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How to Proceed IF You’ve Been Invited To Retake the GMAT With the Sections in a DIFFERENT Order

By Max Peterson On Jan 15, 2016 In  Study Plans 

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Over the course of the last several days, there have been several posts from site users who have received an invitation to retake the GMAT under special ‘conditions.’ This is apparently a short-term ‘trial program’ that GMAC is using as something of an experiment (with the possibility of a long-term rollout at some point in the future). All invitees have already taken the GMAT before AND have canceled a prior score. Since the trial seems to be restricted to a roughly 2-week span (from late February to early March), and it is just an experiment, only a relatively small percentage of Test Takers have (or will) receive the offer to participate.

Test Takers will be allowed to choose from one of 4 new ‘options’ that include the following ‘ordering’ of sections:

1) Quant/Verbal/IR/AWA

2) Quant/Verbal/AWA/IR

3) Verbal/Quant/IR/AWA

4) AWA/IR/Verbal/Quant

Since many Test Takers see a drop-off in performance during the latter part of the Test, there's certainly something to be said for dealing with the more valuable sections (Quant and Verbal) earlier on - when you have more energy and before fatigue has set in. The big question for any Test Taker is whether you need a little time to 'warm up' or not before starting that first section (whether it’s Quant or Verbal). If a Test Taker were to start with the Verbal section BUT was not fully in 'test mode', then that Test Taker might end up making some mistakes in the early part of that section (and hurt his/her scores because of it).

Since all of the other standard Test Taking rules supposedly apply, the ‘worst case’ scenario is just ending up with another score that you might find unacceptable – so cancelling that score would be the ultimate result. 

All things being equal, any option that pushes the AWA and IR sections to the ‘back’ of the Test is likely going to be beneficial for Test Takers. Of course, all of the other aspects of Test Day need to be planned for (getting a proper night’s sleep, eating breakfast, morning ‘routine’ and warm-up, strategic use of the two 8-minute breaks, etc.).

If you are one of those Test Takers who’s going to retest under one of these 4 options, then you’ll have to make some adjustments to your studies. Unfortunately, there are no CATs that currently allow for a Test Taker to ‘shuffle’ the sections around, so taking practice CATs in a new order will be tricky. You may have to ‘chop up’ two CATs and ‘glue’ the Scaled Scores to approximate an overall score. You could also potentially take a GMATClub Test for the Quant and Verbal sections, or take one ClubTest, then take the other section (Quant or Verbal, whichever would be second) from a standard Full-length CAT.

As tedious as this all might be, it does represent an interesting time to be taking the GMAT. If you are one of the few that tests under these conditions, then you should plan to post back in the Forums (the General GMAT Questions/Strategy Forum or Share GMAT Experience Forum) – it’s likely that many users would like to hear about your experience.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,

Rich

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