I am happy to announce that GMAC, the maker of the GMAT, is now offering the GMAT Online exam. With the threat of COVID-19 continuing, the GMAT Online is an interim solution, proctored remotely, and intended to help you complete your GMAT in time to meet business school deadlines. Currently, for the online option, GMAT exam date availability is only from April 20, 2020 to July 17, 2020.
GMAT Online does have many differences from the regular exam, and some of those differences may pose significant obstacles. In this article, I outline for you the GMAT Online's requirements and testing experience.
The exam includes Quantitative, Verbal and Integrated Reasoning sections. The Analytical Writing Assessment is omitted. Each section contain the same number of questions and time per section as the current in-person GMAT exam.
Unlike the regular exam, the GMAT Online section order cannot be changed. The fixed order is:
31 Quantitative questions / 62 minutes
36 Verbal questions / 65 minutes
One optional 5-minute break here
12 Integrated Reasoning questions / 30 minutes
GMAT Online will use the same scoring algorithm and score scale for the Section Scores and Total Score as the test center-based version. However, there are some siignificant limitations to the online version.
One major difference between the regular exam and the GMAT Online option: You will not see the score at the end of the test. Instead, GMAC says, you will receive the score via email within one week; however, early reports are that the score processing is taking longer than a week.
In addition, score cancellations will NOT be available. Enhanced Score Reports are also not available.
Perhaps recognizing that these limitations will surely contribute to the stress levels of an already stressed test-taker stuck inside during a global pandemic, GMAC promises that the GMAT Online scores will not count towards your 12-month and lifetime GMAT limits. In fact, according to GMAT, the GMAT Online score will not appear on your record when testing is returned to the testing centers. However, should you need it, the GMAT Online score will be still be good for five years.
GMAC is emphasizing that this testing option is a temporary measure.
To summarize: If you are taking the GMAT Online this summer, make your one attempt count. You won't get a do-over.
Although the appointment dates are limited, on purpose, appointment times are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can schedule an exam appointment up to 24 hours before an available testing window. At this time, we do not know how many testing slots the test provider, Pearson, will be offering, or how heavy the demand might be.
GMAT Online is available in most locations, including the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Proctoring is in English.
When you take the GMAT Online, you must be in a private area, with no other people present, just as you would be in a testing center. In addition, the test provider has several requirements put into place for the express purpose of preventing cheating.
You are now allowed to use a physical whiteboard for calculations and test-taking, which we recommend over the online whiteboard that is provided as part of the exam. You will need to show the front and back of the whiteboard to the proctor, and erase everything at the end of the exam.
The online whiteboard has significant limitations: "If you have a touchscreen laptop, you may not use a stylus, your finger, or other writing apparatus to write on the whiteboard. The online whiteboard cannot be used with a connected writing tablet or pad, nor can you use dual monitors for taking the exam and accessing the whiteboard.” Be sure try out the practice whiteboard provided by GMAC in advance.
• Your desktop must be clean. No books, notepads, sticky notes, papers, pens, pencils, and other permanent writing instruments are allowed.
• No pictures or photographs are allowed. Items hung on the wall with writing on them will be inspected by the online proctor.
• Eating, smoking, and chewing gum are prohibited.
• You may only drink water, and only from a clear glass, during testing.
• Wallets, purses, bags, or coats are not allowed.
• Hats or other head coverings are not allowed, because they might obscure facial recognition or disguise listening devices.
You may not have access to cell phone, pager, headphones or headsets (wired or bluetooth), or other electronic devices. Watches are not allowed.
The test may only be taken using one monitor. Turn off and unplug any additional monitors and computers in the room.
As part of your GMAT preparation, make sure that you have the right equipment to take the test.
• Computers or laptops are preferred. Tablets must be equipped with physical keyboard and meet the operating system requirements. Touchscreens are not allowed.
• The system must have a web camera (internal or external) and audio and microphone. This is to allow the online proctor to see and speak to you. Again, headphones and headsets are not allowed.
• Allowed Operating Systems: Windows 10, Windows 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit), or Mac OS 10.13 and above (excluding beta versions)
• Allowed Browsers: Newest versions of Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, or Internet Explorer 11
• Required Connection Speed: 1 Mbps down/up is required. Using a wired connection, not wireless, is recommended. Tethering to a mobile hotspot is prohibited.
You're ready to take the GMAT, but first go through this final checklist to ensure that test-taking goes smoothly for you.
• Download OnVUE software at least a day in advance, and perform a system check.
• Be sure to have the laptop or computer plugged in during testing. The test-taker will not be allowed to move out of view of the camera (except for the five-minute break), even to plug in the computer.
• Except for the test-taking software, applications must be shut off on your computer. The proctor will check that no other applications are running on your workstation before launching the exam.
• Enable Internet cookies.
• Disable any pop-up blocking settings.
You will have a headshot taken via web camera, and you will also be asked to hold up a photo ID. The headshot and photo ID will be compared with Artificial Intelligence. (Smile for the camera! Not only is this picture comparison used as a security measure, but the photo is also sent to the schools.)
You must take photos of the work space before beginning the exam (typically taken and sent with a cell phone via the link texted to you by the proctor). In addition, you will be asked to move the web camera to allow the online proctor to view the entire testing area (360 degrees).
You will be live-monitored via webcam and microphone by a human proctor, supported by Artificial Intelligence. The session will also be recorded.
You will not be allowed to leave the room during the exam, except for the one five-minute break. If you leave at any other time, the proctor will end the test.
During the five-minute break, you may not access any electronic devices, including cell phones or smart devices. (This is also true at the test centers; save the texting until after the exam.) If you take longer than five minutes, your time on the Integrated Reasoning section will be reduced accordingly.
During exam registration, you can select up to five programs to send your score to; selections can be changed up to 24 hours before the exam appointment time. You do not have to select any schools.
7 Days Later: You can select additional programs after receiving the official score via email. You may use Additional Score Reports, and the fee will be waived by GMAC. If you did better than expected, be sure to send your GMAT score to your "stretch" schools.
Taking the GMAT is an important step towards a more enriching career for yourself in the future. Taking the GMAT during a global pandemic is, even more importantly, a reminder that you still have goals and plans, and nothing can stop you.
DId I ever imagine that I would describe the GMAT as a symbol of self-empowerment? No, but these are strange times.
After you take the GMAT Online, and as you wait for the score, I hope that you take some time to relax, reflect, and reach out to others (not literally, of course, but virtually). Stay safe, and be well.
Austin GMAT Review is the premier GMAT preparation company in Central Texas, offering structured GMAT courses to professionals preparing to enter full-time MBA or executive MBA programs. Austin GMAT Review caters to busy professionals who don't have the time to sort through masses of generic study materials. Meeting with an experienced professor during online GMAT classes - live from Austin, Texas - students receive the personalized coaching that they need and strategies to excel on the GMAT. When you're ready to apply to business school, Austin GMAT Review can help you successfully get through the admissions process.