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Procedural Aspects of GMAT CAT Testing

This page describes the key procedural aspects of the computer-based GMAT. It also provides an overview of pre-test and post-test procedures.

NOTE: The information here merely highlights the procedural aspects of the GMAT CAT. Be sure to consult the official GMAT website for complete information on this topic.

Pre-test Procedures

Designating score-report recipients. Once you're seated at your testing terminal and logged in, you'll be prompted to designate up to five schools as GMAT score report recipients. A complete list of graduate business schools will be provided for this purpose. This is your only opportunity for free score reporting. (A fee is charged for each subsequent score reporting request.)

The pre-test tutorial and demonstration of competence. Just before you begin the timed GMAT exam, the computerized testing system will step you through an untimed tutorial that will show you how to:

  • use the mouse
  • scroll the screen display vertically
  • select and change your responses to questions
  • confirm your responses to questions
  • move ahead from one question to the next
  • use the built-in word processor for the AWA (essay) section
  • access the online help
  • access the directions for the current test section

You cannot skip any part of the pre-test tutorial. In fact, you'll need to demonstrate competence in performing each of the tasks listed above before the testing system will allow you to proceed to the timed exam.

Navigating the Timed Test

  • You can proceed to the next test section at any time; you don't need to answer all available questions or wait until all available time for the current section has elapsed.

  • Once you've exited a test section, you cannot return to it.

  • During each of the three multiple-choice sections, you cannot skip any question or return to any question once you've confirmed your answer-choice selection.

  • The test provides two optional timed breaks, one after the Integrated Reasoning section (60 minutes into the timed exam) and another between the Quantitative and Verbal sections (another 75 minute into the timed exam). You can exit either break early, at your option. Once the time allowed for a break has elapsed, the next timed section automatically begins.

Recording Your Responses

  • In answering multiple-choice questions you select an answer choice by clicking on the oval to its left. You deselect a choice by clicking on another one. You cannot use the keyboard to select answers. Answering some Integrated Reasoning questions will require you to select a choice from a pull-down menu. (You click on the menu, then click on your choice.)

  • You must compose your GMAT essay using the computer keyboard and built-in word processor. Handwritten essays are not permitted. Keyboard entries are limited to American English characters.

Availability and Use of Testing Aides

  • Pencils and scratch paper are provided for all exam sections.

  • A countdown clock is displayed in the screen's upper-left corner. You can choose to hide it if you wish. The clock will provide an alert by turning bright yellow when 5 minutes remain in a section (and by reappearing on the screen if you hid it).

  • The test interface provides an on-screen calculator only for the Integrated Reasoning section (and not for the Quantitative section). You are not permitted to use any other calculator or use a PDA or any other electronic device while testing.

Terminating an Exam Session and Canceling the Test

  • You may cancel your session and your scores at any time during the test or immediately after the test — in which event none of your responses or scores (if any) will be tabulated or reported.

  • If you pause too long between sections, the exam session will automatically terminate (after a warning), and no responses or scores for any section will be tabulated or reported.

Post-test Procedures

View or cancel your scores. Immediately following the timed exam, the testing system will prompt you to choose one of two options:

  1. See you scores for the Verbal, Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning sections or
  2. Cancel all your scores

You'll have 5 minutes to decide which option to choose. If you don't choose an option within that time, the system will automatically show your scores to you. Once the system displays your scores, you forfeit your right to cancel any score for that testing session. Partial cancellation is not an option. For example, you cannot cancel only your Verbal score or only your Analytical Writing Assessment response (essay).

If you choose to cancel your scores, no score will be reported and your AWA response (your essay) will be deleted from the system. However, the cancellation will be noted on your official score report.

Your unofficial score report. Unless you've cancelled your scores, the exam supervisor will give you a printed unofficial score report, which will indicate your Verbal, Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning scores for that testing session. If you scheduled your test appointment online (at the GMAC website), your unofficial report will also provide an authorization code that you can use to access your official score report when it is available (within 20 days after testing) by logging into your account.