How was my experience with the GMAT CAT online.
Horrible. To sum it up in one word. And look, I didn’t spend months preparing for this with the sole intention of attaching the note to my MBA applications. I am a math teacher for the GMAT and wanted to take the exam to share the experience with my students.
GMAT ONLINE CHECK IN
After signing up you have to test your system and then the problems begin. The test crashed twice. As a student I could be studying instead of running a program on my computer. After that, I made sure that nothing suspicious was present in the room I chose to take the test. Extra work. Finally, 15 minutes before starting the test the next morning, I started the check in process for the GMAT online. Everything went well. Finally, on the last screen came the information that the GMAT ONLINE test would start in less than ten minutes.
The GMAT PROCTOR
Well, after waiting for 15 minutes, nothing happened and so I decided to try to contact the proctor. Still no word. Thirty minutes passed and nothing. No other point of contact is available for you to solve any kind of technical issue that may come up. Even if you try to call Pearson (and if they actually answer you), they still will dismiss you without solving the problem. You have to deal with the Proctor.
Ok, I decided to close the OnVue browser and do it all over again. I did, and again I waited another 30 minutes. It is expected that a chat box will appear for the Proctor to assist you, and that only happened after almost an hour of waiting twice before I was actually able to start the process to do the GMAT CAT ONLINE.
Ok, the proctor must have been very late with everything, because he did not ask to take a 360 view with my webcam to check the test environment, my glasses and my wrists… I felt at school.
HOW I THINK THE GMAT CAT ONLINE PROCTOR WORKS
I think there is a real person (proctor) for several gmat test takers. The system will monitor if there is a strange sound or movement on the camera and possibly even monitors your retina to see if you are focused on the race. Any anomaly and the system warns the proctor. In other words, it is very unlikely that you, if you have any problem in the test, will be able to solve it with him, after all, he has already demonstrated that he is very busy.
He caught my attention when he said he heard a noise as if I was whispering an issue. Actually the noise was from my daughter in a room very far from the place where I was taking the test. I was tense, but I had no more problems with that until the end of the GMAT ONLINE test.
GMAT CAT ONLINE WHITEBOARD
As a teacher, I am very used to using a whiteboard. Ever since the beginnings of MBA HOUSE, we have used smartboards, tablets, iPads, all kinds of gadgets that you write with an electronic pen. The problem is that on the GMAT ONLINE TEST there simply is no electronic pen. Any annotation must be done with a mouse. Yes! Unbelievable. And that’s because I attached a mouse to my laptop, since using the built-in mouse pad would be impossible.
The keyboard for writing was also horrible. It stalls all the time. Certain letters just didn’t work. Very strange.
Now, the most stressful experience was taking the Quantitative segment of the GMAT test online. It is impossible to make calculations with a mouse. There is no way. I find it difficult for an MBA to want to evaluate if you have the ability of handling a mouse to compile mathematical formulas and equations or even arithmetic calculations.
We return to the problem of a Proctor for several gmat online test takers. If there were a Proctor for each test taker, the regular plastic notepad used in the in-person GMAT test would have been allowed, as it would be enough for the proctor to ask the test taker to display the notepad before and after completing the test. During the test he would be watching the whole time to see if there would be any shady movement with the plastic notepad and the hydrographic pen used.
HOW HARD WAS THE TEST
Nothing different from the regular GMAT CAT. Most GMAT prep providers are also describing what their experience was like and boasting that, until the gmat cat online test, their lowest score had been 750, 780 and so on. I see no sense in saying this. We have to tell the MBA candidate what they are going to face and not how extraordinary our scores are. I don’t think that’s cool, especially considering a GMAT tutor takes the test multiple times.
That said, I wanted to say that my score was significantly lower than what I normally score on the regular GMAT CAT. This is also not cool, since even 10 points less on the GMAT often means thousands of dollars less in scholarships for the candidate, so at the very least, this testing format can result in a financial loss.
MY SUGGESTION FOR THE GMAT ONLINE TEST
Avoid it as much as possible. Unless your MBA deadline application requires you to deliver the GMAT score during this closing of gmat test centers, try to avoid taking the GMAT ONLINE TEST as much as possible.
Many MBA schools are allowing candidates to submit their application without having to present a GMAT score (you may still be required to take the GMAT at a later time) precisely because of the difficulty in faithfully reproducing your study effort with the ONLINE GMAT score compared to what you would deserve on a face-to-face exam.
It is a pity that the GMAC was so incompetent in meeting the needs of its customers during these unprecedented times.
GRE IS AN OPTION
You can choose the GRE, as they allow paper and pen to take the test, and the top business schools have been more condescending than usual in receiving GRE scores in lieu of the GMAT. If you have previous knowledge of the GRE or have at least a month to study adapting to the GRE model, my suggestion is take it.
However, GMAT test centers are expected to reopen in the next 15 days, so depending on your urgency, it is just best to hold your horses and wait a bit longer.
Talk to your MBA House consultant if you have questions about your study plan, as well as your application.
Marcelo Ambrozio Ramos
MATH GMAT prep teacher