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Updated 2023-01-11 16:44:19

The GMAT Online and the GMAT given in a testing center are the same test, so your studies will be almost identical, regardless of which format you choose. In fact, at the start, don’t assume that you will take it one way or the other; prepare to take it either way to give yourself the most flexibility.


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  Expect to spend the same amount of time preparing for the GMAT regardless of testing format. Students looking for a highly competitive score (680+) or an especially high score increase (250+ points) will typically spend an average of 100 to 200 hours over 3 to 6 months.

  As you prepare for the exam, you’ll periodically take practice tests. When you take a practice test, mimic the official testing conditions as much as possible. The only difference between the two formats is the scratch paper. For the GMAT Online, you’ll have access to both an on-screen whiteboard and a physical whiteboard—that you have to buy yourself. The physical whiteboard is limited in size (12 by 20 inches or 30 by 50 centimeters), so you’ll need to erase as you continue through the test.

  For the test-center GMAT, you won’t have the on-screen whiteboard but you will have a booklet of 5 laminated sheets of legal-sized paper—enough area to complete one entire section of the test. When you fill it up, you can swap out your booklet for a new one. (Ideally, do this on the breaks so that you don’t have to interrupt any of your test sections.)

  When you take practice exams, sometimes follow the testing center protocols and sometimes follow the online protocols, so you’ll be ready either way. You might even end up taking the official test in both formats.

  GMAT Online Prep Tip: Take practice tests under full official conditions, including time limits, breaks, and scratch paper. Mimic the official test so that you’re as prepared as possible for test day!

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