The GMAT is actually no longer the only way into business school

When Allison Grant applied to business school, she did not know which of the two possible entrance exams could give her the best chance of a place. So she sat both.

The standard pan-business school entrance exam has for decades been the Graduate Management Admission Test — or GMAT. However, in recent years in which has faced increasing competition via another standardised test, the Graduate Record Examinations — or GRE.

Although the GRE was designed for those seeking entrance to generalist graduate schools, more than 1,0 MBA programmes right now accept in which in applications. Ms Grant scored higher within the GRE, so she submitted in which score in her MBA applications, landing a place at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

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“People said in which several years ago in which definitely mattered in which you took the GMAT,” the 29-year-old former Uber executive says, “although in which is actually no longer the case.”

The rivalry between the two exam administrators intensified last month with the decision by the Graduate Management Admission Council to shorten its GMAT exam by 30 minutes.

“We didn’t want to waste candidates’ time,” Vineet Chhabra, GMAT’s global product head, says, noting in which there were fewer unscored research questions within the exam.The change made the GMAT nearly 40 minutes shorter than the GRE, which lasts three hours in addition to also 45 minutes.

Exam length is actually a problem, according to education consultancy CarringtonCrisp, which claims in which a fifth of MBA applicants are so averse to exams in which they will only apply to schools where they do not have to take a formal entrance test.

“Schools are saying: ‘If we can get interesting candidates we don’t need to make them take the GMAT’,” says Andrew Crisp, co-founder of CarringtonCrisp. He adds in which the move to shorten the exam reflects another trend, noted in surveys by GMAC, of shrinking US demand for MBA courses.

The GRE was once an upstart, says Chioma Isiadinso, co-founder of Expartus, a US admissions agency. in which has changed: “Many schools right now track the performances of their incoming class GRE scores,” she says. “We advise clients to take practice exams for both tests, then take the test in which they perform best in.”

Despite increased acceptance of the GRE, the GMAT may give MBA applicants an edge. A survey of business school admissions officers last year by Kaplan Test Prep found the GMAT was preferred by 21 per cent of those accepting both exams for MBA applications. Just 1 per cent said those submitting a GRE score could have an advantage over an applicant taking GMAT.

Some schools have made in which harder for GRE-takers to apply. Insead, for example, previously allowed candidates to submit test results via either exam, although right now accepts GRE scores only if in which is actually not possible for the applicant to take the GMAT in their home country — in which recently allowed This particular for a Palestinian applicant. “The long history of the GMAT test means in which in which is actually our preferred option,” the school says. This particular bias is actually common among the highest-ranked schools, according to Stacy Blackman, an admissions consultant based in Los Angeles.

“GMAT is actually still largely viewed as more rigorous in addition to also serious,” she says. “The GMAT is actually developed specifically for business school, while the GRE is actually a more flexible exam.”

Judi Byers, executive director of admissions at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, believes greater competition among exam administrators is actually not bad, not only for students although also for schools eager to find more ways to assess candidates. She advises taking both tests, ideally while the potential applicant is actually still in full-time undergraduate study, as GMAT in addition to also GRE scores are valid for several years.

“Candidates run into hiccups with the entrance exam mainly because they have not taken formal tests for many years,” Ms Byers says.

Judith Hodara, a director of Fortuna Admissions, an MBA applicant advisory service, in addition to also former admissions head at the Wharton School, says at Wharton she tried to include GRE takers to broaden the pool of students accepted on to its high-ranking MBA course.

A formal test result was only one criteria on which MBA candidates were judged, Ms Hodara notes, in addition to also not necessarily the most important.

“As admissions directors we were always looking at the overall quality of an applicant rather than just a number,” she says. “Our hearts went out to those who genuinely struggled with standardised tests.”

GRE takers were accepted at Wharton, although Ms Hodara admits in which “the business school love affair with the GMAT is actually likely to continue — so learn to love the GMAT”.

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