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How to Order Your GMAT Sections
In June of 2017, GMAC announced the GMAT Select Sections Order. This means that GMAT test takers can now choose the order in which they complete the exam. This is a big change from the former uniform order, and while it is definitely positive, it can bring some uncertainty with it. Here are some tips on how to use the GMAT Select Sections Order and what it means for you.
While you now have a say in the order of your GMAT sections, your choice must be one of the following:
- The original order (AWA, Integrated Reasoning, Quant, Verbal)
- Verbal, Quant, Integrated Reasoning, AWA
- Quant, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, AWA
Regardless of which order you choose, you will have the option of two 8 minute breaks. In the original pattern of sections, the breaks are after Integrated Reasoning and Quant. In the new options, you can take 8 minutes after both the Verbal and Quant portions of the exam.
You will need to select your order at the test center just before you begin your test. Your options will appear on the computer screen, and you will have two minutes to select how you want to order the GMAT sections. If you do nothing in those two minutes, the original order will be selected by default.
What It Means for You
There are lots of questions about these new options, but one of the most common questions is if business schools see the order you choose when they receive your scores. Thankfully, the answer is no. Schools are not informed of the order you choose, and it will not have any weight except for when you are taking the test. Additionally, according to GMAC, the new options do not have any impact on the scoring, so you do not need to be concerned that there is a right or wrong option. Only choose based on what works best for you.
How to Choose
So now the big question: which option should you choose? This is going to be different for each individual test taker, but a fairly universal starting point is to not select the original order. Beginning the exam with the AWA and Integrated Reasoning burns a lot of mental and emotional energy on portions of the exam that are less precise and don't influence your larger overall score as much. It makes sense to choose one of the new options so your GMAT sections are prioritized according to your strengths and energy levels.
Take a couple of practice tests utilizing the second and third select sections options. This will allow you to see how they impact your score. If you think that leading with your strongest subject will boost your confidence and raise your score, choose accordingly. If you think that giving either Quant or Verbal your freshest concentration will boost your score, choose the one that needs more attention. But regardless, don’t forget that a few extra points on Quant or Verbal can make a big difference in your overall score. So it is worth it to consider and choose wisely.
All in all, the inclusion of the GMAT Select Sections Order is a very good thing for test-takers. Leading with your best subject provides you a distinct advantage. Ultimately, however, nothing will influence your GMAT score more than adequate preparation. If you are looking for the best GMAT prep course with a 70 point guarantee, read more about our EMPOWERgmat course here.