Exam Prep

Exam Day: During & After

Getting Ready for the Exam

Prior to testing day, familiarize yourself with both the route to the testing center and the testing center regulations. Keep in mind that regulations can vary by testing center; be sure to review location-specific requirements.

All U.S. facilities will require you to present at least one current piece of government-issued identification:

  • Green Card for non-citizen residents
  • Passport for non-residents
  • Government-issued Driver’s License
  • Government-issued National/State/Province card
  • Military ID card

On the day itself, plan to arrive 30 minutes early. Check in with your identification immediately upon arrival; if you check in later than 15 minutes after your exam start time, you may be excluded from the exam without a refund of your registration fee.

During the Exam

Expect to be watched as you test; all computer workstations are monitored via audio and video. During each timed testing period, you must remain at your workstation until finished. You will have two optional 8-minute breaks to eat, drink or use the restroom. Once you’ve completed a section you will not be able to return to it. For obvious security reasons, breaks cannot be taken mid-section.

Remember to stay calm during your exam. Pay attention to the time and the number of questions remaining in each section, but don’t race against the clock. If the questions feel like they’re getting harder, you’re doing well.

Skip the questions you don’t know. Don’t guess unless you can rule out three of the five possible answers. Blank questions do not affect your score, but incorrect answers do count against you.

In an emergency, you may raise your hand to notify a test proctor and your timer will stop. However, you do this at risk of having your test disqualified after a review by authorities. In the event of external emergencies, your test proctor will determine whether testing should continue. Cheating or otherwise disrupting other test-takers will result in a review.

After the Exam

Immediately following the test, the screen will display an unofficial score report. This report will include your Quantitative Score, Verbal Score and the Total Score without percentiles; Pearson VUE will email instructions for you to review this score report later online. Once your score report is displayed, you will have two minutes to decide whether to report these scores to your business schools; if you do not make a choice, your scores will be canceled automatically.

If you opt to cancel your scores, your test is effectively canceled but you will not receive a refund of your testing fee. Refunds are only available for those who cancel their exam appointment a full seven days prior to the exam date. The best preparation for knowing if you want to report your scores or not is to establish target scores prior to the test.

If you cancelled your score report on test day and you choose to re-instate the score, you may do so within 60 days of your test date for a $100 fee. In this case, scores will not be automatically reported to schools. You will need to pay $28 for each school you elect to submit scores to.

Retaking the Exam

You may retake the exam five times within twelve months, but test dates must be at least 31 days apart. Full registration fees do apply for each retake.

Before committing to a retake make sure that it’s worthwhile for you to do so. Consider the distance between your actual score and your target score. Were there extenuating circumstances that caused you to do worse than you may have? Maybe you were sick? Or ill-prepared? Otherwise, you may find that you may be disappointed by your retake; data indicates that average score gains on second and third retakes are marginal.

Be prepared to use the information the scores provide you, particularly if it is the first time you’ve taken the GMAT. If you perform acceptably in all sections except one, focus primarily on that problem area in your study sessions.

Keep in mind that any school you send an official score report to will have access to all of your previous GMAT scores (unless an earlier score was cancelled on test day). Admissions committees often follow different policies; some schools will average all of your GMAT scores while others will take your highest scores per section or your best overall exam. Check with your prospective programs before registering for a retake.