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GMAT Focus claims versus our experience

Updated: Jun 6


The following statement was written when the GMAT Focus debuted. Let’s see if the GMAT focus is living up to expectations.


CLAIM: Shortened Test Duration: The GMAT Focus Edition is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes long, compared to the previous version, which was about 3 hours and 7 minutes.

Our take: Disagree. Nobody did the IR and AWA in the classic test because they didn't count. Verbal and Quant took just over an hour each, so the Focus is actually a bit longer.


CLAIM: The new version includes three main sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights. Relevant elements from Integrated Reasoning have been integrated into the Data Insights section. Each section is 45 minutes long, creating a balanced structure across the test.


Our take: Three sections instead of two (formerly verbal and math). The third section, Data Insights, is so extremely broad that it’s challenging to prepare for. Instead of a clear split with verbal and math, the IR introduces an element of uncertainty.


CLAIM: The questions are designed to be more focused on skills and knowledge directly applicable to business contexts. This includes an increased emphasis on data literacy and interpretation.


Our take: No way. GMAT content is far from what an analyst, consultant, big tech manager does. To be fair, careful reading, concentration, and endurance are important qualities, but let’s be honest, these are secondary.


CLAIM: Test-takers can choose the order in which they want to complete the sections, providing more flexibility.


Our take: Yawn, this was possible on Classic GMAT.


CLAIM: The ability to bookmark and review questions within a section has been added, allowing candidates to navigate and manage their time more effectively during the test.


Our take: This feature was promising, but in practice the time pressure is too severe. It’s not realistic to go back to a question—for most test takers.


CLAIM: Enhanced score reporting is introduced, which provides more detailed insights into performance, helping both candidates and business schools understand specific strengths and weaknesses.


Our take: We agree! There is more granularity. The problem is that the scores, in percentile terms, are much lower with the Focus and this may cause confusion.


CLAIM: The registration process has been streamlined, and more flexible scheduling options are available, including more frequent testing dates and locations.


Our take: Most tests offer an at home version, so this is following the industry trend. There are allegations of foul play on the online test. For now, schools accept both, but we wouldn't be surprised if the test-center version prevails.


The bottom line:

The Focus edition uses the same question types as the former GMAT. However, the timing and test taking strategies are different. The changes will favor some test takers over others. We’ve figured out the strategy so you don’t have to!





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