Its official. India has decided to extend the lockdown for another 2 weeks at least. The GMAC was pro-active to switch to a take-home mode to enable candidates take the exam from the setting of their respective homes. Appointments are currently available till 15th June 2020.
The GMAC has been iterating its exam format to make it more amenable to candidates, shortening the exam format from a grueling near 4 hours to under 3 hours, and giving candidates the choice of the order in which they wish to take the exam. While these went well with candidates, the take-home GMAT has come as a rather surprise where candidates have to make use of a rather ‘unfriendly’ whiteboard to take the exam. Plus there is the perceived problem of a proctor interfering in your exam.
While the challenges remain, lets have a look at how to ace the exam.
Tip-1: Go Veda:-
Vedic maths that brings with it shortcuts to make complex arithmetic calculations easy have been in the discussion for long. Its time to go Veda, that is to go for mental calculations to the extent possible. We are not any advocate of vedic math ; all we advocate is to practice solving problems with mental calculations to the greatest extent. There is one trick that worked for some candidates : While practicing, try to resist the urge to use a scratchpad for your calculations. If you have to use a scratchpad, make sure you write only the final expression so that time is not wasted maneuvering the whiteboard. Trust us, its not very easy to use.
Tip-2: Get a mock with online Whiteboard:-
To perfect the GMAT scores, most candidates if not all practice on the CATs (full-length GMAT mocks). It may be a good idea to invest in a mock-series that includes a whiteboard. To our knowledge, Manhattan Prep mocks does include a whiteboard. We will keep updating on this further dynamically.
The online whiteboard practice tool is available here.
Tip-3: Housekeep – Get your Zen right:-
The most difficult part of the exam apart from whiteboard is making yourself believe it’s the real exam from the comfort of your home. The GMAC has come up with a set of guidelines to ensure a uniform test environment for all candidates.
- Choose a place with a ‘reliable’ internet connection. You can take the GMAT either from your home or your office space. Choose whichever suits. An office on weekends may be best in our opinion
- You are allowed to take only one 5 minute break pre IR section. So make sure you don’t need to get up during the almost 2+ hours of the Quant + Verbal section
Tip-4: Deal right the Proctor:-
Many candidates have apprehensions about the role of the Proctor. The GMAC mentions that a registered Pearson VUE proctor will monitor the entire exam. Your entire exam will be recorded except for the optional 5 minute break before IR section. If you have any queries, make sure you interact with the proctor to ensure a seamless experience.
Most candidates who took the exam till now had hassle free experience.
The good thing about the take-home GMAT is that you are saving 50 USD on this exam. Take this as a piece of motivation to excel.
FAQ-1: Does the omission of AWA score matter?
GMAC has decided to scrap the AWA section in the take-home version of the test. There is no reason to doubt the usefulness of GMAT scores for MBA admissions just because the AWA section is omitted. It is a conscious choice by GMAC, and well acknowledged by admissions committee of leading B-schools in India and abroad.
FAQ-2: Would I be at a disadvantage with respect to candidates who took a test-centre GMAT?
The GMAT is a scientifically designed test to account for all aberrations. The GMAC must have taken care to ensure that test scores are normalized against the comparable candidate pool, and that should have weightage for the take-home test takers. A tongue twister, aha !
Also, shortlisting for PI stage is typically based on the holistic profile presented to admissions committees. The GMAT score is just one piece of the Jigsaw puzzle. So don’t worry. Just aim at getting a good score on the take-home GMAT, giving your best to the exam.
FAQ-3: Can I use my touchscreen and stylus to get around whiteboard issues?
Well not everyone has access to a touchscreen and stylus. The GMAC categorically bans the usage of touchscreen with finger or stylus, or the use a dual screen to get around whiteboard problems. You have to make do with the feature. In the experience of our test takers, using a Wireless / Wired mouse helps.
Good luck for your exams. May you all flourish.
If you have any comments or suggestions, we would be happy to hear.