Kaplan Test Prep’s 2012 survey of business school admissions officers* shows that 69% of business schools now give applicants the option of submitting scores from the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) rather than the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), the traditional exam required for MBA admissions. Thanks in large part to campaigning by the GRE test administrator, this percentage has steadily increased year-over-year since Kaplan first began tracking the issue in 2009, when only 24% of business schools said they accepted the GRE.
But while more MBA programs are offering the GRE alternative to prospective students, few applicants are taking the option. Roughly half of the business schools surveyed (46%) say fewer than 1 in 10 applicants submitted a GRE score this past admissions cycle. Data supports applicants’ wariness - while the majority of business schools (69%) say scores from both tests are viewed equally, 29% say that applicants who submit a GMAT score have an advantage over applicants who submit a GRE score.
In the business school admissions test arms race, increasing acceptance of the GRE may have hit a plateau, however. Of the 31% of business schools that remain GMAT-only, only 17% say they are likely to begin accepting the GRE for the next admissions cycle. Integrated Reasoning, the new GMAT section added in June 2012, may be a possible roadblock for its competitor: 24% of GMAT-only schools say the change, designed to make the GMAT more reflective of the MBA experience, makes it less likely they’ll begin accepting the GRE.
“As long as business schools signal the slightest advantage in taking the GMAT, it’s hard to see more applicants going the GRE route,” said Andrew Mitchell, director of pre-business programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “Our advice to students: take the GMAT if you plan to apply only to business school, but if you’re unsure whether your path will take you to graduate school or business school, consider taking the GRE.”