Are you giving the GMAT Exam anytime soon? While you must have done your due diligence with regard to the syllabus, you should probably also know the basics about visiting a GMAT test centre, so you’re not caught unawares. Rules and regulations have changed since the pandemic, so it’s important that you’re in the clear, or you might not be allowed to give your exam. We’ll tell you everything you need to know, but first, let’s catch you up on the details of the GMAT itself. 

About the GMAT Exam and the GMAT Test Centres

Any prospective business school student knows how important the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) — conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) — is. According to mba.com, 7000 MBA and Master’s programs worldwide require you to submit your GMAT score along with your application. Over 200,000 business school aspirants give the GMAT every year to make it to top business schools. So, if you’re interested in entering the world of business via a rigorous and instructive course at a reputable university, you have to consider giving the GMAT.

The GMAT is specifically designed to test your critical thinking and reasoning skills. Being the only standardised test in the world of its kind (for business and management programs specifically), the GMAT also provides you with tailored recommendations after you’ve given the exam. This way, you can understand which programs you’d be a good fit for, depending on your score. 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has created issues for GMAT test-takers, many of the GMAT centres are now open and functioning once again. GMAC allows you to give the exam on nearly any day of the year; you can schedule an exam either by online appointment at mba.com or over the phone. All the GMAT test locations are currently following COVID-19 guidelines, so that you can take your test safely and effectively. 

However, if you can’t make it to a GMAT test centre, GMAC now allows you to take a proctored exam at home, which is ideal for countries where test centres may not be open or where lockdown is currently being enforced. 

Now, let’s take a look at the details of taking the test. 

Taking the GMAT Exam

Register for the GMAT at mba.com. You’ll have access to practice exams, articles, and tips on giving the test, and you can also check out and compare schools where you can apply with your GMAT score. Once you’ve registered, you can select the date and time of your exam, as well as the GMAT test location. Also, check out the GMAT Handbook, which should give you all the extra information you need. 

You can also choose to give your exam online. This option is available in almost every location around the world, except a few. You can take it online twice, and it’s a better option if you’d prefer to take your exam in an environment that is known to you. Any questions you might have or technical issues that might arise while giving the test at home can be addressed to the proctor, who will help you out. 

It might seem intimidating, but giving the GMAT is just like giving any other online exam. It’s relatively simple and straightforward, and giving the exam at a GMAT test centre ensures a degree of isolation and makes it easy to concentrate on the task at hand.

GMAT Centres

If you’re taking your exam at a GMAT centre, expect to store your belongings in a locker while you’re taking the test. You won’t be allowed to take your phone or a calculator into the test room (although you will be given a calculator when you’re attempting the Quantitative Reasoning section of the test). 

If you’re giving the GMAT in India, there are test centres at several locations. If there is no centre at your location, and you still want to give the GMAT at a test centre, you may have to travel. However, most centralised locations and cities do have test centres. For example, you should have no trouble getting an appointment in cities like Amritsar, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Dehradun, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, and so on. Certain centres may have more slots available than others. Plan ahead to make sure you get the slot you want, when you want. You can find your GMAT test centre here. 

Let us take a look at some guidelines you will have to follow while taking the GMAT at a test centre or while taking the GMAT online:

While taking the exam at a GMAT test centre — 

  • Depending on the test centre you’re at, you will probably be required to wear a face mask and disposable gloves. Make sure to show up with a face mask even if rules around COVID-19 are slightly relaxed in your location; it’s possible you won’t be allowed to sit for the GMAT if you don’t have a face mask.
  • Social distancing will be strictly maintained within the test centre, so don’t worry about any risks. 
  • Hand sanitiser and tissues are easily accessible, and each testing station will be sanitised before and after use.

While taking the test online — 

  • If, for whatever reason, you can’t access or can’t find a GMAT test centre in your location, and you opt to give the exam online at home (or wherever you’re located), your computer system must meet the minimum requirements. Since both your audio and video will be recorded for the duration of the test for the benefit of the proctor, you can only have certain things within arm’s reach. This includes ID, a whiteboard (preapproved), and markers. Your phone should be kept out of reach.
  • If you’d rather not use a physical whiteboard while giving the exam online, you can practice with an online whiteboard tool. This is also useful if you’re giving your exam at a test centre because you can practice with the tool beforehand.
  • If you’re giving the exam online at home, or anywhere that is not a GMAT test centre, make sure you’ve advised your family and roommates that you must work uninterrupted. No one else should enter your room or interfere with your test.
  • While taking the exam online, your desk should be clear of any clutter, and you should be ready 15 minutes before the test starts, so you can check in. 

Many spend a few months preparing for the GMAT. Besides, top business schools take in students with an average above 700 on their GMAT, although sometimes a number above 650 is also acceptable. In 2019, the average GMAT score for the top 20 business schools was 732. If you want to score well it’s true that you need quite a lot of preparation. But you also need to stay calm before and while giving the exam. The best way to do that is to make sure you have all your documents in place, along with everything else you need. 

Identification Requirements 

You shouldn’t be scurrying around at the last minute looking for where to go or what to do, either. Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Don’t leave your identification at home! You’re going to need your passport, a government-issued national/state ID (such as an Aadhar card or a Voter ID), or a driver’s licence. If you’re in India, it’s best to take your passport along as the best possible ID proof. Whichever ID you choose to carry, make sure it’s still valid. There’s no point in carrying an expired ID proof.
  • The ID you carry must match the details you’ve provided in your application. Details such as your name, date of birth, and signature should be identical. 

Things You Can Bring to the GMAT Test Centre:

  • Carry your appointment letter or a printout of your appointment email (received from Pearson VUE) as well, just to be safe.
  • You will be allowed to carry (aside from your ID) outerwear and prescription glasses. You can also have comfort items, but you should obtain permission before you arrive at the test centre while you’re applying for the GMAT.

Checking into a GMAT Test Centre (in India):

  • Once you’re at the test centre, you will have to check-in before you’re allowed to sit for the exam. The proctors will examine your documents, take your biometrics (via a palm vein scan and a photograph), and you’ll also have to provide a digital signature agreeing to the test terms. After you’ve completed this registration process, you’re good to go. You can then start taking the exam.
  • If you have a disability or issues which require some additional accommodation, make certain to mention and get permission for such things ahead of time. You can’t ask for extra accommodations once you reach the GMAT test centre; they must be agreed upon and guaranteed to you beforehand.

Also, make a mental note of the colleges where you’re planning to send the GMAT score after you’ve completed the test. Since it will last for roughly three and a half hours, make sure you arrive early with plenty of time to spare for the preliminaries before you’re allowed to take the test.

Since these are different times, remember to stay COVID-safe before, during, and after the exam. Maintain social distancing (at least six feet of distance, that is), keep your mask on, and sanitise whenever required or instructed. Any breach in decorum (such as removing your mask for no reason) might cause the centre to cancel your application. Avoid any such trouble and keep to the rules, unless you’re told to do otherwise.

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