GMAT Focus Edition and Current Edition 2023

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is undergoing significant changes with the introduction of the GMAT Focus Edition 2023. The new GMAT is designed to meet the evolving needs of business schools and employers and emphasizes higher-order reasoning skills and data literacy. In this article, we will explore the key modifications introduced in the GMAT Focus Edition and compare them with the Standard Edition to help test-takers make informed decisions.

GMAT Focus Edition VS. Current GMAT

Feature GMAT Focus Edition 2023 Current GMAT Exam
Exam Duration 2 hours 15 minutes 3 hours 7 minutes
Sections and Timing
    • Quant:              45 minutes
    • Verbal:              45 minutes
    • Data Insights:  45 minutes
    • No AWA section
  • Freedom to choose any section order
    • Quant:  62 minutes
    • Verbal:  65 minutes
    • IR:         30 minutes
    • AWA:    30 minutes
  • Freedom to choose from three section orders
    • Quant:            60 to 90
    • Verbal:            60 to 90
    • Data Insights: 60 to 90
  • Overall: 205 to 805

(from quant, verbal, and data insights)

    • Quant:  6 to 51
    • Verbal:  6 to 51
    • IR:        1 to 8
    • AWA:    0 to 6 (half-point increment)
  • Overall: 200 to 800

(from quant and verbal)


Quant Section
  • 21 Problem-Solving questions
  • 2-minute 8-second pace
  • No geometry and Data Sufficiency 
  • 31 questions
  • 2-minute pace
  • Geometry and Data Sufficiency included
Verbal Section
  • 23 questions
  • 1-minute 57-second pace
  • No Sentence Correction
  • 36 questions
  • 1-minute 48-second pace
  • Sentence Correction included

IR (current)



Data Insights (Focus)

  • 20 questions
  • 2-minute 15-second pace
  • Adaptive
  • Data Sufficiency questions included
  • 12 questions
  • 2-minute 30-second pace
  • Non-adaptive
Question Types All multiple-choice questions Multiple-choice questions + One essay
Section Order Any order possible
  • Order 1: AWA and IR > Quant > Verbal;
  • Order 2: Verbal > Quant > IR and AWA;
  • Order 3: Quant > Verbal > IR and AWA
  • Question-level adaptive
  • After answering all questions in a section, freedom to bookmark/review all questions in the section and change up to 3 answers
  • Question-level adaptive
  • No reviewing questions or changing answers
Score Sending Send scores to 5 schools for free after knowing your score in both the online and test center exam Select five schools to send the score for free before starting the exam
Performance Insights The enhanced official score report with detailed insights into your performance You can get insights into your performance by purchasing the Enhanced Score Report (ESR) at an additional cost of $30

GMAT Focus Edition Format Changes

The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

Many candidates will be pleased with the elimination of the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). Even if you wouldn’t have spent precious prep time on essay-writing, this is one less thing you have to do on test day. The omission of the AWA, together with the shrinking down of the quant and verbal sections, reduces the length of the test by nearly an hour. However, earning a great overall score will still require plenty of stamina.

Data Insights on The GMAT Focus Edition

The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section has evolved into Data Insights, and on the GMAT Focus Edition, your Data Insights score will weigh equally with your quant and verbal scores in the calculation of your overall score, just as your IR score does on the Executive Assessment.

This means that the length of time you spend answering questions that count towards your overall score has actually increased slightly, from 2 hours and 7 minutes to 2 hours and 15 minutes. Thankfully, the GMAT Focus Edition will give each test-taker full freedom to select the order of the three sections, so you can decide which section to “warm up” with and which section to leave till the end, when you might be running out of steam.

The new Data Insights section will be adaptive, unlike the current GMAT’s IR section. And interestingly, Data Insights will include Data Sufficiency (DS) questions, a longtime staple of the quantitative reasoning section. The quant section of the Focus Edition will have no DS questions – only problem-solving (PS) questions.

The consideration of the Data Insights score in the grand total is an update reminiscent of the Executive Assessment, where your IR score plays the same role. In fact, you might have noticed other Focus Edition changes, such as the elimination of geometry from the quant syllabus (hallelujah), that essentially bring the GMAT more in line with its little cousin, the Executive Assessment.

Although GMAC has not released any information about the future of the EA, and test prep industry insiders have had little to say about it, it seems unlikely that GMAC will continue to offer two tests that are so similar to each other. We expect an announcement sometime this year about the retirement of the Executive Assessment.


Sentence Correction (SC) Changes on The GMAT Focus Edition

Another significant change is the elimination of Sentence Correction (SC) from the verbal section. Since the current GMAT verbal section has 13-14 SC questions, the shrinking of the verbal section from 36 questions to 23 questions results entirely from the elimination of SC. The Focus Edition verbal section will probably have 9-10 Critical Reasoning (CR) questions and 13-14 Reading Comprehension (RC) questions, just as the current GMAT verbal section does.

The elimination of SC is likely to be a welcome change for many test-takers. But some test-takers rely on SC to help their verbal scores and will be disappointed about its elimination from the test. Even so, without SC, the GMAT verbal syllabus shrinks significantly. Geometry and SC were not necessarily the most difficult portions of the GMAT, but they did require mastery of many rules and principles. Most test-takers should be happy about these changes.

GMAT Focus Edition Scoring

In the GMAT Focus Editionall sections are weighted equally toward the final score. The final score combines the candidates’ performance in the Quantitative, Verbal, and Data Insights sections into a single score. This change aims to provide a more comprehensive assessment for admission officers and simplify the evaluation process. Also, a  detailed enhanced score report is now included for free.

Changes in Test Duration and Flexibility

The GMAT Focus Edition also brings about changes in test duration and flexibility. The new edition reduces the test duration by almost an hour, providing a more efficient and focused assessment experience for test-takers. Additionally, candidates now have the option to review questions and change their answers, granting them more flexibility and the ability to optimize their test strategy. But make sure to use this feature carefully!

Main Changes in the GMAT Focus Edition

Several key differences emerge when comparing the GMAT Focus Edition and the Standard GMAT Edition:

  • The GMAT Focus Edition is shorter in duration, lasting 2 hours and 15 minutes, while the Standard Edition requires 3 hours and 7 minutes to complete.
  • The exam sections also differ, with the GMAT Focus Edition consisting of Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights, while the Standard Edition includes an additional section, Integrated Reasoning, and the removed AWA section.
  • In terms of question types, the GMAT Focus Edition exclusively features multiple-choice questions, whereas the Standard Edition includes both multiple-choice questions and an essay.
  • The order of the sections can be chosen freely in the GMAT Focus Edition, providing test-takers with more flexibility.
  • Additionally, the GMAT Focus Edition offers enhanced features such as question review and edit options, improved score reports, and the ability to send scores to programs after receiving them.


The GMAT Focus Edition 2023 aims to provide a more comprehensive assessment of candidates’ skills in critical reasoning and data literacy. By aligning with the evolving needs of business schools and employers, the changes introduced in this edition reflect the increasing importance of these skills in the modern business environment. As the GMAC plans to roll out the GMAT Focus Edition later this year, test-takers are advised to consider their preferences and goals when deciding between the current version and the upcoming edition.

What if I had started preparing for the GMAT before?

Preparation for the Standard GMAT Edition will help you with the new version of the exam, as the content of them greatly overlaps. However, GMAT Focus Edition contains the section of Data Insights, which measures your skills in an area not covered by the previous version of the test. Therefore, despite having practiced before, you will need to test yourself and increase your performance in data literacy as well. Moreover, keep in mind the changed duration and the number of questions for the sections, as it will impact your preparation and performance.

Where can I find experienced GMAT tutors?

Before hiring a private tutor, research their teaching background, education, certifications, and their scores on the GMAT. Evaluate their record to get an insight into their abilities and professional experience. If testimonials are available, try to reach out to the previous students to get a more honest opinion of the tutor.

Moreover, pay attention to their teaching approach and its relevance to your requirements. While many tutors might have an excellent background in GMAT, not each of them will be suitable for you. Ask a tutor to make a consultation before hiring them, as it will give you a clear understanding of how they will address your individual needs in the exam. 

Are you seeking expert guidance and professional assistance to excel in the GMAT exam? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute call with our expert tutors to start preparing for the GMAT Focus.

Contributor: Anna Martirosyan and Elijah Mize (Apex Instructor)

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