Update 9/23/2020: Beginning September 23rd, GMAT online exam can be taken twice. Also, GMAt Online has introduced a cancellation and reschedule fee.
Update 9/2/2020: Starting end of September’20, GMAT online can be retaken 2 times.
As you probably know, traditionally GMAT test needs to be taken physically in a GMAC authorized test center. However, to avoid disruption in the academic cycle and to support the MBA aspirants, GMAC responded admirably to the pandemic with an online (at-home) version of the GMAT test.
However, with the test centers resuming in all parts of the world, you have got a decision to make – Choose GMAT Online or In-center Exam?
As per the current understanding (August 2020), the GMAT online will only be offered till end of year 2020. If the pandemic continues, there is a possibility that the GMAT online format will be extended beyond the Dec 31, 2020 timeframe.
However, with the test centers resuming in all parts of the world, you have got a decision to make – Choose GMAT Online or In-center Exam? To help you decide between the GMAT in-center and the GMAT online exam, we have put together a list of differences along with advantages and disadvantages that GMAT online has over the in-center Exam.
We have made the comparisons based on the following parameters that impact you as an MBA aspirant. The differences that impact your:
- Acceptance of GMAT In-Center vs Online
- GMAT score directly
- Mind-set (hence your GMAT score indirectly)
- Other important differences
Acceptance of GMAT In-Center Test vs Online Test
From what we understand, GMAT Online is NOT accepted everywhere GMAT In-center is accepted. Hence it is upto the MBA aspirant to do the research and make sure that their GMAT Online score will be accepted to the university they are applying to. This is an important difference!
Your GMAT scores
|Number of sections
|Four (4): AWA, IR, Quant, Verbal
|Three (3): IR, Quant, Verbal
|Approx. 3h 7m
Excl. 30 min checkin
|Approx. 2h 37m
Excl. 15 min checkin
|Two optional 8-min breaks
|One optional 5-min break, before the IR section
|Exam Section Order
|Flexible, Three choices:
AWA → IR → Quant → Verbal.
Verbal → Quant → IR → AWA.
Quant → Verbal → IR → AWA.
Quant -> Verbal -> IR
|Physical whiteboard (max 12″x20″)
|Yes, before seeing the scores
|Immediately after your GMAT exam
|5-7 business days after your exam
Per GMAC, the section order doesn’t impact the test takers’ score much. However, we haven’t seen the data behind this take and in our opinion – intuitively, it feels like a big difference. The inflexibility in the section order, along with no break between quant and verbal sections is one of the biggest disadvantage of the online GMAT exam.
Your mindset (and indirectly your GMAT scores)
|Commute to a physical location.
|Comfort of your home.
|Provided to you.
|Your own. Run compatibility check. Possible compatibility issues. Possible internet issues.
|Required to wear a mask.
|Secluded space within home.
The at-home location is one of the biggest pro in favor of online gmat exam. The commute to the GMAT test center location is a long documented stress inducer. A lot can go wrong due to the commute and it also ads to the overall test time.
On the flip side, since you will be using your own equipment, you will need to run compatibility test multiple times on your system. If there is a problem with that or it takes longer, test takers have mentioned it can cause stress. Also, for online version, you need to make sure you have absolutely working internet otherwise you may face disruption.
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|$275 (in US, differs worldwide)
|Depends on location and advance notice.
|Depends on location and advance notice.
|You can send your scores to 5 schools for free. Extra $35 for additional school. Any online attempts will not be reported with this.
|Infinite schools for free. Only online exam results will be reported.
The online GMAT exam is cheaper than the In-Center one. It also comes with an added benefit of score reporting to unlimited number of schools. This is a huge benefit, if you can prepare well and crack the exam, you end up saving a lot of money. For a successful test score, an MBA aspirant can save $150+ in score reporting.
scheduled up to 6 months in advance. Depending on center availability
|Five times in any 12 months, but no more than once in any 16-day period. There is also a lifetime limit.
|Update 9/2/2020: Starting end of September’20, GMAT online can be retaken 2 times.
You are not allowed. However, if you had issues, you may request a retake.