The Shorter New GMAT April 2018

Should you retake the new GMAT if you already have a reasonable score?

Given the GMAC announcement of the shorter, new GMAT this past week, I have started getting a barrage of questions from students who had only recently officially considered themselves “finished” with the GMAT. Here’s my advice in brief: If you thought you were done with the GMAT – score good enough, etc. – then continue to consider yourself done with the GMAT. More details follow, but in all seriousness, consider why the GMAT would be made shorter….

It isn’t out of concern for you.

Shaving 23 total minutes off the test lets testing center administer more tests or reduce working hours.

I’ve seen the news about the shortened GMAT and wondered if you thought that should change any considerations for retake. I’m still anxious about the 720 and wonder if there’s something to gain in setting aside 2 power weeks this summer to give it one more go. What would you recommend?

Let’s look at this more closely.


AWA – 30min – one essay
IR – 30 min – 12 non-adaptive questions
BREAK – 8 min
Quant – 75 min – 37 questions
BREAK – 8min
Verbal – 75 min – 41 questions


AWA – 30min – one essay
IR – 30 min – 12 non-adaptive questions
BREAK – 8 min
Quant – 62 min – 31 questions
BREAK – 8min
Verbal – 65 min – 36 questions
In both cases you have options in the ordering of your test – that’s pretty new too. So you love Verbal, sure, take it first. You’re nervous about Quant, take that first. It’s up to you. They just made that a thing this past year.
In all seriousness, you’re effectively losing time on quant – not a lot, but given timing pressure, this won’t help you. So those of you on the fence about a retake, in most cases, just sit tight. The pressure of the test is enough to make decent students underperform on test day. Shaving 13 minutes off the test is not likely enough to bring your performance up. If anything it may happen so fast you drop points rather than add.
To those of you who are thinking, but I always have trouble with the last 6 questions, now those are gone! 
Please bring the heal of your hand to your forehead. Reapply vigorously as needed.
Yes, you will have 6 fewer questions. But you will also have 13 fewer minutes. This will just move up the time frame for when your section ends. There is no benefit for the candidate who is chronically running out of time on quant (or verbal, tho that happens much less often). You simply fail faster.
Time per question average on the old GMAT: just over 2min
Time per question average on the new GMAT: exactly 2min
It’s not a big deal for most of us, but you’re losing almost 2 seconds per question. Again, not a big deal for most students. And not enough to save you if you have demonstrated repeated timing pressure with the longer format. Opposite of helpful for you.
See what the GMAC has to say about the format here.

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