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The Graduate Management Admission Council announced that it was cutting the length of the GMAT by 30 minutes.
The new shortened exam will last for three and a half hours instead of four starting April 16, 2018. There is no change in the content of the GMAT itself.
Why the change? It seems that the change is in response to the growing competition from the GRE, as more business schools are accepting the GRE. There is a market share battle between the GRE and the GMAT, just like there is a battle between the SAT and the ACT. Admissions trends are showing that business schools are looking for applicants with more than just a business background, and that means that the GRE has become popular for admissions to business school.
The GMAT’s time savings targets the two two long sections of the exam: Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning. It reduces the number of un-scored, research questions in those sections. Several tutorial and instruction screens have also been simplified. There are no changes to the Analytical Writing or Integrated Reasoning sections.
“This change will not affect GMAT exam scoring as the number of scored questions will not change,” said Vineet Chhabra, senior director of product management for GMAC. “The scoring algorithm will be the same.”
What does this mean and how does this change impact the GMAT takers? Chhabra of GMAC said that candidates will be “less anxious and feel better prepared” for the test as a result of the time reduction. So endurance becomes less of an issue.
The GMAT might still give MBA applicants an edge at some business schools over the GRE. According to a 2017 Kaplan survey, 21% of MBA programs said those who submit a GMAT score have an advantage over those who submit a GRE score. Only 1% said GRE takers had the advantage. Will that advantage hold that the GMAT is easier? Only time will tell.
What would we recommend?
We believe that if you have test taking challenges, consult with us to learn test-taking skills. And take both the tests! Fundamentally, GRE and GMAT have more in common than they have differences. To succeed at either, you will need to master math--algebra, arithmetic, geometry, data analysis—as well as language--reading reading and critical reasoning skills. And you need to hone them with efficient test-taking strategies. We suggest to take the GRE first, and if you do really well, take the GMAT. You have nothing to lose. The key is to prepare well and to take these tests seriously as many smart students underestimate the challenge in taking these tests.
If you want to work for management consulting firms or investment banking firms, they require job applicants to submit their GMAT scores. MBA applicants who plan on working for management consulting firms or investment banking firms.
After learning test-taking skills, if you still lean towards either math or verbal, stick with your strengths. The GMAT is considered tougher in the math department due to its data sufficiency questions, while the GRE Verbal section's emphasis on vocabulary.
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