Good news for GMAT online test takers. After nearly two months of announcing the Online GMAT, which did not permit the use of a pen and a physical whiteboard and came with an online whiteboard instead, the GMAC has finally heard the pleas of students. In effect from June 11, students will now be permitted to use both – the Online Whiteboard as well as a physical whiteboard during the online test.

Some Specifications for the Physical Whiteboard

Vineet Chhabra, senior director and head of GMAT product at GMAC, said that while the GMAC has considered the use of a physical whiteboard to help the home test-takers be their best on the exam day, it does come with some specific requirements.  Since students will be able to use a physical whiteboard, an online whiteboard or both for taking notes and solving questions, it is best that they decide what will work best for them and strategize accordingly during prep.

Physical Whiteboard

Starting from June 11, if you are planning to use a physical whiteboard during the exam, here are some of the requirements/specifications that must be taken care of –

  • An erasable whiteboard no larger than 12 inches x 20 inches (30 centimetres x 43 centimetres)
  • 1 dry-erase marker
  • 1 dry marker eraser


What is NOT allowed during the Online GMAT?

These are some examples of things that are prohibited during the online test –

  • Paper
  • Pen / Pencil
  • Permanent Marker
  • Tissues, Paper Towels, Napkins
  • Whiteboard Spray
  • Paper in a clear slide
  • Boogie Boards
  • Chalkboards
  • Writing table

*This is not a comprehensive list.

Online Whiteboard

Students will also have access to an Online Whiteboard throughout the GMAT Online exam. You can open and close it using the whiteboard icon in the exam navigation bar on the top of your screen. The Online whiteboard can be zoomed in and out infinitely, so students can make good use of it for taking notes, solving Verbal questions, and more.

NOTE: The same will be permitted for the Executive Assessment Online as well. Considering the global situation due to the ongoing pandemic, GMAC has also decided to extend the availability of the online GMAT from June 15th to July 17th.

Must Read: How does the Online GMAT Whiteboard Work?

Change Came After Many Test-Takers Voiced Their Concerns Over the Online test

The prohibition on the physical whiteboard to take notes and do calculations didn’t go well with the online test-takers. While Verbal questions could still be solved using the online whiteboard, the biggest discomfort was faced in solving the Quant questions. While students practised solving equations on pen and paper during prep, the sudden transition to an online whiteboard was discouraging. Some students even went on to consider giving the Online GRE, as it permitted the use of a pen and board. On the other hand, some other students who faced tight deadlines feared that the online whiteboard could impact their scores and hence, resorted to travelling hundreds of miles to take the test in an open test centre.

Also read: Interim GMAT – What has changed?

Initial Reactions from Test-takers and Experts

The initial and immediate reaction to the news is positive, both from test-takers as well as test prep experts. This announcement resulted in experts advising students to postpone or practice for at least 20 hours on a whiteboard simulator. Whereas now, as the GMAC allows the physical whiteboard, students are ecstatic.

What does this mean for students?

The main thing holding students back from the interim GMAT was the lack of a pen, paper, or physical whiteboard. The GMAC will continue to waive rescheduling and cancellation fees for both Online and test centre-based exams. Test-takers who have already given the Online GMAT without the physical whiteboard can also retake the online GMAT.

Considering GMAC’s recent updates, we will be sharing a detailed article on taking the physical or the online GMAT. Stay tuned!

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