Despite being accepted by eight out of 10 business schools, there is still a stigma around taking the GRE for MBA admissions. Even with the big three, Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Wharton all accepting the GRE on par with the GMAT, rumors and conjecture about which test is preferred by admissions committees run rampant. The truth is, you should choose the test that reflects your abilities best while also filling in the blanks on ability that isn’t necessarily reflected in your past course work or work experience.
We know the GMAT was the gold standard for many years and we understand the reluctance to stray from the tried-and-true, but here are a few great reasons to take the GRE for b-school admissions.
Because the GRE is so versatile and is accepted by both business programs and other graduate programs, as well as Master of Finance, Master of Accounting, and similar programs, you can leave your options open. An MBA has tremendous value, but it’s not always the best option for your career path, and you’d do well to investigate all options. The time, money, and opportunity cost you’ll expend on your education is a major investment. Taking the GRE will allow you to apply to a wider variety of programs.
If you’ve studied for the GMAT to the best of your ability and you don’t feel your score reflects your aptitude, take the GRE. You’ll find endless debates over which test is more difficult and the truth lies somewhere in between. The data sufficiency portion of the GMAT tests quantitative ability in ways many test-takers aren’t used to, which can be challenging. On the other hand, if your verbal skills are weaker, especially in vocabulary, you will likely find the GRE daunting. Download a practice test from GMAC and from ETS and see which test highlights your strengths and complements your weaknesses.
If your educational background is in mathematics, economics, or engineering, or you currently work in numbers-heavy industries like consulting or finance, b-schools can be fairly confident you can handle the rigors of an MBA. However, if your coursework or experience do not show a strong history with numbers, you will need to do exceptionally well on the GRE quant portion, or take the GMAT.
Because the GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, you cannot skip questions and must forge ahead. This leads many test-takers to get bogged down in questions and waste precious time when they should have moved on. Because the GRE is section-adaptive, you can skip between questions in any given section, mark questions you want to go back to, and work through easier questions quickly and return to the tougher items. Being able to triage your test questions this way can minimize anxiety and allow you to get easy points out of the way quickly.
Business schools understand that as they compete against each other for the best students, they’d be well served to cast the widest net possible. Accepting the GRE allows b-schools to have a more diverse candidate pool by drawing on a wider range of backgrounds and experiences. Be sure to check with every school you’ll be applying to and understand their admissions testing policy, then go crush the GRE.