3 Things to Know About Picking a GMAT Test Center

by on April 26th, 2017

examIn a previous post, we covered five often-overlooked things to think about before you show up at your GMAT test center, one of which involved the location and accessibility of the place itself. This week, we want to drill down and offer some more pointers on the facility factor. Not all GMAT test centers are created equal, so read on for some quick tips to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success on test day!

1. Size Matters.

You would never buy a car or house by just looking at a picture and name. You have to take it for a test drive and see if it’s right for you. Just like cars, test centers come in a variety of makes and models. They can have as few as 2 or as many as 15 work stations, and they can offer up to 15 other exams (in addition to the GMAT). While the number of work stations might not seem relevant (you only need one!), remember there is only one proctor who has to keep tabs on everyone. Chances are you’ll get a quicker response to requests for a new noteboard or tissues if there are fewer candidates in the room.

2. Early AM Coffee or Happy Hour

Anyone who took the SAT or ACT in high school will recall that you didn’t have options when it came to test day. You crammed into a high school classroom—or gym—with 30-300 other students on a Saturday morning and hoped your #2 pencils held out. With the GMAT, there’s considerable diversity in terms of the appointments offered. Just like some folks prefer red eye flights, some test takers love 8:00 AM appointments. Check out the “Find Test Dates” feature on mba.com that lets you peruse available appointments in real time without making a commitment. (Think of it as the Tinder of the standardized testing world.) “Find Test Dates” lets you view six months of available GMAT appointments at up to 10 test centers near you so you can identify which centers cater to the early birds and which are more geared toward for Happy Hour.

3. 30-Day Challenge

No this isn’t a 30 day diet plan or challenge, but did you know that GMAC® guarantees that you’ll be able to find an appointment within 30 days at any test center around the globe? It might not be your first choice, but there will always be available appointments. Just remember: if 1:00 PM on a Sunday afternoon sounds attractive to you, it probably sounds appealing to some of the other approximately 200,000 test takers who take the GMAT each year. Appointments are updated in real-time on mba.com, so if at first you don’t see an appointment you love, check back. (NB: GMAC releases appointments six months in advance, so plan early and score an appointment date and time that’s most convenient for you.)

Like so many things in life, there are fees involved here, so make sure you do your research, think through your schedule, and plan your test prep timeline and method before making a commitment. You’ll pay $50 to reschedule if you should have to change your appointment—and will forfeit your entire $250 fee if you cancel within a week of the test date. As you can see, there’s quite a bit to consider in selecting a test center, so spend a little bit of time in between study sessions researching the site best for you. Hitting the books will prepare you for what you see inside the test center, but you want to set yourself up to succeed from every perspective on test day.

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