Hey, future MBAs! Did you know that students taking the GMAT exam can choose the order in which they complete the four sections of the GMAT? This GMAT exam feature, called Select Section Order, made its debut in July 2017. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

GMAT section order

How GMAT Section Order Selection Works

On test day, GMAT test-takers will choose their preferred section order from three options:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original order)
  2. Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
  3. Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment

The three options will be presented on your GMAT computer screen immediately before you start the exam. You’ll have two minutes to make a selection. 

Benefits for GMAT Test-Takers

GMAC says its goal was to improve the overall test-taking experience. Here's how choosing your GMAT section order can benefit you. 

1. It can help decrease anxiety.

Students now have the option to get their “worst” section out of the way first or to start with a strength—whichever approach will help them feel more confident on test day.

2. It can help with test-taking fatigue.

In the original section order, students completed an hour’s worth of GMAT testing before they even got to the Quantitative and Verbal sections, which are most important to schools. Integrated Reasoning, in particular, can be an exhausting section for some students. You might prefer to prioritize the Quantitative and Verbal sections, which contribute to your overall GMAT score, while you are fresh.

What GMAT section order should I choose?

This decision is completely up to you! Reflect on your GMAT strengths and weaknesses, and choose the option that will make you feel most self-assured on test day. The bottom line is that pacing within sections will still be key to GMAT success, no matter which section order you choose.

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