Is it Better to Take the GMAT Online or In-Person?

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During the pandemic, many of us have exhausted every resource for convenience. From groceries to testing, we have many options. Even a modest ray of optimism can cheer us up during these trying times. That’s precisely how we feel about GMAC’s plan to enable GMAT takers to take the exam from home. However, with test centers reopening in India and other parts of the world, you must pick between GMAT Online and GMAT In-Center Exam. Here’s a video with Sehar Khanna, a GMAC official, to assist you in selecting between the in-center and GMAT online exams.

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Before discussing the different options in detail, we need to make sure that you are prepared for this test. Please remember that you can’t just walk off the street and take the GMAT. There needs to be preparation and complete knowledge of this test’s structure, scoring system, and duration. Take time to prep for the GMAT and start dissecting these components in each section, 

So now that you are prepped, you are ready to make some decisions about how you will take the GMAT.

Which Format is Better?

We want to focus on the benefits and drawbacks of the GMAT online exam vs. the in-person exam. So let’s go old school with this one! Get out a pad and pencil, and let’s make two columns. At the top, write pros, and on the other side of the paper, write cons. 

Should you take the GMAT online rather than in person?

That is highly dependent on:

  1. Is there a lot of in-person testing in your area?
  2. Are you willing to test in person?
  3. Do you think you’d feel more at ease testing at home?
  4. Is it necessary for you to take two GMATs in less than 16 days?

Now the questions are dancing around in your head. It would be optimal to make sure the decision you make best fits your current circumstances.


Are the Content and Structure the Same?

It is good to know that both the exams have the same material and design. All of the test preparation was not in vain! Each portion of the GMAT in-person and online exams has the same number and types of items and the same time limit to finish the exam. You can choose the order of the tests for both the in-center and online exams from the three options listed below:

  1. AWA →IR → Quant →Verbal
  2. Verbal → Quant → IR →AWA
  3. Quant → Verbal → IR→ AWA

So now the following question is, is it true that the order in which you take the GMAT sections affects your score?

According to Sehar Khanna, the sequence in which you take the GMAT should have no bearing on your results because there is no evidence to back this up. “We ran a poll and found no significant change in the score due to section order,” she says. The vast majority of students worldwide follow the Quant -> Verbal -> IR section order. Hence GMAC took this into account for the GMAT online exam.”

What about Rescheduling, Registration, and Cancellations? 

The GMAT Online Exam used to be $50 ($75 in the US) less expensive than the in-person GMAT exam. The fee for the Online GMAT exam is now $250, and the payment for the in-center GMAT exam is now $250. Due to the Coronavirus epidemic, no rescheduling or cancellation fees were previously applied for in-center Exams. It is, however, currently functional. You will also be charged a rescheduling and cancellation fee if you take the GMAT Online exam.

The online and in-person GMAT will be almost comparable as of March 3rd, 2022. However, there are some distinctions to consider while deciding which test style to take:


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The GMAT Enhanced Score Report is a comprehensive study of your GMAT exam performance. Personal perspicuity will be provided to you based on the question type, focus area, and pacing, providing valuable information to help you better understand your performance and talk more authoritatively about your abilities.

You cannot now order an Enhanced Score Report (ESR) with an online exam. This may not change in the future. This is an essential element to consider before taking the GMAT for the first time. If you don’t meet your target score, getting data from the ESR is highly helpful, especially on the verbal half of the exam. This information will help you understand what went wrong on the exam and guide your following practice.

Scratch Paper

The “scratch paper” on the two test versions is different, but both work well. You’ll get five sheets of double-sided laminated graph paper and a fine-tip pen for the in-person exam (always ask for two from the proctor!). If you wish to prepare for your practice tests with an identical setup, you can purchase the same kit.

You’ll need an erasable whiteboard that fulfills these specifications for the online test. Don’t forget to bring two fine-tipped markers and an eraser. The online test includes an online whiteboard. However, it is inconvenient and should be avoided.

Technical Issues

If you take the online test at home, you’re more likely to encounter a technical problem than if you take it at a testing center. While test center errors are uncommon, online tests are frequently canceled at home due to a network or other technical issue. Make sure you have a good computer and solid internet connection and run a system test at this link ahead of time.

Action Plans

students studying

Now the work begins. Make a plan and stick to it. Start looking for the best test preparation apps that will work for you. Being that you have options, why not weigh them all!

If possible, plan your first exam in person at a test center so that you can order the ESR if necessary. It’s a fair idea to take one of each sort of exam because some people perform better in one than the other. Both formats work well, so the decision is primarily based on convenience and schedule.

Before you take the online test, try these steps outlined on

  • Before registration, do a system test to ensure your machine is ready for test day.
  • Get familiar with the online whiteboard tool by practicing.
  • Examine the policies and procedures, as well as the identification needs.
  • Browse GMAT Exam Preparation Products

Whether you decide to take the test online or in person, you prepare to take your career to the next level. Whatever you choose, you have to determine what works best for you. Some people aren’t great test-takers and having the luxury to take the test in your home is paramount. Take advantage of these options. At the same time, some need to get out of their space to function at the most significant potential. No matter what, you have all the tools to do well. Now let’s get to studying. We have some leveling up to do!

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