taking the at-home gmat

Taking the GMAT Online

As a result of the global response to COVID-19, testing centers for the GMAT™ Exam indefinitely closed their doors, forcing students to cancel or reschedule their testing date. While centers throughout the world have started opening, many locations are still closed, and space and availability can be limited. In response to this situation, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) has already waived fees for students who need to reschedule their exam. And for students who are still unable to find a practical location, GMAC continues to offer another option: the GMAT™ Online exam.

Where is the GMAT Online available?

As of July 7, the exam is open to students in most countries, with the following exceptions: Mainland China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan.

How does the GMAT Online work?

The GMAT Online will be structured and scored comparably to the standard GMAT. The Quant, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning sections will be timed as they traditionally are, with the same number of items in each section. The GMAT Online will have no Analytical Writing Assessment.

You’ll be proctored remotely by a live person, and there will be additional check-in and security measures in place to ensure the maintenance of test integrity. You will still have the same amount of time to complete the same number of questions for each section.

Unlike the standard GMAT, you will not be able to choose the order of your sections for the GMAT Online exam. Instead, all students will take sections in the same order: 1) Quantitative, 2) Verbal, 3) Integrated Reasoning.

What equipment is needed for the GMAT Online?

You can take the exam on a desktop or laptop computer. Tablets and mobile phones cannot be used. You can use either a PC (with Windows® 8.1 or Windows® 10) or a Mac® (iOS 10.13 or later).

The computer must be plugged in for the duration of the exam. You will also be required to have a webcam and a microphone to communicate with the proctor.

In addition to the technical requirements, you will need to set up an appropriate test-taking environment. Before the exam starts, you will be asked to take photos of your work area, which will be checked by the proctor. Nobody else is allowed in the room, so it should be a private space.

For taking those notes, you are allowed a single erasable whiteboard. The whiteboard must be plain white (i.e., no grid marks) and no larger than 12 x 20 inches (30 x 50 cm). You can also have up to 2 dry erase markers and 1 whiteboard eraser. Otherwise, your workspace must be clear of all books, papers, and writing utensils. If you do not have a whiteboard, there is an online whiteboard feature available in the testing environment.


You will not receive an unofficial score preview on Test Day. However, official scores will be delivered by e-mail within seven business days after taking the test. At this time, scores for the GMAT Online exam cannot be cancelled.

As usual, the price of your exam will include the ability to send your school to five business school programs. However, there are two significant policy changes for the GMAT Online exam. First, you do not have to choose those programs on Test Day. You can wait until after you receive your official score to decide to which programs, if any, you want your scores sent. Second, the GMAC is currently waiving the fee for sending additional scores beyond those initial five. So, you will be able to send your GMAT Online score to additional schools at no extra cost.

How do I register for the GMAT Online?

Register for the GMAT Online through your mba.com account. If your in-person GMAT was canceled and you reschedule your exam, GMAC will waive your rescheduling fee.

The GMAT Online exam will be offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is being promoted as an interim option, but there is no indication how long this offer will stand. As of July 28th, appointments are available through December 2020, but GMAC may add more as needed. Each student who takes this exam will work with a live proctor from the GMAT’s administrator, Pearson VUE. Eligible students will download Pearson’s OnVue software. Proctors will check students in and monitor them during the exam.

For help prepping for a specific GMAT test date, check out our GMAT study guides:

1-Month GMAT Study Guide   •   2-Month GMAT Study Guide   •   3-Month GMAT Study Guide

So … should I take the GMAT Online?

Make this decision based on when you’re prepared to take the GMAT and when you need to have your GMAT scores sent to business schools. If you’re already prepared for the GMAT, and if your business school application timeline would be significantly altered by waiting for testing centers to reopen, then you should consider taking the GMAT Online. 

There are several reasons why the GMAT Online might not be a good fit for you. It may be worth it to wait until testing centers reopen if:

  • You require testing accommodations.
  • You can’t meet the system requirements or can’t find a suitable environment in which to take the test. 
  • Your business school application timeline won’t be negatively impacted by a slightly later test date, and you haven’t been studying diligently. Unless you really prefer the Online option, taking the GMAT in a testing center will give you the most distraction-free testing experience, and you can squeeze in some more study time. 

Concerned about your GMAT Online testing experience?

GMAC announced that starting in late-September,  students that register to take the GMAT Online will have the option to re-test at an in-person center. Stay tuned to their website for more information and specifics as it is released.

What about accommodations?

If you have already been approved for GMAT testing accommodations, then GMAC will provide whatever accommodations are feasible within the online format, including extended time and an extended break. If you were approved at any point within the last two years, then you need not reapply for accommodations.

How to prep for the GMAT Onliine

For the most part, studying for the GMAT Online should be similar to studying for the standard GMAT exam. It is still a computerized test, and the content of the sections is the same. Expect to spend the same amount of time as usual to prepare for the GMAT (most students will spend an average of 100 hours over 3 months). 

However, there is one easy adjustment to make to your study plan. For the time being, don’t worry about the Analytical Writing Assessment. It will not be administered as part of the GMAT Online exam. Instead, focus on the remaining sections, all of which will remain unchanged: Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning.

Additionally, if you do not have access to a plain whiteboard, you should practice using online drawing tools to take notes. If you have a simple drawing program on your computer, use that to mimic what it will be like to draw lines, basic shapes, and text boxes while working on questions. You don’t want to take the exam without knowing how it feels to take notes in that manner.

No matter when or where you decide to take the GMAT, being sufficiently prepared is important. Business schools will want to see competitive scores regardless of outside stressors, be they COVID-19-related or otherwise. Kaplan has you covered with free GMAT strategies, study plans, practice questions, and more.