Many of us were waiting for GMAC to share more details on the online GMAT test and finally they came out with the details on April 16th. In this post, we are sharing a detailed analysis of what has changed in the Online GMAT format and the pros & cons of it. Remember the information provided in the post is our analysis of the information posted on the official GMAT website. 

Online GMAT

WHAT HAS CHANGED IN THE ONLINE GMAT?

  1. The section order is fixed. Everyone must start with Quant followed by Verbal and ending with Integrated Reasoning
  2. There is no Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) in the online format
  3. There is only one break which can only be taken between Verbal and IR section.
  4. You cannot use a pen and paper of any sort. However, you can use an online whiteboard, a physical whiteboard, or both. While for using the physical whiteboard students have to abide by certain specifications, the online whiteboard can be accessed by clicking on the whiteboard symbol on the exam navigation tab on the top of the screen. You can check out and practice on the online whiteboard here: https://learn.gmatwhiz.com/whiteboard/index.html
  5. You won’t get to know the scores right after the test has ended. It will be shared with you over an email in 7 days.
  6. The online test can only be taken once unless you face a technical challenge because of which it is re-scheduled. GMAC has waived off any reschedule or cancellation fees for both online as well as test-center based GMAT exam for the time being.
  7. You cannot cancel your online GMAT score but you can choose not to send this score to universities because they allow you to modify the school names after you receive the score.
  8. The fee of the online GMAT has been kept at $200.
  9. Online GMAT is not available in some countries – China, Iran, North Korea, Slovenia, Sudan and Cuba.

WHAT HASN’T CHANGED?

  1. The number of questions, time allotted, algorithm, and difficulty level of questions remain the same. So, there is no extra preparation needed.
  2. Your online GMAT attempt won’t be counted towards the quota of 5 GMAT attempts every year and 8 in a lifetime. So, even if you take the online test, you can still take the GMAT in the conventional mode up to 5 times in the same year.
  3. It will be a proctored test. You’ll monitored by a person and AI through your computer’s camera.

SECURITY PROTOCOL FOR ONLINE GMAT

  1. You’re required to share pictures of the workspace from where you intend to take GMAT during the process of registration
  2. At the beginning of the test, the proctor will check out the complete workspace using the computer’s camera
  3. You’re not allowed to have anything other than your system and physical whitebaord during the test. You can keep a clear glass of water.
  4. It is recommended to have a consistent internet connection, if possible a wired one. Try to keep your Wi-Fi connected to a UPS as the proctor won’t like you to be off the camera except for a break.
  5. The proctor can cancel the score/test if he/she finds anything suspicious.

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CON OF THE ONLINE GMAT?

Many students were waiting for the online format but previously they were not allowing any pen/paper/whiteboard to be used. They were only allowing online whiteboard which was very inconvenient, especially while solving Quant questions. Imagine solving equation by typing them on the whiteboard using your keyboard or by drawing them using the mouse.

Not really easy for most people unless you’ve the habit of solving Quant questions orally, a skill which very few people possess. Considering that they haven’t changed the time provided, accommodating for the time lost on using online whiteboard is going to be a challenge. However, effective from June 11, the GMAC is allowing the use of a physical whiteboard during the exam, so students taking the Online GMAT can finally take a sigh of relief. If you have already taken the Online GMAT, you will be permitted to give it again.

SHOULD YOU WRITE THE ONLINE GMAT?

We’ll soon be sharing a detailed article on whether students should take the Online GMAT or should wait for the physical test-centers in their area to reopen. However,

  1. If you have a deadline approaching and the school hasn’t waived off the GMAT requirement, then you have no choice but to take the GMAT.
  2. If you have prepared for quite some time and had originally planned to write the test around this time of the year, then you can take the test if you don’t mind spending $200 and take a chance.
  3. If you have already prepared and you have an important project at work coming up or some other commitments that will keep you occupied for another 2-3 months, then you should take a shot at online GMAT.

So, all-in-all, if you’re in one of the situations mentioned above, you should consider taking a shot at online GMAT. The good thing is this attempt is not going to be counted against the overall quota, so you’re good there.

The above are a mix of some of the facts which I found relevant from the GMAC website and my own analysis of the situation. Please make sure that you go through the details on the official website to get answers to your questions: https://start.mba.com/gmat-alt