Survey Says MBA Applicants Still Prefer the GMAT

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More Business Schools Accepting the GRE

Taking the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) is a time-honored tradition among MBA applicants. Top business schools have been using scores from this standardized test to select qualified MBA applicants since 1953.

But GMAT scores aren't the only test scores business schools deal in nowadays. An increasing number are also accepting GRE scores from MBA applicants. The shift began in 2007 when ETS, the makers of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), began actively courting business schools through publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, encouraging the institutions to use the GRE as part of the MBA admissions process.

The campaign was quite successful. In 2009, there was a 68% increase in the number of business schools that accept GRE scores for their MBA programs. Seven of the top 10 global MBA programs, including those of Harvard, NYU Stern and Stanford, currently accept GRE scores.

In 2009, the number of people who took the GRE General Test rose 9% to 675,000. The number of people who took the GMAT increased only 1% over the same period. In a press release, David G. Payne, the VP and COO for College and Graduate Programs at ETS, said the numbers clearly indicate the appeal of the GRE.

'In this economy especially, the flexibility to use one test for admission to both graduate and business programs is great for students who want to ensure that they have options,' Payne said. 'It's a huge benefit to them.'

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See a list of business schools that accept GRE scores.

MBA Applicants Still Prefer the GMAT

Although the number of GRE test-takers has increased, most students say that they would still opt for the GMAT over the GRE, according to a survey by Kaplan Test Prep. Of the 300 aspiring MBAs who were polled in January and February of 2010, 55% of respondents said they would take the GMAT if they were given the option of either the GMAT or GRE entrance exam to qualify for an MBA program. Twelve percent said they would rather take the GRE and another 12% said they would take both.

The same survey also asked respondents which test was more difficult. An overwhelming majority - 47% - said that they thought the GMAT was more difficult. Ten percent believed the GRE was more difficult, and 14% said the tests were equally difficult. Twenty-nine percent said they weren't sure which test was harder.

Liza Weale, the director of graduate programs at Kaplan Test Prep, said that the company recommends business school applicants take the GMAT rather than the GRE since some schools are still-GMAT only.

'Aspiring MBAs who only take the GRE may be limiting their options,' Weale said.

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