GMAT remains dominant over GRE for MBA applications

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A survey of 288 admissions officers has found that more MBA programs are giving applicants the choice to submit either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

Kaplan Test Prep’s survey, conducted by phone in July and August 2010, found that 39% of the surveyed business schools now give their MBA applicants the choice between the two standardized tests, compared to 24% in 2009.

However, while 65% of the MBA admissions officers claimed there was no advantage in submitting one test over the other, 32% said that applicants who submitted a GMAT scoredid have an advantage in their applications over those submitting the GRE alternative.

MBA admissions: GMAT vs. GRE

While the increase in acceptance of the GRE for MBA applications shows the test is gaining popularity in the business school sector, almost one third of admissions officers admitting that they favor the GMAT will be a significant blow to the Educational Testing Service (ETS), who administer the GRE. This is further intensified by the Kaplan survey’s findings that fewer than 10% of MBAs actually submitted a GRE score, instead of a GMAT score.

“There’s currently a bit of an arms race between the two tests, with both making changes to be more reflective of the critical thinking necessary in business school and, in the case of the GRE, in graduate school,” explains Liza Weale, executive director of pre-business and graduate programs at Kaplan Test Prep. “The GRE is rolling out significant changes to its content, design, scoring and format next August, while the GMAT will be adding a new integrated reasoning section in June 2012.

“For the time being, we recommend that prospective MBAs take the GMAT, not the GRE, since doing so will provide candidates with more options for business school, and it may even give them an extra edge in the admissions process.”

The GMAT Integrated Reasoning section

After the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced plans to introduce the new Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT, reported that many MBA applicants had expressed concern over the test increasing in difficulty.

However, it appears that many business schools do not share the same view, with 42% of respondents to Kaplan’s survey stating that they did not think the test would get harder. Meanwhile, 21% stated that they do think that the test will increase in difficulty.

Under GMAC’s plans to introduce the Integrated Reasoning section to the GMAT, the test will remain at three-and-a-half hours, with the new section replacing one of the two essays that currently make up the Analytical Writing section. GMAC have released the below video in order to better prepare applicants for the change to the test in June 2012.

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