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You Can Now Choose the Order in Which You Tackle GMAT Sections

GMAC hopes its new change will allow candidates to walk into GMAT test centers with increased levels of confidence

GMAT takers are getting a confidence boost – they will soon be able to choose the section order in which they feel most comfortable taking the exam.


Beginning July 11, 2017, those sitting the business school entrance test will select their desired section order at the test center immediately prior to the start of the exam.

Although a minor change, the exam’s administrators, GMAC, believe it will help steel test taker’s mettle.

“The idea of being allowed to choose the section order had been commonly requested,” said GMAC’s Ashok Sarathy.

“We conducted a pilot in 2016 and…[found that] 85% of participants expressed that the new feature boosted their confidence prior to even taking the exam.

“Our pilot findings also concluded that taking the exam in different section orders continues to maintain the quality and integrity of GMAT scores.”

Brian Carlidge, executive director at Kaplan Test Prep, added: “It could help people perform during the exam by allowing them to choose the order in which they are more comfortable, depending on their strengths or weaknesses.

“Some may wish to start with the sections they are most confident about. Others may prefer to tackle the sections they are worried about.”

Are GMAC’s changes made with GRE rivalry in mind? 

The announcement marks the latest in a cadre of changes GMAC has made to the GMAT as competition with rival entrance exam, the GRE, continues to heat up.

In 2016, GMAC began allowing people to cancel their GMAT scores online after leaving the test center. On-the-spot score cancellations were first introduced in 2014 and, in 2015, GMAC also enabled test takers to hide a poor score from a business school.

“There is rivalry among the graduate admissions tests. In recent years, more schools have begun accepting the GRE, and all the steps taken by GMAC to improve the customer experience are designed to prevent them losing market share to the GRE,” Carlidge said.

A 2016 Kaplan survey of around 200 business school admissions officers in the US found that 92% of them accepted the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT.


But, despite increased acceptance of the GRE among business schools, 26% of admissions officers said those who submit a GMAT score have an admissions advantage over those who submit a GRE score.

Seb Murray
Written by Seb Murray

Seb is a journalist and consulting editor who has developed a successful track record writing about business, education and technology for the international press.

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