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GMAT Online Exam Appointments Extended Into 2021

You can now book to take the GMAT Online Exam into 2021, so could the online GMAT become a permanent option?

By  Marco De Novellis

Thu Nov 5 2020


The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), owner and administrator of the GMAT Exam, has announced that appointments for the GMAT Online Exam will be available until the end of February 2021.

The GMAT Online Exam was initially launched as a temporary solution to support candidates applying to business school during the coronavirus outbreak, which forced the closure of GMAT test centers.

Now, with coronavirus seemingly here to stay and the world shifting to life online, the online GMAT will serve candidates looking to enroll in MBA and master’s programs beyond this year.

The Executive Assessment Online, a GMAT-style test for Executive MBA candidates, will also be available to take into 2021.

Vineet Chhabra, senior director and head of the GMAT product at GMAC, says: “We are committed to offering candidates the flexibility to test in either format, in a test center where safe and available, or online. As the market evolves, so too will GMAC and its portfolio of assessment products.”


GMAT Online Exam vs. Test Center GMAT

Although GMAT test centers have re-opened in some countries, many elsewhere remain closed or with limited capacity. It’s also trickier for candidates to plan ahead or travel to test centers with the ongoing threat from COVID-19.

In terms of content, the only difference between the online GMAT and the test center version is the exclusion of the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section from the online test. This section, known as the ‘essay section’, consists of a 30-minute writing task. 

The online GMAT has the same structure, number of items, and duration as the test center exam. It also uses the same scoring algorithm and score scale for the Section Scores and Total Score.

Candidates were initially unhappy that they weren’t permitted to take physical notes during the GMAT Online Exam, but GMAC was quick to address this and test-takers are now able to use a physical whiteboard as well as the online whiteboard tool.

The test is available in impacted markets globally, excluding markets limited by regulatory restrictions: Mainland China, Iran, Cuba, Sudan, and North Korea. 

The GMAT Online Exam costs $250 globally and is hosted on mba.com, where you can also register for the test.

Note: The GMAT Online Exam now allows a physical whiteboard option.

GMAT Online Exam | A permanent solution?

While there’s no current news on testing appointments beyond February 2021, the GMAT Online Exam looks set to stay. GMAC itself says it will continue to open up availability, and some admissions consultants are calling for a permanent solution to provide added flexibility for business school candidates.

In order to match the quality of the test center GMAT however, Piyush Ranjan, founder of the admissions consultancy Management Masters, says there needs to be more flexibility on test-taking policies.

While the physical whiteboard option is a step forwards, he says his clients want to use pen and paper when taking the GMAT Online Exam; something permitted by alternative test providers.

GMAC says it has seen widespread acceptance of the GMAT Online Exam from business schools. Both GMAT and GMAT Online scores are valid for five years.

“Since April, candidates representing 124 countries have sent scores to more than 2,000 business school programs around the world,” said a GMAC spokesperson contacted by BusinessBecause.

“Schools globally have been very comfortable and confident utilizing the GMAT Online exam to evaluate their applicant pools. 

“The purpose, construct and scoring structure of the online assessment is comparable to the exam delivered in test centers and GMAC has observed scoring outcomes comparable to exams delivered in test centers.”

Applying To Business School During COVID-19?

Next reads:

GMAT Online Exam: Everything You Need To Know

GMAT Online Exam | 13 Top Test Prep Tips 

GMAT Test Center Updates | Coronavirus