First, I want to mention that there are many different websites that offer the GMAT format. You can find a lot of resources on this format, but they are mostly useless. I was going through this exact same thing when I was first looking for resources to help me take my GMAT.
Most of the resources I found were outdated or provided bad information. Some sites recommend taking a practice test before you decide to take the real GMAT. While this might be effective for those who take the GMAT frequently, I was looking for a resource that would show me my actual scores so I could properly analyze my choices for the test. When I got around to analyzing my scores, I realized that my GMAT score was actually lower than the score I expected because of a couple mistakes on my test.
So how can you make sure that the format is the same when taking the GMAT? I suggest you use one of the official test guides. These guides, which are available for download from the official website, provide you with a copy of the GMAT scoring format. Once you download the guide, you can immediately begin testing and analyzing the questions.
Another option would be taking a practice GMAT test. You might be able to find an official GMAT section online to take. These sections will give you a real feel for the format, but are probably not worth your while unless you are already taking the test for the first time. The format for the GMAT is very different than the SAT. Since the GMAT tests are primarily written rather than administered, the format is updated more often than the SAT’s scoring system.
I recommend looking for a guide that offers you a set of practice questions and plenty of sample questions. This way, when you take the real GMAT, you will have a good idea of how to sort through the multiple choice portion and focus on answering the really hard questions. Also, a lot of people don’t really understand why their score is lower than what they had expected. In my experience, students who take a GMAT practice test and then sit for the real thing almost always end up with higher scores. There is a strong psychological effect in fact, which can transfer over to the test.
So can your results actually be affected by using the GMAT scoring format? I don’t know anyone who has found a great benefit from doing so, but it’s not something I would recommend. If you are having difficulty in a particular area, or struggling with an entire section, then the GMAT scoring format may end up helping you focus better and get better grades in that section. But if your problems are isolated and slight, I wouldn’t make that change.
My favorite way to keep my score as high as possible is to take practice tests, learn the format, and study until I feel completely confident that I have mastered the format and know all of the questions that will be asked. Then I just go out and take the real test. I only make this change when I am certain that I will improve my score significantly. And I only make that change once I am really confident that I’ve done enough practice and studying to gain an edge over the competition.