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GMAT Tip: 3 Items to Leave at Home (and a Few to Remember) on Test Day

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As you embark on your GMAT preparation journey, chances are you’ll meet new people who are on a similar path and build relationships based on your shared love/hate of the GMAT and your ability to commiserate with one another. It’s also pretty likely that you’ll develop some new and intimate relationships with some inanimate objects such as your Official Guide or timing devices. That being said, it’s equally important to take a break from some of these relationships on test day to ensure success. Let’s take a look at some things you should remember to pack…and others to leave at home.

1. Cellphone

The most frequently occurring security violation at GMAT test centers that results in scores being canceled, candidates receiving a dreaded “violation” code on their score report, and requiring candidates to re-register (and pay again!) for the GMAT exam boils down to one thing: cell phones. Candidates are closely monitored by test center administrators (TAs) as well as video and audio devices, and for so many of us, cell phones have become almost an extra appendage. If you know you’ll be tempted during your break to see what’s changed in the world of social media in the last 75 minutes such as which Kardashian has dropped 80 lbs or who Justin Bieber’s new flame is, then don’t take the chance! Bieber won’t pay for you to re-take the GMAT or write a letter explaining to your prospective schools why you were caught accessing your phone on a test break, so leave the phone at home. If you truly need to use a phone to call for a ride or in the case of an emergency, the administrators at the test center can assist you.

2. Study Materials

Over the course of your GMAT prep journey, your Veritas Prep books or Official Guide may have taken over as your adult-version of Linus’ security blanket, but as you’re probably learning, the GMAT exam isn’t content-based, but an assessment of higher order reasoning skills. Like training for a marathon, you’re not going to cross the finish line if you haven’t put in the work ahead of time. Study now and study often, and remember that no amount of last minute cramming (or sleeping with a book under your pillow!) is going to impart extra knowledge. So even though you may have spent the last 3-4 months toting around that book, on test day, leave it at home. You won’t be able to access it during your breaks, and other than a little bit of weight training to and from the car, it’s not going to provide much value. And, like your cell phone, having your study materials in your hands during a break could result in the cancellation of your score and a “violation” code, so there’s plenty of risk to go along with zero reward.

3. Watches

Similar to the evolution of cell phones, technology has taken watches from basic time-telling devices to small supercomputers. For that reason, they’re also considered to be GMAT contraband. Your testing room will have a clock so you can track time as well as a countdown clock on the computer screen, and pacing and time management should be a regular part of your GMAT preparation process. Thus the absence of a watch shouldn’t wreak too much havoc on test day, but it’s probably a good idea to start practicing without one now.

On that note, a few things to REMEMBER on GMAT day:

  • Identification: Make sure that you pack appropriate identification. For most folks testing within their country of citizenship (such as the US), that’s likely a driver’s license, but check for the appropriate regulations as they sometimes change and can vary by country.
  • Water/snacks: 4+ hours is a long time, and especially if you’re exercising that gray squishy mass between your ears! Make sure you pack brain fuel. Of course, it can’t go into the testing room with you, but knowing it’s waiting for you in your locker is pretty good motivation as you power through the last few quant questions.
  • Game plan: You’ll likely think through a target and then an “acceptable” score ahead of time, but make sure you’ve got your GMAT game plan in your pocket. Scores and schools should be memorized just like special triangles, so you don’t even have to think about it when you sit down at your work station. You’ve got enough to focus on; make sure your road map is second nature.

Above all, remember that test day isn’t going to be made or broken by any one thing, though it can be easily derailed by some of the things mentioned above. Take some time now to focus on what’s going to set you up for success on game day. Good luck!

The above article comes from Veritas Prep. Since its founding in 2002, Veritas Prep has helped more than 100,000 students prepare for the GMAT and offers the most highly rated GMAT Prep course in the industry.

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