GMAT Test Centers

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Before the big day when you sit for your GMAT exam, it's important that you know what you're in for.

Taking a standardized test like the GMAT is different than, say, a college exam. It all makes sense when you consider two major priorities of the GMAT administrators: security and consistency.


To maintain the integrity of test results, the administrators must confirm that you are who you say you are. It's also crucial that you aren't aided in any improper way.

Depending on the GMAT test center, you'll be asked to verify your identity through methods such as photo ID, fingerprinting, and/or palm vein scanning. It's probably a bit like being a visitor at a maximum-security prison.

To ensure that your performance on the test is valid, you can't take anything into the testing area with you. That includes your own pens, pencils, paper, calculator, phones, PDAs, and many watches.

Further, the GMAT wants to ensure that you don't aid the performance of anyone else. You'll sign a non-disclosure agreement covering the content of the exam. While we know a lot about what's on the GMAT, it's completely unacceptable to share details of what appeared on your exam.


There are hundreds of GMAT test centers worldwide, including sites in nearly 100 different countries. You might expect that the experience is a lot different in Spokane, Washington than in Hanoi, Vietnam, but to the extent those differences can be controlled, you'll have the same experience.

After all, the GMAT is a standardized test. Business schools need to trust that, regardless of where someone took the GMAT, a candidate's score has a predictable, standard meaning.

Understanding GMAT Test Centers

The guidelines I've mentioned so far aren't even the half of it. Click here for a page on the website that provides much more detail.

While it can be frustrating to deal with the impersonal, bureaucratic aspects of GMAT administration, remember the importance of these two factors. Expect to be treated like you are renewing your passport, and the administrative aspects of the test centers will be much more pleasant.



About the author: Jeff Sackmann has written many GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math, Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions.

Total GMAT Math

The comprehensive guide to the GMAT Quant section. It's "far and away the best study material available," including over 300 realistic practice questions and more than 500 exercises!
Click to read more.