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GMAT Online Exam | 12 Top Test Prep Tips

The world's best business school admission consultants share their top test prep tips for the new GMAT Online exam

Tue Apr 14 2020

If you’re applying to business school this year, you’ll struggle to take the GMAT exam in a test center. Instead, you can register for the GMAT Online exam, a temporary at-home testing solution launched in response to the coronavirus pandemic and closure of GMAT test centers globally.

The GMAT Online exam is fundamentally the same as the test center version. However, how you take the exam is clearly different. 

On your test day, you’ll be sat at home, online, and while you take the exam you’ll be monitored by a human proctor on a live video feed to ensure you don’t cheat.

This will be unfamiliar territory for many business school candidates and, as with any change to the GMAT test, there’ll be a lot of questions about the online GMAT.

With this in mind, we spoke to some of the world’s top GMAT prep experts and MBA and master’s admissions consultants to give you the best advice on how to prepare for the new GMAT Online exam.

12 Test Prep Tips for the GMAT Online exam

Travis Morgan, MBA Whisperer, Kellogg MBA

1. Don’t be afraid of the online GMAT. 

There are far more benefits than drawbacks, so if you’re ready to take the exam, take it now. You may even be able to gain admission to a top program for this fall, if that’s your goal!

2. Take practice exams in the exact...

your actual exam. 

At-home test taking gives you a big advantage—you can recreate the experience precisely for your practice exams. I recommend at least two-to-three practice exams in your target score range before taking the actual exam. This gives you the confidence to know that you have what it takes to achieve your score!

Remember: Take a practice exam with a notepad window open to practice using an onscreen notepad (the digital whiteboard) rather than taking handwritten notes. This will likely be your greatest challenge, so practicing using this method will be critical.

Note: The GMAT Online Exam now includes a physical whiteboard option. From June 11 2020, you can take physical notes during your exam.

3. Utilize your breaks. 

Have some go-to snacks and drinks on hand, following the guidelines. I even recommend doing some jumping jacks or pushups to keep the blood circulating to your brain. Mental stamina can be a significant issue with the GMAT, and the online exam gives you opportunities to do things (like a one-minute workout) that you may be too embarrassed to do in the testing center!

New version of the GMAT Online Exam


Piyush Ranjan, Management Masters, St Gallen SIM

4. Don’t get complacent 

Taking GMAT online doesn't make it easier for the candidate. So my tip would be to NOT get complacent. It still is a tough nut to crack. 

5. Turn off your phone

Ensure that you turn off your phones (not just keep it in a different room) and isolate yourself completely during the test. It's easier said than done, especially when one is at home. 

6. Stay calm

Chill out! It's a test, an important one at that, but it's not the end of the world. Relax and keep a clear mind. That's what gets one through a marathon test.

Stacey Koprince, Manhattan Prep

7. Live-feed yourself

If you’re concerned by the fact someone can take over your machine and look at you through your webcam while you take the exam, get together with a friend while studying and watch each other while doing a practice exam to get used to that idea!

More GMAT Online Exam Tips From Stacey

Mark Skoskiewicz, MyGuru, Kellogg MBA

8. Understand the technology

While hopefully you find the exam less stressful when done at home, if you find technology itself stressful or confusing, try to say calm. There could be little glitches. You’ll have to use a chat feature. A window will be open where a proctor is watching you. All of this will be a little weird! Try to just expect that weirdness and take the process in stride.

Bara Sapir, City Test Prep

9. Manage your time

Effective time management, including increasing reading speed (to 450+ wpm) will provide you with more time to engage with questions. We recommend GMAT-specific speed reading training.

10. Think positive

Embody an optimal mindset! Incorporate holistic and mindful techniques to increase focus, improve confidence, promote perseverance, and eliminate anxiety. After all, tests don’t only measure what you know, they measure how well you take tests. And however you manage stress on the test is useful in dealing with our current pandemic too.

Brett Ethridge, Dominate Test Prep

11. Get game-ready

My biggest concern with the online GMAT, from a candidate perspective, is that there will be a subconscious dip in their test-day edge. There’s something to be said for getting up the morning of your exam, feeling those jitters, getting in your car and actually driving to the test center, and experiencing that build-up, knowing that it’s game day. If all you have to do is stroll into your dining room in your pajamas and pop open your laptop like you’re about to check e-mail, that changes things mentally. So I think candidates really need to prepare for that.

12. Plan your final 24 hours

Wind down your studying 24 hours before your exam and get a good night’s sleep the night before. Then, eat a hearty, nutritious breakfast the morning of so that your brain has the fuel it needs to concentrate for three hours. Finally, dress up. Studies show that you perform better on tests when you’re dressed to impress, and this will be even more important for adopting the right mindset when taking the exam from home.

Find out more about the GMAT Online exam:

GMAT Online Exam | Everything You Need To Know

Register for the GMAT Online Exam