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GMAC launches Select Section Order!

This topic has 6 expert replies and 0 member replies
AjiteshArun Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
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GMAT Score:
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GMAC launches Select Section Order!

Post Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:03 am
Test takers will soon be allowed to select the order in which they want to attempt their GMAT sections. This new feature will be available from July 11, 2017.

Just a quick summary: a little more than a year back, the GMAC had conducted a pilot program in which they allowed a number of (not all) people taking the exam again ("retakers") the opportunity to choose a different order. It was always clear that test takers were going to respond positively to this feature: a test taker who is strong at quant but weak at verbal, for example, could feel more confident attempting verbal first. What was not clear was whether this would affect the validity of the GMAT exam. After all, all the testing that the GMAC has done till now has been with the current order (AWA, IR, Quant, and then Verbal).

What we can see from this move is that the GMAC validity study looking into this has concluded that changing the order of sections will not affect the validity of the exam, so the feature is a GO. Test takers will now be able to choose one of the following three options:

AWA, IR, Quant, Verbal (the current format)
Verbal, Quant, IR, AWA
Quant, Verbal, IR, AWA

This choice has to be made at the test center itself, just before starting the exam.

The GMAT is clearly looking at keeping AWA and IR together as one "block". Anyone looking to split these up is out of luck, as is anyone who wants to "reorder" these two sections. Options 2 and 3, however, take care of what most students ask for.

Together with the new score preview, score cancellation, and score reporting policies, select section order seems to be a great addition to the the GMAC's new suite of features that put the test taker (while still maintaining validity!) first.

So, even though I love IR (sorry, AWA), I'll have to go with option 3. It'll be interesting to see which one test takers are interested in!

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Post Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:30 am
I personally would do option #3 as well, but here's the advice I'm giving my students: start with your strength! If you're stronger at Verbal, do that first to maximize your score there. Otherwise there's a chance that your challenging section might put you in a bad headspace, and throw off your stronger section.

That said, if your more challenging section causes you anxiety and you'd rather get it out of the way early while you're still fresh, that makes sense, too.

I definitely recommend taking at least one practice test with each order, to see which feels better to you.

... I can't really imagine that anyone will want to choose AWA first, though!

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Post Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:26 am
I'm with Ceilidh here. both in order preference and in her prudent advice to take that sequence for a test run before the exam.

(Of course, the option to change the order of the exam is amusingly self-nullifying. First, GMAC conducts research indicating that allowing test-takers to alter the order of the sections confers no demonstrable benefit. Only then do test-takers get to take advantage of this new benefit, which is not, in fact, a benefit. Still, it's nice to feel empowered Smile

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Post Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:19 am
Ha! Very true.

From a stamina perspective, though, I think it will just feel better to only have the AWA left at the end when you're feeling fatigued, rather than the Verbal section.

I'd like to give a shout-out here to Manhattan Prep's AMAZING tech team, who managed to re-engineer our practice test platform to allow students to choose their own order within ONE DAY of GMAC's announcement! I'm so impressed by their quick work & dedication.

(And I don't doubt that other companies' teams have also done impressive work. I'm sure students will be able to practice order selection on all platforms asap).

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Harvard Graduate School of Education


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Post Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:27 pm
Agreed on the psychological boost test-takers might get from a rearranged order. And for any unfortunate soul relegated to a 4pm slot, hitting the quant and verbal first is a no-brainer.

And the Veritas tests have also been re-calibrated to allow test-takers to choose the order of their exam. (But I know so little about coding, I don't know how impressed to be with the quick turn-around. Did this entail three additional lines of code? Was a team of coders people hammering away at keyboards for27 consecutive hours, sweating as they frantically strived to make this impossible deadline? Why, when I try to picture any tech-room, do I still imagine the giant mainframe computer that Matthew Broderick has to contend with in War Games?

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Post Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:07 pm
Haha same! In my mind, it all works like Tron - the 80s version.

All I know is that we got an email saying "we'll get this updated ASAP, hopefully within a couple of days." Then later that day got an email saying that it was updated. So I assumed that it was an impressive feat!

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EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education


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Post Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:32 am
Quote:
Haha same! In my mind, it all works like Tron - the 80s version.
Smile

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