Finally, it’s here. Your GMAT test day. You’ve registered and prepped. But this day is way more significant than what it may seem like. You know why. This day will decide the direction of your career, and hence the rest of your life too. The last thing you want is for today to spring a surprise and ruin your focus on the exam.
So, should we take it that you’ve planned everything diligently for your test day, and the day before that? Now, unless your answer is a resounding “YES!”, this article is a must read for you. In this article, we’ll discuss the complete breadth of GMAT test day tips, best practices, and strategies that will help you ensure a hiccup-free GMAT and enable you to give your best on this all-important day.
The night before your scheduled GMAT date can be nerve-wracking. Here are the best ways to get and stay organized in the final hours before your exam.
1. Check the Day and Time of Your Exam: Your GMAT registration details are available through your account at mba.com. The day before the GMAT, do a final double check to make sure of the date, time, and testing location you signed up for. You don’t want to risk making a careless mistake and showing up late or missing your exam date entirely!
2. Plan Your Route: Make sure you know exactly when you’ll leave the day of your exam and what travel route and form of transportation you plan to take. NCR is the hub of traffic jams, plan enough so that you aren’t stuck in one! Getting lost or being delayed on the day of your GMAT will be an unnecessary frustration and distraction even if you manage to get to the testing location on time. You want to arrive to the testing site as calm and focused as possible.
3. Locate the Correct ID: You’ll need to show the appropriate form of identification, as defined by GMAT test requirements, to sign in at the GMAT testing location. The last thing you want to be doing on the morning of the GMAT is scrambling around looking for a missing ID, so make sure you locate it the day before and have it ready.
4. Get Some Rest: Make sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before your exam. Plenty of rest will help you stay focused and do your best the following day. Anxiety and exhaustion can affect your score even if you’re well prepared otherwise.
5. This might sound crazy but don’t study the day before the GMAT: It can be tempting to cram the day before the GMAT, but try to resist. Anything you study the night before likely won’t be retained, anyway. It’s best to give your brain a rest, get some sleep, and stay calm. Avoid any GMAT prep from the day before your test until the minute you sit down to take the exam.
6. Don’t oversleep! Set your alarm. It could be catastrophic if you forget. Make sure you set your alarm for well before the time you need to leave, so you’re not rushing out the door half-asleep. Leave plenty of time to gather your thoughts, go through your morning routine, and wake up a little.
7. Eat Well: In addition to leaving time to relax before you leave, try to eat a good breakfast on the morning of your test. The GMAT can be exhausting, and brain food goes a long way.
8. Leave with Plenty of Time: Make sure to leave with plenty of time to travel to the GMAT testing location. You should work a cushion into your travel plan so any obstacles that occur (parking, traffic, etc.) don’t stop you from arriving on time. You should arrive at your testing location at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam, since you’ll need to park, sign in, store your personal items, and get settled after you arrive. If you arrive more than 15 minutes after your appointed testing time, GMAT rules specify that you may not be admitted to the testing room, your registration fee will be forfeited, and you’ll have to reschedule.
9. This will go a long way; ‘bring comfort items’: Testing locations have specific rules about what you can and cannot bring to the exam on GMAT test days. No personal items or testing items, such as snacks, water, a cell phone, your wallet, or a calculator, are allowed with you in the testing room (except a light jacket) under current GMAT rules, unless you’ve made prior arrangements with the testing location due to a disability. You cannot access these except during the provided GMAT breaks. There is storage space available at every GMAT testing location, where you can store personal items that meet GMAT test requirements. I would suggest bringing water and snacks to replenish your energy during GMAT breaks. Gather the items you plan to bring with you and lay them out the night before so you’re not scrambling on the morning of the exam.
10. Must do! Adhere to GMAT Test Rules: A few GMAT test rules apply to all testing locations. Some items, such as weapons (even for those with concealed carry permits and off-duty law enforcement officers), are prohibited entirely from all testing premises. In addition, you are never allowed to have a friend or relative wait for you at the testing site while you take the exam. While taking the GMAT, you will be required to notify a testing administrator if you need to leave the room. If you’re away from your workstation for a lengthy amount of time, the testing location officials will be notified and you may be questioned. You will also not be permitted to eat or drink while in the testing room, though you can eat during GMAT breaks. Use of cell phones, other forms of personal technology, and personal calculators is never permitted anywhere on the testing site. Some GMAT test requirements are specific to the country in which the test is being administered. By registering to take the GMAT and signing in at the testing location, you agree to follow your country’s GMAT rules; you can find a comprehensive list of them here.
Once you get to the testing centre, it’s hard to know what to expect. Let’s go over the process of signing in to the testing location and what will happen once you arrive to take the exam on GMAT test days.
Once you arrive at the testing location, you’ll check in with an administrator. You will present the proper government-issued ID and, if your country’s laws allow, will also have a digital photograph taken and be asked to provide a digital vein palm scan. You will have to provide an additional digital vein palm scan if you leave the testing room at any time, and again when you return.
Once you are seated at your computer, testing will begin promptly. You will be provided with a scratch pad and marker to take notes on during the exam. The timer will begin after you agree to the GMAT test rules (which will be provided on the screen), and you’ll start with the analytical writing assessment section (the essay). If you have any questions or issues (such as technical problems) during the GMAT, or if you need to leave the room for any reason, raise your hand and a testing administrator will come to you and help you. GMAT test rules ask that you never get up from your workstation without permission once you’ve been seated and informed that you can start the test.
Once you hit “submit” for your last GMAT question, you will see a preview of your unofficial score report on the screen. You’ll be asked if you wish to cancel your scores. Make sure to have decided what GMAT scores you will keep and which you will cancel beforehand, so you don’t make any rash decisions. If you want to reinstate a cancelled GMAT score within 60 days, you’ll have to pay a $100 fee.
When you leave the testing location, an administrator will give you a printout of your unofficial score report. This will include your score for every section of the GMAT except the analytical writing assessment, which will be scored separately. Your official scores will be sent out to the MBA programs you chose approximately 20 days after your test date, unless you cancel them beforehand.