Executive Education

The Importance of the GMAT in 2024

In 2023, the GMAC introduced a new version of the exam called the  GMAT Focus Edition, which is effective since 1 February 2024. Read on to find out what the new GMAT test (GMAT Focus Edition) is all about, why it’s important, and how it will continue to be important throughout 2024. 

Reading time :
26 Feb 2024
GMAT exam - GMAT Focus Edition

Globally, more than 1 million Graduate Management Admission Test™ (GMAT™) exams have been taken by individuals interested in pursuing graduate management education over the past five years. In 2023, a total of 108,851 GMAT exams were taken by leading business school students around the world. While there are different tests for assessing graduate management school candidates, the GMAT test has been an established part of the admissions process for top business and management schools for over 60 years. Over 2,400 top institutions participate in the exam process, including EDHEC.

What is the GMAT Test ?

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Aptitude Test. The test was designed by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) in order to create a standardised exam process for potential post-graduate candidates.

In 2023, the GMAC introduced a new version of the exam called the GMAT Focus Edition, which is effective since 1 February 2024. The previous GMAT Exam format is discontuned since  31 January 2024.

The exam provides admissions officers with an overarching snapshot of an applicant's skills and abilities in both quantitative and qualitative reasoning. It is used by over 2,400 top schools and universities across 110 countries. The GMAT Focus Edition exam is oriented specifically towards admissions to top management and MBA programmes, making it the industry standard for business school standardised testing.


GMAT Focus Edition Format


The GMAT Focus Edition gives the candidate full control of the testing experience. The new edition provides test taker-friendly features and flexible sending options to schools based on candidates’ performance, which means they can focus on taking the test without worrying about the score going to school.

The duration of the exam is 2 hours and 15 minutes long (with one optional 10 minute break) and consists of 64 questions in total, comprised of 3 sections : Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Data Insights.

The GMAT Focus Edition total score ranges from 205 to 805. This scale is different from the traditional GMAT’s total score range of 200 to 80. Test takers will also receive scores for each section, including respective percentile rankings and a breakdown of their strengths and weaknesses.

These are the sections of the GMAT Focus Edition

  • Verbal Reasoning: reduced from 65 minutes to 45 minutes with 23 questions instead of 35 questions, this section measures your ability to read and comprehend written material and to reason and evaluate arguments.

  • Quantitative Reasoning: reduced to 45 minutes with 21 questions instead of 31 questions, this section measures your algebraic and arithmetic foundational knowledge and how you apply this knowledge to solve problems. . 

  • Integrated Reasoning: replaced by the new Data Insights section, consisting of 20 questions, evaluates a candidate's data literacy skills and the ability to analyze and interpret data and apply it to real-world business scenarios. 

By refining the testing experience, the updated GMAT may encourage more individuals to apply to business schools. The exam will continue to serve as a vital component of the admissions process for business schools like EDHEC, ensuring that their programmes remain at the forefront of business education and continue to attract high-caliber talent from around the world. 


Who can take the GMAT?


If you plan on taking the GMAT test, you need to be at least 18 years old and have a graduate degree from a university, business school or other recognised institution. You can take the GMAT exam up to five times within a rolling 12-month period with a minimum 16 days of gap during each attempt. However, there is a lifetime limit of eight GMAT Focus Edition attempts. This means that candidates can take the test a total of eight times, regardless of how long you wait between the attempts.


Why is the GMAT Test Important?


While not an end-all-be-all, GMAT scores are one of the most important tools in determining admissions into business schools.

Despite movements within academia to reduce the emphasis on testing scores, the GMAT Focus Edition remains a tried and true assessment tool of an applicant’s academic skills in today’s post-graduate admissions landscape.

Multiple studies conducted by GMAC have shown that GMAT scores are “an extremely accurate predictor of academic success in graduate management education programmes.”

As business schools strive to move up key school rankings, they seek higher candidate scores which can potentially boost their placement. Nothing can guarantee admission into a programme, but a candidate with a high GMAT test score  has a significantly higher chance of being accepted and/or receiving scholarships. To reward excellence,  EDHEC's scholarship of excellence is based on the GMAT score.

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