GMAT Online vs. GMAT Test Center Exam: Which One is Right for You?

April 12th, 2021

| Last Updated on May 20, 2021

If you are a GMAT aspirant, you must be comparing GMAT Online vs. GMAT Test Center Exam to decide which version of the test is right for you. It is essential for you to know about these exam versions as both will differ in some aspects. You should be able to choose the exam version based on what suits you the best. So, in this blog, we will compare GMAT online vs. GMAT test center exams and help you make an informed decision.

This blog will answer the following questions regarding GMAT online vs. GMAT test center exam:

Note: For those who are not aware, the GMAT online exam is now a permanent test option. 

To get started, we will list down the differences between GMAT online vs. GMAT test center exam in the table below:

1. How can you book your exam slot for the GMAT online vs. GMAT test center exam?

BOOKING YOUR EXAM SLOT IS DIFFERENT FOR
GMAT ONLINE & GMAT TEST CENTER EXAMS

When we compare the convenience of booking your GMAT exam slot based on your exam version preference, we find that there are major differences between GMAT online vs. GMAT test center exam.

Let us look at the pointers below:

GMAT online: One of the key advantages of taking your GMAT online is that you can book the test even 24 hours before the preferred time slot. It offers you the flexibility to take the GMAT exam at your convenience. It also means that test-takers can plan their preparations accordingly and take the test when they feel ready.

Did you know that the GMAC has made some changes to incentivize the online GMAT? With this, students can now apply to as many schools as they want at no additional fees.

GMAT test center: Students who wish to take their GMAT at a test center will have to select a center, check the availability for the preferred date and time and enroll beforehand. They will also have to be wary whether the slot gets canceled or not.

Score: When comparing the ease with which test-takers can book their GMAT exam slot, GMAT Online takes the first point! The convenience of booking the exam slot when they want, makes GMAT online convenient for aspirants.

Also read: Ankit’s At-Home GMAT Experience.

2. How can you know your scores while taking your GMAT online vs GMAT test center exam?

PREVIOUSLY FOR THE GMAT ONLINE, YOU WOULD HAVE TO WAIT 7-10 DAYS TO GET YOUR OFFICIAL SCORES

When comparing GMAT online vs. GMAT test center exam, one of the essential factors is receiving the GMAT scores. However, things are changing. Let us look at the difference below:

GMAT Online: If you take the GMAT online exam, you can view your unofficial scores immediately after the test on your screen. However, you will have to wait for 7-10 days for the official GMAT scores.

GMAT test center: Students appearing for their GMAT at a test center can view their unofficial scores immediately and then will receive their official scores after 20 days. Kindly note that the scores will be sent to the five B-schools that they have selected immediately after the GMAT exam is done.

Score: GMAT Online takes another point! The students get a period of 7-10 days to select the B-schools they want their GMAT scores sent to. Unfortunately, those who take the GMAT at a test center, will have to pay extra to change their B-school preferences.

3. Which is more comfortable: GMAT online or GMAT test center exam?

YOU CAN EITHER TAKE THE GMAT FROM YOUR HOME OR A TEST CENTER – YOU DECIDE

When comparing GMAT online vs. in person on the basis of comfort, it is important to realize that what would work for someone may not work for others. It is because comfort is a subjective matter. The reasons can vary honestly, but it is crucial to note the pointers discussed below:

GMAT online: Students who opt for the GMAT Online can be relaxed without the psychological stress of being at a test center. They can choose their time and slot and set up their laptop to take their exam. Once the exam begins, they will face their computer screen with the camera on as a proctor would be monitoring them.

GMAT test center: Students need to reach their test centers at the appointed time and wear a mask during the entire duration of the examination. We advise students, who wish to attend their GMAT at a test center, to practice taking their mock tests wearing a mask to get accustomed to it.

Result: At the end, it is a personal choice as some may wish to take the GMAT online and not at a test center.

4. What can you use to do your rough work when you take the GMAT online or in person?

WHICH ONE WOULD YOU PREFER:
ONLINE WHITEBOARD OR PHYSICAL WHITEBOARD?

When it comes to doing your rough work during the GMAT, you will realize that the regular pen and paper concept does not work with the GMAT online exam. We will discuss the difference between the online and offline versions below.

GMAT online: Previously, GMAT online test-takers had to use the GMAT online whiteboard. However, it was not very popular. Once the GMAC took all the raised concerns into consideration, they informed that GMAT online exam takers can make use of physical whiteboards with a specific dimension. The students can now choose to use the virtual and physical whiteboard while taking the GMAT online exam.

Also Read: GMAT Online Whiteboard: How to Effectively Prepare for Online GMAT

Here’s what you need to ensure before you purchase a GMAT physical whiteboard:

– It should be an erasable whiteboard of the size 30 centimeters x 50 centimeters (12 inches x 20 inches)
– You should have two dry-erase markers
– You should get a dry-erase whiteboard eraser

GMAT test center: For the in-person GMAT test-takers, maintaining rough work is simple. They will be provided with a scratchpad at the test center and will be provided with another, if they use up the first one.

Result: Students who choose the GMAT test center exam gain another point as a scratchpad is a useful tool to scribble out doubts. It is also helpful to gain clarity and check their progress during the GMAT exam. Also, it is easier to make use of pen and paper while taking a test.

5. How will you be monitored during your GMAT online and in-center exam?

WHILE TAKING THE ONLINE GMAT EXAM, YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR WEBCAM ON AS A PROCTOR WILL MONITOR YOU

There is a significant difference in the way candidates are monitored if we compare the GMAT online vs. GMAT test center exams. Let us look at them separately.

GMAT online: Students who choose to take the GMAT online exam need to keep their camera continuously switched on as there will be a proctor on the other end who will be surveilling them. Now, many students may find it distracting to have someone monitor them throughout the exam. They will also have to upload pictures of their room and workstation so that the proctor is confident that the environment is congenial. That’s what it takes if someone decides to take the GMAT from the comfort of their home.

GMAT test center: The GMAT at a test center experience is very similar to the other exam experiences students have. Test-takers will be seated inside a test center with proctors surveilling them. Here, students need to reach beforehand and complete the formalities such as checking the ID proof, submitting photographs and only then will they begin the exam.

Result: GMAT test center exam scores a point!

6. Which version, GMAT online vs. in person, offers more convenience to retake the GMAT?

IF YOU OPT FOR GMAT EXAM AT A TEST CENTER, YOU CAN RETAKE THE GMAT 5 TIMES IN A YEAR

While test-takers need to decide on retaking the GMAT only after they have given the exam, it is always good to know about the process involved in GMAT online vs. GMAT test center exam.

GMAT online: Students can take the GMAT online exam a total of two times. They cannot retake the GMAT online a third time. They will have to take the exam at a test center.

GMAT test center: Students who opt for the GMAT exam at a test center have the fixed chances of five retakes in a calendar year.

Result: The GMAT test center again takes a point!

7. What identification proofs are required to take the GMAT online or at the test center?

PREVIOUSLY, GMAT TEST TAKERS HAD TO SHOW THEIR PASSPORT TO WRITE THEIR EXAM

Let us look at the recent changes below:

GMAT online: Students opting for GMAT online should note that ID verification and facial recognition will be done online before the exam begins.

During this verification, you should meet these four requirements:

i. Your computer should be running the appropriate software and must have compatible hardware requirements.
ii. Your face should match the photo identification that you provide. Please note that Aadhar cards are accepted now.
iii. You need to upload a digital photograph for comparison with your ID proof.
iv. You need to upload pictures of your workspace to be verified before the exam begins. Kindly note that the proctor will also verify your workspace and must consent to the arrangement.

GMAT test center: Students choosing to take their GMAT exam at a test center must adhere to the following rules:

– You need to carry your passport
– Carry a government-issued ID like an Aadhar card
– Driver’s license
– Military ID card

Remember to carry original ID proof only.

8. What are the different challenges that may arise while taking your GMAT online exam vs. GMAT test center exam?

GMAT ONLINE EXAM
VS.
GMAT TEST CENTER EXAM:
SAME EXAM, DIFFERENT CHALLENGES

We sure did cover a lot of grounds with the points above.

However, there are few challenges that GMAT test-takers need to consider when they compare GMAT online vs. GMAT test center exam. Let us look at these challenges separately.

GMAT online: Online test-takers need to ensure that they have a steady internet connection without power cuts. They also have to send pictures of their room for the proctor to verify.

GMAT test center: Students need to check if the test center is near or far away. They also need to plan their commute accordingly. Let us remind you that GMAT test-takers should not risk being late or missing out on their exam at all! Also, as mentioned earlier, students will have to write their examination wearing a face mask for the entire duration of the test.

Also, watch: How to Improve Your GMAT Exam Day Performance.

Now as we tally the scores, students may wonder if we have a clear winner?

Unfortunately no! The reason is that every point mentioned above may be an advantage for someone while it may not be for someone else. In the end, whether a test-taker attempts the GMAT from a test center or at home, what matters is the score. We suggest that every GMAT aspirant should choose the option that suits them best.

If you wish to know what our GMAT expert and founder Arun Jagannathan had to say about GMAT online vs. GMAT test center exam, do check out this video.

If you feel that you need help with your GMAT preparations, please feel free to reach out to us. Just click the image below to get on a one-on-one call with our experts today!

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