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GMAT Online Exam | Everything You Need To Know

You can register to take the GMAT Online Exam from home as the online test becomes a permanent alternative to the test center GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), owner and administrator of the GMAT, released the GMAT Online Exam, to help business school candidates complete their applications during the coronavirus pandemic.

You can register to take the GMAT at home, online, with around-the-clock testing appointments available through 2021. 

The test is available in impacted markets globally, excluding markets limited by regulatory restrictions: Mainland China, Iran, Cuba, Sudan, and North Korea.

First launched as a temporary solution, the GMAT Online Exam is now a permanent solution and comparable to the test center GMAT. 

The latest version of the GMAT Online Exam includes the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA).

How does the GMAT Online exam work?

The GMAT is the premier admission test for business schools, used as a quality indicator when measuring your suitability for an MBA or master's program.

Previously, you were only able to sit the GMAT exam in test centers. However, coronavirus (or COVID-19) forced the closure of GMAT test centers worldwide.

In this climate, business schools were forced to extend MBA application deadlines in 2020 and relax their admission requirements. The GMAT Online Exam meant candidates could continue to apply for business school in a disruptive time.

You can take GMAT Online Exam on both Mac and PC. Your computer must match GMAC's system requirements. The online GMAT has the same structure, number of items, and duration as the test center exam. It also uses the same scoring algorithm and score scale for the Section Scores and Total Score.

While you take the test from your home computer, you will be monitored by a human proctor through a live video feed to ensure you don’t cheat. You will need to have a camera on your computer and a strong internet connection.

The test will be hosted on mba.com, where you also register for the test.

How much does the GMAT Online exam cost?

The GMAT Online Exam costs $250 globally. 

GMAC recently increased the price from $200 to more closely align it with the test center GMAT. However, the test center GMAT is still more expensive in some locations, including the United States and Canada where it costs $275.

New version of the GMAT Online Exam


What’s the difference between the GMAT Online Exam and the test center GMAT?

Aside from the obvious difference that you can take the online GMAT at home, there is no longer any difference in content between the GMAT Online and the test center GMAT.

While it was missing from previous versions of the online GMAT, the AWA section is now included in the online test. 

This section, known as the ‘essay section’, consists of a 30-minute writing task. It requires that you analyze the reasoning behind a given argument and write a critique of that argument. It tests your ability to think critically and to communicate your ideas through an essay written in English.

The GMAT’s Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning sections are also the same.

The GMAT Online exam is proctored with Pearson VUE technology. Learn more about the GMAT Online testing experience:

Online GMAT Exam: Reaction

GMAC’s launch of its online GMAT test followed its rival, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), announcing its own at-home testing solution for the GRE. GMAC has also launched the Executive Assessment Online, an admission test for EMBA candidates.

The reaction to the online GMAT test is especially positive among admissions consultants, who help thousands of prospective MBA and master’s students successfully apply to business school each year.

Admissions expert, Barbara Coward, says the online test will help increase applications. “If you make a process easier for people, they will respond favorably. Candidates appreciate the flexibility and the opportunity to continue to move forward with their plans for business school.”

Piyush Ranjan, MBA and MiM admissions consultant, thinks the at-home version of the GMAT may even help reduce test-taking anxiety for candidates who struggle with the test center environment, and lead to higher test scores.

However, like with any new innovation online, there are questions over functionality and security. Mark Skoskiewicz, founder of MyGuru, says someone offered his GMAT prep company $10,000 to take the online exam for them—although the test’s security procedures make this difficult to pull off.

Because of these security measures, you initially could not take physical notes using pen and paper during the GMAT Online Exam and instead needed to use an online whiteboard provided onscreen. Test prep expert Travis Morgan's chief concern—that the calculations required for the GMAT’s quantitative section are too complex to do easily using an online notepad—matched that of some candidates. 

However, the GMAT Online Exam now includes a physical whiteboard option, available since June 2020, meaning you can take physical notes during your exam.

There are fears from candidates that business schools will view online GMAT test scores differently to the standard GMAT exam. Manhattan Prep GMAT tutor, Stacey Koprince, says candidates are asking her a lot of questions: “How’s it going to work? Do schools care if you take it at home? Is it easier? Is it secure?”

BusinessBecause spoke to business schools to find out how they view the GMAT Online Exam vs the test center GMAT.

GMAT Online Exam Tips

Note: The GMAT Online Exam now allows a physical whiteboard option.

Related content:

GMAT Online Exam | 13 Top Test Prep Tips  

Updates: GMAT Test Center Closures 

Updates: Coronavirus Impact on Business Schools 

Register for the GMAT Online Exam

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