GMAT Test Day

What Happens on GMAT Test Day

On test day, be sure to arrive at the testing center half an hour early. Everyone taking the test will need to present proper identification, sign a testing agreement and have a photograph and a palm vein scan taken to prevent against fraud.

GMAC takes fraud very seriously. In addition to the steps mentioned above, test takers will be given a locker for their belonging and can not take anything into the testing center. This means that cell phones, watches, study notes, calculators, coats and food are all prohibited. In fact, while test takers may go to their lockers during breaks, any use of cell phones during breaks, even if it's just checking email, is strictly prohibited. Anyone caught cheating or violating these rules will face stiff penalties, including having their test invalidated and possibly other more severe penalties.

Test takers sit at computer terminals with dividers on each side to offer privacy and absorb sound. Ceiling-mounted video cameras also scan the room.

Everyone is given a pad of paper and a pen to take notes during testing. The pad has just five pages, but a extra pads can be requested when a pad is filled up. The old pad has to be turned in when a fresh pad is received. While watches are not allowed, a countdown clock will appear on the computer screen during the test. The clock indicates how much time is left. After each question a "next" and a "confirm" button must be clicked to prompt the subsequent question.

Before the test begins, everyone can select up to five schools to receive their test results free of charge. To send scores to schools later, there is a $28 fee per school. Score reports will include scores of all the tests that the test taker has taken in the past five years and will also include other information gathered at the testing site including self-reported demographic information and an image of the photo taken at the test center.

Unofficial Scores and Score Cancellations

Upon completing the test, test takers must choose whether or not to accept their scores. Those who choose to accept them will be given a computer printout with their unofficial scores. This unofficial score will not include the essay. The official scores, including the essay score, will be sent either by mail or email, depending on preference, a few weeks later. Those unhappy with their scores may retake the test at least 31 days later.

People who choose to cancel their scores will not get a printout of their unofficial scores and will never know how well they did. Their record with GMAC will reflect that scores were cancelled and the 31 day wait period before retaking the test still applies. Except in extreme cases where a test taker was ill or dealing with a personal crisis at the time of the test, cancelling scores is not recommended. Without having scores as a way of measuring performance, it is hard to plot a path for improvement. Because the test is adaptive, with harder questions given to those who answer several questions correctly, many finish the test thinking they did worse than they actually did.