Get ready for the new GMAT!

If you are thinking about applying to MBA programs this fall, you probably are aware that the GMAT is changing next month – June 5, 2012 to be exact!  The Graduate Management Admissions Council is introducing a new Integrated Reasoning (IR)section into the Next Generation GMAT.    The IR section will include texts, charts and/or tables; mult-source reasoning; graphics interpretation and two-part analysis.  You get to use an on-screen calculator with this section – exciting!

The verbal and quantitative sections will not change and will still comprise the score on the 800 scale that you are used to seeing.  The IR section will have a separate score on an 8 point scale.  A main difference with the addition of the IR section is the switch to just one analytical writing assessment. 

The new test format will look like this:

30 minute Analytical Writing Assessment

30 minute Intergrated Reasoning Section

75 minute Quantitative Section

75 minutes Verbal Section

Total 3 hours, 30 minutes (4 hours total time commitment, including breaks)

You may be wondering how business schools are going to evaluate applicants using this new section.  Honestly, it is too early to tell.  I know that I am excited about the opportunity to evaluate candidates based on skills that are highly relevant and criticial to academic success in a business school classroom.  The questions in this section will ask you to synthesize, analyze, and organize information from a variety of sources to draw a conclusion and solution to a problem.  Since we have no historic scoring data, we have nobody to compare to, so my thought is that the first test takers of the new section have an advantage – you can set the bar for those to come after you!  I do not anticipate that the scores on this section will have a dramatic impact on admissions this next cycle.  Once we all have a better idea of how the section is scored and what the correlation is between scores on this section and performance in the classroom, we will have a much better sense of how much weight to put on it.  In the meantime, happy studying and good luck!  Visit mba.com to register for the GMAT and access practice tests.

One important note – with the addition of the new section, it will take a bit longer for us to get your scores.  We have been told that it will take about 20 days to receive them.  Please give yourself enough time to take the exam when planning around your application deadlines.