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GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment

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GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2009, 18:01
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Just out of curiosity and in an effort to best simulate the testing environment, I was wondering what the testing center setup was like. I called the testing center I will be going to, but they said they were "not allowed to release any information."

So, I once again turn to you GMAT vets. Answers will likely differ from center to center, but I would like to get a feel for what it's like. For example, how much room do you have for your scratch paper? How far away/high is the monitor? Wheeled or stationary chair? Can the chair's height be adjusted? Were ear plugs or headphones provided? How far away was the nearest test taker?

Sure this seems like overkill (even to me), but if it helps on test day...
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 27 Jun 2009, 02:55
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wallacemp wrote:
Just out of curiosity and in an effort to best simulate the testing environment, I was wondering what the testing center setup was like. I called the testing center I will be going to, but they said they were "not allowed to release any information."


"Not allowed to release any information." -What? Do they work for CIA and it is classified information?

Well, I did some research. There is a document with requirements to the official testing center on the official Pearson VUE page. (..nothing secret) Among many thing it stated that Certified Testing Center should:

  • Provide adequate lighting, ventilation and comfortable seating and work surfaces. Place testing workstations on a clean surface
    that is approximately four feet (1.2 meters) wide, with no obstructions overhead or underneath. Monitor positions should be adjustable in order to allow each candidate to establish a comfortable testing position. Room lighting should provide sufficient light for keyboard and erasable noteboard while avoiding screen glare.
  • Separate candidates within the testing room. Separate testing stations using walls or privacy partitions, or at least four feet (1.2 meters) of empty space on all sides.
  • Minimize noise and distractions during testing.
  • Provide a separate area outside the testing room for checking in candidates, with a workspace for the testing administrator and
    seating for candidates who are waiting.
  • Provide lockers or other suitable storage for personal belongings.The candidate cannot take items such as pagers, paper, books and briefcases into the testing room.
  • Provide adequate parking and/or access to public transportation.
  • Provide access to people with disabilities, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (in the United States) or
    your country-specific requirements.

Source: http://www.pearsonvue.com/pvtc/

Now how well does a specific testing center does all these things, I guess, is debatable. It would be awesome if those who took the test would leave a few notes about testing center at their location. (Kudos promised)

Also here is photo of testing center from official site.
Attachment:
File comment: Pearson VUE testing center.
Source: http://www.pearsonvue.co.uk/TestingSolutions/Pages/TestDelivery.aspx

test_centre.jpg
test_centre.jpg [ 22.93 KiB | Viewed 13750 times ]

Was your testing center anything like this?



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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 27 Jun 2009, 05:26
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timetrader, I would say the picture on the right was exactly what my testing room looked like, even the chairs.

That is weird that they say they can't release information. If I walked into their office, I could look right at it and see what it looks like. Maybe you should try that out if you're close and then just say Oops I'm in the wrong place and leave after you've seen the setup :-D .

There is not a lot of room to spread things out. It seemed like something was always getting in the way.

I used the head phones, I don't what the people that didn't use them were thinking. There wasn't a lot of ambient noise (air conditioning, lighting, etc), but people are noisy. I don't know how they're not distracting themselves. The other thing is they had really clickety keyboards, I am talking old IBM clicking. That was pretty distracting because I had moved onto the actual test while a lot of people were still on the AWA. Also, one guy kept clearing his throat. I remember a problem that I just could not concentrate on and I was thinking, oh my gosh, would you just shut up. The weirdest things will get you distracted. I remember looking over at a high school girl taking the ACT, punching things into calculator and spending at least a half minute being jealous that I didn't have a calculator. So yes, do whatever you can do limit distractions, I think the headphones help with this.

If there are a lot of people there, this is one time when it's not "cool" to be at the back of the pack. Get through everything as soon as possible, because I'm convinced you get the better workstation (ie the end ones) if you are one of the first ones to be seated.
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 10:06
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Please see GMAT® Exam Format and Length - http://www.gmac.com/gmac/thegmat/gmatbasics/
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2009, 20:08
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hey, i gave the gmat in india, but still it looked pretty much like the picture on the left. we had only 6 pcs. the chairs were wheeled, the earplugs were provided. there was no distraction except when other test takers were taking their breaks. for me, when i wanted a break, i had to wave at the camera recording my test, then the administrator would enter the room and do the required procedure. the administrator monitored us from another room through cctv.
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2009, 10:56
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Mine looked a lot like the picture on the right. Not only did I get earplugs, but they also gave me -30dB headphones to wear. They were like the type you see at a shooting range.
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2009, 19:05
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Mine looked like the picture on the right. I had to ask for ear plugs. There was a head set but I did not use it as I practiced with ear plugs at home. There was a girl who was coughing. The guy right next to me rocked the chair incessantly.
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2009, 19:45
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Avernusaur wrote:
sdrandom1 wrote:
What about break guys? I heard that it is now just 8 mts? Do you think 8 mts would suffice to have a gulp of water, and rush to the restroom and be back......geez..........why does GMAC have to get so crazy and reduce the break time to 8 mts?


8 minutes is plenty of time to drink some water and use the restroom.

I never used the full 8 minutes, because it takes the over-run from your available time for the next section.


I felt otherwise as sdrandom did. I dont know what GMAC gained by taking out 4 minutes. I took the test at noon. So I could not go after having lunch. Essentially I needed to grab a bite or two of my energy bar, chew it, p##, drink some gatorade, unlock and lock the locker, do the palm printing twice and control a gamut of thoughts. When I entered and proctor fat fingered the password a couple of times, my heart was racing. Did I needed that? There was 30 seconds left. Pretty close for me and I did hate GMAT for doing so.

Regardless of whether you click yes/no as soon as you are prompted for a optional break, the 8 minute countdown will start and by the time the proctor comes in and escorts you out, 30 seconds is gone. I asked the proctor if she could tell me how much time is left by looking at the computer, she refused and asked me to keep my own time looking at the hands clock on the wall. Wow! That was very friendly. If digital watches are permitted, I strongly recommend taking one. I dont know whether they are permitted for sure. So dont just take it. Refer to the bulletin.
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 09:34
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When was it changed to 8 mins? I just checked the GMAC website and it still says 10mins break .. I have my exams on 21st ...
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 10:01
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Yeah I was not thrilled when I saw 8 minutes. Still, it was enough time to get a bite of trail mix, hit the head, feel the anxiety return and then realize I better get back in there! Maybe less time to reflect is better...
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2009, 19:11
What about break guys? I heard that it is now just 8 mts? Do you think 8 mts would suffice to have a gulp of water, and rush to the restroom and be back......geez..........why does GMAC have to get so crazy and reduce the break time to 8 mts?
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2009, 19:34
sdrandom1 wrote:
What about break guys? I heard that it is now just 8 mts? Do you think 8 mts would suffice to have a gulp of water, and rush to the restroom and be back......geez..........why does GMAC have to get so crazy and reduce the break time to 8 mts?


8 minutes is plenty of time to drink some water and use the restroom.

I never used the full 8 minutes, because it takes the over-run from your available time for the next section.
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2009, 05:23
icandy wrote:
Avernusaur wrote:
sdrandom1 wrote:
What about break guys? I heard that it is now just 8 mts? Do you think 8 mts would suffice to have a gulp of water, and rush to the restroom and be back......geez..........why does GMAC have to get so crazy and reduce the break time to 8 mts?


8 minutes is plenty of time to drink some water and use the restroom.

I never used the full 8 minutes, because it takes the over-run from your available time for the next section.


I felt otherwise as sdrandom did. I dont know what GMAC gained by taking out 4 minutes. I took the test at noon. So I could not go after having lunch. Essentially I needed to grab a bite or two of my energy bar, chew it, p##, drink some gatorade, unlock and lock the locker, do the palm printing twice and control a gamut of thoughts. When I entered and proctor fat fingered the password a couple of times, my heart was racing. Did I needed that? There was 30 seconds left. Pretty close for me and I did hate GMAT for doing so.

Regardless of whether you click yes/no as soon as you are prompted for a optional break, the 8 minute countdown will start and by the time the proctor comes in and escorts you out, 30 seconds is gone. I asked the proctor if she could tell me how much time is left by looking at the computer, she refused and asked me to keep my own time looking at the hands clock on the wall. Wow! That was very friendly. If digital watches are permitted, I strongly recommend taking one. I dont know whether they are permitted for sure. So dont just take it. Refer to the bulletin.


Watches of any kind are not allowed in the test center. I'm not sure why that they don't have digital clocks on their walls, but those are the clocks you have to use.

8 minutes isn't long enough to eat lunch, but I still found it enough time to use the restroom, drink water, and walk around a bit. If you've been used to taking full 10 minute breaks on practice tests, this might through you off a bit. I was only taking 5-6 minute breaks for my practice tests, so I kept the same rhythm.

To clarify, the 8 minutes will not feel like a "break." Conservatively, you probably lose 2 minutes combined by exiting and re-entering the center. Treat the 8 minutes as a quick pit stop :)
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2009, 07:56
Avernusaur wrote:
icandy wrote:
Avernusaur wrote:

8 minutes is plenty of time to drink some water and use the restroom.

I never used the full 8 minutes, because it takes the over-run from your available time for the next section.


I felt otherwise as sdrandom did. I dont know what GMAC gained by taking out 4 minutes. I took the test at noon. So I could not go after having lunch. Essentially I needed to grab a bite or two of my energy bar, chew it, p##, drink some gatorade, unlock and lock the locker, do the palm printing twice and control a gamut of thoughts. When I entered and proctor fat fingered the password a couple of times, my heart was racing. Did I needed that? There was 30 seconds left. Pretty close for me and I did hate GMAT for doing so.

Regardless of whether you click yes/no as soon as you are prompted for a optional break, the 8 minute countdown will start and by the time the proctor comes in and escorts you out, 30 seconds is gone. I asked the proctor if she could tell me how much time is left by looking at the computer, she refused and asked me to keep my own time looking at the hands clock on the wall. Wow! That was very friendly. If digital watches are permitted, I strongly recommend taking one. I dont know whether they are permitted for sure. So dont just take it. Refer to the bulletin.


Watches of any kind are not allowed in the test center. I'm not sure why that they don't have digital clocks on their walls, but those are the clocks you have to use.

8 minutes isn't long enough to eat lunch, but I still found it enough time to use the restroom, drink water, and walk around a bit. If you've been used to taking full 10 minute breaks on practice tests, this might through you off a bit. I was only taking 5-6 minute breaks for my practice tests, so I kept the same rhythm.

To clarify, the 8 minutes will not feel like a "break." Conservatively, you probably lose 2 minutes combined by exiting and re-entering the center. Treat the 8 minutes as a quick pit stop :)


I agree with you overall on how a test taker should treat it ideally. How ever, not everything is entirely in his/her hands because a test time at noon is not the same as a 8 am test time or 10 am test time. I felt and still feel that 10 minutes break is the best and saving 4 minutes on a 3 hr 45 min - 4 hour test is ludacris.

Thanks for pointing out that watches of any sort are not allowed in the test center. Makes me wonder then why it is not a requirement for test ceneters to have a digital clock
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2009, 15:22
Those pictures are sweet. I know what to expect now!
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 09:51
seluka wrote:
When was it changed to 8 mins? I just checked the GMAC website and it still says 10mins break .. I have my exams on 21st ...


The change was this past June or July.

Please provide the link where it still has 10 minutes listed and we will follow up with the GMAC.
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 10:22
seluka wrote:
Please see GMAT® Exam Format and Length - http://www.gmac.com/gmac/thegmat/gmatbasics/


Thanks for the link.

Just to be clear, plan on the breaks being 8 minutes as all of our users, whom have taken the GMAT after June 2009, have reported 8 minute breaks.

I have contacted the GMAC. I will follow up when someone from the GMAC responds.
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 10:41
mohater, Thanks.
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 12:00
seluka wrote:
Please see GMAT® Exam Format and Length - http://www.gmac.com/gmac/thegmat/gmatbasics/


ha, they forgot to update their website.
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Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment [#permalink] New post 04 Dec 2009, 11:17
Ok. got confirmation mail from GMAC

"The break time changed this past year. You are now offered two 8 minute
breaks during your exam. Can you please send me the link to where it says
10 minutes, so we can make the necessary update."
Re: GMAT Testing Center Physical Environment   [#permalink] 04 Dec 2009, 11:17
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