Updated 13 August 2020
During your preparation for the GMAT exam, you have probably spent a lot of time focusing on improving your basic math knowledge, familiarizing yourself with the format of the GMAT and completing lots of practice questions.
While you are busy focusing on your GMAT study plan, it is easy to forget to think about self-care before the test and what you will need to take with you on the day.
There are some strict rules in place at the test center, so it is important that you don’t show up with an item that isn’t allowed.
Ensuring you have prepared thoroughly before the big day should help you to feel calm and ready to face the challenges of the test.
Read on to find out our top GMAT test day tips – then take a moment to check off the below GMAT exam day checklist, to make sure you’re completely ready.
Spending the night before the test cramming might seem tempting, but it is unlikely to improve your result. Instead, commit to getting at least eight hours of quality sleep.
Turn off any screens or electronic devices at least 30 minutes before you plan to go to sleep – or even better, leave them outside of your bedroom altogether.
Enjoying the right foods on the morning of your exam is a great way to feel energized, alert and mentally prepared for the 3-hour GMAT exam.
Even if you’re not a breakfast person, it’s vital to give your brain the energy and fuel it needs to perform well during the test. The last thing you want is the distraction of a rumbling stomach halfway through the GMAT.
If you really can’t face eating food, try a smoothie or protein shake instead. Otherwise, choose from healthy breakfast options like whole-grain cereal, eggs, porridge or toast. Try adding a few ‘brain foods’ such as flaxseed, walnuts, figs or blueberries, too.
And don’t forget to have something to drink – this will help you to avoid dehydration. Water is the best option but tea (without sugar) is also good.
Since the GMAT is designed to test your mental ability (not your memory), you should resist the urge to study or practice on the day of your GMAT test. If possible, try not to study the day before the exam either.
Some people may find this quite a nerve-wracking prospect – if this applies to you, just do one practice test the day before your actual GMAT exam. You might find it useful to do this at the same time of day that you will be taking the real test.
Find out exactly where the test center is and how long it will take you to get there. If you are planning to drive, find out whether there is an on-site parking lot, if you need coins to pay for parking and how long it will take you to walk to the test center from your car.
If you will be using public transport, make sure you choose an option that will get you to the venue with time to spare. If in doubt, aim to arrive at least an hour before your test starts.
You may wish to print out the directions to the test center, just in case your phone isn’t working on the day.
Feeling prepared and in control is one of the best ways to avoid exam-day stress. By arriving early, you will have time to collect your thoughts before entering the exam hall.
Rushing in at the last minute or panicking that you might be too late for your slot is bound to leave you feeling stressed out during the exam.
GMAC has several strict rules that you will need to adhere to. Make sure you stick to these to avoid having to reschedule your test or pay additional fees.
Read on to find out all of the essential and non-essential (but still nice-to-have) items you will need to take along with you on the day of your test.
Bringing a prohibited item to the test center could lead to confiscation, revocation of your score or even a ban from further testing for a period of up to three years. Additionally, GMAC may choose to send a notification to your preferred business schools.
Here are the things that are not allowed in your locker or on the premises. Make sure you do not have any of these with you when arriving for your test:
Here are the things that are allowed in your locker but must not be accessed, even during breaks:
If you’re hoping to study at a business school, taking the GMAT test is an important way to get your MBA journey off to a good start. This means it is vital to ensure you are fully prepared on the day.
When it comes to preparation, avoid revising or cramming on the morning of the test (or even the day before if possible). Chances are, you will know the date of your GMAT appointment well in advance, so you should have plenty of time to ensure you are ready without putting yourself under unnecessary extra stress or pressure in the hours leading up to the test.
Using the checklist outlined above, spend some time the day before your test preparing the items you will need to take with you, especially the essential documents required for GMAT. Remember, it’s vital that you take an acceptable form of photo-ID – you won’t be allowed to take the test without this.
Before leaving, check through your bag and pockets to make sure you are not carrying any of the prohibited items.
Plan your journey to the test venue and arrive early. This will give you adequate time to get your bearings, find the restrooms and put your belongings into your locker.
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