What is the GMAT Focus Edition? Changes and Updates

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    What is the GMAT Focus Edition? Changes and Updates

    29 September 2023

    The GMAT Focus Edition is the latest version of the GMAT exam that was launched in November 2023 by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). It replaces the previous version known simply as the GMAT, which had been used for over 50 years as the primary exam for admission into MBA and other graduate management programs globally.

    Your Guide to the GMAT Focus Edition Verbal Section

    The GMAT Focus Edition features some key changes compared to the classic GMAT, including a reduced focus on grammar, geometry, and essay writing. More emphasis is placed on data analysis skills in the scoring. Registration for the GMAT Focus Edition opened in 2023, with the first tests administered starting November 7, 2023.

    The classic GMAT is expected to be fully retired sometime between January and March 2024.

    Study GMAT Focus Edition with Clever Academy and Vietdemy

    When preparing for the GMAT Focus Edition, it’s important to use up-to-date study materials designed specifically for this latest version of the exam. Older materials intended for the classic GMAT will not provide adequate preparation.

    Clever Academy and Vietdemy have designed comprehensive GMAT Focus Edition prep courses to help students achieve their best scores. The courses provide complete coverage of all the verbal, quantitative, and data analysis skills tested on the exam. Instruction is delivered by expert instructors with extensive experience training GMAT test takers.

    The GMAT Focus Edition course materials from Clever Academy and Vietdemy include the latest Official Guide and official practice tests from GMAC. This ensures students are working with the most accurate practice questions and format. Supplemental PDFs address any remaining gaps between the classic and new GMAT versions.

    How is the GMAT changing?

    The GMAT Focus Edition introduces some important changes compared to the classic GMAT:

    • Less emphasis on grammar, geometry, and essay writing – The verbal section drops grammar questions entirely. Geometry is also reduced significantly, with only basic coordinate plane geometry remaining. Finally, the essay section has been eliminated.
    • Greater emphasis on data analysis – There is a brand new 45-minute Data Insights section on the GMAT Focus Edition that specifically tests data interpretation skills. Performance on this section directly impacts overall scores.
    • New 205-805 scoring scale – The total GMAT Focus Edition score range is 205 to 805 in 10-point increments. Individual sections are scored from 60 to 90 in 1-point increments.
    • Option to retake 3 questions per section – The exam remains adaptive, but test takers can now change up to 3 answers per section at the end before time expires. This allows fixing careless mistakes.
    • Flexibility in section order – Verbal, quantitative, and data analysis sections can be taken in any order desired. The classic GMAT had a fixed section sequence.
    • Single test date for score reports – You can pick one test date to send as your official score instead of sending all attempts. This allows picking your best overall and section scores.

    What does the GMAT Focus cover?

    The GMAT Focus Edition is designed to assess the analytical and quantitative skills that admissions committees find most relevant for success in graduate business and management programs.

    It primarily covers:

    • Critical thinking – Analyzing complex information and drawing logical conclusions. Tested in verbal and data sections.
    • Reading comprehension – Understanding sophisticated written content. Key for verbally-loaded business curriculum.
    • Data interpretation – Analyzing charts, graphs, tables, and other visual data presentations. Required for data-driven decision making.
    • Mathematics – Arithmetic, algebra, fractions, ratios, percents, etc. Needed for business math and quant courses.
    • Problem solving – Using math flexibly to model and solve word problems. Important for analytical business thinking.

    The exam presents these concepts through multiple-choice questions in skills-focused sections. This allows standardized assessment of abilities highly correlated with management program success.

    What is on the GMAT Focus?

    The GMAT Focus Edition contains the following 3 sections:

    • Quantitative (45 minutes) – 21-23 questions testing number properties, arithmetic, algebra, fractions, ratios, percents, statistics, and word problems/sets.
    • Verbal (45 minutes) – 23 questions testing reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and inference skills.
    • Data Insights (45 minutes) – NEW – 20 questions testing quantitative skills, verbal skills, data analysis, tables, graphs, multi-source reasoning, and two-part problems.
    • Optional 10-minute break – Can be taken between any two sections.
    • Retake up to 3 questions per section – Chance to change answers at the end of a section before time runs out. Helps correct careless mistakes.

    The exam remains computer adaptive, presenting harder or easier questions depending on performance. But the order of sections can be customized.

    Is the GMAT score scale changing?

    Yes, the GMAT Focus Edition introduces a new scoring scale:

    • Total score: 205-805 in 10-point increments
    • Individual sections: 60-90 in 1-point increments

    The classic GMAT scored verbal and quantitative sections separately on a scale of 0-60. The total score range was 200-800.

    The new scale has a total range of 205-805 encompassing all three test sections: verbal, quantitative, and data insights. You’ll receive individual section scores from 60-90 as well.

    The expanded range allows greater differentiation of ability levels, with more points available. The granularity also helps offset any single weak section.

    Is GMAT Focus still adaptive?

    The GMAT Focus Edition remains an adaptive exam, like the classic version. This means the computer continuously adjusts the difficulty level of questions based on your performance.

    Answering a question correctly leads to a harder subsequent question. Answering incorrectly results in an easier next question. This hones in on your true ability level efficiently.

    The GMAT Focus Edition introduces two key innovations:

    • Flexibility in section order – While questions adapt within each section, you can now customize which section you take first.
    • Limited retakes – At the end of each section, you can change up to 3 answers before time expires. This allows fixing careless mistakes.

    So the GMAT Focus Edition retains the precision and efficiency of computer-adaptive testing while granting some extra control to test takers.

    What’s tested on the GMAT Focus?

    The GMAT Focus Edition tests a variety of verbal, quantitative, and data analysis skills relevant for graduate management education:


    • Critical reasoning – Analyze arguments and evaluate reasoning
    • Reading comprehension – Understand and interpret written material


    • Arithmetic – Fractions, percents, ratios, number properties
    • Algebra – Equations, inequalities, functions, coordinate planes
    • Statistics – Averages, probability, sets
    • Word problems – Translate stories into math equations

    Data Insights – NEW

    • Data interpretation – Analyze tables, graphs, charts
    • Multi-source reasoning – Synthesize data from multiple sources
    • Two-part problems – Integrate verbal and quantitative skills

    All concepts are tested through standardized multiple-choice questions allowing comparisons. The exam focuses on reasoning skills rather than specific content knowledge.

    How can I prepare for the GMAT Focus?

    To achieve your best GMAT Focus Edition score, preparation is key:

    • Use official GMAT Focus prep materials – Such as The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2023-2024 and the GMAC practice exams. Older editions are for classic GMAT only.
    • Work through many practice questions – Build familiarity with the exam format, pacing, and question types. Review explanations for any missed questions.
    • Focus your studying – Refresh math skills, but more importantly emphasize reasoning, logic, and data analysis. Practice reading complex passages under time pressure.
    • Learn test-taking strategies – Like time management, guessing tactics, best use of whiteboard for notes, and more. Leverage the limited retake option wisely.
    • Simulate test conditions – Take practice exams in a quiet space without interruptions to prepare yourself mentally and physically.
    • Get help from the experts – Utilize prep courses like those from Clever Academy and Vietdemy, with live and on-demand options available.

    With the right preparation and test-taking techniques, you can master the GMAT Focus Edition and highlight your readiness for the analytical rigor of a graduate management program.


    The GMAT Focus Edition updates the classic GMAT exam to emphasize data analysis and reasoning skills most relevant to today’s management education. Key changes include new content coverage, scoring, and some added flexibility, though it remains a computer-adaptive test. Thorough preparation using updated study materials tailored to the GMAT Focus is key to maximizing scores. With practice and expert guidance, test takers can successfully navigate the new exam.

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