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Old GMAT is your friend (until June 5, 2012) March 24, 2012

Posted by Sharehouse Jakarta in Uncategorized.
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This Strata-G post argues that: it’s best to either 1) take the GMAT now (before 5 June 2012); OR 2) wait and take the GMAT until after August 2012.

According to Businessweek, the new GMAT “will be different from anything students have encountered before on the test” — and that’s not good.

Why was it necessary to make the GMAT harder in the first place? Well, the story from GMAC was:

The most recent survey of 740 business faculty worldwide in 2009 revealed that they believed incoming students needed to assimilate, interpret, and convert data, evaluate outcomes, and listen.

I’m not sure about listening skills on the GMAT. I do know that GMAT is in dynamic competition with GRE (a similar test marketed by ETS). And since GRE just did a major facelift, it’s not surprising to find a “new and improved” GMAT product this year.

So what’s the difference? Just one thing — a mystery section called “integrated reasoning.” It will replace one of the writing essays (the “issue”). So your four four GMAT sections on the new GMAT are:

  • AWA (one essay)
  • Quant (maths)
  • Verbal (like TOEFL but much harder)
  • Integrated reasoning (charts and graphs + analysis)

And  how does the integrated reasoning (let’s call it “IR”) mystery section work?

Well, it’s like learning to pole vault: you need some practice. Problem is, there’s no practice questions on the market yet.

You can watch the official videos produced by GMAC about the different question types within the new IR section. But which one is the hardest? No one can say just yet. We do understand, however, that the new section aims to test ability to use data tools (audio?) to make executive decisions .

So here’s a hypo. I’m an experienced manager. After 15 years of very hard work I sell my business and go back to school — MBA. My goal is to be a professor.  Will 15 years business experience as a successful entrepreneur guarantee a good score on IR?

Nope, because USA-style standardized tests don’t work like that in my experience. It’s a competitive type of game that you can only learn by playing.

So personally, I would take the GMAT now before it changes. Or else wait until after the transition period.

If you can wait until around September or October, then true test gurus like Mark Stewart and others will have time to develop online workshops (often for free) targeting the new question type.

We can also benefit a lot from the experience of “beta testers” who decide (for some reason) to take the test in June, July, etc. These people will share their test experience online, just as happened during the transition from old GRE >> new GRE.

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