Starting in July, GMAT takers will be able to choose one of three section orders before starting the test. The ability to select section order comes as part of a couple changes GMAC is introducing to make the test taking process more streamlined and flexible.
Immediately before beginning the test, GMAT takers will be able to choose either the traditional section ordering or one of two alternate test orderings GMAT is introducing. Altogether, the three possible section orderings are:
– Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal
-Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
-Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
Regardless of ordering, test takers will have two optional eight-minute breaks. In any of the possible orderings, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing are grouped together back-to-back while Verbal and Quantitative have breaks before and after.
GMAC piloted the ability to choose section order in 2016. From the data they collected, they found the most popular alternative section orderings, which are now being introduced as the two alternatives to the original ordering.
In their FAQ on the new changes, GMAC points out that there’s no “preferred” section order and that they found in their pilot studies that mixing up the order doesn’t seem to fundamentally change what the test is measuring. Moreover, what order you choose will not be reported as part of your results.
Rather, the main purpose of the changes is to let you as a test taker select the order you’re most comfortable with. And if it’s all the same to you, you can always just stick with the original order – that’s one of the three options!
GMAC noted that different test takers will probably use the GMAT’s new flexibility in different ways. For example, some people might want to ease into the test by starting with a section they’re confident about while others might want to begin with their most challenging section right out of the gate.
Besides introducing customized section order, GMAC is will also be eliminating the “profile update” questions from the test in July. Previously, GMAT takers had to update their profile information after completing the test and before viewing their results.
Now, it’ll be possible to see your results as soon as you finish the test. The profile update is no longer part of the testing center experience, and test takers can instead update their information online at any time.
GMAC is hopeful that the new changes will result in a better test taking experience. For more information, see their FAQ on the 2017 GMAT release.