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Site Selection 3 Things you need to know
Aug 02, 2015

Site Selection 3 Things you need to know

When it comes to the GMAT, test prep and study methods get all of the attention. To be fair, these are the two most important elements which lead to GMAT success. However, an often neglected part of the GMAT experience is learning how to schedule your testing date and book your site. The process may seem fairly straightforward, but here is the thing. There are a few tricks you can use to make your scheduling easier and even give you an inside peak into what your testing center will be like before you ever set foot in it. Here is what you need to know to reduce your stress level and allow you to take the GMAT at a time most convenient to you and your study plan.

Appointment Dates are Released 6 Months in Advance

If you have spent much time on you may have noticed a feature called “find test dates.” This feature will allow you to browse all available GMAT testing dates up to 6 months ahead of their scheduled start. For early planners, this means that you can schedule to take the test on the exact date that works best for you and your study plan. Availability is updated in realtime, so if you do not see a time and date that works for you, check back later.

You are guaranteed to find an open spot within 30 days at any specific testing center

While timing is important, site selection also plays a huge role in your comfort level. If you can afford to be flexible with your testing date, you can find yourself in a testing center that will help you to perform your best. Not all testing centers are created equally and some will cram you into a room with numerous test takers. Additionally, although GMAT testing centers are designed on paper to allow for a quiet environment, I know for a fact that you will be able to hear through the walls of some of the centers as they proctor other exams on various subjects. It pays to scout your location ahead of time and choose the best available site in your area.

GMAT test centers come in four flavors:

Pearson Professional Centers (PPCs), university testing centers, DoD military centers, and third partner testing sites

Like we talked about earlier, not all GMAT centers are created equal. However, let me give a quick caveat. PPC centers are indeed created equally and identically. The fine folks at Pearson have created testing sites all across the globe that are identical down to the boring artwork on the walls. Regardless of where you are in the world, if you are sitting in a PPC center, things will look very familiar. If you are someone who like consistency, these are a good option. As a bonus they are typically very quiet. University based testing centers are another solid option. These sites operate around school schedules, so if you are not currently enrolled, be sure to double check your start time. For testers most comfortable in a classroom setting, these can be a good choice. DoD testing centers are located on military bases. Unfortunately, these can be difficult to gain admittance to unless you are current US military, a US military veteran, or if you otherwise have the credentials to get on base. If you are a current serviceman, servicewoman, or a veteran let me take a moment to thank you for your service. I truly am grateful for everything that you do. That said, if you can get into a DoD testing center and are comfortable taking a test on base, this is a solid option. Lastly, if you live outside of the US you will run into more than a few third party testing sites. Although GMAC sets standards for testing centers, third party sites are honestly a bit of a mixed bag. Some are absolutely wonderful locations. Others are… less so. It pays to scout ahead with these, but there are outstanding options in this category as well.

Be honest, how much thought have you given to site selection and date planning? Let us know in the comments below.

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