Your Guide to GMAT Focus Edition Syllabus (2024 New Updates!)


Table of Contents

  1. What is the GMAT Focus Edition?
  2. Syllabus & Details
  3. Questions Types & No. of Questions
  4. Key Differences
  5. Resources
  6. FAQs


The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) by GMAC exam has undergone a transformation, introducing the GMAT Focus Edition in August 2023. Designed to be more focused, accessible, and time-efficient, this new format presents exciting opportunities for aspiring business school applicants. This article serves as your comprehensive guide to understanding the GMAT Focus Edition syllabus, equipping you with the knowledge to navigate the exam confidently.

What is the GMAT Focus Edition?

Imagine the GMAT as a compass guiding you towards your business school dreams. The classic GMAT was like a trusty, but slightly outdated compass, pointing you in the general direction. But now, there’s a new compass in town: the GMAT Focus Edition. Think of it as a sleek, high-tech GPS, zeroing in on the exact skills and knowledge you need for success in today’s business programs.


Why GMAT Focus Edition is Different?

Here’s a quick breakdown of how GMAT Focus is different:

1. Sharper Focus:

  • The classic GMAT covered a broader range of skills, while GMAT Focus hones in on critical thinking, data analysis, and executive decision-making, the very skills you’ll use in the boardroom.

2. Shorter and Streamlined:

  • Forget the marathon, GMAT Focus is a sprint. Gone are the four long sections; instead, you’ll tackle three focused sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and the brand new Data Insights.

3. Flexibility is Key:

  • No more being stuck in a rigid order. With GMAT Focus, you choose the section you want to start with, review and change answers, and even decide whether to send your score after seeing how you did.

4. Data-Driven Decisions:

  • The Data Insights section is your chance to shine as a data whiz. Interpret charts, graphs, and tables to solve problems and make informed decisions, just like real-world business leaders.

5. Predicting Your Success:

  • GMAT Focus is designed to be a more accurate predictor of your performance in business school than the classic GMAT. So, your score will carry even more weight with admissions committees.

GMAT Focus Edition Syllabus

The GMAT Focus Edition features a reduced testing time of 2 hours and 15 minutes, compared to the 3 hours and 45 minutes of the standard GMAT. This is achieved by streamlining the exam into three core sections:

  • Quantitative Reasoning: 21 multiple-choice questions (45 minutes)
  • Verbal Reasoning: 23 multiple-choice questions (45 minutes)
  • Data Insights: 20 multiple-choice questions (45 minutes)

GMAT Syllabus Details

What Subjects are Covered?

  1. Quantitative Reasoning: This section assesses your problem-solving and analytical skills using arithmetic, algebra, and data sufficiency questions. It does not require any specialized math knowledge beyond high school-level concepts.

  2. Verbal Reasoning: This section evaluates your critical reading and reasoning skills. You will encounter passage-based reading comprehension questions and critical reasoning questions based on short arguments.

  3. Data Insights: This new section is unique to the Focus Edition and assesses your ability to interpret and analyze data presented in various formats, including tables, graphs, and charts. You will need to draw conclusions, make recommendations, and identify relationships within the data.


GMAT Question Types and Number Breakdown

Each section utilizes multiple-choice questions, and there is no essay writing component in the Focus Edition. Here’s a breakdown of the question types and numbers:

Quantitative Reasoning

1. This section assesses your problem-solving abilities using numerical and algebraic concepts. Expect questions involving:

  • Number properties and operations
  • Ratios, rates, and percentages
  • Algebra (equations, inequalities, functions)
  • Data interpretation and analysis (charts, graphs, tables)

Questions Asked in Quantitative Reasoning

  • Problem Solving (Quantitative and Algebra): 10-15 questions
  • Data Sufficiency: 6-11 questions

Questions and Time Alloted

  • Total Questions: 21 questions
  • Time Alloted: 45 minutes


Verbal Reasoning

1. This section evaluates your critical thinking and reading comprehension skills through:

  • Reading comprehension passages: Analyze and draw inferences from various written texts.
  • Critical reasoning questions: Evaluate arguments, identify flaws, and strengthen conclusions.

Questions Asked in Verbal Reasoning

  • Reading Comprehension: 13-17 questions
  • Critical Reasoning: 6-10 questions

Questions and Time Alloted

  • Total Questions: 23 questions
  • Time Alloted: 45 minutes


Data Insights

Data Insights (DI) section, accounting for 20% of your score. This new section specifically tests your ability to:

  • Interpret and analyze data: Make sense of information presented in charts, graphs, tables, and other visuals.
  • Reason with multiple data sources: Combine information from different sources to draw conclusions and make informed decisions.
  • Solve problems using data: Apply your analytical skills to solve data-driven problems relevant to business scenarios.

Questions Asked in Data Insight Section

  • Graphics Interpretation: 6-8 questions
  • Table Analysis/ Two-Part Analysis: 5-7 questions
  • Multi-Source Reasoning: 3-5 questions

Questions and Time Alloted

  • Total Questions: 20 questions
  • Time Alloted: 45 minutes


Try the New GMAT Focus Edition Mock Test


Understanding the Syllabus

  • The official GMAT website does not explicitly provide a separate syllabus for the Focus Edition. However, the information mentioned above outlines the essential aspects of the syllabus, including the sections, question types, and numbers. Additionally, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) offers sample questions and practice tests on their website, which closely resemble the actual exam format and content.


Key Differences for Focus Edition

  • Test Length: GMAT Focus Edition takes about 52 minutes less than the classic GMAT (2 hours 15 minutes vs. 3 hours 7 minutes).
  • Sections: GMAT Focus Edition has 3 sections (Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Data Insights) compared to the classic GMAT’s 4 (adding Analytical Writing Assessment).
  • Flexibility: GMAT Focus Edition allows you to choose the section order, review and change answers (up to 3 per section), and even decide whether to send your score after seeing your performance.
  • Registration Process:- There is no change in the registration process. You have to log in to for registering.
  • Test Fee:- The course fee remains the same – $275 (test centre) and $310 (online).
  • Attempts:- A test taker has 5 attempts in a 12-month period and a total of 8 lifetime attempts. The GMAT focus edition’s exam score is valid for 5 years. You can send your scores to up to 5 programs for free within 48 hours of receiving your official score.
  • Question Review and Editing- Review as many questions as you want and edit up to 3 answers in one section.
  • Exam Order Selection- Complete the 3 sections in the order of your choosing.
  • Validity: Research suggests the GMAT Focus Edition is a stronger predictor of success in modern business programs compared to the classic GMAT.
  • With the adaptive scaling system in the GMAT Focus Edition, focusing on mastering challenging questions can potentially yield higher scores compared to answering a larger number of easier ones in the classic GMAT.
  • Dedicating significant effort to the Data Insights section can be strategically advantageous as it’s a new and potentially influential component of the score.


GMAT Resources for Syllabus:

Here are some key resources to further explore the GMAT Focus Edition syllabus:

  1. Official GMAC Website: GMAT Focus Edition
  2. GMAT Focus Edition: Sample Questions
  3. Official GMAT Practice Exams
  4. Unofficial GMAT Prep Courses and Materials: Many test preparation companies offer comprehensive study materials aligned with the Focus Edition syllabus.

Books and Online Courses:

  • Prep books: Choose from a variety of comprehensive prep books that cover the syllabus, offer practice questions and explanations, and provide test-taking strategies. Popular options include Manhattan GMAT, Kaplan GMAT, and The Official GMAT Guide.
  • Online courses: Immerse yourself in structured learning with online courses by trusted prep companies like Veritas Prep, Magoosh GMAT, and Target Test Prep. Many offer video lectures, practice questions, personalized feedback, and live sessions with instructors.


GMAT Score Scaling in Focus Edition / GMAT Marking Scheme

The GMAT Focus Edition employs a sophisticated algorithm to transform your performance into a final score, ensuring an accurate reflection of your abilities. Let’s break down the marking scheme and how it interacts with the scaling system:

  1. Marking Scheme:
  • Each question is assigned a difficulty level based on statistical data and expert analysis.
  • You receive 1 point for each correct answer and 0 points for incorrect or unanswered questions.
  • There is no penalty for guessing, so it’s always worthwhile to make an educated attempt.
  1. Scaled Score Calculation:
  • Your raw score (number of correct answers) is not directly translated into your final score. Instead, it undergoes a “scaling” process to account for the varying difficulty of the questions you faced.
  • Harder questions carry more weight, meaning one correct answer on a high-difficulty question contributes more to your scaled score than an easy one.
  • This system ensures fairness, preventing those who get “lucky” with easier questions from scoring higher than those who tackle tougher ones.
  1. Total Score:
  • Your Scaled Scores from each section (Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Data Insights) are combined using a specific formula to generate your Total Score. This formula assigns slightly higher weights to Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning compared to Data Insights, reflecting their relative importance for business school success.
  1. Percentile Rank:
  • Your Total Score is compared to the scores of all test-takers who took the GMAT Focus Edition within the past three years.
  • This comparison generates your Percentile Rank, which indicates the percentage of test-takers you scored higher than.
  • For example, a 70th percentile rank means you scored better than 70% of recent test-takers.


FAQs on GMAT Focus Edition

1. Can I choose my own section order on the new GMAT Focus Edition?

  • The GMAT Focus Edition lets you choose the order you tackle the Quantitative, Verbal, and Data Insights sections, giving you more control over your test-taking experience.

2. Will GMAT Focus Edition be easier?

  • While shorter, the GMAT Focus Edition isn’t necessarily easier. Here’s why:
  • Content shift: Data Insights replaces Sentence Correction and Geometry, potentially challenging test-takers used to those sections.
  • Denser questions: Fewer questions mean each carries more weight and requires deeper understanding.
  • Integrated Reasoning remains: This often-tricky section is now part of your score on the Focus Edition.

Overall, difficulty depends on your strengths and weaknesses.

  • If you excelled in Sentence Correction and Geometry, the Focus Edition might feel harder.
  • If you found those sections challenging and prefer Data Insights, it might be more manageable.

3. What are the major changes in the GMAT Focus Edition Syllabus?

There are Four key changes in the Focus Edition Syllabus:

  1. The Integrated Reasoning (IR) section is replaced with Data Insights, which now accounts for a third of the exam and contributes equally to the total score.
  2. Sentence Correction (SC) questions are removed from the Verbal section.
  3. Geometry questions are removed from the Quant section.
  4. The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA essay) is eliminated.

4. What is the duration of the GMAT Focus Edition ?

  • The time duration of the GMAT focus edition is 2 hours 15 minutes.
5. Do universities accept GMAT Focus Edition?
  • Yes, but with a small caveat: most universities accept the GMAT Focus Edition, but not all. Double-check with your target schools to confirm their policy. Remember, some schools (like Harvard) have delayed accepting it until later in 2024.
6. Is GMAT Focus Edition accepted in India?
  • The majority of Indian B-schools, including top institutions like IIMs, ISB, XLRI, and SPJIMR, have confirmed they will accept the new exam for admissions. So you can confidently take the Focus Edition if you’re targeting Indian MBA programs.

Recommended Blogs

  • 7 Surprising Benefits of an MBA in Oil and Gas Management

    An MBA in Oil and Gas Management helps you advance your career with Leadership Skills, Networking, Global Knowledge, Professional Growth.

    Read MoreMar 15, 2024 I 2 minutes
  • 45+ Business Development Interview Qs! (Basic, Concepts, Tech)

    Master your Business Development interview prep with 45 most asked questions for freshers, experienced & techies. New Questions updated!

    Read MoreFeb 16, 2024 I 10 minutes
  • Introduction to Renewable Energy Management: What You Need To Know

    Discover what is renewable energy management, its importance to the world and the key aspects of managing these energy sources.

    Read MoreJan 20, 2023 I 2 minutes
  • Ace Your Data Governance Interview with these 55 Question Types

    Master 55 data governance interview Questions, from data lineage puzzles to AI challenges. Sharpen your skills & land your dream data role.

    Read MoreJan 21, 2024 I 15 minutes