How the GMAT Works

GMAT Test Day

One advantage of the computer-adaptive test format is that you can sign up to take the GMAT five days a week all year long (depending on location). To schedule a GMAT appointment, visit the Web site or contact your national appointment center by phone or mail. You can make an appointment up to six months in advance.

The GMAC has established uniform procedures and rules to be followed at every GMAT test-taking location. The test administrator reserves the right to kick you out at any time for breaking a rule, so take them seriously and come prepared. Carefully read the GMAT Information Bulletin before you arrive as to avoid any last-minute problems or disqualifications.

When you arrive at the test-taking location, the test administrator will ask for a valid, government-issued photo ID: passport, driver's license, government-issued national/state/province ID card or military ID [source:]. Your name on the ID needs to exactly match the name on record.

The administrator will then digitally record your signature, fingerprint and/or a "palm vein" pattern (an infrared scanner that records the unique pattern of veins under the skin of your palm) and a photograph. If you refuse any of these procedures, you won't be allowed to take the test.

You will also need to sign a non-disclosure agreement and terms of use of the exam. Once again, if you refuse, you can't take the test.

Don't bother bringing anything with you into the exam area. You can't bring any "testing aids" with you, including pens, scratch paper, calculators, rulers, watches, dictionaries and pretty much any electronic device (PDAs, cellphones, pagers, cameras, translators and more) [source:]. Instead, the test administrator will provide you with a bound booklet of five "noteboards" -- small wet-erase boards -- that can be used for scratch paper and must be returned at the end of the exam.

You have four hours to complete the GMAT with two optional breaks. During breaks, you can leave the testing room to retrieve food from your locker or use the bathroom, but you're required to use the fingerprint or palm vein pattern scanner every time you leave or re-enter the room. You cannot talk to anybody about the test during your breaks and you can't make any phone calls. If you take more than the allotted time for your break, the excess minutes will be subtracted from your testing time.