This spring, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced the release of the GMAT Focus Edition, a new, shorter version of the business admissions test. As a former business school dean of enrollment, I was intrigued and excited by this development. But I wondered: how much will the GMAT Focus Edition impact the applicant landscape and graduate lead generation efforts?
Here are three things to know about this new version of the GMAT, including why it will still be important that your lead generation strategy includes other sources.
1. A new section called “Data Insights” has been added to the test.
GMAC created the GMAT Focus Edition working hand in hand with 65 business schools worldwide. These institutions noted that students’ data literacy was one of the skills enrollment offices needed more information on to truly gauge academic readiness. In response, GMAC added a Data Insights section to this version of the test, which measures candidates’ ability to understand data and apply it to practical business scenarios – “one of the most relevant and in-demand skills in business today,” according to the Focus Edition site. With this additional tool to help enrollment leaders predict a student’s success in their graduate business program, finding qualified leads within the list of GMAT Focus Edition test-takers may be a simpler task than in years past.
2. Students will receive detailed feedback post-test through a complimentary Official Score Report.
GMAC has decided to make their Official Score Report available to GMAT Focus Edition test-takers free of charge. The Official Score Report gives students detailed performance data to help them discover their strengths and where they can continue to improve. This feature is especially helpful for students who are switching careers and making a move into the business field. Additionally, since EAB research finds that business candidates’ student journeys are typically shorter than other adult students, it is important for them to know where to focus their studying to reach their goal of a good GMAT score quickly.
Making the report free also helps students prepare for a retest opportunity, which may help level the playing field for students from all backgrounds.
3. Despite these changes, taking the GRE instead or skipping an entrance test altogether are still appealing options to graduate business applicants.
One reason GMAC may have created the GMAT Focus Edition is due to the declining number of applicants choosing to take the GMAT. Within the US, the number of GMAT test-takers has declined from nearly 104,000 in 2017 to fewer than 48,000 in 2021 – a 54% decrease in just 5 years. Meanwhile, 35,284 students intending to study business took the alternative GRE test in 2021, showing that other options are similarly appealing to students. During the pandemic, many graduate business programs also began granting test waivers to students unable to attend a GRE or GMAT test, and some programs never re-instated their testing requirement. Due to their aversion to obstacles in the application process, these programs may appeal to adult students seeking the simplest path to enrolling.
Though this new GMAT offers features that students may find more appealing, diminished test-taking behaviors are likely here to stay. In this environment, a diversified lead generation strategy can be an important way to help you weather unpredictable times and set yourself up for success. A diversified strategy should include non-testing-based sources, like paid search and organic traffic. At EAB, we also help our business school partners diversify their lead gen through Appily Advance, an approach that connects you with high-intent leads for your program.
Appily Advance for Adult and Graduate Business Programs
Appily Advance connects graduate and adult-serving business programs with high-intent leads to help them drive enrollment. Visit eab.com/appilyadvance to learn more.
The GMAT as we’ve known it isn’t going away quite yet – GMAC is planning to run both the traditional and Focus Edition versions of the test until early 2024, when the original GMAT will be phased out. And there are sure to be even more updates as students begin to take the Focus Edition this August. Our team will continue to track test-taker behavior, and we look forward to sharing even more findings with you.
Ready to find out more?
Watch our webinar to learn more about how Appily Advance can help you source high-intent leads for your graduate business program.