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The GMAT is an ever-evolving beast, and 2015 is no exception to the rule of change.  If you are applying (or reapplying) this year, there are several important changes to the methodology of the test that you should be aware of.

The first has to do with Score Preview and Cancellations.  Score Preview allows you to see your score on test day — If you feel you didn’t perform your best on that day, it is possible to cancel your GMAT scores.  That’s old news.  But here’s the new feature — it used to be that when you cancelled a score, it showed up as a ‘C’ on the score report that went out to schools.  As of July, The “C” that represents a candidate’s cancelled scores will not be shown on any future GMAT score reports generated by GMAC. This means that when a test taker cancels their score, only the test taker will know.

This is a big deal for applicants, who now have a level of fine control over how their GMAC report reads that they did not before.  Different business schools have different approaches to the GMAT — some superscore (taking the highest quant and verbal from different exams), some average all scores, and some take the single highest score.  Some factor cancellations into their decisions, and some do not.  By reducing the number of moving parts, candidates can help streamline their applications.

Another big change is that the wait period between exams has been shortened from 31 days to 16 days.  For most applicants, this is a huge bonus — more time to cram before the first attempt, less time to ‘forget’ inbetween exams.  But be careful — you’re still limited to no more than five attempts in a twelve-month period, and with these new rules you can reach that limit pretty quickly!

Both of these changes should make the GMAT a little less intimidating, but it’s still a challenging exam, especially on the quantitative side, where huge volumes of overseas test takers have been driving percentiles down farther and farther.  An elite quant percentile of 80+ is harder to attain now than it has ever been before, which is why schools are relying more heavily on raw scores and becoming a little more forgiving on the 80th percentile rule of thumb.  That said, it’s never been a hard and fast rule — what kind of candidate you are and what background you come from play a big role in how your quant score is assessed.

Have more questions?  We’re here for you!  Contact us for more information.

Photo by Ryan McGilchrist.