GMAT Exam Day Checklist: What to Bring to the Test Center


You’ve studied for weeks! You know your math formulas backwards and forwards! You can spot an idiom from miles away! You get all the way to the test center and it hits you… you’ve forgotten your valid photo ID.

Arriving at the test center on the day of your GMAT exam without something you need would certainly be a big bummer, but don’t worry! In this guide, I’ll walk you through what to bring to GMAT test day. First, I’ll go over the necessary items you have to bring to the test center. Next, I’ll talk about some things that would be nice to have at the test center. I’ll also give you a GMAT exam day checklist that you can use to make sure you’ve got all you need for test day. Finally, I’ll talk briefly about the items you shouldn’t bring to test day.


What to Bring to GMAT Test Day

GMAC has strict rules and regulations for test-takers, so it’s important to know what to bring to the GMAT test center so that you can take your test at your scheduled time. It’s also important to be prepared so you avoid any unnecessary fees from having to reschedule your exam or pay to send test scores later.


What to Bring to the GMAT: 4 Necessary Items

You don’t need to bring much to take the GMAT, but there are a number of items you must have in order to be allowed to take the test. You should make sure to bring each of the following items with you to your appointment.


#1: A Valid, GMAT Approved Photo ID

You must bring a valid, GMAT approved photo ID to be admitted your exam. If you forget to bring a photo ID, or if it doesn’t fit the qualifications discussed below, you won’t be allowed to take the GMAT. GMAC has strict rules and regulations about what constitutes a valid, approved photo ID. A valid photo ID must have:

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  • Your name using the Roman alphabet (an important note for test-takers in countries that don’t use the Roman alphabet) that is spelled exactly the same way you provided it when you registered.
  • Date of birth that exactly matches the birth date you registered with.
  • A recent, recognizable photograph.
  • Your signature.

If your photo ID doesn’t have one of the above qualifications, you won’t be admitted to take the GMAT. If your photo ID has all of the above qualifications but is expired, you won’t be admitted to take the GMAT. Make sure your ID fulfills all the requirements well before test day, because it can often take a while to replace a driver’s license or passport.

Speaking of driver’s licenses and passports, they are two of the acceptable forms of photo identification. The four acceptable forms of ID for the GMAT are: international passport, government-issued driver’s license, government-issued national/state/province identity card, and military ID card. Note, you must bring a passport if you’re taking the GMAT in a country outside of your country of citizenship. So, if you’re from the United States and are taking the GMAT in India, you need to bring your US passport in order to take the GMAT.

Remember, you’ll be turned away at the door if you don’t have a valid photo ID!


#2: Names of the Five MBA Programs Where You Want to Send Your Scores

As part of your GMAT test day appointment, you’ll be able to select up to five programs to send your GMAT scores to. Your GMAT exam fee includes the cost of sending your scores to these five schools. You’ll only be able to send your free scores once, immediately before your exam. If you don’t select any schools to send your scores to, you can do it later, but it’ll cost $28 per school.

It’s a good idea to bring a list of the MBA programs you want to send your scores to your test so that you aren’t flustered with trying to make a decision on test day and so that you don’t spend unnecessary money sending your scores at a later date.


You’ll have time before your test to select up to five schools to send your score report to for free.


#3: Appointment Confirmation Letter or Email

Bring your appointment confirmation letter or email to your testing center in case there’s any discrepancy with your test date and time. By bringing your confirmation letter, you’ll be able to address any discrepancy (such as a confusion about your test date) and smooth out your check in process.


#4: Directions to the Test Center

Having printed directions to the test center or the address already pre-loaded onto your phone will save you time and stress as you’re driving to your appointment. Having printed directions can help if your phone unexpectedly dies or fails, while having the address pre-loaded onto your phone can help you search for alternate routes in case of traffic.


What to Bring to the GMAT: 3 Nice-to-Have Items

The GMAT is a long test and you’ll have the option of taking two breaks to refresh yourself during the exam. The following items aren’t required of test day, but may be nice to have if you’re concerned about being comfortable through the length of the exam.


#1: Water

Bringing water is a great way to refresh yourself during your break. You can’t bring it into the exam room, but you can retrieve it and drink it during the breaks. I’d recommend bringing water over soda or other sugary drinks, so you don’t experience a sugar crash.


#2: Snacks

Just like water, you can’t bring your snacks into the exam room, but you can get them during your breaks. A healthy snack like a piece of fruit, protein bar, or handful of trail mix can help boost your energy levels during the long test.


#3: Extra Layers

Sometimes, the test center you’re working in may be very cold or very hot. Bringing an extra layer, like a sweatshirt, or wearing layers that you can easily remove will help you be comfortable as you work in the test center for over three hours.


Drinking from a water bottle can help refresh you during breaks.
Drinking from a water bottle can help refresh you during breaks.


GMAT Exam Day Checklist

Worried that you’ll forget something important on your way to the GMAT? Don’t be! With our handy, downloadable GMAT exam day checklist, you’ll be able to remember exactly what to bring to GMAT test day.

Click here to download PrepScholar’s GMAT Exam Day Checklist.


3 Things Not to Bring to the GMAT

GMAC is very strict about what you can bring into the testing room. Leave these items at home or in your car on test day – you won’t be able to use them anyways.


#1: Electronics

You can’t bring a calculator to the GMAT, so don’t even bother packing it into your car on test day. You also won’t be able to use your phone, tablet, pager, laptop, watch, radio, or any other electronic item during the test, besides the computer station provided to you at the test center. You’ll be asked to lock up your electronics, so be prepared to put them into a locker or leave them in your car or at home during the test.


You are prohibited from using a cell phone at your GMAT test center.
You are prohibited from using a cell phone at your GMAT test center.


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#2: Books and Other Print Aids

You can’t bring any books or print aids to the GMAT, including dictionaries, thesauruses, idiom dictionaries, math formula sheets, etc. Make sure you don’t accidentally have a sheet folded up in your pocket or on your person as you enter into the test center. Your test will be automatically voided if you’re found with any print aids in the testing room.


#3: Weapons

It should go without saying, but the only weapon you need to bring to the GMAT is your finely tuned brain that you’ve trained for weeks to conquer the test. Leave all weapons or items that could be considered a weapon (including pocket knives, nail clippers, and razors) at home.


Review: What to Bring to GMAT Test Day (and What Not To)

It’s important to know what to bring to the GMAT so you don’t have any trouble taking your test during your scheduled appointment. If you’re worried about forgetting something, print out our GMAT exam day checklist to make sure you’re all ready to go.


Worried you'll forget something? Use our downloadable GMAT exam day checklist to make sure you remember everything you need for test day.
Worried you’ll forget something? Use our downloadable GMAT exam day checklist to make sure you remember everything you need for test day.


What’s Next

Wondering what to expect at your GMAT test center? A big part of feeling prepared for test day is knowing what you’ll encounter when you arrive to take your test. Check out our guide to GMAT test centers to make sure you’re well-prepared and ready to go.

If you’re concerned about sending your GMAT scores to schools, check out our complete guide to sending GMAT scores. The guide will help you learn how and when to send GMAT scores, as well as how to correctly time ordering score reports so your scores will arrive to admissions programs in time.

Searching for some last-minute GMAT tips? If your GMAT is just around the corner, our guide to last-minute GMAT tips will help you feel more prepared and ready for the exam, whether you just decided to take it recently or you’ve been studying for months.

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Author: Hayley Milliman

Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.