Feb 23 2016

Select Section Order Pilot Program

GMAC's Select Section Order Golden TicketThe GMAC’s select section order pilot begins today! This special program, by invitation only, allows a very select few repeat GMAT takers to choose the order of their exam sections. This pilot program will provide the GMAC with data to assess whether to roll the select section order option out to all test takers. Program participants must take the GMAT from February 23 to March 16.

Participants will receive valid GMAT scores, and score reports will not indicate that they participated in this special select section order program. This is akin to receiving a golden ticket from the GMAC. You get to tackle the mentally draining Quant and Verbal sections before working on the AWA and IR sections that do not count towards the main 200 to 800 score. As a result, we estimate an overall score improvement of 30 to 40 points, consistent with what we observe when students take a practice exam without doing the AWA and IR sections.

How Select Section Order Works

If you are participant in the pilot program, you register for the GMAT using a special link that is sent to you. You will have the opportunity to select from one of four possible section orders that differ from the normal order of AWA, IR, Quant, Verbal:

  1. Quant, Verbal, IR, AWA
  2. Quant, Verbal, AWA, IR
  3. Verbal, Quant, IR, AWA
  4. AWA, IR, Verbal, Quant

What Order to Choose

We highly recommend taking selecting option 1 (Quant, Verbal, IR, AWA) or option 3 (Verbal, Quant, IR, AWA). Since it is by far the easiest section of the GMAT, save AWA for last, at which point mental fatigue is likely to set in.

Start with either Quant or Verbal, depending on which section mental fatigue is most likely to be a factor. Start with the section on which you are most likely to make careless errors. This will typically, but not necessarily, be the section you are weaker on. By tackling this section first while you are still fresh, the number of careless mistakes is likely to decline.

Should You Participate in the Program

Absolutely! Some other test preparation companies have proposed two nonsensical reasons to avoid participating in the select section order program.

  1. Since existing practice exams do not have the select section order option, you cannot practice with a different order. Our response: so what? We are confident that you are adaptable enough to take the test sections in a more advantageous order than with what you can practice.
  2. You should allow for a warm-up period. Our response: one hour spent on AWA and Integrated Reasoning hardly qualifies as a “warm-up” period. Rather, the vast majority of GMAT aspirants will expend valuable energy and focus on the two sections of the exam that do not count towards your primary overall score. If you really want a “warm up” period, before entering the test center, practice with a very small handful of Official Guide questions that you have previously done. Be sure not to bring any practice materials into the test center.

Other than not receiving an invitation, there are only two valid reasons not to participate: 1) you do not plan to retake the GMAT or 2) you will not be adequately prepared to retake the GMAT in the program’s timeframe. After all, why pass up the opportunity to boost your GMAT score?

Some of GMAT Genius’ clients have been invited to participate in the select section order pilot. We’ll share the results after the pilot program concludes. In the mean time, here are the official GMAC FAQs on the program.

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  1. Select Section Order on the GMAT - GMAT Genius

    […] GMAC ran a pilot program for Select Section Order in February-March 2016. The pilot program allowed the GMAC to collect […]

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