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What You Need To Know Before You Take An Online GMAT

·7 min read

Tips For The Online GMAT

In July, the Graduate Management Admission Council announced that it would make the at-home online GMAT available through the end of 2020.

Business Insider recently spoke to testing experts and instructors to see how applicants can best prepare for the online GMAT in order to excel.


The online GMAT exam can only be taken once, with no retakes being permitted.

Thus, experts recommend that test-takers ensure their technology is set up properly to avoid any issues when it comes to testing day.

For one, it’s important to take the exam on a computer using an ethernet connection rather than WiFi.

“This will assure the candidate of the best connection and relieve the stress of worrying about an interruption in service,” David Schein, director of graduate programs at the Cameron School of Business at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, tells Business Insider. “The computer will need to have current browsers and operating systems.”

Additionally, the online GMAT requires test takers to use an online whiteboard feature instead of physical notes in order to allow proctors to see student notes to avoid cheating. The GMAC allows a physical whiteboard as well.

Experts recommend that test takers practice taking the test on Microsoft Word or Text Editor.

“My best guess is that, on average, test-takers will need a couple of weeks to get to the point where they can do everything they need to do using the online whiteboard,” Stacey Koprince, content and curriculum lead at Manhattan Prep, tells Business Insider. “It’s true that I only had about 72 hours to get used to the online whiteboard before I took the official GMAT, but I’ve been working with this exam for two decades. It’s likely that students will need longer than I took. And, frankly, I could have made good use of another couple of days.”


Experts recommend that test takers start GMAT preparation with a baseline practice test.

“This will replicate the test setting at home and give you a good idea about what adjustments you need to make at home prior to taking the official test,” Ibrahim Firat, the founder of Firat Education, a test preparation service, tells Business Insider.

Another important thing to note – not all practice tests are created equal. Practice tests created by companies other than GMAC may not be predictive of your real score on the GMAT.

“The reason is that the test-prep companies generally make their test harder than the actual test in order to better prepare their clients,” Joseph Ingram, the head admissions consultant for graduate schools at SOS Admissions and a former GRE and GMAT instructor at Stanley Kaplan, tells Business Insider.

Sources: Business Insider, P&Q, mba.com, mba.com

NYU Stern students

Essay Tips for NYU Stern

New York University’s Stern School of Business consistently ranks as one of the top b-schools in the nation.

In our annual ranking of Top Business Schools, Stern secured the number 16 spot. The class of 2021 averaged a 3.52 GPA with 80% of students scoring in the 680-750 GMAT score range, according to Stern.

One of the central components of the Stern application is the essay section. The experts at Stratus Admissions recently went over Stern’s 2020-21 essay prompts offering insight into how applicants should approach each essay.


The first essay asks applicants to answer the following in under 500 words:

What are your short and long-term career goals?

How will the MBA help you achieve them?

Experts say the key to answering essay one, is to be specific and goal-oriented.

“You should start your essay by stating your goals and then give reasons for them as well as how an MBA will help you achieve them,” according to Stratus. “Some brief context behind these goals would be appropriate.”

The next step is to tie in how a Stern MBA would help you to achieve the goals you mentioned.

“What business skills do you lack? How will a Stern MBA help you close these gaps? It is important that you allow adequate time to research all that Stern has to offer,” according to Stratus. “Be VERY specific in detailing the opportunities you plan to take advantage of on campus. Think about classes you are interested in. Do not include a laundry list. Instead, carefully think through how each offering will allow you to fill in your gaps.”


The second essay asks applicants to describe themselves to the admissions committee and future classmates using six images, titled “Pick Six,” and corresponding captions.

There is an important difference between essays one and two: essay one focuses primarily on professional goals, while essay two is an opportunity to convey who you are as a person.

“While you have the option of including something professional or related to your goals, make sure that this essay complements the first essay, which is professionally focused,” according to Stratus. “Let your individuality shine in this essay. This can be a great place to reveal personal interests, hobbies, or community service commitments.”


Essay three asks applicants to provide any additional information that they would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee, including current or past gaps in employment, further explanation of your undergraduate record or self-reported academic transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE, IELTS or TOEFL, or any other relevant information.

“Stern provides several suggestions regarding what to include in this essay,” according to Stratus. “However, if you have something significant you would like the admissions committee to know and that topic isn’t mentioned above, this question is open enough so that you still answer the question. This is a great place to address low GMAT scores or GPAs.”

Sources: Stratus Admissions, P&Q, NYU Stern

Marshall School orientation

How To Approach The USC Marshall Essays

The Marshall School at USC cracked the Top 20 in our MBA ranking.

Getting accepted into Marshall is no easy task. And part of that process is writing a powerful essay. In her recent blog post, Stacy Blackman, of Stacy Blackman Consulting, broke down Marshall’s essay prompts for 2020-21 and offered some insight into how applicants should approach them.


The first essay for Marshall asks applicants the following prompt: What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (word limit: 100)

Blackman says it’s important to stay brief with this essay when discussing your plans and goals.

“Consider your plan when you graduate from USC,” Blackman writes. “And make sure your resume and other application materials support this next step. For example, if you are career switching, highlight any transferable skills in your resume.”


The second Marshall essay asks applicants to do the following: Please draft a letter that begins with “Dear Admissions Committee” (word limit: 600)

This essay, according to Blackman, serves as your personal statement to the Marshall admissions team as to why you’re an ideal candidate for the b-school.

“This essay is purposely open-ended,” Blackman writes. “You are free to express yourself in whatever way you see fit. The goal is to have an appreciation for and an understanding of each candidate in ways that are not captured by test scores, grades, and resumes. Showing who you are as a person is essential to your USC Marshall application. Ideally, you can demonstrate that you understand the USC culture and values with your answer to this essay question.”


The third Marshall essay, which is optional, asks applicants to do the following: Please provide any additional information you would like the admissions committee to consider. (word limit: 250)

Blackman says this essay is an opportunity to add more information to your application or discuss a concern.

“Therefore, if you have a low GPA, a grade below a C in a quantitative subject, an employment gap, or any other issue in your background, this is the place to explain it,” Blackman writes.

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, P&Q

The post What You Need To Know Before You Take An Online GMAT appeared first on Poets&Quants.