# Classic GMAT vs GMAT Focus: The 7 Key Differences

#### May 2, 2024

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the parent body administering the GMAT, has announced that, as of January 31, 2024, the old GMAT will no longer be available.

GMAT test takers now only have the option to take the new version of the GMAT, the GMAT Focus edition.

Comparing the Classic GMAT vs GMAT Focus Edition, we can observe the following 7 major differences:

1. Three sections instead of four
2. No AWA Section
3. No Sentence Correction Questions
4. No Geometry Questions
5. Fewer Questions. Lesser Time
6. Bookmark and Edit Questions
7. Select Colleges after the exam

The introduction of the GMAT Focus Edition makes a lot of sense.

The number of GMAT test takers has been steadily dropping over the last few years, and it is the right time to introduce a shorter, more real-world-focused test.

Almost an hour shorter, the GMAT Focus Edition is surely the next big thing.

Sounds simple enough, but there are still a ton of questions that you might have about GMAT Focus Edition.

“How is the GMAT Focus Edition different from the old GMAT?”

“Does having a GMAT Focus score increase my chances of admission to a business school?”

“Heck! How does this change affect me?”

Buckle up!

We’re going to look at everything you need to know about the difference between the old GMAT exam and the new GMAT Focus Edition.

In this blog, we compare the Classic GMAT vs GMAT Focus Edition, highlighting the key differences and benefits. For a deeper dive into the currently active version, the GMAT Focus Edition, check out our complete guide for all the details you need!

## Classic GMAT vs GMAT Focus Edition: How the tests are different…

Here are the 7 main differences between the two versions:

##### 1. Three sections instead of four

The old GMAT had four sections:

• Analytical Writing Assessment
• Integrated Reasoning
• Verbal Reasoning
• Quantitative Reasoning

The current version of the GMAT has three sections instead of four:

• Verbal Reasoning
• Quantitative Reasoning
• Data Insights

On the face of it, it seems like you have one section less to study for. But if you think about it, two of the four sections in the old GMAT did not contribute to the overall score. In other words, it was as good as having just two sections to study for.

So while it looks like you have one section less to study for, you actually have one section more to study for.

The new section called Data Insights (DI)has questions on data sufficiency, multi-source reasoning, table analysis, graphics interpretation, and two-part analysis.

If you are familiar with the Integrated Reasoning Section (IR) from the old GMAT format, you will know that most of the question types in the DI section were earlier in the IR section of the Classic GMAT.

But no one really paid any attention to these questions, as the IR score did not contribute to the overall GMAT score.

But the Data Insights score is just as relevant as the Verbal and Quants scores, and the question types in the Data Insights section are complex and very time-consuming.

Doing poorly in this section can cause your GMAT total score to sink even if you do well in the other two sections.

##### 2. No AWA section

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section was one of those sections that people would think about a few weeks before the GMAT. Preparing for the AWA meant downloading an essay template that could easily be used to accommodate any topic.

The AWA was a mandatory section that tested candidates’ ability to analyze an argument and communicate their ideas effectively. But no one took it seriously since it did not contribute to the final GMAT score. It became even more irrelevant with the introduction of AI tools like Chat GPT which has pretty much killed the need to have writing as a skill.

Keeping all this in mind, the GMAC has removed the AWA section from the GMAT Focus test. So, overall, not having to tackle one not-so-relevant section is good news.

##### 3. No Sentence Correction Questions

The advantage of Sentence Correction questions in the verbal section was that they could be answered in 90 seconds. This allowed candidates to spend more time on Critical Reasoning or Reading Comprehension questions. So, it’s disappointing that Sentence Correction is no longer part of the GMAT exam.

However, most candidates disliked this question type because they had to learn a lot of grammar rules to do well. No matter how many rules the candidates learned, the harder the questions got, the more complicated the rules became.

So, the good news for most test takers is that they don’t have to worry about learning grammar rules. Now that Sentence Correction questions are not a part of the GMAT Focus Edition, test takers can focus on other parts of the exam and improve their overall performance.

##### 4. No Geometry Questions

Geometry has always been a topic with a lot of formulas. Unlike arithmetic or algebra, which has fewer rules, every shape in geometry, such as circles and triangles, has its own set of formulas. Even though there were only 5 to 6 geometry questions on the traditional GMAT, a lot of preparation was needed to answer these questions.

The GMAC has realized that while arithmetic and algebra are important, knowledge of geometry isn’t as crucial in the business world. So it’s great news that the GMAT Focus will not have geometry questions.

However, if you want to be fully prepared and get a high score in the Quant section, you should practice questions on Coordinate Geometry. This is a tricky topic involving understanding slopes and distances between points.

As of now, only 35 questions or so are available in the public domain. So, it’s possible that you might not see any questions on it in the GMAT.

Overall, the removal of geometry questions from the GMAT Focus is a positive change. It reduces the preparation burden, allowing students to concentrate more on arithmetic and algebra, which are more relevant for business applications.

##### 5. Fewer Questions. Lesser time

In the Classic GMAT, two sections – AWA and IR – did not contribute to the final score. This means you would have to waste an hour solving questions that didn’t matter. These sections have been removed from the GMAT Focus Edition. Thanks to this change, the GMAT Focus takes less time and has fewer questions.

However, this doesn’t mean that the GMAT Focus is a shorter test. Earlier, the GMAT had two main sections that counted, but now all three sections matter. This means the total time for solving questions that contribute to the final score has increased.

Also, the GMAT Focus only has one break of 10 minutes. With just one break and three sections, at some stage in the exam, you will need to tackle 2 sections together, either before or after the break. That means you will need to sit and focus continuously for 90 minutes! Imagine how mentally exhausting that will be!

How can you use this to your advantage? The only advantage, if you could call it that, is that everyone who takes the GMAT Focus will go through the same struggle. So there’s nothing to worry about 🙂

##### 6. Bookmark and edit questions

Two new features have been introduced in the new version of the GMAT.

The bookmark feature allows test takers to click on a particular question and bookmark it in case they want to revisit that question at the end of a section.

If you think about it, this is a small change, but it will reduce a great deal of stress.

Taking the GMAT can be quite nerve-wracking due to its adaptive algorithm. The algorithm decides the difficulty level of the next question based on the test-taker’s performance in the previous question.

This often causes stress, leading test-takers to spend too much time on a question or second-guess their answers.

However, bookmarking offers a sense of relief by allowing candidates to revisit answers, which eases the pressure to be sure about every single answer.

Once they bookmark a question, they can use the review and edit feature at the end of the section to change up to 3 answers per section.

But now that test-takers can change up to three answers at the end of the section, they need to come up with a new plan to figure out which answers they want to change.

Thankfully, the limit of three prevents one from getting overwhelmed and attempting to change every response.

##### 7. Select colleges after the test

In the classic version of the GMAT, candidates needed to select schools before taking the test.

In contrast, the new GMAT version gives test takers the flexibility to choose the MBA programs after seeing the scores on the test screen.

The candidates can first assess their total scores and individual section scores and then strategically identify the schools that best align with their performance. This eliminates the need for guesswork and allows test takers to make a more informed decision, thereby increasing their chances of securing admission to a program that best suits their abilities.

Now that we have discussed the difference between the two versions, let us have a look at the pros and cons of the GMAT Focus Edition.

## Pros of the New GMAT Focus Edition:

• The new GMAT Focus Edition is shorter and has fewer questions, which may help reduce stress and make it easier to focus during the test.
• The new GMAT Focus Edition will have a separate section called Data Insights that will test data analysis skills, a highly valued asset in business education and many industries today.
• The new GMAT Focus Edition will have a new scoring system that focuses more on percentile rankings.

## Cons of the New GMAT Focus Edition:

• There is still a lot of ambiguity surrounding the new GMAT Focus Edition, including the scoring scale and specific test-day strategies.
• The new GMAT Focus Edition will have fewer questions per section, which may result in harder questions and a more sensitive algorithm, potentially making it harder to achieve a high score.
• In the early days, there may be limited prep materials available other than the official guide, which may make it harder for test-takers to prepare adequately, especially for the Data Insights section.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, if you’re already preparing for the GMAT, continue with your prep. Don’t lose momentum. If nothing else, CR, RC, and the quant section are not going to change. The rest you can always tackle with a little help, be it by learning one-on-one with our Personal Tutors or by learning with a group of like-minded GMAT candidates.

Is there any other aspect of the GMAT Focus Edition that you’d like to find out more about?

Please comment and let us know.

Or you can get in touch with our expert GMAT Advisors to find out how you can ace the new GMAT Focus Edition.

### Evaluate your fitment For GMAT Focus Edition

#### Classic GMAT vs GMAT Focus Edition: 7 Key Differences

Evaluate your fitment for the New GMAT Focus Edition

##### Why did GMAC create a new version of the GMAT?

The new GMAT Focus Edition was designed to be more test-taker-friendly, shorter in duration, and to focus on skills relevant to business school admissions. It also aims to compete with the GRE, which has been gaining popularity among MBA applicants.

##### Can test-takers change their answers in the GMAT Focus Edition?

Yes, test-takers can bookmark and change the answers to up to 3 questions per section in the GMAT Focus Edition. This is in contrast to the traditional GMAT where answers cannot be changed once submitted.

##### How is the scoring system different in the GMAT Focus Edition?

The GMAT Focus Edition introduces a new score scale ranging from 205 to 805, with each score ending in a 5, unlike the traditional GMAT’s 200-800 range. Additionally, all three sections (Quantitative, Verbal, and Data Insights) contribute equally to the total score in the GMAT Focus Edition.

##### What are the changes in question types in the GMAT Focus Edition?

The GMAT Focus Edition excludes Geometry and Sentence Correction questions, incorporates Data Sufficiency into the Data Insights section, and focuses on Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension in the Verbal Reasoning section.

##### How long is the GMAT Focus Edition compared to the traditional GMAT?

The GMAT Focus Edition is significantly shorter, with a total testing time of about 2 hours and 15 minutes, compared to the traditional GMAT which lasts a little over 3 hours.

##### Are old GMAT scores still valid with the introduction of the GMAT Focus Edition?

Yes, old GMAT scores will remain valid for 5 years from the time of your test.

You can always apply to B-schools using your Old GMAT score. But in a few years, almost all the applicants will have a GMAT Focus score and your old GMAT Score will stick out from the rest. Yes, you can always compete with the other applicants based on percentile, but the B-schools will have not sure shot way to compare you to the others.

So, even the though the old score is valid, it’s a great idea to consider taking the GMAT Focus.

##### How does the GMAT Focus Edition's Data Insights section differ from the traditional GMAT's Integrated Reasoning section?

The Data Insights section in the GMAT Focus Edition focuses on analyzing data and interpreting charts, graphs, and tables, while the Integrated Reasoning section in the traditional GMAT includes questions that require multiple skills like quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and graphical interpretation.

More importantly, the IR scores did not contribute to the overall GMAT score, but the DI scores play a pivotal role in the total score.

##### Is the GMAT Focus Edition more challenging than the traditional GMAT?

The GMAT Focus Edition may be considered more challenging for some test-takers due to its focus on critical thinking and data analysis, while the traditional GMAT may be more challenging for others due to its longer duration and broader range of question types.

##### How often can I take the GMAT Focus Edition compared to the traditional GMAT?

Just like the traditional GMAT, the GMAT Focus Edition can be taken up to 5 times within 12 months, with a minimum of 16 days between each attempt.

##### Can I use the same GMAT prep materials for the GMAT Focus Edition as for the traditional GMAT?

While some GMAT prep materials may still be relevant for the GMAT Focus Edition, it’s recommended to use prep materials specifically designed for the GMAT Focus Edition to ensure familiarity with the new format and question types.

##### Do all business schools accept the GMAT Focus Edition scores?

Yes, almost all the B-schools accept the GMAT Focus edition scores. However, a few Indian B-schools do not accept the GMAT Focus scores if the exam has been taken in the online format.

Make sure you enquire about your chosen B-schools’ preferences before you book your GMAT date and time slot.

##### How does the GMAT Focus Edition's test-taker-friendly format benefit students?

The GMAT Focus Edition’s shorter duration and flexibility to change answers may benefit students by reducing test anxiety and providing a more comfortable testing experience.

##### How does the GMAT Focus Edition's focus on data analysis align with the business school curriculum?

The GMAT Focus Edition’s emphasis on data analysis and critical thinking aligns with the skills needed for success in business school and in the workplace.

##### Can I still use the same practice tests for the GMAT Focus Edition as for the traditional GMAT?

While some practice tests may still be relevant for the GMAT Focus Edition, it’s recommended to use practice tests specifically designed for the new format to ensure familiarity with the new question types and scoring system.

##### How does the GMAT Focus Edition's new Data Insights section measure analytical skills?

The GMAT Focus Edition’s Data Insights section measures analytical skills by presenting test-takers with data in various formats and requiring them to interpret and analyze the information.

##### How does the GMAT Focus Edition's new format align with the changing needs of business schools?

The GMAT Focus Edition’s new format aligns with the changing needs of business schools by emphasizing critical thinking and data analysis skills, which are increasingly important in the business world.

##### How does the GMAT Focus Edition's new format affect the cost of the exam?

The GMAT Focus Edition’s new format does not affect the cost of the exam, as the registration fee remains the same as for the traditional GMAT.

##### How does the GMAT Focus Edition's new format affect the cost of the exam?

The GMAT Focus Edition’s new format does not significantly affect the cost of the exam, as the registration fee remains the same as for the traditional GMAT.

##### Is a mini GMAT available?

There is no test called the “mini GMAT” as such. However, some people do refer to the Executive Assessment (EA) as the “mini GMAT” since it is a shorter test compared to the GMAT. However, the EA scores can only be used by candidates who have several years of work experience and a great deal of seniority and want to apply to Executive MBA programs. This test cannot be used as a replacement for the GMAT Focus Edition Test.

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#### Written by Nitha J

Nitha, our verbal mentor at Crackverbal, blends creativity and expertise to guide students in mastering English and critical thinking. With her background in content writing and teaching, she's committed to your success in verbal communication.

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