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GRE or GMAT: which test should an MBA applicant take?

Posted: Jul 19, 2010

Which will increase MBA applicants chances of getting into a top business school? Some schools that have agreed to accept both exams, saying either score should be fine. "Good people always manage to shine whether they take the GMAT or GRE," says Rod Garcia, director of MBA admissions at the Sloan School of Management (MIT), one of the first schools to accept both tests. "It's the wonderful, natural competition of two companies trying to get greater shares of the test market," says Rosemaria Martinelli, associate dean of student recruitment and admissions at University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. However, many admissions consultants are not so sure that this is true.

Educational Testing Service, the publisher of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), is trying to win over schools and give the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT, stiff competition. More than 250 business schools, including Harvard Business School, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, have agreed to accept either GRE or GMAT scores from applicants. Some elite schools have decided against accepting the GRE. Applicants who are trying to decide which exam to take must determine if the schools that interest them accept GRE scores. A good case in point, the Booth School, is not planning to accept the GRE. The school has a long history connected to GMAT, and the admissions committee knows exactly what GMAT scores mean. Many admissions counselors believe that the GMAT is more convincing to admissions committees, even if that's not what admissions directors are saying. There are profound differences between the tests: the GRE does has no data sufficiency questions, which ask the test-taker to determine if a statement contains enough information to solve the problem. Such questions play a major role in the GMAT. In general, the GRE is not taken as seriously as the GMAT in Business Schools.

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