By Laura Morrison, April 2014
Gone are the days when most business school applicants had to take the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, to be considered for entry into the graduate programs of their choosing. That's because today, many academic institutions are willing to accept results from the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, instead.
Based on new data from Educational Testing Service, the company behind the GRE, more Master of Business Administration program applicants than ever before are embracing the GRE in the place of the GMAT.
Numbers don't lie
A recent ETS press release revealed just how much interest in the GRE has grown among prospective business school students. Of those who planned to pursue an MBA and took one of the two tests, nearly 10 percent of them chose the GRE during the 2012-2013 testing year. In the current testing year, however, this total has risen to 38 percent, proving that the attraction to the GRE is no fad.
"We have heard from schools that they are seeing anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent of their MBA applicants presenting GRE scores, and we expect this number to continue to grow," said David Payne, vice president of Global Education at ETS, in a statement.
ETS isn't the only company seeing this trend, as a recent Stacy Blackman Consulting survey arrived at similar results, according to The Wall Street Journal. The admission consulting firm polled 675 test takers and learned that interest in the GRE was up, while a desire to sit for the GMAT was down.
Reasons behind this trend
So why are more business school applicants opting for the GRE? Several reasons - many of which have to do with more options.
For starters, master's programs at business schools around the world have become more accepting of the GRE. In the ETS press release, Dawn Piacentino, director of communication and services for ETS' GRE program, said that more than 1,100 business schools take applicants' GRE scores.
ETS' website provides a list of institutions that accept GRE scores. Whether future MBA students wish to pursue a degree in the U.S., Canada or China, they can find a school that will take their GRE results. Then, there's the fact that the GRE is designed to provide a test taker-friendly experience.
"The GRE Program offers many great benefits to test takers including the ScoreSelect® option and a test-taker friendly design, and it's these great benefits that are driving more and more MBA applicants to choose the GRE revised General Test," Payne said.
The ScoreSelect® option Payne refers to allows test takers to take the GRE multiple times and share the scores they feel most comfortable with, according to ETS' website.
But how does it look?
A major concern among many business school applicants is how MBA admissions officials view applications that feature GRE scores, as opposed to those from the GMAT. According to The Wall Street Journal, this is due in part to the fact that many business schools are still more focused on sharing GMAT information. For example, it's more common to see institutions share average scores of admitted applicants for the GMAT than the GRE. Still, many insist that the GRE carries just as much weight as the GMAT.
"It's maddening," Jeremy Shinewald, founder and president of the admission consulting firm mbaMission, told the news source. "You can say it until you're blue in the face, and for whatever reason, some people will never believe that the GRE is equal [to the GMAT]."
Ultimately, business schools applicants should research each test and select the exam they feel they'll most excel on, whether it's the GMAT or the GRE.
About the Author: Laura Morrison is the Web Content Manager for GradSchools.com. She earned an MBA from the Rutgers School of Business in 2010.
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