The ultimate GMAT test day checklist

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The ultimate GMAT test day checklist

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The big day is finally here, probably much sooner than you expected.

If you’re down to the last 24 hours before the GMAT, follow this checklist to make sure that your many hours of hard work don’t go to waste.

The Night Before:

  • Print your appointment confirmation email from Parsons Vue. You should bring it with you to the test to prove that you’re registered, but they will let you in without it as long as you have an appointment.
  • Make of list of the schools you want to receive your GMAT scores. You can send as many as you need, but only the first five are free.
  • Look up directions to the testing center. Plan to arrive 20-30 minutes early, just in case you have trouble getting to the testing facility or are running late.
  • Put away your study materials. You’ve spent weeks or even months studying for this exam. Spending the evening trying to master a difficult concept is going to hurt you more than it will help you.
  • Eat a balanced dinner. Spend the rest of the night going through your normal evening routine without thinking about the GMAT.
  • Go to bed. One of the best things that you can do is get a good night’s sleep.

The Morning of:

  • Wake up at a “normal” time. Don’t sleep in, but don’t wake up at the crack of dawn either.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. High-protein foods like eggs and whole grains like oatmeal will keep you mentally sharp. Try to stay away from refined sugars and white flour.
  • Grab a snack. Even if you don’t think you’re going to need it, it’s better safe than sorry.
  • Don’t study. Spending the morning studying for the GMAT is the best way to psych yourself out. No books, no flashcards, and no Prep4GMAT app.
  • Drink lots of water. Throughout your morning, make sure you’re keeping hydrated.
  • Wear something that makes you comfortable. Some people feel most comfortable and confident when they look relatively put-together, while others would rather wear sweats.
  • Read a book or play a game. Try to do something that will get your brain moving without overtaxing it.
  • Don’t stress. If you feel like you’re getting anxious, find a task that will keep you occupied and leave you feeling confident and relaxed. This could be anything from cleaning your kitchen to jumping on a treadmill.
  • Leave for test center 20-30 minutes early, just in case you have trouble finding it or have an unexpected problem.
  • Leave your watch, calculator, and cell phone at home. If you carry around pocket stereos or are still using a beeper, you’ll need to leave those at home too.

When You Arrive:

  • Store your stuff. Leave the probited items in your score or store them in a testing center locker.
  • Pump yourself up. Talk to yourself in the mirror, listen to “We are the Champions.” Whatever works for you.

During the Test:

  • Focus. It’s rather obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Don’t think about the rest of your application or your personal life. Just focus on the questions in front of you.
  • Stay optimistic even when you miss a question. Remember that the GMAT is an adaptive test, so the test is throwing difficult questions. Don’t expect to be breezing through answers, and be aware that the average test taker misses about 40% of the questions.
  • Pace yourself. Most people like to have some kind of pacing plan before they start.
  • Conquer one section at a time. Even if you feel like you performed badly on a previous section, don’t let it break your concentration. Focus on the section in front of you.
  • Don’t try to estimate your score. Most of the GMAT questions will be at, slightly above, or slightly below your difficulty level. It’s virtually impossible to gauge your progress.
  • Don’t rush the last questions. Test-takers tend to go through the last few questions a bit too quickly because they’re eager to see their score. But those questions are just as important as the others, so take your time.

After the Test:

  • Have fun. No matter what happened during the exam, give yourself a “brain break.” take the rest of the day to relax, spend time with friends, or just watch hours of television.

Though we don’t recommend using it on test day, the Prep4GMAT app has over a thousand questions and flashcards designed to help you master the GMAT in the most efficient way possible.



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