GMAT Test Day FAQ
Signing up for the GMAT is the easiest part of your process. Here is a web URL: www.mba.com/mba/TaketheGMAT.
Popular testing days fill up in advance, so if your schedule requires you to take the test on a certain day, be on top of it and sign up early. You need to pay the fee with a major credit card.
You can cancel your score, but you must do so before you see it. Once you see it, it must be reported; you do not have the option of withholding it. We do not recommend canceling a score unless you were tested under adverse circumstances, like illness. If you do poorly and still report your score, it is not the end of the world. An improvement between two test scores may be highly regarded by your school of choice. If you cancel, the cancellation is still reported to the schools.
There is technically no limit but we do not recommend taking the test more than three times. Taking the test many times may look bad. Plan on taking the test twice and reporting both scores (unless of course you do very well the first time). The admissions committee will take the best score of all your tests but will take a look at the history of the tests as well.
You can take the GMAT five times every year (12-month period). Within that year, you must wait 31 days between tests, regardless of score cancellations.
It is less common than you might think. Studies show that approximately 21% of the exams are taken by those who are retesting. Of those re-testers, it is uncommon that they take the test more than 3 times in a given year. Regarding results, the average increase between tests is 30 points on the total score. It is not unheard of that scores can go down with repeat testing. Your increase will depend on how much preparation you do in between. If you prepare well enough, odds are you won’t be compelled to retest!
If you don’t feel well, you should not take the test. You should be healthy and prepared when you take the GMAT. It will be an ordeal to sit through a 4-hour test while you are not at your best. You may end up canceling the score anyway. So do not get hung up on the rescheduling fee (US$50 if you reschedule before 7 calendar days of the test date or you will lose the entire US$250 test fee). Your bad score might become an anchoring point later on hindering your progress and hurting your self-confidence. Meantime, a bad score gets reported to schools as all your scores in the last five years will be shown.
However, if you are sure that you can achieve a high score based on your prior practice tests, you should take the test even when you don’t feel well. That way you don’t waste the test fee and have a chance to experience the real test while having the option to cancel it at the end.
Yes. Make sure you find out in advance where the test center is, and get there at least 30 minutes early because there is a check-in procedure. If you are more than 15 minutes late, the test administrators may not let you take your test and your US$250 test fee could be forfeited.
You do not need to bring much to the test center. In fact, you will not be allowed to bring any of your personal belongings such as cell phones, backpacks, purses, or handbags into the testing room. If you do bring your belongings with you, you will be required to put them in a storage area such as a small locker. So just bring the essential items (including clothes) you need before, during and after the test in a bag with flexible surface. The test administrator will provide you with everything you need to take the test, including a pencil and scratch paper/erasable booklets.
The test centers are typically very small. Depending on their locations and relationships with Pearson Vue, they might be owned by Pearson VUE or just an affiliated one in the network. If they are the latter, they may administer other tests for non-Pearson VUE entities. Therefore the condition of the test center and your test center experience may vary.
There is a waiting area. Depending on the number of staff members on duty at the test center and the number of test takers waiting, your wait time may vary. Feel free to relax. If you want to continue to read notes or books while waiting, lock your belongings away in the locker first except for a book or some notes. When you get called, you can quickly go to your locker and lock the last item before proceeding. But please be quick, otherwise the staff may become impatient.
Your family or friends will not be permitted to wait for you at the test center while you are taking your test. They will also not be able to contact you while you are being tested.
You will take your GMAT at an individual computer workstation next to many other computer workstations in a testing room. Your computer workstation is similar to a basic small office cubicle. Please note that there will be audio/visual monitoring during the test.
There is no dress code. You should dress comfortably and possibly bring extra layers in case the room gets cold.
You will need to show the test administrator valid ID. Please prepare two to three valid IDs such as a passport, driver’s license, or a major credit card with your photo. That way in case one expires or somehow cannot be found at the test center, you are still good to go.
The administrator will also take your photograph, signature, and take your fingerprint digitally. You will be asked to agree to the GMAT Examination Testing Rules & Agreement. When you sign for the paperwork, please slow down and make your signature very legible and correspond to the full name on your ID. Otherwise you may be asked to re-sign your name multiple times which might affect your mood for the test later on. If you refuse to comply with any of these procedures, you may be asked to leave and forfeit your fee.
The test takes around 4 hours. You are given two 5-minute breaks at scheduled intervals. It is important to not take more than 5 minutes during these breaks because you will be docked the amount of time you go over.
Not besides the scheduled breaks. If there is an emergency, raise your hand and the test administrator should let you leave; however the timer on your test will not stop. Be careful about leaving, because if you are gone too long or leave too many times, your test administrator may report you to Pearson VUE or GMAC. Note that you will need to provide your fingerprint at re-entry.
Yes, but not into the testing room. You can only eat, drink, or use tobacco during the scheduled breaks. If you need to smoke or go outside for any reason, be sure to alert the test administrator. Note that rules about leaving vary from center to center, so you should clearly understand those rules before making any decisions in order to avoid any problems. We recommend you bring some chocolates, power bars and water for two short five-minute breaks in order to maintain your momentum through the test.
You cannot use your cell phone or PDA during the test or on your break. We recommend you turn off any electronic devices stored in the locker. Please do not check your voicemail or emails during your break. You will be violating the test center rules and may be asked to leave immediately.
Usually, the start of the test will be delayed or will be rescheduled. If such action is not possible, you can choose either a full refund or to sign up for a different test date free of charge.
You should raise your hand and tell the test administrator. You should not try and fix it yourself.
Based on the policies listed on the websites of GMAC®, Pearson VUE and ACT, if anything happens during the test that serves as an interruption or causes a mistiming, or if anything is out of the ordinary or deviates from normal testing procedure, GMAC and/or Pearson VUE will conduct an examination of the situation. One of those organizations will then decide if they should pursue disciplinary action including score cancellation. If any organization decides to take any action against an examinee or on behalf of one, the affected parties will have the option of A) take their test again at no additional charge, or receive a refund UNLESS that person is found to be the cause or source of the disruption. If you should opt to take the test again, you must take it in its entirety.
No, you cannot use a calculator or any other type of aid including laptops, PDA’s, translators, dictionaries etc.
Yes. There are many reasons for dismissal. These include providing false information or not providing it at all, bringing a test aid, not complying with an administrator’s reasonable requests, helping another test taker or letting them help you, tampering with the operation of the computer, and not following any rules or procedures.
You must write two essays for the Analytical Writing Section of the GMAT. If there is evidence of plagiarism, your scores can and will be cancelled. Please note that your essays become the property of GMAC.
After the test you will answer some questions about yourself and your plans for graduate school, and whether you would like to take part in various surveys or receive further information. Your answer choices to these questions may reflect information that you previously provided, earlier in the registration process.
There are a few options for sending your scores. After you take the test, you will have the option of selecting 5 programs to send your scores to at no extra charge. Be careful, because this action cannot be undone and also be sure to select the correct program.
Later, you will have the chance to choose more schools to send your scores to. You will need to order an “Additional Score Report” (ASR). You can pay by credit card or check. Each additional school costs $28 USD.
It depends what you mean by high enough. Different schools have different expectations as to what GMAT scores admitted students should have. Some schools have a minimum requirement – you will need to research this on a program-by-program basis, including research on what the range of scores was for the last entering class. Your GMAT score is only one third of your application, so let your score be a rough guide to where you apply but do not limit yourself. Also, if you are unhappy with your score, it is fairly common to take the GMAT twice. If you take it twice, be sure to prepare thoroughly in order to achieve a higher score.