Many clients ask me about the at-home GMAT exam that was rolled out in April to address the issue of test center closure. I decided I had to try it for myself. I just finished up with a 770 (Q59 V46). Here’s what I learned:
The at-home experience is MUCH more comfortable than going to a testing center, especially considering that you have to wear a mask while taking it at a Pearson testing center. I sat comfortably at my desk. While you still have to abide by rules forbidding food and drink and everything, it is simply much more relaxing to take the exam in your personal space rather than at a sterile testing center.
The proctoring process is fairly painless. You scan your face, your ID, show the webcam around the room to show no one else is there. After that, they pretty much leave you alone and let you take the exam. Several clients reported that they repeatedly were interrupted by the proctor because their camera was pointing at an odd angle or their face was too close to the camera. So, nip any problems in the bud by having a secure webcam and planning the logistics ahead of time and testing the video quality before the proctoring begins.
Numerous clients reported technical difficulties- the exam program failed to load, they couldn’t connect with a proctor, they had to troubleshoot with customer service for over an hour before the exam would load properly. This does seem to be a major issue that I’m sure GMAC is working around the clock on. This isn’t something you can control, though. Schedule in extra time for technical difficulties and hope for the best and do everything you can on your end before the exam is set to begin.
It’s nice to not have to write the essay. Countless hours of frustration have been squandered on that dumb thing. It also takes more than half an hour off of the total test time so it’s nice that this at-home GMAT is now a slim, 2.5 hour affair if all goes well. My at-home GRE took over 4 hours- I’ll discuss that in another post.
Other annoyances include the fact that you don’t receive your scores immediately- you wait about a week on average in my experience and you have to decide to cancel blindly without seeing them. As of publication, at-home GMAT scores count on your official report- they no longer appear on a separate report. This makes the at-home GMAT matter a lot more without offering much upside, but it’s still a much better experience than taking it at a testing center.