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When the Online GMAT went live earlier this week, there was a lot of push-back about one key aspect of the at-home testing experience: Test-takers would not be allowed to use external scratch paper of any kind. Instead, they would need to use a built-in whiteboard feature inside the exam itself.

While that policy has not changed, the GMAC today released a feature on their website where students can access and practice with the actual online whiteboard tool they’ll see on the real at-home GMAT.

You can start playing around with it here: 

You can get more details about the GMAT Online Whiteboard, including a reference guide for how the different editing features work, HERE.

As I discussed in my recent podcast episode where I shared three tips for dominating the online GMAT, you want to “know thy enemy” — meaning, you want to get as familiar as possible with all aspects of the at-home testing experience. This publicly-available GMAT whiteboard tool is an indispensable way of further enabling you to do that.

The Importance of Practicing with the Whiteboard

Earlier this week, one of our colleagues, Stacey Koprince, took the at-home GMAT and had this to say about the whiteboard feature:

“It would have been a disaster if I hadn’t practiced with the whiteboard before the test. My score would have been 100 points or more lower than my typical score. If you don’t practice, it will be a huge time suck [trying to figure out the online whiteboard during the test].”

Stacey Koprince, GMAT instructor

While you can now get in and experiment with the whiteboard yourself, here are a few helpful tips from another colleague, Vinay Narang, who also took the at-home GMAT and wrote the following about the whiteboard portion of his experience.

“Since the whiteboard lacks math notation, I had to use my own shorthand for math notation, such as r(3) for square root of 3 and x^2 for x squared.

If I made the whiteboard too big, the whiteboard covered up the Answer Confirm dialog box that appears after submitting an answer to each question. So I had to reduce the size of the whiteboard, limiting how much I could type in. The whiteboard had a tendency to keep zooming in on its own, further limiting the viewable whiteboard area. To counteract this, I often had to use the zoom out tool to see what I had placed on the whiteboard.

I was lucky in that I didn’t face many complex geometry questions. I tried to recreate one complex geometry diagram in order to work through the relationships, but it was very challenging to do so with the online whiteboard.”

In other words, practice with the online whiteboard tool, get familiar with it, and come up with your own short-hand so that you can save time on test day.

You can read Vinay’s full breakdown of his at-home GMAT experience HERE.

The Silver Lining

There is, as with all things, a silver lining to the GMAT online whiteboard. In some ways, the whiteboard tool is a positive in that it will force you to be more judicious in what you choose to write down, thus saving you time in the long-run.

Koprince puts it this way:

“When GMAC moved from the paper test to the computer adaptive exam, people screamed bloody murder because you now had your scratch work on the table and had to look back at the screen to solve the problem. We just reversed that with the whiteboard. It changes what you choose to write down. When you were in a test center, I found myself having to write more than I needed to. So that was an advantage I wasn’t expecting. It’s not all bad.”

Questions? Comments? Post them below or reach out to us directly. We’re looking forward to working with you!