Should I take the Online GMAT Exam?

Should you take the GMAT Online?

A flawed exam but an easy choice

The rules for online GMAT have changed so this article is a lot less relevant. Here’s an updated discussion on whether you should take a GMAT Online or In person.

Let’s make this quick. Yes, if your goal is best GMAT score possible then I would suggest taking the GMAT Online Exam. In fact, I’d recommend taking it twice (or three times if you took it before the introduction of the physical white board).

Yes you might be a little disadvantaged by the online whiteboard. Yes, you could have tech issues (I haven’t but plenty of people have). Yes, no break between quant and verbal is a challenge. Still, if nothing else it’s an excellent practice test. And, again, if the goal is best GMAT score possible (not necessarily on the online GMAT but potentially on a future one in person) then even given the potentially frustration inducing characteristics of the exam, the online GMAT it is still worth taking. We’ll go into more detail on the major pros and cons below.

NEW GMAT Online News:

-Online GMAT has been extended to December 31st

A physical whiteboard is allowed starting June 11th.

-If you take or have taken GMAT online June 10th or before you can RETAKE June 11th and beyond. Yep, if you meet those criteria, you can take GMAT Online twice. Otherwise you can only take it once.

-You can now take the online GMAT twice with the physical whiteboard and potentially three times if you also took it with the online whiteboard. We don’t have details on this yet but looks like retaking will be available come late September.

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 Physical whiteboard now allowed.
-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 but Tom had tech issues and so have some of our students.)
-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 (somewhat irrelevant because you can use a physical whiteboard)

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 while it’s available (until December 31st). There are no significant drawbacks. At worst it’s a practice test. At best you knock it out and get your dream score from the comfort of your home.

Also, even if you can take in an in person GMAT you could use the online option as a quick retake if you have a bad day or just want to see high how you can go (since there’s no waiting period between online and in person GMAT). Comment with any questions!