Test Prep Insight is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

What To Bring To The GMAT
By Griffin Quick Updated on February 21, 2024
John Ross, JD, CPA John Ross, JD, CPA

What To Bring To The GMAT

Our detailed guide about what you should bring with you to the GMAT Focus exam test center

Assuming you plan to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) in person at a test center, it is important to know what you’ll need to bring with you on test day. You don’t want to bring things with you that are not allowed in the testing center, but you also do not want to show up unprepared. This guide will provide you with a punch list of all the items you need for test day.

Magoosh GMAT – Resource
Top GMAT Prep Course 15% OFF ➔ Use Code: TPI15

Steps To Take The Night Before The GMAT

Whether taking the exam online at home or at the test center, the night before the GMAT is not the time to cram. In fact, studies show that you are better to do a light review, eat a healthy dinner, and get a good night’s sleep than to review new material or have an intense studying session.

Of course, everyone is different, and if you prefer to pull an all night study session the night before, you are welcome to do that. Though again, we highly recommended not to.

Since studying all night right before the exam isn’t the recommended approach, you may be wondering what you should be doing instead. Rather than having a late-night study session, these steps are sure to help prepare you for your test the next day:

  • Eat a Good Dinner: Eating a healthy, balanced dinner the night before a big test is a smart plan. Avoid any foods that cause you any digestive discomfort and steer clear of caffeine.
  • Have a Plan: Knowing exactly where you need to go the next day will save you time and more importantly – stress. Make sure you have your items for the day packed and ready to go, fill up your gas tank, and set plenty of alarms. You may even want to pull out your clothes for the next day as well.
  • Relax: Stressing out and getting anxious is not going to help you relax and get a good night’s sleep. If anything, such feelings can impact you negatively. Spend some time catching up on your favorite television shows you’ve missed since you have been studying for the GMAT. Take a bubble bath, bake some cookies, workout, whatever does it for you. Find some time the night before the GMAT Focus to enjoy any activity you like to do to unwind.
  • Get Some Sleep: The most important thing you can do the night before the GMAT Focus, and any other big test, is to get a good night’s sleep. Sure, that is easier said than done, considering the GMAT is likely one of the most important tests you will ever take. Clear your mind and approach the evening as you would any other night, stay within your normal routine. A good night’s sleep helps to ensure you are alert and focused during the test.
night before gmat
It’s important to relax the night before the GMAT

In addition to the things you should do, there are three main things you should avoid the night before your test:

  • Cramming: By the time the night before test day arrives, you will have seen countless practice problems, reviewed hundreds of formulas, studied numerous review outlines, and probably taken at least a dozen practice tests. Everything you are going to retain is already in your brain. Cramming leads to exhaustion, undue stress, and you are more likely to lose important sleep and eat unhealthy food.
  • Not Getting Enough Sleep: In order to get the best score possible, a well-rested brain is crucial. It is recommended to avoid too much caffeine the day before the test, especially later in the day. Studies have shown that caffeine can take a full 8 hours to wear off, which can impact your ability to sleep. Alcohol should also be avoided the day before the test. Make sure you stay hydrated, relax, and get to bed early.
  • Eating Junk Food: A few chips early in the day before the test is fine but once you get to dinnertime, you should have a balanced meal with plenty of nutritional value. This will help you sleep better and shouldn’t lead to any gastrointestinal discomfort. On the morning of the test, it is important to have a good balanced breakfast. Be sure to include protein, whole grains, good fat, and complex carbohydrates.

What To Bring With You On GMAT Test Day

The night before you take the GMAT Focus, it is important to pack what you will need for the test in the morning. Again, this assumes you are not taking the online, remote proctored version of the exam, but still might be informative. This also helps reduce stress and ensure you don’t forget anything.

But what do you need to take with you to the exam center? There are some essential items that you are required to bring with you, and a couple of items that we highly recommend to make the day go more smoothly.

The Essentials:

  • Valid ID: The most important thing to bring with you is your photo identification. You will be turned away at the test center if you do not have the appropriate document to properly identify who you are. The rules for acceptable I.D.’s are strict: it must have your name spelled in the Roman alphabet, it has to have your date of birth, and it must have a recent and recognizable photo, along with your signature. Your full name and date of birth must match exactly the information you put on your registration. Most people use a passport or driver’s license, but you can use a military I.D. or state identification card.
  • Appointment Confirmation: Just in case there is any confusion regarding the date and time of your testing appointment, having your confirmation email with you will show the exam administrators that you are at the correct site on the proper day.
  • A List of Your Top 5 Schools: When you take the GMAT Focus, there is a valuable service included in the fee that enables the Graduate Management Admission Council to send your score to your top 5 schools. Having the schools written down in advance ensures you won’t forget one. If you don’t provide your top 5 schools on test day you can do always do it at a later date, but there is a fee of $28 per school.


  • Bottled Water
  • Healthy Snack
  • Additional Layers of Clothing

Although the items above are not technically necessary, we highly recommend bringing them with you. That way you can hydrate and re-fuel during breaks or get warm if the testing center happens to be uncomfortably cool.

Additional Test Day Tips For Students

Once the test day has finally arrived, there are a few things you can do to have the best experience possible:

  • Stay Hydrated
  • Eat Healthy
  • Stretch or Exercise During Breaks
  • Stay Calm

As long as you keep these tips in mind, the day of the GMAT Focus should go by nice and smoothly.


What to bring to the GMAT?

If you decide to take the GMAT Focus at a physical test center rather than online, you’ll need a few things. At a minimum, you’ll need your valid ID, appointment confirmation and a list of schools for score reports. You may also want to bring a water, extra sweatshirt and maybe a snack.

How to take the GMAT Focus?

You can take the GMAT Focus online via remote proctoring or at a physical test center. It is totally up to you. Either way, it is a computer-based exam.