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Wondering GMAT Online Vs Test Centre? This Will Help You Decide

Wondering GMAT online vs test centre? Here’s a guide to help you decide which option is better.

Since the break of COVID-19 in 2020, the Graduate Management Admission Council has made certain changes to how the candidates can give the GMAT exam. During the pandemic, the option for an online GMAT exam was introduced to ease the process. And since then, the online process has been followed, along with the option for test-centre.

The candidate has a free will to choose how they want to appear for the entrance exam. Online vs Test Centre, it can be a tough decision, especially when both have numerous benefits. To ease your mind and reach a fruitful decision, we have compared both online and offline centre benefits. So, let’s get you started.

A Guide To Help You Decide Which Option Is Better – GMAT Online Vs Test Centre

In this blog, we will discuss various parameters essential in helping you understand whether to select an online or in-person GMAT exam option. As you finish reading the article, we are sure you would have made up your mind to appear for GMAT online or test centre.

GMAT Online Vs Test Centre Test Format

It’s essential to understand the test format before you decide to attempt GMAT online or appear for the exam in-person. Both have four sections on which the candidate is tested. The four sections are:

  • Quantitative Reasoning – is an evaluation of reasoning skills and quantitative skills.
  • Verbal Reasoning – is to test the ability of the candidate to read and understand the question and answer in standard English, and evaluate arguments.
  • Analytical Writing Assessment – it evaluates the candidate on the basis of critical thinking and expressing ideas. 
  • Integrated Reasoning – evaluates the ability to analyze data and interpret information presented in multiple formats.

In both scenarios, the candidate has the flexibility to choose the section order depending on their strengths and testing preference. You can ace the GMAT exam in any order. There is no proof that suggests a particular section order can help you score more than the other order. Though, according to a survey, the globally followed section order has been Quant, Verbal, IR, AWA.

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  • AWA > IR > Quant > Verbal
  • Verbal > Quant > IR > AWA
  • Quant > Verbal > IR > AWA
Sections Number of Questions  Time Limit
Analytical Writing Assessment 1 essay 30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning 12 questions 30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 31 questions 62 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 36 questions 65 minutes
Total Time 187 minutes

Parameters on which GMAT Online vs Test Centre are compared

The Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized test used as admission criteria by more than 2300 B-schools globally. It helps the B-schools gauge the candidate’s academic potential to perform in a graduate-level management program. So, it doesn’t matter how you prefer to appear for the exam, online or at a test centre. The parameters for both delivery options include the same content, structure, two optional 8-minute breaks, scores, score scales, and scores uniformly accepted by B-schools worldwide. There are some minor differences that we have discussed in each section below.

  • Exam Structure
  • Registration
  • Rescheduling
  • Cancellation Fee
  • Scores
  • Online vs In-person Experience

Understanding GMAT Online Vs Test Centre Parameters

Let’s take a closer look at all the parameters and understand the GMAT online vs test centre parameters.

GMAT Online Vs Test Centre Exam Structure

Both the online and in-person exam structure has four sections mentioned in the table below that are exactly similar in content. GMAT exam is not a test of business knowledge, language or subject mastery. It is a test of the candidate’s critical reasoning and analytical skills.  

Number of Sections Four Sections:

  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
Test Duration 3 hours 7 minutes (approx.)
Section Order AWA>IR>Quant>Verbal



There is no specific section order that will let you score higher in the GMAT exam, as it is a computer-adaptive test. So, you can follow any section order according to your preference.

GMAT Online Vs Test Centre Registration, Rescheduling and Cancellation Fee

The GMAT online registration fee is slightly lower than the GMAT in-centre fee. Compare the tables below to understand the registration, rescheduling and cancellation fee for both options.

GMAT Online Details

Registration Fee $250 (varies depending on the country)
Rescheduling Fee $25
Cancellation Fee $100 (have an option of cancelling 24 hours prior to the exam) 

GMAT Test Centre Details

Registration Fee $275 (varies depending on the country)
Rescheduling Fee $150 – 1 to 14 days before exam date

$100 – 15 to 60 days before exam date

$50 – more than 60 days before exam date

Cancellation Fee $200 ($50 refund) – 1 to 14 days before exam date

$175 ($75 refund) – 15 to 60 days before exam date

$150 ($100 refund) – more than 60 days before exam date

GMAT Online Vs Test Centre Scores

The section score, score scale and total scores, along with percentile, are uniformly accepted by b-schools worldwide, whether you attempt GMAT online or prefer to appear for the exam at a test centre. There is not much difference in your score acceptance by the B-schools, and the validity remains 5 years for both online and in-person exams.

But when you opt for an online exam, you are not allowed to cancel the score. For the candidates opting for an in-person exam, it is allowed to cancel the score anytime they prefer.

The online exam preference lets you share your scores with infinite business schools without an additional fee. However, the candidates who choose to appear for the GMAT exam at a test centre can send scores to only 5 B-schools, free of charge. There is an additional fee of $35 if they want to send their scores to more B-schools. Looking at all the similarities and differences, this is one of the major points you will have to consider when deciding your GMAT exam preference. 

Scores Online Test Centre
Section Scores Same Same
Total Scores along with Percentile Same Same
Score Scale Same Same
Validity  5 years 5 years
Cancelling the Score Not Allowed Allowed
Reporting Scores to B-school Infinite schools with no fee Send scores to 5 B-schools for free

Extra $35 to additional B-schools

GMAT Online Vs In-Person Experience

As a GMAT candidate, you will have your personal reasons to pick how and where to attempt the entrance exam. Since the GMAT now has a hybrid option, we decided to run you through the benefits of online and test centre attempts.

The year 2020 was tough for everyone. But considering the education sector, the pandemic completely changed the face of imparting knowledge. While the world came to a halt, professionals started working from home and schools began functioning online. And that’s how the exams started taking a hybrid formation.

Now that we all understand the importance of the GMAT exam, and also know that we can pick our preferred choice to appear for the exam, let’s look at the benefits of both online and test centre experience.

GMAT Online Experience

Imagine, you are sitting at the comfort of your home, in a quiet room, undisturbed. How would you feel attempting the GMAT test from a place that’s not only familiar, but also lets you take the exam in peace? But the big question is, should you? Well, as I said, it’s a personal choice. Let’s help you gain clarity on the same.

Are you a professional with travelling constraints? Or are you facing any medical challenge at the moment you plan to appear for GMAT? Taking the exam online should be your preferred choice.

What will you need to attempt GMAT online?
  • A quiet room or an undisturbed corner in the house
  • A laptop/desktop
  • A reliable internet connection
  • A webcam
  • Online or physical whiteboard (you can buy one from Amazon)

Remember, when you give the exam, there should be no one else in the room where you sit to attempt the GMAT test. This isn’t optional.   

GMAT Online Experience
Where A comfortable and undisturbed room at your home
Materials Required A laptop/computer, online or physical whiteboard option, reliable internet connection
Breaks 2 breaks: 8 minutes each
Exam Retakes Once in 16 days, total of 5 times in a period of 12-month
Exam Slot Booking Once in 16 days, total of 5 times in a period of 12-month
Lifetime Exam Attempt 8

GMAT Test Centre Experience

If you are comfortable going to a test centre for the GMAT exam, then go well-prepared.

Opting to Attempt the GMAT at a Test Centre 
  • Reaching the test centre on or before time
  • Wear a mask at the test centre
  • You will be administered under standardized conditions
  • There is an ease of taking the exam in privacy and silence in your individual work station provided at the centre
  • Provision of an erasable notepad and a marker at the centre
GMAT Test Centre Experience
Where Travel to the test centre, take precautions like wearing a mask when appearing for the test
Materials Required A notepad with erasable marker that will be provided at the centre
Breaks 2 breaks: 8 minutes each
Exam Retakes Once in 16 days, total of 5 times in a period of 12-month
Exam Slot Booking Once every 16 days and no more than 5 attempts in a rolling 12-month period
Lifetime Exam Attempts 8


In the end, whether you decide to take the GMAT exam online or go in-person at the centre, it’s a matter of comfort and personal preference. However, it’s also important to understand that your choice of attempting the exam will not affect your scores in any way. So, relax, think and reach a fruitful decision. 


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