Everything You Need to Know About the At-Home GMAT 2021 | TopMBA.com

Everything You Need to Know About the At-Home GMAT 2021

By Linda M

Updated March 17, 2021 Updated March 17, 2021

The at-home GMAT looks like it's here to stay. Let's take a look at the most recent changes implemented by GMAC to improve the experience for virtual test-takers.

In April 2020, to accommodate the needs of MBA hopefuls across the globe, GMAC began to offer an at-home, virtual version of the GMAT exam.

Throughout the following months, hoping to improve the testing experience for applicants, GMAC made several amendments and enhancements to the test, such as the use of online and physical whiteboards, accessibility requirements accommodations, and the option to retake the exam.

Last month, GMAC announced it would make further changes to the GMAT virtual test.

Joy Jones, GMAC’s Chief Product Officer and General Manager of Assessment, said: “We’re focused on providing the flexibility and support to address the long-term needs of schools and test-takers.

“As we continue to adjust to uncertainties of the new norm, our online exams become a vital standard option, providing test-takers around the world with the confidence to test in a test centre or online to meet their business school application needs.”

Let’s take a look at what the test will look like in 2021.

An extra portion

The biggest change to the GMAT is the addition of the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), which was originally omitted from the online version of the exam.

According to GMAC, the presence of the AWA section will create greater parity between at-home and test centre exam takers.

The portion consists of one 30-minute essay designed to measure the test taker’s ability to develop a critique of “a specific conclusion based on a specific line of thinking,” as GMAC instructions read.

The AWA score is an average of the two independent ratings. Scores average from zero to six, in half-point intervals for each task. Writing scores are computed separately from the scores for the multiple-choice sections of the test and have no effect on the Verbal, Quantitative, or Total sections scores.

GMAC said in a press release: “To respond to rapidly changing marketing dynamics, some GMAT features were omitted from the initial GMAT online exam launch, including the AWA section.

“However, the AWA section has remained an integral part of the GMAT exam, providing business schools with important insight and candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate critical thinking and the ability to communicate ideas.”

The GMAC choice of adding this extra portion to the online GMAT underlines just how equal the two versions of the test are in the eyes of b-school recruiters. This is further good news for MBA applicants who, for one reason or another, are unable to take the GMAT at a test centre.

More perks for test-takers

Other enhancements made to the exam include the ability to preview unofficial test scores immediately, extra – and extended – breaks during the test, and the opportunity to select the order in which the sections of the exam are taken.

The new break schedule now includes an optional eight minutes between the Quant and Verbal sections, and one before or after the AWA and Integrated Reasoning sections – although the order can be changed by the candidate prior to taking the exam.

An improved experience

Registrations for the updated version of the GMAT opened on February 17 2021, with official exam dates beginning on April 8 2021.

According to GMAC, since the online GMAT launch during the COVID-19 pandemic, over 45,000 exams have been taken in more than 150 countries, territories, and special administrative regions.

Jones said: “The GMAT exam is a powerful tool for both business school candidates and admissions professionals to help make ‘right fit’ decisions for MBA and business master’s programmes, which are seeing record numbers of applications.

“We believe that test takers globally should have the ability to choose how they test to achieve their best on exam day in pursuit of their goals. Our ongoing enhancements to the GMAT online exam help to ensure the options are consistent and that we continue to meet the evolving needs of candidates and business schools.”

This article was originally published in March 2021 .

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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