Greasy, Streaky…Annoying

As of January, 2006, scratch paper is no longer part of your GMAT experience. Instead, each test-taker receives an erasable “white board” and pen to be used in lieu of scratch paper. I have been hearing lots of complaints about these white boards. As one of my clients complained, “now I have to learn how to write with a special marker, just to be admitted to business school?”

The complaints were well summarized in a posting on the GMAT Club forums:

“What I think contributed to a possible loss of 20 or 30 points in my score was the marker and “erasable boards” I had to use. The boards were just just laminated white grid paper. Two of them. And I was told not to erase my work, but to just raise my hand and request more. I found this extremely frustrating during the quantitative section as it ate into my precious time. It didn’t take long to fill up the paper. More annoying than this was the markers. I’ve always done all my mathwork with a mechanical pencil and found the markers awkward to write with. Even though they were fine-tip. Not only that, but I was only given one marker at a time and I had to replace them about three times just during the math section. The first two markers didn’t write well – they just gave me used markers. Because of the constant replacing of markers and papers, I had trouble maintaining my pace. Needless to say, it rattled me and threw me off for the entire test.”

There are a lot of upset, frustrated GMAT takers creating noise about this issue. Who knows, maybe they will change their policy if the noise is loud enough.

In the meantime, however, here is a suggestion: practice taking the test with the dry erase boards. You can purchase them at stores such as Office Depot. They sell GoWrite!â„¢ Easel Pad With Dry-Erase Sheets. While this does seem like an inconvenience, in this case I believe that fully preparing and replicating the true test environment may indeed require learning how to use a new pen and paper.

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