# Does GMAT syllabus change every year?

There has been a lot of change in the last five years. What has changed about the GMAT syllabus throughout the years?

Perhaps you took the GMAT a few years ago but never used your score and want to retake it now. Or you did your homework on cracking the GMAT exam last year but are only now becoming serious about your preparation. You’re wondering if you have all of the necessary knowledge or if the GMAC has thrown in a new twist somewhere that will catch you off guard. We’ve tried to bring you up to speed on all the ways the GMAT has changed in the last few years in this post so that you may begin your GMAT prep with a light heart.

## Has the GMAT test gotten harder?

Let us begin by answering a question that many of you naturally wonder: Has the GMAT been any harder or easier in the last 5 years?

A casual examination of GMAT percentiles may lead you to this conclusion. The quant and verbal percentiles for the same raw score have varied in recent years, with the quant percentile decreasing substantially and the verbal percentile increasing modestly. This may cause you to believe that quant is becoming easier while verbal is becoming more difficult.

However, when we dig further into the main causes, we discover that the actual skill level required to achieve a specific raw score has not changed – it is just as tough to get a 50 on quant or verbal as it was five years ago. What is changing is the demography of the test-takers. A growing number of test-takers from China, India, and other Asian countries, many of whom have highly developed arithmetic skills, are skewing the Quant percentiles. That is, the top levels of the Quant scores are becoming more crowded.

This cohort may have learned English as a second or even third language, and as a result, their English skills may fall short of those of native English speakers. This has resulted in higher verbal percentiles for the same raw score.

## Have the test sections changed?

GMAC added a new portion to the GMAT in 2012 called Integrated Reasoning, which replaced the previous ‘Analysis of an Issue’ Essay. The AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) and IR (Integrated Reasoning) portions come at the beginning of the exam, before the Quantitative and Verbal sections. Integrated Reasoning assesses your ability to interpret and analyse complicated data. What effect does this have on your scaled score? No, it does not! On a scale of 1 to 8, the IR section is measured independently. The IR portion, like the AWA, is secondary in relevance as compared to the 800-scaled score. So, while you will need to do well on this portion, don’t get too caught up in how many questions you find easy or how many trip you up because the most significant areas of the exam, Quant and Verbal, are still ahead of you.

## Are there any changes to retake/cancel the policy?

The policy for exam retakes has been modified. With effect from July 19, 2015, you will be able to retake the GMAT exam after only 16 days, rather than the previous 31 days. What impact might this have on your GMAT score? It could be advantageous for you because you may want to repeat the test while still in the thick of GMAT preparation and at top performance levels.

The score cancellation policy has recently changed. Previously, if you elected to cancel your score and retake the test later, the score report provided to universities would also include the cancelled score. Now, there will be no record of previously cancelled scores on the score report, and the college will be unaware of your previous attempts. Students who are dissatisfied with their test scores are likely to retake it more than once, certain that their multiple tries (or earlier poor scores) will not influence the college admissions committee. This could result in higher average scores over time.

## Is there more study material available?

If you last visited mba.com (GMAC’s official website) a few years ago, you may be pleasantly surprised by the amount of official content available now. In addition to the free Testprep software you are entitled to when you register with mba.com, you can download two more premium Computer Adaptive tests. We cannot emphasise more how important it is to practise official GMAT questions prepared by GMAC! The Official Guide, Verbal Review, Quant Review, and different simulated examinations from mba.com should provide you with a comprehensive study package for your exam.