So you’ve decided to write the GMAT. Now what? Congratulations, because you’re in the right place. This is a step-by-step guide detailing everything you need to know to successfully take the first step on your path to your MBA.
The first thing you’re going to have to do is visit the GMAT website and use their registration system to make an appointment to write the exam at a testing centre near you. The second thing you’re going to have to do is pay for it: $250 USD. The third thing you have to do is by far the most difficult: show up at the testing centre and actually write the exam.
No matter what you do to prepare yourself, nothing is as intimidating as taking the GMAT at the testing center. Show up 30 minutes before your scheduled testing time, with acceptable ID, so that you have enough time to complete the check in procedure, which includes having your picture, signature, and palm vein pattern recorded, before your test begins. Once you have checked in you will be instructed to empty your pockets and leave all personal items in a locker in the reception area, before you are escorted into the testing area. When you make it inside the testing area, you will be seated in front of the computer on which you will write the exam, where you will be under video surveillance the entire time. The whole point of this is that you will have to pull some Mission: Impossible type stunt in order to successfully cheat on the GMAT, so it’s probably easier for you to just study.
Once you’re in the testing room all you have left to do is take the exam. The most important thing you can do to prepare is to download the free test preparation software from the GMAT website and complete the two practice tests. This will give you a feel for the actual structure of the test and give you valuable practice at both doing the actual questions and completing them in the allotted time. The GMAT is done completely on a computer, to learn more about the inner workings of the Computer Adaptive Test, check out Part 2 of this series. For a review of the actual questions and strategies for taking the actual exam an excellent book is Cracking the GMAT from the Princeton Review.
After you’ve completed the exam you have to decide if you want your results to count or not. You make this choice after you’ve decided which schools you want to send your scores to, so if you picked an Ivy League school and you get a bad score they will see it. You still pay to take the test regardless of whether you decide to get your scores or not, so be aware of this when making your decision.
Despite all of this, it is possible to do well on the GMAT as long as you have prepared properly ahead of time by learning the strategies, practicing them with the free test preparation software, and finally using them on the actual exam.
Be sure to read the other 2 posts in this 3 part series:
GMAT Tips Part 2 – Computer Adaptive Test Strategies
GMAT Tips Part 3 – Best Practices for Test Day