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Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

August 02, 2009

The GMAT versus GRE: Does It Matter for MBA Applicants?

BusinessWeek has a recent article about the fact that the GRE is now being increasingly accepted by MBA programs as an alternative to the GMAT. The article explained the nature of the competition between GMAT (GMAC) and GRE (ETS), but did not actually discuss, in any great detail, the subject that most applicants are likely to be concerned about: Which test is likely to generate the best result for them? The best the article provided on this issue was the following quote from Darden Admissions Director:
"I wouldn't accept the GRE if I didn't understand what it was asking people to do," Neher says. "It's definitely not as complicated of a math test, but it still tests logic, general analytic ability, vocabulary, and reading comprehension in the same way the GMAT does," she says

Still, this is far from enough to make a judgment about which test is better to take. One clear and simple explanation for which test to take is offered by Dr. Joern Meissner, Academic Director at Manhattan Review in an article on the QS TOPMBA website:

Based on Academic Strengths and Weaknesses

Based on Practical Factors

In summary, based on academic considerations, native English speakers with strong writing and verbal skills and weak math skills should take the GRE. Everybody else should probably take the GMAT. Still the $100 price difference between the two tests make we wonder why GMAT should cost $250 while GRE costs only costs $150. If GRE can force price competition, that would be good thing. As someone who hates authoritarian monopolies, I can't help but cheer for the entry of GRE into the MBA application testing market. But those who play with fire might get burned, ETS itself might find TOEFL's dominance of the US English testing market (IELTS is accepted at many US schools, but outside of the UK and the rest of Europe, just not that popular) under attack when Pearson takes on the TOEFL. According to the article in INSIDE HIGHER ED, look for Pearson to start their marketing blitz in October of this year.

-Adam Markus
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