GMAC has announced that, beginning April 16, 2018, the GMAT exam will be 30 minutes shorter via the removal of 6 Quantitative questions and 5 Verbal questions and some streamlining to tutorials and other non-exam screens at the test center. So, just how much should this affect your test prep strategy? Well there are a few things to keep in mind before you take the official exam.
To prepare for the changes, know the following:
- Your allotted pace per question is essentially the same (within ~2 seconds per question).
- According to GMAC, the removal of questions all comes from the unscored, experimental questions (those that GMAC is vetting for quality and difficulty, but that do not count toward your score).
- There are no changes to scoring or to the AWA and Integrated Reasoning sections.
- There will now be 31 Quantitative questions (in 62 minutes) and 36 Verbal questions (in 65 minutes).
What does this mean for you?
- In general your pacing strategy doesn’t need to change. You’re still allotted just about exactly the same amount of time per question (exactly 2 minutes per Quant question and 1:48 per Verbal question).
- However, the “penalty” for guessing just got a bit more severe. With all of the reduction in questions coming from the unscored questions you lose (most of) the 25% probability that a question you guess on won’t count toward your score.
- What you give up in “probability that a guess won’t hurt you” you likely make up for in mental stamina. A shorter test allows you to perform at your peak for a greater percentage of it, so that works to your advantage.
- Most importantly, recognize this: everyone takes the same test, so these little nuances in stamina and number of experimentals will affect everyone. The psychometricians at GMAC take data integrity seriously and won’t sign off on changes that could alter the consistency of scores, so any perceived advantages or disadvantages are likely a much bigger deal in your head than they are in practice.
The best news?
Unlike with Section Select – another new, user-friendly GMAT feature – you (probably) don’t have to make any decisions. If you’re signed up for the “old” format test (an appointment between now and April 16) GMAC will allow you to transfer your appointment to a later date with the shorter format free of charge. But unless you have a test currently scheduled for the next 12 days you’ll just take the shorter test and be able to celebrate a half-hour earlier.
Whether you’re just beginning your GMAT prep or you’re just looking to hone a few particular skills (such as time management), Veritas Prep has a service to ensure you succeed on test day! Check out our variety of GMAT prep services online, or give us a call to speak with a friendly Course Advisor about your options.