Before the test…
Prior to heading to the testing center, print directions to the facility and steer clear of traffic so you reach the location with at least 20 minutes to spare. If you’re late, there is a chance you won’t be permitted to take the exam.
Wear something comfortable, preferably in layers, as you cannot predict the temperature in the testing room. Sweatshirts and jeans are fine, as this is not a business meeting. Once you arrive, you will likely be waiting with all sorts of nervous test-takers – not just prospective business school students – so, stay calm.
During the test…
When you enter the testing room, you will sit down in front of a computer and the proctor will set your test up. You will also be provided a five-page booklet of laminated paper designated for taking notes. Do not take any notes or make small-talk before the exam starts.
Before you begin the test, you’ll read a short passage of instructions and select the schools to which you would like your scores forwarded (identify these ahead of time!). Once you’re finished with that section, take a deep breath, tell yourself you’re going to do well, and dive in!
While you’re completing the questions, ensure you aren’t using too much of the booklet on any one problem or section. However, keep in mind that you can ask the proctor for a new booklet during the break. If you have an emergency and need to leave the room for some reason, just quietly raise your hand and the proctor will assist you.
There are two scheduled (optional) eight-minute breaks during the test, and it would be very wise to take advantage of them. Go to your locker, eat a snack, use the restroom, or even run on-the-spot to get your blood flowing.
Try not to dwell on any issues you had during the previous section, and clear your mind. Avoid talking very much with any of the other test-takers, especially about their perceived performance on the exam – this is will distract you unnecessarily.
After the test…
Once you’re finished, you’ll receive your unofficial score report which will contain your scores from the Verbal and Quantitative sections, as well as your total score. It will also include the authentication code needed to receive your official score report, which will be available within 20 days.
The official score report will include scores from the Analytical Writing and Integrated Reasoning sections.
Hopefully, you’ll be thrilled with your score and will enjoy the remainder of your day. Relax, do something fun, and try not to think about those looming application essays!
Sunil Parekh is a professional GMAT tutor for Varsity Tutors. He graduated from Stanford University in 2008 with a Bachelor's degree in Biomechanical Engineering and scored a 770 on the GMAT.