Should I take the Online GMAT Exam?

Should I take the Online GMAT Exam? a flawed exam but an easy choice

Let's make this quick. Yes, if your goal is best GMAT score possible then I would suggest taking the GMAT Online Exam.

Yes it's flawed. Yes you might be a little disadvantaged by the online whiteboard. Yes you could have tech issues. Still, if nothing else it's still an excellent practice test. And again if the goal is best GMAT score possible (not necessarily on the online GMAT but a future one in person) then even given the frustration inducing characteristics of this Online GMAT it is still worth taking. We'll go into more detail on the major pros and cons below.

Pro Online GMAT

-Doesn't count against your yearly or lifetime GMAT limit
-Easy scheduling (24/7 7 days)
-Cheap rescheduling ($25)
-Less expensive registration ($200)
-Essentially the same test minus essay
-Free score reporting
-Although you can't cancel the score, MBA programs do not see the score unless you transmit it.
-There's no waiting period between online and in-person GMAT exams. So you can take an online test Monday and an in person on Tuesday,

Con Online GMAT

-Online whiteboard instead of plastic board with marker
-Can only be taken once (not 100% sure this is a con in that we would like in person testing to come back ASAP)
-Potential tech issues (my online GMAT experience and Matt's online GMAT experience were both easy.)
-Fixed section order: Quant -> Verbal -> Integrated Reasoning
-Very short break between Quant and Verbal. Just 2 minutes to read instructions. You cannot leave the testing area for a bathroom break until integrated reasoning.

GMAT Online Whiteboard: Not great but can work and there's a silver lining

I know that for many the online white board is a big sticking point and when I first learned about it I felt that it might be a clear deal breaker as well. That said, after having spent a bunch of hours solving tough GMAT quant with the online whiteboard I have to say that I didn't feel at all disadvantaged. I also think the whiteboard forces you to think in a more GMAT kind of way, avoiding brute force and focusing on setup.

The silver lining is that the discipline required by the online whiteboard could bring your GMAT quant up a notch.The only thing that slowed me down or stopped me in my tracks was not knowing what to do next and that had nothing to do with the clunkiness of the whiteboard.
Yes, sometimes the whiteboard felt a little claustrophobic. But that I think I could get used to with a little more practice.
Here's a more in depth GMAT Online Whiteboard Review with a bunch of analysis and best practices for using it.

GMAT Online Exam Recommendation

Our general recommendation is to take the online GMAT. With a little whiteboard practice you can do just as well as you would have with pad and marker and the work you put in to learn the tool will likely help your overall GMAT approach and benefit your in person testing once test centers reopen.

Even if you have a tough time with the whiteboard I'd still take the GMAT online if only as a practice test. Official practice tests are limited (you only have 6) so having an additional one is helpful. And who knows: you might just nail it.

It's also true that you may not end up with your dream GMAT score on the online exam. But that could have happened on an in person test as well. I know these are trying times and it's disorienting to be stuck in a bit of a GMAT limbo. Test centers are already opening up and some of our students have actually traveled to other states to take the GMAT. Soon you will be able to take the GMAT near you wherever you're located. That said, I'd take advantage of the at home/online GMAT option while it's available (ends June 15th).

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