehension passages. Which is one lesser RC passage to read!



What time strategy do we prescribe?


Well for Quant, instead if trying to manage the whole 62 minutes,


Try to break it into 4 parts:


So allocate 17 minutes for the first part and the subsequent 15 minutes each for the next 3 parts.


So basically you should be looking at solving 7 questions in the first 17 minutes and solve 8 questions each in the subsequent 15 minutes chunk.


Now for verbal, they way we suggest you split is 17 minutes for the first quarter, 16 minutes for the second, 16 minutes for the third and 16 minutes for the fourth


In the each of these quarters we recommend you solve at least nine questions each.


So 9 +9 + 9 + 9 = 36 questions & you are done with Verbal.




If you see the strategy is based on you spending slightly more time in the first quarter. Just because we feel that when you’re starting your test – there is going to be a little bit of inertia.


This strategy will give you that extra one or two minutes initially as opposed to the second, third and fourth quarter.



Should you change your test preparation strategy for the new GMAT format?


There isn’t any change in the GMAT question format or content.


The only change is that the section time and the number of questions have been reduced proportionally while the average time per question still remains the same.


So there wouldn’t really be a need to make any specific changes to your GMAT test preparation strategy as exam content, average time per question, and scoring methodology remains the same.



Is the change in GMAT format good or bad for test-takers?

This is great news because now you don’t need to spend 75 minutes in verbal and 75 minutes in Quant


There is a reduction


Anyone who has taken the full-length test will know that your actual concentration starts dropping somewhere after the first hour


So if the test itself is going to be of one hour.


Then you don’t really have to be worried about that part. So this is definitely good news for GMAT test takers.


If you have any questions then do let us know in the comment section.