GMAT Focus Edition Scores and Percentiles

The GMAT Focus Edition is a new version of the GMAT that will be available starting November 7, 2023. It is shorter and more focused than the traditional GMAT, and it places a greater emphasis on data analysis and problem-solving skills. The GMAT Focus Edition is designed to be more predictive of success in business school and in the workplace.

Scoring On The GMAT Focus Edition

While the algorithms behind the individual section scores on the GMAT Focus Edition remain mysterious, there appears to be a straightforward relationship between the section scores and the total score for a given exam attempt.

Each section is scored from 60 to 90, and the total scores now run from 205 to 805 in 10-point increments. GMAC says this is to make Focus Edition scores readily distinguishable from “old” GMAT scores.

Unlike the Integrated Reasoning section on the current GMAT, the Data Insights section of the Focus Edition counts towards your overall score equally with Quant and Verbal. That is, each of the three sections accounts for 1/3 of your total score.

GMAT Focus Edition Scoring

Since the scores run from 60 to 90, we can consider that there are 30 “points” per section to be collected, for a total of 90 “section points.” Similarly, there are 60 “total score points” to be collected on the range from 205 to 805, with each of these points increasing your total score by 10 from the starting value of 205.

GMAT Focus Section Score

ESR Reports and Score Reporting

Currently, GMAT test-takers can purchase an Extended Score Report (ESR) for $30 for any test administration within the last five years. The ESR provides performance data for each section and each question type, including time management breakdowns.

GMAC has publicized that these reports will be improved for the GMAT Focus Edition and that they will be free. Every time you take the GMAT Focus Edition, you’ll receive a document with a detailed breakdown of your performance and time management.

The GMAT Focus Edition will also improve the free score reporting feature of the test. Every time you take the current GMAT, you can send a score report to up to five business schools for free. However, you must select these schools before you see your scores. On the GMAT Focus Edition, you will select these schools after you see your scores. This means you should never cancel your scores on the GMAT Focus Edition.

If you want to go to HBS or Wharton but get a GMAT Focus Edition score that isn’t M7-worthy, you can simply send your scores to some less competitive business schools. When you send GMAT Focus Edition scores, you only send the scores for that single administration of the test.

This is a change from the current GMAT format, where sending scores means that the schools receive a report displaying all your GMAT scores from the last five years. With the GMAT Focus Edition, each school will only ever see the scores you want them to see.

Our Analysis of the GMAT Focus Scoring System

Since 60 is 2/3 of 90, each of the 90 section points you collect translates to 2/3 of a total score point. For example, if you score 82 on each of the three sections, you collected 22 points on each of them (the difference between 82 and the starting value of 60) for a total of 66 section points. If we multiply this 66 by 2/3, we obtain the number of total score points you earned. 66 * 2/3 = 44, so you earned 44 total score points. Thus, we would add 440 to the starting value of 205, calculating a total score of 645.

We can capture this process in the following formula, where Quantitative, Verbal, and Data Insights are the section scores:

Total score = (Quantitative + Verbal + Data Insights – 180)(20/3) + 205

My section scores and total scores on both official practice exams conformed to this formula. (Note that in some cases, it will be necessary to round the resulting total score to the nearest integer ending with a 5.) In the coming days and weeks, I will use the practice exams to test this formula with a variety of scoring scenarios.

GMAT to GMAT Focus Edition Score and Percentile Conversion Chart

GMAC has stressed the point that Focus Edition scores do not directly correspond to neighboring scores on the current GMAT. For example, a 655 on the Focus Edition represents a higher percentile than a 650 on the current GMAT.

According to GMAC’s projections, based upon the last five years of test data, a 705 on the Focus Edition will be the beginning of the 99th percentile, roughly equivalent to a 760 on the current GMAT! Time will tell whether this projection is accurate.

GMAT and GMAT Focus Conversion Chart

The table at mba.com includes all possible GMAT Focus Edition scores. GMAC has also released percentile tables for each of the three GMAT Focus Edition sections. Below each table there is information about the data sample size and time period:

Sample size: 866,664

Data Period: July 2017 – June 2022

How can GMAC have information on GMAT Focus Edition performance from 2017 through 2022?

Well, they don’t. They are using performance data from the current version of the GMAT and somehow extrapolating performance data for the GMAT Focus Edition. It is unclear exactly how this is supposed to work. We are interested to see whether GMAC’s forecast of GMAT Focus Edition score percentiles is correct. Will all scores 705 and above really be in the 99th percentile? We’ll find out when the first year of Focus Edition data is published in December 2024.

If you have any questions about the GMAT Focus Edition or want to inquire about Apex’s test preparation services, please don’t hesitate to book a 30-minute complimentary call.

Contributor: Cynthia Addoumieh and Elijah Mize (Apex Instructor)

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