What to Bring to the GMAT Exam? (4 Essential Tips)

Jordan Coleman
Published by Jordan Coleman
Last Updated On: December 18, 2021

Now that you have put in all the hard work of studying for the GMAT, your test day is finally here. On your GMAT exam day, you will be nervous, so we recommend making a test day checklist to ensure you don’t forget anything.

This guide will help you make a GMAT exam day checklist of all the essential and desired items you should bring with you. There might be some things on this list that you would have never thought about, but we thought necessary. Take a look at our GMAT test day checklist to see how you should prepare.

4 Must-Have Essentials For The GMAT

1. Identification

Man wearing his ID

First and foremost, you will need to bring a Graduate Management Admission Council approved photo identification form. This must be a photo ID with a clear picture. Your photo ID must be valid and not expired before your GMAT test day.

Acceptable photo ID forms include a passport, government-issued valid driver’s license, national identification card, or a military ID card with a photo.

Your identification must have your name written in Roman alphabet letters and match your appointment confirmation letter or email exactly. It should include your date of birth that fits your admission ticket. It also needs to have a recent photograph and a recognizable signature.

2. Schools You Wish to Apply To

As we mentioned before, you should already have a list of the 5 MBA schools you want to send an official score report to. You will be able to select the schools to send your scores at the beginning of your test. Once you send your scores, you can’t take them back.

You should have this list prepared before your GMAT test day to not waste time in the test center. You do have an opportunity to cancel your scores within 72 hours of your GMAT test day, but we do not recommend this option. You will be charged a fee for cancellation, and you will forfeit your exam fees.

3. Appointment Confirmation Letter or Email

Mailed letters

You will not be allowed entry into the test center if you do not have your confirmation letter. This letter is your entry ticket, so make sure you have it on your GMAT test day. You can quickly print your admission ticket online from the Graduate Management Admission Council website.

We recommend printing your ticket the night before, so you don’t have to wait until the last minute. This can create unnecessary stress on test day.

4. Directions to the GMAT Test Center

You should know exactly where you are going before your GMAT exam day. We recommend printing the directions or pulling them up on your phone the night before the exam.

You might want to make a trip to the test center before your test day, so you can make sure you know how to get there. We recommend checking the traffic data at the time and location on your exam day. This might help you eliminate some traffic issues if you are not familiar with your test center location.

Items to Bring to the GMAT Exam

Things to bring to gmat exam

While these things are not essential for entry to the test center, we recommend bringing them anyway to make sure you stay focused and sustained when you take the test.


This might go without saying, but you should bring some water with you to the testing room. You might not be allowed to take it into the exam room, but you can certainly leave it outside and drink it on your break.

Water helps keep your brain focused and engaged when working through long and difficult test questions. During the breaks, you should also go to the restroom and move your legs a bit.


We recommend bringing snacks with you to the test center. Keep in mind you might not be able to bring them into the testing room, but you can eat them on your break. We recommend getting a healthy snack, like a protein bar, to make sure you can focus for 3 hours.

The GMAT exam is long and requires a lot of mental energy. You won’t be sorry if you bring a snack with you on your test date. During the breaks, we recommend stretching as well.

Extra Layers of Clothing

Most test centers are cold. The testing room might feel like a refrigerator, and if you are freezing, you will have a hard time taking the GMAT effectively. We recommend bringing a light jacket or overshirt to keep you warm while you are taking the GMAT. It should be something you can easily take off and put on depending on the temperature.

Items You Should Not Bring to the GMAT Test Center


Absolutely no electronic devices are permitted at test centers. Leave your cell phone in your car or at home when you go to your exam appointment. Some test centers have a locker, but this is not guaranteed. The last thing you want to happen is getting kicked out of the testing center, and you cannot take your exam.

You cannot bring a calculator to the GMAT. A basic calculator will be provided for you for the integrated reasoning section only. You will not be able to use a calculator on the quantitative section of the GMAT. When you are working your way through your GMAT prep, we recommend not using a calculator as much as possible. It may slow some students down during the exam.

Printed Items or Books

You will not be allowed to bring any printed materials with you to the testing appointment. The only printed thing you will need is your admission ticket, which you will leave with the receptionist before you enter the exam room.

What You Need to Know Before You Arrive at the Test Center

A professor teaching and school materials

You should know a few key points before you go to the test center on your GMAT test day. While these key points may not require you to bring something, you should at least keep them in mind before you arrive at the test center.

GMAT Scheduled Appointment Time and Center Location

Check, double-check, and triple-check your appointment time and test center location. It might sound silly now, but it is no different than checking your gate a few times before you board a plane. You should plan to arrive early and be sure you go to the right testing center. [1]

Business Schools That Will Receive Your Scores

Part of your GMAT exam package is that you will be able to send your GMAT scores to 5 different business schools. Part of your GMAT exam processing fee includes sending five score reports to various business programs. We recommend taking full advantage of this opportunity even if you don’t plan to send a complete application to some of the programs on your list.

You should know ahead of time which schools you want to send an official score report to. You can change your mind later, but it will cost you a fee.

Decide the Order of the Sections

A man scrolling through his laptop

This is a feature unique to the GMAT. Once you go through the tutorial and the school selection, you will be asked what order you want to take the GMAT sections in. Here are your options:

  • Analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative, and verbal
  • Verbal, quantitative, integrated, and analytical writing
  • Quantitative, verbal, integrated, and analytical writing

This might seem like it does not matter, but it could matter greatly for some students. If you think you will have the most energy and focus at the beginning of the GMAT, you should start with the most difficult sections for you.

You might want to save the difficult sections for later. It would help if you researched how you want to structure your exam before you go to the testing center.

Helpful Test Day Tips

Take Care of Your Body

This might go without saying, but you should be taking care of your body leading up to the test. You need to get at least 8 hours of sleep multiple days before taking the GMAT. You should get a good night’s sleep before you get to the test appointment.

You should also be eating healthy foods and making important decisions before your exam time. That means you should make the best decisions about diet, sleep, and exercise. We recommend taking some time to mentally prepare for your test by practicing mindfulness and other calming techniques.

Stop Studying Before Your Test Date

This might sound crazy, but you need to take ample breaks during your GMAT prep and practice. This will help you rest your brain and prepare for the daunting mental task ahead. You should take a break from studying the day before your exam. It is best to relax your mind instead of trying to cram in extra important information. The best way to get some rest before the GMAT is to stop studying and remember everything you learned.


In this guide, we have armed you with the information you need to make the perfect checklist before leaving for your exam appointment. You have put in all those study hours, and now it is time to succeed.

We hope you use our guide to give you some peace of mind on your big day. Remember all your studying and be confident going in.


  1. https://www.mba.com/exams/gmat

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