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New GMAT Format | April 16, 2018 | GMAT is now 30 Minutes Shorter

GMAC has changed the GMAT Format with effect from April 16, 2018, to enhance the test-taking experience of its takers. In the new GMAT format, the GMAT test is shorter by 30 minutes. This means that the total time duration for the GMAT test, including the breaks and test instructions, has now been reduced from 4 hours to 3.5 hours. All your questions related to the new GMAT format update and its impact on scoring and sectional break up have been answered in this article. Also, you’ll understand the impact of the new GMAT format on your preparation in 2019.New GMAT Format | GMAT Exam Format Change | Impact of gmat format change

This article covers the following aspects:

    1. Number of questions after the new GMAT Format change
    2. What remains unchanged?
    3. General format of GMAT Exam
    4. Impact of new GMAT format on Scoring and Test Preparation in 2019
    5. Is Reading Comprehension really the most important section on GMAT Verbal now?


So, will I have to answer the same number of questions in a shorter duration? | GMAT Format Change

The answer is NO. The reduction can be attributed to the following factors:

 New GMAT Format 2018 Quant Verbal
Old  New  Old  New 
Number of Questions 37 31 41 36
Section Time 75 62 75 65
Time per Question 121.6 s 120 s 109.7 s 108.3 s
  1. 13 minutes in Quant
  2. 10 minutes in Verbal
  3. 7 minutes over the new streamlined non-exam screens at the test center (e.g. Tutorial, Section Instructions)

The time per question, therefore, remains approximately the same. For Quant, you will get 1.62 seconds less per question, and for Verbal, around 1.42 seconds less per question.

This change in the GMAT format is going to have a positive impact overall – as there are 10 fewer questions to solve, and 30 minutes less to spend in the exam hall. Therefore, this should be seen as a welcome change by the aspirants!

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Another good aspect of the new and updated GMAT format is that you can now access and review the tutorial prior to the GMAT exam per your convenience. The information presented in the Tutorial Screens at the test center is now made available online via mba.com/tutorial. This way you can familiarize yourself with the rules and instructions and understand what you can expect at the test center.

Learn the top 3 reasons of ‘why take the GMAT‘ and the importance of the GMAT Exam

What remains unchanged in the new GMAT Format?

The change in the new format of GMAT has been made in the Tutorial Screens and the Quant and Verbal Section (scored out of 800) only. The other sections -Analytical Writing Section (AWA) and Integrated Reasoning (IR) remain completely unchanged. Apart from this, the optional break structure and the score preview time are also the same as earlier.

GMAT Exam Format - Select Section Order | GMAT Pattern | GMAT Structure

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Help me with the General Format for GMAT exam!

Please refer to our article regarding the new GMAT exam format, timing, and sections. The article answers all your questions regarding:

  1. What is a Computer Adaptive Test?
  2. GMAT Section-wise Distribution
  3. Section Order Selection
  4. Section-wise Details and Question Types
  5. GMAT Resources and Points to remember
  6. GMAT Score & Statistics

Does the changed new GMAT format impact the scoring or test preparation in 2019?

NO, it doesn’t.

GMAC claims that this change in the new GMAT format is only to help students. The Quant and Verbal sections on the GMAT include “Scored and Unscored” Questions. As the name suggests, unscored questions (Experimental or Research questions) do not affect your scoring and performance. Essentially, GMAC has reduced the number of unscored questions along with the duration; therefore, the number of scored questions in each section, the average time per question, and the scoring algorithm will remain completely unchanged.

Further, to quote GMAC, “There are no changes to the questions formats or the content tested on the GMAT. Depending on how you practice pacing for your exam, there should be minimal changes to your GMAT exam preparation. This change only impacts the length of the Quant and Verbal sections in the GMATPrep full-length practice exam. All other GMAT Official Prep materials remain unchanged.”

Therefore, you should not worry about changing your preparation strategy in the GMAT Exam or the impact of these new format changes on the scoring algorithm – “if you are well versed with all the sections”* and believe that you are ready to take the test!

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How about the sectional split – Is RC really the most important section on GMAT Verbal now?

new gmat format rc | gmat format change impact

As mentioned in the earlier part, since the number of the scored items has not changed, the weight of RC should also not change. In the past, RC has accounted for one-third of your GMAT Score, and it should continue to do so.

However, because of the change in the number of unscored questions, there’s a chance that a number of students may get more RC Questions proportionally – if a good chunk of their experimental questions is from Reading comprehension.

This is something that has been reported by a few students who have taken the exam after the changes have been implemented. If you are one of these students who gets more experimental questions from RC on the GMAT, this is how the Old GMAT vs the New GMAT will compare for you:

Old GMAT Format New GMAT Format
No. %age No. %age
SC 16-17 41% 11-13 33%
CR 9-11 27% 8-10 28%
RC 12-13 32% 13-14 39%
Total 41 36


If you happen to get more RC questions like some of these other students, you might face some challenges meeting the time to complete the Verbal section (as RC questions are generally more time-consuming), especially if you haven’t mastered the art of timing on the GMAT yet. In case you’re looking for some guidance on GMAT RC, here’s the link to our upcoming free session on Reading Comprehension Strategies.

This article should have resolved most of your doubts and queries related to changes and the new GMAT format. In case you’d like to get any further clarifications, please write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com We can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with more than 1825 reviews (as on May 23, 2019). Why don’t you take a free trial and judge it for yourself?

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