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How to Choose Your Section Order on the GMAT

If this is the question in your mind, I am sure that you have already started your GMAT Prep. I hope, as a part of your GMAT Exam Prep you have taken a diagnostic test and know your strengths and weaknesses because that is very important for deciding about which section order you would like to go for. Anyway, for this article to make sense to GMAT aspirants at large, let me discuss one by one the various aspects relating to choosing the right section order.

Know the section orders available to you

Remember that there are only three choices available to you.

Order #1 Order #2 Order #3
Analytical Writing Assessment Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning
Integrated Reasoning

Optional 8-minute Break

Quantitative Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning Verbal Reasoning

Optional 8-minute Break

Verbal Reasoning Integrated Reasoning Integrated Reasoning
Analytical Writing Assessment Analytical Writing Assessment

Know the consequence of not choosing a section order

You get only two minutes to select your preferred section order. If you do not select your preferred section order within two minutes, order #1 will take effect as the default section order.

Importance of selecting a section order of your choice

The Select Your Section Order facility gives you better control and flexibility in taking the GMAT exam based on your strengths and weaknesses and your psychological preference. In all probability choosing the section order will impact your performance on the GMAT exam. It should, therefore, be part of your test-taking strategy. It should, consequently, be a part of your GMAT Prep.

When to decide regarding the section order

You will choose the section order before beginning your GMAT exam, but that is not the time you decide which section order to go for. You must know before your GMAT appointment which section order works best for you. Your GMAT Exam Prep must provide for a sufficient number of full-length tests so that you can try out different section orders to figure out which section order works best for you. You must know for certain well before you go to take the GMAT Exam which section order you will go for.

How to choose your section order

You must take into account the following to choose your preferred section order.

  1. Do you need to warm up to perform at your best?
  2. Does taking the IR and AWA sections tire you out?
  3. Do you prefer to take the easier sections first and preserve your energy to handle the toughest section later?
  4. Do you prefer to take the toughest section first with all your energy and get it out of your way so that you are less stressed when you attempt the easier sections later?

The full-length practice tests you take during your GMAT Exam Prep will help you get answers to the above questions.

If the IR and AWA sections do not tire you and you need to warm up before you perform at your best, section order #1 is for you: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.

If you prefer to take the easier sections first and preserve your energy to handle the toughest section later or you prefer to take the toughest section first with all your energy and get it out of your way so that you are less stressed when you attempt the easier sections later, you should choose either section order #2 or section order #3.

 

The Last Words

All this may appear to be very simple, but it is not as simple as it may appear to be because it is not just a matter of your preference. You have to find out which section order is helping you to maximize your score. There lies the importance of GMAT Prep. Take a few full-length adaptive GMAT practice tests using different section orders to find out which section order works best for you and be ready with your preferred section order before your GMAT appointment. Wish you all the best with your GMAT Exam Prep.

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