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Six Tips to Ace the At-Home GRE and GMAT

Six Tips to Ace the At-Home GRE and GMAT main image

To meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of students who are unable to take the in-person GRE or GMAT due to coronavirus policy changes, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) are now allowing applicants to take the tests at home.

We have given an overview of how you can take the GRE and GMAT at home, including how to sign up and the equipment you will need, here.

Here’s our six top tips on how to ace the tests under extraordinary circumstances.

Practice with the GMAT whiteboard

Unlike the GRE, GMAT test-takers won’t be able to use a physical whiteboard or a sheet of laminated paper during the exam. Instead, GMAC has set up a digital whiteboard which includes pens, erasers, shapes, polygons, panning and colors.

To avoid any unnecessary panic and delays during the exam, you should practice with the whiteboard’s mock version, which has already been released online.

If you’ve opted for the online GRE instead, you’ll be allowed to use a physical whiteboard with a dry erase marker or a paper with a transparent sheet protector and erasable marker – so don’t worry too much and only practice if you feel it’s necessary.

Refine your mental math skills

The lack of pencil and paper during the online tests has been one of the least welcomed changes by b-school applicants. While the ETS still allows a physical whiteboard during the at-home GRE, you should still spend some time refining your mental math skills and get ready to solve calculations in your head as quickly as possible.

Practice sections in the right order

Another big difference between the in-person and the at-home tests lies in the order of the sections.

For the GMAT, the sections are now fixed. You’ll start with Quantitative Reasoning, followed by Verbal Reasoning and Integrated Reasoning. The Analytical Writing Assessment has been scrapped.

On the other hand, the GRE has maintained the same six sections. Every candidate will start with the Analytical Writing Assessment, after which the other sections – Math, Verbal and Experimental – will appear in random order.

While these might not seem like significant changes, you shouldn’t underestimate just how much the section order can affect your final score. Make sure you take plenty of practice tests following the new guidelines – you don’t want to be thrown off on the day!

Check your internet connection and be prepared for technical difficulties

Once you’ve finished preparing for the test you’ve chosen to take, you want to make sure your internet and devices are able to handle the at-home version. Some b-school candidates have reported having issues with logging into the system on the day, while others’ screens froze during the exam, making them lose contact with the proctor and precious minutes off the timer.

If you’re not particularly tech savvy, make sure you familiarize yourself with the outline of the exam, download any required flash or programs in advance and double check the speed of your internet connection. You won’t regret it.

Tidy your space

Before the test, the human proctor will ask you to give them a 360-degree view of the room you’re going to take the exam in through your device camera, including walls and corners, so make sure the space is tidy, clean and guidelines-approved.

Don’t be afraid of the proctor

Both the GRE and the GMAT have set up a chatting system where you can reach proctors within minutes. While it might feel awkward at first, don’t be afraid to contact them at any point during the exam to ask questions.

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Written by Linda Mohamed

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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