GMAT Online is Here to Stay: What You Need to Know
We are updating this post as more information becomes available. Check back for updates!
Can you take the GMAT online? For a long time, the answer was no. But in 2020, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), the makers of the GMAT, announced that they have launched an online version of the GMAT. While this was initially put forth as a temporary measure to address the pandemic, the GMAT at-home test is now a permanent fixture. Here’s what you need to know!
Table of Contents
- GMAT Online Going Permanent and Other 2021 Changes
- GMAT Online vs. GMAT in Test Center (Infographic)
- How does the GMAT online work?
- Other GMAT Online FAQs
GMAT Online Will Be a Permanent Option: 2021 Changes
Here’s what you need to know about the online GMAT going permanent, as well as all the 2021 changes that GMAC (the test-maker) is rolling out.
Basically, the online GMAT was such a success in 2020 that the GMAC has made it permanent. Now, even though in-person test centers are opening back up, test-takers will still have the option of taking the exam online.
This is great news, particularly if you live far from a test center—who needs travel stress on top of test stress? Now, you’ll have much more flexibility. Here’s what you can expect from the GMAT exam online for appointments on April 28, 2021, and onward.
- AWA is Back
Yay…? In all seriousness, this is good news. Previously, the online GMAT didn’t have the option to take the essay section (a.k.a. the AWA). Now, you’ll have the chance to share your written skills with business school adcoms, so this is good news after all.
- Choose Your Section Order
Just like in the test center, at-home test-takers will now be able to choose their exam section order. This is a great way to make your test experience more comfortable and personalized. Your options are:
- Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal
- Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
- Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
- Two Optional 8-Minute Breaks
Instead of the previous single, five-minute break, the online exam now gives you two eight-minute breaks. If you just want to power through, though, don’t worry—they’re both optional.
- See Your Unofficial Score Right Away
This is a major bonus to the 2021 online exam. Now, just like in the test center, you’ll be able to get your unofficial scores (that is, your sectional and composite multiple-choice scores, including Verbal, Quant, and IR), as well as your percentiles immediately.
- If you’re looking to take this enhanced GMAT at-home test, registration opens on February 17, 2021 for appointments on April 8th and later. If you want to take test in its current format, make sure your test date lands before April 8th!
GMAT Online vs. GMAT in Test Center TL;DR
- Cost: The online exam registration costs less than in-person registration ($250 vs. $275 USD).
- AWA: There will be an AWA section for exams taken on or after April 8, 2021.
- Sections and Timing: There will be the same amount of Quant, Verbal, and IR questions and time available.
- Retakes: You may take the online GMAT exam twice.
- Test Limits: Your online GMAT will count towards your limit of 8 lifetime GMAT tests, and your 12-month limit.
- Whiteboard Options: An online whiteboard is available, or you can use your own physical whiteboard, dry erase marker, and an eraser.
How does the GMAT online work?
Where can I take the at-home GMAT?
GMAC has released the online GMAT to any students who prefer this at-home option, with some regional exceptions. The exceptions are Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and mainland China due to IP and/or regulatory restrictions. With 242,714 GMAT test-takers in 2018, 29.5% of would-be test-takers are ineligible. It’s also important to note that the GMAT online exam is only available in English with English-speaking proctors for the time being.
The online GMAT exam has been available for registration since April 14, 2020, with test slots open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To register for the GMAT Online exam, visit the MBA.com site.
GMAT Online Pricing, Rescheduling, and Cancellation Fees
The online GMAT test costs $250 USD*.
If you’re not able to make your original test date, you can either change your GMAT test date or cancel. However, appointment rescheduling and exam cancellation fees are now reinstated (they were temporarily waived up until September 23rd):
- Appointment rescheduling fee 60+ days in advance: $50
- Appointment rescheduling fee 15-60 days in advance: $100
- Appointment rescheduling fee 14 or fewer days in advance: $150
- Appointment cancellation fee 60+ days in advance: $150
- Appointment cancellation fee 15-60 days in advance: $175
- Appointment cancellation fee 14 or fewer days in advance: $200
*Includes GST for test-takers in India.
The test will still have the Quant, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning sections (and, as of April, it will also have the AWA!), with the same amount of questions and time available as the in-person exam. That is, after April 2021, there will still be:
- 62 minutes for 31 Math (Quant) questions
- 65 minutes for 35 Verbal questions
- 30 minutes for 12 IR questions
- 30 minutes for the AWA
The online test is expected to take approximately 3.5 hours, with 3 hours and 7 minutes of online test-taking time, not including breaks. Test-takers will receive 15 minutes to check into the online Pearson VUE proctored system and have two optional 8-minute breaks. Just like the in-person exam, interacting with the test proctor via Live Chat will not pause the clock ticking down.
Regarding check-in protocols, the GMAC has said, “The check-in and security protocols will be modified to accommodate online delivery and remote proctors will be used to manage test integrity.”
GMAT test-takers will have to pass a room scan in order to continue to the exam. You’ll have to take photos and videos of your desk area for a proctor’s review, ensuring that there are no pens, papers, books, in reach. Check out MBA.com’s article for specific info on prepping your test-taking environment.
After you’ve completed your online GMAT exam, you’ll get your unofficial GMAT score report immediately (as of April), then receive your official score report within 7 days. Any schools you’ve selected to receive your scores will receive these also. However, the interim GMAT will allow test-takers to send their scores to additional schools for at no cost, where it usually costs $35 for each additional school.
- Tip: Take the online GMAT, and if you’re happy with the score you received, send your score to desired schools for free!
Other GMAT Online FAQs
What are the GMAT Online whiteboard options?
GMAC now allows test-takers to use either a physical whiteboard or online whiteboard for their GMAT online test.
You won’t be able to use just any whiteboard for the online GMAT exam; anything that connects to the internet, like touchscreen tablets or additional laptops, are definitely prohibited. Here are the physical whiteboard requirements:
|1 dry erase whiteboard, maximum size 12 in x 20 in (30 cm x 50 cm)||Paper and pencil|
|1 dry erase marker||Permanent, non-erasable marker|
|1 dry marker eraser||Tissues, paper towels, or napkins for erasing|
|Paper in a sheet protector (clear slide)|
*These are some of their examples of prohibited items, not a comprehensive list.
As for the online whiteboard option, MBA.com has released a version of the digital whiteboard for you to practice with. The whiteboard includes the following tools: a pen, eraser, shapes like rectangles, circles, free-form polygons, panning, color selection/eyedropper, undo/redo, zoom in and out. GMAC has clarified that the whiteboard can only be used with a mouse, no fingers, styluses, or writing pads will work.
Can you take the GMAT Online more than once?
If your GMAT online exam didn’t go as well as you hoped it would, or you just want to retake it for a higher score, then you are in luck! Students are now allowed one retake of the GMAT online test. That means you can take the GMAT Online up to two times in total.
GMAT Online exams also count towards your overall 12-month and GMAT attempt lifetime limits (for those who took the test early on, don’t worry, any online GMAT exams that were taken before September 23, 2020 are exempt from this rule). Like the in-person GMAT, students are allowed to take the GMAT no more than 5 times in a 12-month period, with a lifetime availability of 8 total GMAT exams.
Will accommodations be available for the online GMAT exam?
For students requesting accommodations, GMAC does offer accommodations for the online GMAT exam. Students may receive 50% to 100% more test-taking time depending on their accommodation.
What equipment do I need to take the exam at home?
Unlike the GRE’s approach to at-home testing, GMAT test-takers will be allowed to use either a Windows PC or a Mac. If you decide that you’ll take the home-based GMAT, make sure to check the system requirements and run the On VUE system test.
We’ll update you as we learn more, so keep an eye on this blog. In the meantime, if you’re still studying, you can use our GMAT prep product, which has been used by over 50,000 students.
You can also read the full announcement on the GMAC website.
Will you be taking the GMAT exam online? What are your thoughts on the digital whiteboard? Let us know in the comments below.
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