GMAT expert Stacey Koprince tells you what it’s like sitting the GMAT Online Exam and why you shouldn’t be put off by the online whiteboard
Read our May 1 coronavirus roundup, as GMAT and GRE test center closures are extended through May
Read our April 30 coronavirus roundup, as professors from London Business School share leadership lessons, and we hear how one b-school has moved entirely online
Read our April 29 coronavirus roundup, as Harvard Business School secures STEM designation for its MBA, meaning HBS MBAs can stay and work in the US for three years without an H-1B visa
GMAT Online Exam | 5 Things I Learned Taking The Test
Here, GMAT expert Stacey Koprince, from Manhattan Prep, describes what she learned from her online test-taking experience and explains why the online whiteboard tool—which you need to use to take notes and do calculations during the exam—shouldn’t hold you back.
Stacey scored 740 on the GMAT Online Exam.
5 lessons from the GMAT Online Exam
1. You should practice with the GMAT online whiteboard—a lot!
Going into the exam, I was laser-focused on the online whiteboard as the biggest challenge—and 90% of my five to six hours of practice with the whiteboard was on quant problems.
That focus paid off: My quant score actually went up one point (from 48 the last time I took the official test to 49 on the GMAT Online) and my IR score stayed at 8.
Most people are going to need a couple of weeks of practice, until the online whiteboard feels comfortable enough for you to take the exam. Using the whiteboard is not a direct translation; you can’t always do the same things you’d do on paper. So there’s a learning curve to figuring out how you want to organize your workspace, track your overall time, and solve individual problems.
2. Mental fatigue and physical comfort are real factors
I paid far less attention to the mental and physical aspects of taking the test at home. I barely practiced for the Verbal. When I took my one practice test, I did the Quant section sitting at my desk, but then got uncomfortable and moved to the couch to finish the test.
Big mistake! During the Verbal section of the real thing, my shoulders and neck got so tense that I had to take time to loosen up; I could’ve done that on a smaller scale throughout to avoid that issue. I also should have bailed on another one to two hard Quant problems to save mental energy and finish the section early, allowing me a mini-break between sections.
My Verbal score (my strongest section) dropped from 50 on my last official test to 42 on the GMAT Online. It’s true that we’re locked into the Quant-Verbal order and can’t have a real break between sections, but I think I could have gotten to 45 or 46 with better preparation—and that would’ve gotten me an overall 760 or 770 score versus the 740 that I ultimately earned.
One extra tip on this: Taking the test at home could help some anxious test-takers to feel more comfortable, but don’t get too relaxed. Do wear comfortable clothing, as you would in the testing center, but avoid pajamas or something you’d wear to veg out on the couch; that may lower your adrenaline and focus. Dress for success!
3. Hope you don’t need the proctor—but they’re there if needed
The woman who helped me walked me through everything and then patiently answered my multiple questions. Her calm demeanor actually helped to calm my nerves a bit and she even wished me luck—and I felt that she was sincere.
At my break, I pulled up the chat and was talking to someone within 15 seconds. A colleague of mine waited longer—maybe two to three minutes—to get a response. This is similar to a testing center, though; in both cases, one proctor is helping multiple people and you may have to wait a few minutes for someone to get to your request.
In general, some proctors are more conscientious than others; this is true in testing centers and is going to be true online as well.
4. The GMAT test content really is the same
Except for the fact that there was no essay, the test content felt exactly the same as it always does. I’ve taken the official GMAT many times and there was no discernible difference in the question type, content, composition, or anything else. The likely hundred-plus hours you’ve been putting into your preparation has not been wasted in any way.
It’s true that you’re going to need some time to adapt to the online whiteboard, but as with anything, good practice will get you the skills that you need to succeed on the GMAT.
5. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take the GMAT Online Exam
Now that I’ve done it once, I think there’s a decent chance I’d choose to take it from home over the testing center, even with the online whiteboard.
I do need to practice more with the whiteboard to feel fully dialed in, but I don’t think there’s any reason why I can’t get there. So I’m telling my students to start building skill with the online whiteboard now and decide in a couple of weeks whether you want to go for it or wait to take the test in a testing center.
Ultimately, I’m really happy that my preparation with the online whiteboard tool did what it was supposed to do on Quant—and that means other test takers can learn to do what they need to do, too—but I didn't pay enough attention to other factors on Verbal.
So learn from me and do better!
Read more about the Online GMAT Exam:
GMAT & GRE Test Center Closures Extended
May 1 Roundup
GMAT & GRE Testing Suspensions Continue
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to force countries into lockdown, test centers remain closed through late May and June. Follow our latest live updates:
Fortunately, you can now take the GMAT and the GRE online as a temporary solution in most locations. However, the at-home test-taking experience has its peculiarities and many candidates will be looking forward to a return to the test center test when the COVID-19 lockdowns ease.
GMAT Online FAQs—New Questions Answered!
Your questions have been pouring in about the new GMAT Online Exam. We put them to GMAT product lead Vineet Chhabra. Find out the official GMAC response on the online whiteboard issue:
EMBA candidates can now take the Executive Assessment Online
At 90 minutes in duration, the EA is considerably shorter than the traditional GMAT. It covers verbal, integrated reasoning, and quantitative questions, and does not include the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA).
If you are applying to an EMBA program in 2020, and do not want to defer your application, taking the new EA Online could be the solution.
MBAs to provide help for small businesses
Many small businesses are suffering from the economic impact of coronavirus, so now MBA students are looking to help.
On May 14th, the Small Business School Challenge will see teams of US-based MBA students provide hands-on consulting for small businesses around the theme of ‘emerging from the crisis with confidence’, potentially also winning cash prizes for their small business clients.
The 48-hour national virtual hackathon has been organized by MBA students at schools like UVA Darden and Berkeley Haas and is free for small businesses to sign up to. Berkeley Haas MBA David Corfield (pictured) is one of the organizers.
David is also one of the co-founders of LifeWork, the company staging the hackathon and which supports small businesses. LifeWork is developing a payment platform to help remote freelancers get paid faster.
Business school explains what it’s like to transition online
London Business School Professors Share Leadership Lessons
April 30 Roundup
LBS Professors Propose Good Leadership Habits
The world is changing, and leaders need to change too. A group of London Business School professors have put their heads together to propose what they believe should be the habits that leaders embrace in these uncertain times.
“Give gifts of unequal value,” suggests professor of finance Alex Edmans. “Life is not a finance textbook.” He praises businesses that are going above and beyond to deliver services and goods that will help those most in need.
Gillian Ku, professor of organizational behavior, suggests that leaders “embrace different perspectives.” People should invest this time in trying to understand how other people function and live—which in turn will feed cooperation and collaboration.
How b-school professors are learning to teach online
It's estimated that over a billion learners have had education disrupted by the pandemic. Business schools and professors from around the world have had to move teaching online. Dr Anna CohenMiller, from Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, shares four ways professors are mastering online teaching.
1. Managing expectations
While online learning has been a trend in higher education, most faculty members have not been trained in this practice. Teaching online for the first time may not be the best lessons they have ever delivered, but this is a learning opportunity for everyone.
2. Being flexible in assessment
It is important to decide out how to achieve learning outcomes via online teaching; professors will likely need to help students demonstrate their knowledge in new ways. For assessments, they can decide if they want or need to change examinations during this period of online learning. Perhaps there are some forms of assessment that could be removed altogether.
3. Choosing technology strategically
There are digital platforms offered by universities (Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard) and also other tools, such as Google docs or Whatsapp groups. Experimenting with different technology systems may take some time, but professors should find the ones that they feel most comfortable using.
4. Creating an inclusive, supportive environment
While some students may be technologically adept and comfortable with online tools, others may not be. Students may be anxious about their abilities in an online setting, concerned about having consistent access to the internet, or worried about demonstrating their learning online.
Saïd Business School offers insight into leadership during times of crisis
Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford broadcast their latest webinar, on Leading in Extraordinary Times. You can watch the panel, led by Saïd professor Tim Morris, here.
How One Business School Moved Entirely Online
For EGADE Business School, the transition to remote learning was completely seamless. Within 24 hours of the lockdown announcement, the entire school had moved online.
Find out how their different online offerings and teaching methods, as well as online networking opportunities, are keeping their students and alumni active and engaged.
Read the full article here.
Harvard MBA Secures STEM Designation
April 29 Roundup
Harvard MBA Gets STEM certified
US business schools are rushing to get STEM-designation for their full-time MBA programs to attract more international students. STEM-designation qualifies MBA graduates for 36 months of Optional Practical Training, allowing them to work in the US without an H-1B visa.
Now, according to one report, Harvard Business School has confirmed its request to create a track of the MBA Program designated as Management Science has been approved. To pursue the Management Science STEM track, HBS MBA students will take a series of first and second year courses in STEM-related topics.
The STEM MBA trend is largely in response to a drop in international applicants to US schools, a result of strict visa requirements and anti-immigration rhetoric by the Trump administration. It’s also linked to a significant STEM job shortage, with 2 million jobs expected to go unfilled by 2025.
How an MBA will get you jobs post-coronavirus
The disruption caused by coronavirus has seen economies suffer and companies reduce staff. To ensure you stand out in the post-coronavirus jobs market, an MBA can help. Read the full article
MBA employers recruit online
LBS online course helps you pursue a career in tech
Do you have an idea for an app or a web-based business, but no idea how to build it? A new online course, taught to students at London Business School, is helping people with non-tech backgrounds pursue careers in technology.
Sophia Matveeva (pictured below), who teaches the course, is a Chicago Booth MBA grad who started her own fashion tech company Enty with no background in technology. Despite this, she managed to create several tech products and lead a successful tech team. “As a result of what I've learned, I created a course on what non-technical founders need to know about tech,” she says.
The course covers the basis of how apps and websites are made, with the next course date set for May 11th.
Working from home won’t save the planet
A university study has found a mass move to working-from-home accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic might not be as beneficial to the planet as many hope.
The majority of studies on the subject analyzed by University of Sussex academics agree that working-from-home reduced commuter travel and energy use, by as much as 80% in some cases. But a small number of studies found that telecommuting increased energy use or had a negligible impact, since the energy savings were offset by increased travel for recreation or other purposes, together with additional energy use in the home.
Studies indicate it would be better for workers to continue working from home for all of the working week rather than splitting time between office and home once lockdown rules are relaxed. Similarly, companies will need to encourage the majority of staff to switch to home working and to downsize office space to ensure significant energy savings.
Deans make coronavirus predictions