Back to blog

Thinking of Taking the Online GMAT Exam? Here's What You Need to Know

Our Director of Online Tutoring recently sat for the interim online GMAT, a new version of the test offered by GMAC starting April 20th, 2020 due to the restrictions placed on gatherings of people in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. We’re sharing his experience with GMAT students considering taking the online version of this test so that, hopefully, they can be better prepared and know exactly what to expect going into this unprecedented testing situation.

General Information

The interim online GMAT will be available from April 20th, 2020 to June 15th, 2020. It is live-proctored with 24/7 availability by Pearson VUE, the entity that previously facilitated most GMAT in-person exams. Given their familiarity with the test, they’ve put together a simple and effective registration process. At this point, each applicant is allowed one administration (no re-takes). The scores are officially reported up to 14 days after taking the exam, and it is clearly marked as the interim online version. This is good news for students applying to graduate school, especially if they need to explain potential discrepancies in scores.

Online GMAT Format

Usually, the standard GMAT exam has a flexible order and an essay; however, the new online GMAT only consists of three sections (Quant, Verbal, IR) and the Integrated Reasoning portion is optional. If any of the programs you are applying to do not require this section, you can choose whether or not to take it.


Every student that takes the standard GMAT receives an unofficial score at the end of the exam and is given the choice to cancel the unofficial score if unsatisfied. In comparison, the new interim online GMAT has no cancellations, unofficial score, or enhanced score report. This is primarily due to the fact that the GMAC is incredibly concerned about test integrity, which is also why there is also no longer a break between the Quant and Verbal sections. The only optional 5 minute break is between the Verbal and IR.

The Introduction of the Online Whiteboard

Perhaps the largest adjustment to be made when taking the online exam is the note-taking process. Students are no longer allowed to take physical notes; instead everyone is given an online whiteboard.

While taking the exam, there are only a few tools worth engaging with. For example, the free form shape tool is very helpful when solving geometry questions. The ease with which test takers are able to draw shapes with this tool is demonstrated in the video.

Rather than using the pen tool to write out notes, questions, numbers, etc. make use of the text box in order to save time. We also recommend placing the whiteboard in one corner of the screen (the lower right tends to work well).

In the video, our Director of Online Tutoring makes some recommendations for how to take notes and increase efficiency with this tool while going through an official GMAT practice question.

If you spend time practicing and studying with an online whiteboard to develop some familiarity with it, adjusting to the rest of the changes that come with the interim online GMAT will be fairly straightforward. Our GMAT online tutoring approach utilizes this tool so that students prepping for the test become comfortable practicing in an environment that is as close to the exam as possible.

Visit our YouTube channel for more videos like this.