GMAT At-Home Vs. Testing Center: Pros, Cons, and Which is Right for You

If you're planning to take the GMAT, you may be wondering whether to take it at home or at a testing center.

Posted May 24, 2023

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a crucial component for admission into most MBA programs. One of the biggest decisions when it comes to taking the GMAT is whether to take it at home or at a testing center. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the GMAT at home option has become increasingly popular. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of both options and discuss which one is right for you.

The Convenience of Taking the GMAT At-Home

Taking the GMAT at home has many benefits. For one, convenience is one of the most significant draws. You can take the exam in the comfort of your home, saving you time and money on travel. Additionally, you can take the exam at any time, without having to worry about scheduling and availability at testing centers. This option is perfect if you have a tight schedule or live far from testing centers.

Another advantage of taking the GMAT at home is the flexibility it offers. You can choose the time of day that suits you best, whether it's early in the morning or late at night. This flexibility can help you perform better on the exam, as you can choose a time when you are most alert and focused.

Moreover, taking the GMAT at home can also help reduce test anxiety. Being in a familiar environment can help you feel more relaxed and comfortable, which can lead to better performance on the exam. You can also control the testing environment, such as the lighting and temperature, to create the ideal conditions for you to perform your best.

Benefits of Taking GMAT at a Testing Center

Although taking the GMAT at home is more convenient, taking the GMAT at a testing center has its benefits. Testing centers provide a controlled and secure testing environment, with proctors monitoring your exam to ensure that you have a fair testing experience. Additionally, if technical difficulties arise during the exam, you will have immediate assistance to resolve the issue. Finally, the testing centers have a quiet atmosphere that can help you focus on your test without any external distractions.

Another benefit of taking the GMAT at a testing center is that you will have access to physical scratch paper and a pen or pencil. This may seem like a small detail, but it can make a big difference in your test-taking experience. Having physical scratch paper allows you to work through problems and make notes in a way that is more natural and efficient than using a digital whiteboard. It also eliminates the need to constantly switch between screens, which can be distracting and time-consuming. Overall, taking the GMAT at a testing center can provide a more comfortable and effective testing experience.

Cost Comparison: GMAT At-Home vs. Testing Center

There is a cost difference between taking the GMAT at home or at a testing center. According to the official GMAT website, the fee for taking the test at a testing center is $250, while the online proctored version costs $200. However, if you have to factor in the cost of traveling to a testing center, you might find that the cost difference is negligible.

Another factor to consider when deciding between taking the GMAT at home or at a testing center is the availability of testing dates. Testing centers may have limited availability, especially during peak testing seasons, which could result in having to wait longer to take the test. On the other hand, the online proctored version allows for more flexibility in scheduling, as it can be taken from the comfort of your own home at a time that works best for you.

It's also important to note that the testing experience may differ between the two options. At a testing center, you will be in a quiet, controlled environment with minimal distractions. However, at home, you may have to take extra steps to ensure a distraction-free environment, such as notifying family members or roommates to keep noise levels down. Additionally, technical issues may arise during the online proctored version, which could potentially impact your testing experience.

The Technical Requirements for GMAT At-Home Test

Before taking the GMAT at home, you need to ensure that your computer meets the technical requirements to handle the exam. You need to have a reliable internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone. You also need a computer with a Windows 10 operating system or a Mac OS 10.13 or later. You can check that your computer meets these requirements by running a system test provided by the GMAC before scheduling the exam.

The Security Measures for GMAT At-Home Test

The at-home GMAT test employs several security measures to ensure the integrity of the exam. These measures include monitoring by a human proctor, AI proctoring, and the use of secure browsers. Additionally, you need to provide a government-issued photo ID and take a photo of yourself and the room you are testing in before the exam. If you fail to comply with these regulations, your exam can be canceled or your scores disqualified.

How to Prepare for GMAT At-Home Test?

Preparing for the GMAT at home is similar to preparing for the exam at a testing center. You need to take practice exams, work on your weak areas, and learn test-taking strategies. You can use the same resources available for the testing center version of the exam, such as the Official Guide for the GMAT Review and the GMAC online practice exams. Ensure that you have a quiet and distraction-free environment during your test.

How to Prepare for GMAT Testing Center?

The preparation for the GMAT testing center option is the same as the online version. You can use the same study materials to prepare for the exam. The primary difference is that you need to plan your schedule and account for travel time to the testing center location. Ensure that you have all the necessary identification and paperwork before leaving for the test center.

How Long Does it Take to Receive Scores from GMAT At-Home?

The GMAT at home scores are typically available within a week of taking the exam. However, it may take longer if your exam requires manual review.

How Long Does it Take to Receive Scores from GMAT Testing Center?

The GMAT testing center exam scores are typically available within a week of taking the exam.

Tips for Excelling in the GMAT At-Home Test

To excel in the GMAT at home, ensure that you have a comfortable and quiet environment to take the exam. Also, familiarize yourself with the technology and software required for the exam, and take practice tests to simulate the testing experience. Finally, follow all the required regulations and guidelines set out by the GMAC to avoid any issues on the day of the exam.

Tips for Excelling in the GMAT Testing Center

When taking the GMAT at a testing center, ensure that you have a clear schedule and arrive with ample time to check-in and prepare for the exam. Familiarize yourself with the testing center location to avoid any undue stress on the day of the exam. Also, follow all the proper procedures and guidelines set out by the GMAC during the exam, such as keeping your ID visible throughout the exam.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Taking the GMAT At-Home or at a Testing Center

The most common mistake that candidates make is not familiarizing themselves with the exam and the testing procedures. Ensure that you take practice tests to get familiar with the format and timing of the exam. Additionally, read and follow all the regulations and guidelines provided by the GMAC to ensure a smooth testing experience.

Which Format is Best Suited for You: Online or In-Person?

The choice between an online or in-person GMAT exam depends on your preferences and situation. If convenience and comfort are essential to you, the GMAT at home option is ideal. If you prefer a controlled environment, and access to immediate assistance, the GMAT testing center option is a better fit. Consider your schedule, location, and resources before deciding on which option to choose.

Pros and Cons of Taking the GMAT Multiple Times, Including At-Home and at Testing Centers

There are pros and cons to taking the GMAT multiple times. On the one hand, retaking the exam allows you to improve your score and increase your chances of admission into a top program. On the other hand, multiple attempts can be time-consuming, expensive, and lead to diminishing returns. Consider your abilities and the requirements of the program you are targeting before deciding on whether to retake the exam.

Understanding the Scoring System of the GMAT Test

The GMAT test has a scoring system that ranges from 200 to 800 points. The quantitative and verbal sections of the exam each receive a score of between 0 and 60. A score of 6 in the Integrated Reasoning Section (IR) and a score of 0 to 8 for the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section are also reported. A higher overall score usually correlates with admission to better MBA programs.

What if Technical Difficulties Arise During Your At-Home or Testing Center Experience?

If technical difficulties arise during the GMAT at home, the exam will be suspended, and a proctor will assist you in resolving the issue. Similarly, in a testing center, the center staff will assist you in resolving any technical issues promptly. If the matter cannot be resolved, the GMAC will work with you to reschedule the exam.


Taking the GMAT is a crucial step in obtaining your MBA. Choosing between the GMAT at home and testing center options is dependent on several factors. Both options have their pros and cons, and ultimately your decision should be based on your personal preferences, location, and resources. Utilize the resources available to you, prepare thoroughly, and follow all the rules and regulations to ensure a successful testing experience. Good luck!

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