But Arefeen Shamsuzzoha, who took the GMAT on June 6, says the new test is very difficult. While Shamsuzzoha, a graduate student at the College of Engineering at the University of Alabama, was aware that the test was changing, he mostly focused on studying for the quantitative and verbal sections, which he heard were weighed more heavily by graduate admissions officials than the new section.
"While I see the merit in the testing method used for the new integrated reasoning section, I felt it was trying to test too much too fast," he says. "The section's format veered too significantly from what has traditionally been used for the quantitative and verbal sections."
The new section also was accompanied by an unrealistic time limit, Shamsuzzoha says. "I feel the GMAT's designers allotted too little time for the type of advanced and integrated reasoning they sought to test," he says.
[Read six tips for GMAT success.]
Shields, the recent test taker based in Texas, says only one thing caught him by surprise after carefully studying GMAT for Dummies and the most recent GMAT guides from Princeton Review and Pearson.
"There were no surprises at all," he says. "Well, maybe the length of time that it takes to check in. Wow, they are not kidding about, 'Get there 30 minutes early, if not earlier.'"
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