In another six months the structure of the GMAT exam will change, with the new integrative reasoning section replacing one of the two essay questions. An article published in The Financial Times claims that the change will increase the required preparation time for test-takers by 30-40 hours!
The new section will be incorporated in the June 2012 test and will include 4 new types of questions. According to Andrew Mitchell of Kaplan, this may require applicants to prepare a lot longer in order to achieve high scores. A GMAC study reveals that candidates today prepare for the GMAT for 100 hours on average, and Mitchell claims the number will increase to 130-140 due to the change. He therefore advises MBA candidates not to wait to the last minute.
It is important to note that the GRE exam is becoming more and more popular as an alternative to the GMAT. According to a Kaplan survey of 250 business schools, over 50% accept the GRE in addition to the GMAT, while the number of candidates who apply with GRE scores is still relatively low.