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Upcoming Changes to the GMAT
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by John Fulmer, Princeton Review GMAT Content Director
You can take the current GMAT up to June 4, 2012. On June 5, however, you would take the new GMAT. In both cases, your scores are good for five years. So, should you take the current GMAT or wait for the new GMAT? The answer depends on your situation.
If you plan to apply for admission to business school for the fall of 2012, then you should go ahead and take the test as soon as you feel prepared to do so. If that means that you take the current GMAT, that's fine. Most of the people applying with you have probably taken the current GMAT, too. You need to look at your schedule. When do you have the time to prepare? If your best time to prepare is now or the early months of 2012, then don't be dissuaded from following that plan just because the test is going to change in a few months. For this round of admissions, business schools will expect that most candidates will apply with the current GMAT. So, the schools will care more that you have gotten a great score than which version of the GMAT you took. Unless specifically directed to wait for the new GMAT by a school to which you are interested in applying, go ahead and take the version of the test for which you can best prepare.
If you plan to bank your GMAT score for a few years, you do need to start weighing the options more seriously. First, you should remember that most of the new GMAT looks exactly like the current GMAT. There will be no changes to the Quantitative or Verbal sections. If you get a 750 on the current GMAT, that score translates readily to the new GMAT. But what about the new section? What will schools do if you took the current GMAT and don't have an Integrated Reasoning score?
To get an answer to that question, you need to think about how long you plan to bank your score. If you only plan to wait a year or two before applying to business school, then it probably won't matter much that you don't have an Integrated Reasoning score. Even though schools will get lots of information about the new section and how candidates are performing from GMAC, schools will need time to establish their own evaluative criteria for the Integrated Reasoning score. Schools will likely want to admit a class or two before they establish guidelines for candidate scores. However, if you plan to wait longer than a year or two before applying to business school, you probably want to take the new GMAT. Most of the other applicants (aka your competition), will have taken the new GMAT. There's a strong possibility that a school could tell you that they want you to take the new GMAT so that they can compare your Integrated Reasoning score to that of other applicants.
Of course, each school is always the best source of information about its admissions guidelines and policies. So, be sure that you check out what some of your top choice schools are saying about their policies with regard to the new GMAT.