The Truth About Next Generation GMAT

As we’ve discussed several times in this space over the past few months, the GMAT will be changing on June 5th. There’s been quite a bit of uncertainty about Next Generation GMAT (NGG), not to mention a fair bit of conjecture and a little too much fear-mongering (see our last post, “Locking in Your 700+ Before the Test Changes?“, for more on the fear-mongering angle).

We’re returning to the subject once more to present in the clearest terms what’s true for NGG and what’s not, so prospective test-takers have the best possible understanding of how it affects them and how it should affect their preparation. Here is what the new test will look like versus the old.

Section Old GMAT Next Generation GMAT
Analytical Writing Assessment 2 essay
60 minutes
1 essay
30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning 12 questions
30 minutes
Quantitative 37 questions
75 minutes
37 questions
75 minutes
Verbal 41 questions
75 minutes
41 questions
75 minutes
Total Testing Time 3 hours 30 minutes 3 hours 30 minutes


Let’s start with an unadulterated review of the facts…

Integrated Reasoning (IR): The ONLY Change

NGG will be adding one new section: Integrated Reasoning. That’s it. It will be replacing The AWA Analyze an Issue task. The specifics of the new section:

Location on the test: After the AWA task (Analyze an Argument) and before the Quantitative Reasoning Section.

Length: 30 minutes.

Number of Questions: 12

Types/Format of Questions: Graphics Interpretation, Two-Part Analysis, Table Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning. To see sample questions for each type, click the respective links.

Computer Adaptive: Nope.

Calculators: Yup. You can’t bring your own, but you will have use of an onscreen calculator for the IR section (and only the IR section).

Scoring: No information about the scoring on the IR has yet been released, but we do know what it won’t be…


Next Generation GMAT: What’s NOT Changing

Everything else. No, seriously. Aside from what we indicated above, the GMAT we knew and loved (okay maybe it was more of a love-hate relationship) is still our same old flame. Don’t believe us? Let’s clear up a few things:

Is the IR going to be part of your total score? No. GMAC (the people who create the GMAT) has said that the IR will get its own score, like the AWA. The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning subscores, and the total score from 200-800 will stay exactly the same.

Will it be “harder” to get a 650 or 700+? Not really. The only thing that might make the

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test a little more difficult is that the IR will be more taxing (if you let it) than the AWA task it’s replacing. You may need to dig a little deeper near the end of test, but if you prepare the right way you’ll have the same chance to get the score you want as you would’ve on the current version of the GMAT.

Will scores from the current GMAT be less valuable than NGG scores? Probably not. There’s no telling how admissions offices are going to use the IR scores, but the word from GMAC is that scores will still be valid for 5 years. This leads us to believe that schools will still be focusing almost exclusively on the Quant, Verbal, and Total scores to effectively compare candidate GMAT scores.

The short story is: prepare now and take the test before June 5th and you don’t have to deal with the new question types. If you have to take the test after June 5th, prepare thoroughly so that you are comfortable with the new question types but don’t stress out too much over them.

Learn more and see sample Integrated Reasoning questions by visiting


The bottom line is that GMAC has been very candid about the changes that are coming to the GMAT. The Quant and Verbal are staying the same, as is the way those scores and the total score are generated. Anyone (or company) that says or intimates otherwise is just trying to scare you into acting prematurely. Don’t believe the B-S. Get the facts and plan accordingly. For more info direct from the horse’s mouth, check out the information on NGG at the site or GMAC’s site.

Stay cool. Stay calm. Be Prepared.

Until next time…



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