In 2016 several of my students were offered the opportunity to take the GMAT in any order they wanted – i.e. they could opt to take the Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment sections first and arrange the other three sections as they saw fit. Sounded awesome at the time, but I never heard anything else about it… until now
Starting July 11th students will be about to select one of three formats
- Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original order);
- Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
- Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
So, not quite ANY order, but being able to get the Verbal and Quantitative sections out of the way before dealing with IR and the AWA seems like a good idea to me. According to GMAC the pilot program they ran in 2016 didn’t show any significant change in scores. Regardless, it makes sense to get the important (at least, more important) stuff out of the way first.
I’m planning to take the exam again in August and I’m thinking I’ll start with the verbal. Why?
- Quant is mostly about content knowledge and pattern recognition. On exam day you either know what you need to know and have solved enough problems or, you don’t know what you need to know and you haven’t solved enough problems. Starting with the quant, when you’re “fresh” isn’t going to compensate for not knowing you special right triangles.
- Verbal, on the other hand, is less about content knowledge (in fact, aside from sentence correction, no knowledge is assumed) and more about attention to detail. Don’t get me wrong – details are important in the quant as well, but small differences in answer choices make all the difference in the verbal section. In this case being “fresh” might have a positive effect on your score.