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  Inside a GMAT Test Center

Posted by ian on Sat 27 Sep 08 at 6:26am

So, what should you expect at the GMAT Test Center? Below we describe the central London (Holborn) test center, but your experience at a different location is likely to be quite similar.

The lounge area at the center feels uncannily like an airport check-in. There are about a dozen chairs and a water cooler, and of course the check-in counter. There may be a short lineup of people- we've never seen a lineup of more than three people- waiting to check in. Once at the front of the line, you'll be given a page detailing the test center's rules, and once you've read that, they will check your id, take your photograph, and scan your fingerprint. The process can take a few minutes as they run some checks on the computer, so be sure to arrive early enough. Once you've passed the security checks, you will be given a card that will gain you admission to the test room, and which was required to access the part of the building containing the restrooms. There are also lockers at the back of the lounge where you can stow all of your personal items- all except your identification, which you will need to get into the test room.

At the London center, there are three different test rooms. The test center administers several different tests- not only GMAT- and the start times are staggered, so when you arrive at the test room, there will be others there who are in the middle of taking various tests. There will be a supervisor just outside the test room who will give you a marker and a set of laminated sheets for scratch work, and will escort you to your computer station. The test room seats about ten people, and has a long L-shaped table running along two walls. This table is partitioned into cubicles with barriers to make it difficult to see an adjacent test-taker's screen. Once seated, you should find enough table space for the computer keyboard and your laminated sheets; in some test centers, the keyboard is on a sliding tray so that it can be pushed underneath the table. Since test times are staggered, people will be getting up or arriving during your test, though with the small number of test takers in the room, these distractions are infrequent. It may happen once or twice during your test that someone beside you leaves or is seated for a test, which may be a momentary distraction from your work.



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