Should You Take the GMAT Online or In-Person?

As of March 3rd, 2022, the online GMAT and the in-person GMAT will be nearly identical. Still, there are a few important differences that you should consider when making the decision about which test format to sign up for: 

  1. While this may change in the future, you currently cannot order an Enhanced Score Report (ESR) with an online exam. This is an important consideration for your first GMAT attempt. If you do not reach your target score, it is extremely beneficial to get the data from the ESR, particularly on the verbal section of the exam. This information gives a clearer picture of what you did wrong on the exam and will help guide subsequent preparation. 
  2. The “scratch paper” is different on the two versions of the test, but both iterations work well. For the in-person exam, you get 5 sheets of double-sided laminated graph paper and a fine-tip marker (always ask for two from the proctor!). You can buy the exact kit here if you want to prepare with the same set-up during your practice tests. For the online test, you need to buy an erasable whiteboard that meets these guidelines. Here is one option for purchasing the whiteboard required for the online test and make sure you also purchase two fine-tipped markers and an eraser (many options). While the online test also offers an online whiteboard, it is cumbersome and should be avoided. 
  3. You are more likely to have a technical glitch at home with the online test than at the test center. While glitches do rarely occur at the test center, online tests are often cancelled at home because of some network or other technical glitch. Make sure you have a reliable computer and internet connection and do a test of your system ahead of time at this link

Overall, we recommend the following course of action:

Both formats work very well so mainly the decision relates to convenience and scheduling. For additional information on our GMAT services, please contact us here.

Official Comparison Charts

Test Center & Online
StructureFour sections, to be completed in the order of your choosing: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. There are two optional 8 minute breaks. 
Duration3 hours 7 minutes, plus time for check in. 
ScoringYour Official Score Report will display your Total Score, section scores, and your percentile rank. The unofficial score will display on screen upon completion of the exam. 
Viewing Your ScoreYou will see your unofficial score immediately following the exam. Official scores can be viewed on your MBA.com account within 7 days and up to 20 days
Score ValidityScores are valid for 5 years. 

Test Center vs. At-Home

Test CenterOnline
Appointment AvailabilityAvailable 7 days a week during testing center operating hours. Available around the clock. 
CostSee pricing by location and currency. US$250*
Reschedule and CancelFees based upon location and advance notice. Please view the GMAT Location Specific Pricing & Regulations page.Fees based upon advance notice
Exam Attempts**5 attempts in a rolling 12-month period5 attempts in a rolling 12-month period
Scratch Work ResourcesA 5-page laminated booklet and two dry erase markers are provided. You may use your own physical whiteboard and you will have access to an online whiteboard. 
Accommodations Additional testing time, breaks, and access to other resources. Additional testing time and extended break times. 
Score Sending You can select up to 5 programs to receive your scores at no charge. Additional score reports available for a fee. You can select up to 5 programs to receive your scores at no charge. Additional score reports available for a fee. 

(Source: MBA.com)

*Price includes India GST

**Up to 5 GMAT exam attempts in a rolling 12-month period and 8 lifetime attempts are permitted across a combination of test center and online exams. Total GMAT Online exam attempts may not exceed 2. 


GMAT® is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council™. Menlo Coaching is neither endorsed by nor affiliated with GMAC.