GMAT Explanations

Official GMAT explanations tend to be clunky, confusing, afterthoughts of the GMAT universe and for the Official GMAT Practice Tests (1-6) there are no Official explanations. To help fill that gap we’ll be updating this page with Official GMAT practice test explanations. If there are any GMAT puzzles for which you’d like a solution go ahead and add it to the comments section and we’ll try to get to it faster. Happy studies!

Running out of time with GMAT Classic (switching to GMAT Focus)

You started your GMAT preparation in 2023 (or before) and although GMAT focus chatter had started, there was plenty of time remaining to achieve your target score on the old GMAT classic.

But GMAT preparation tends to take longer than planned.

Not necessarily because of a lack of effort. But most people aren’t only managing GMAT studying. And those other parts of your life, mainly your job, can get in the way of a quality preparation.

You can do everything right but still take longer than expected

Also, maybe you did everything right but you just had a long road ahead of you. If you were aiming for 200 points that can simply take a long time to achieve. Even a stubborn 50 points can take half a year.

All of that said, you may not get to the finish line with your GMAT score in hand by January 31st, when GMAT classic is put out to pasture.

GMAT Focus is AOK

The good news is: you have a very decent option. GMAT Focus!

I have a couple of tutoring students in this position and they have expressed concern. My message to them and to you is: everything is OK. The new test is (not surprisingly) very similar to the old test. Yes, sentence correction is gone. Those hours becoming a modifier assassin are lost (at least in terms of GMAT). If you love geometry. Yes, you’re out of luck. But, everything else is pretty much the same.

There is integrated reasoning. But IR has been around forever and the vast majority of our tutoring students don’t study for it specifically and have generally achieved solid scores. I am not saying don’t practice IR for GMAT focus. At this point, because it factors in to the composite score, it is 100% worth studying. That said, you don’t have to learn anything new but just practice the format.

Plan based on your goals not on GMAT Classic vs GMAT Focus

The main point: don’t stress about the test changing. It has changed before and everything was fine.

If you need more time to study then take that time. Your clock doesn’t have to run out with the end of GMAT classic. You can excel on the new test as well.

Good luck with your preparation. Happy studies!



You’ve been doing great on practice tests with some scores in the high 700s flirting with the 99th percentile. Yes, the GMAT is still feeling a bit stressful and there are some area for improvement but: things are looking good.

Test day comes and…


It’s a stellar score. Most of reddit GMAT would be tripping over themselves to hit even a 700 and here you are hovering 20 points above that.

But, let’s face it. It’s lower than the average of your latest practice tests, it’s lower than the median at your top schools, your quant percentile is in the dumps, and it doesn’t quite sparkle like a 760.

I’m not here to say that all 720s are retakes. I got a 720 on my first official GMAT and I didn’t retake except for much later when I started tutoring full time and creating the Atlantic curriculum. Heck, a 690 could be just the ticket for you. But, given that you’ve hit a 720 and there does appear to be room for improvement, it is worth giving a retake (or multiple) some serious thought.

You’re probably tired of studying. You may not know where to begin on the retake plan. Those missed happy hours may be starting to weigh on you. Pull it together! You will be done with the GMAT forever in a few short months. Let’s give this moment your best shot. If it looks like there’s still meaningful room to improve then why not? There could be some good reasons why not. But do ask yourself the question.

A 720 probably won’t close any doors and may even open some. You can get into any MBA program on the planet with that score. You can earn scholarships with that score. But you know what’s better? 730. 740. 750. 760. Improving your score just makes all of the positive things more likely.

Again, maybe a retake isn’t right for you. Maybe you really need to focus on the rest of your application which at this point, given the great GMAT score, may have more importance. But, be honest with yourself. Because if you do have the time and bandwidth to put a little more effort into a GMAT retake you may put yourself in a more competitive position and, especially in an edge case, tip the scales in your favor. You also have that satisfying feeling that you did everything you could to open up the best opportunities possible.

You’ve put in a stellar effort so far. Finish strong!

There are a few things that may help with the retake:

  1. Get a solid timing strategy in place. This can really reduce score volatility.
  2. Even if you are GREAT at verbal try to get even better. This is something that we always push for in tutoring and can make a massive difference. A good way to do this is to use LSAT questions for verbal studying.
  3. If quant dropped on test day then consider doing a quant “super intensive” to help get performing better under pressure.

You may not need additional support but if you would like our take on your situation then you can also reach out with your GMAT history and we can suggest a tutoring plan for you to think about.

Feel free to comment with any questions!