More B-schools in for GRE

A recent press release from ETS, the company responsible for producing the GRE, indicates that in the last two months more than 100 business schools world-wide signed up to begin accepting the GRE. This activity brings the total number of business schools accepting the GRE above 600, including 60 of the top 100 schools on the latest US News & World Report ranking. The question becomes, what exactly does this mean for people considering business school?

With the revised GRE launching August 1st, it’s no surprise that more schools have decided to begin accepting it. The new version is easier to use, relies on more real-world scenarios for questions, offers more demanding Quantitative questions, and has gotten rid of the silly analogies and antonyms. The new version may even be a better predictor of business school success than its predecessor. Despite all this, the thing most prospective b-school applicants should consider, especially if you’re applying to highly competitive top tier schools, is how GRE scores are compared to GMAT scores in the admissions process.

One tool ETS has used to sell business schools on the GRE is the GRE Comparison Tool. The comparison device is a nifty enough little program that supposedly converts GRE scores into “predicted” GMAT scores. The comparison tool has been around for a while, and GMAC (the GMAT people) certainly had something to say about it, namely that it’s not nearly as accurate a predictor as ETS would like people to believe. While it is a concern whether such a tool is actually predictive or not, that’s also not our chief concern here. The chief concern is when business schools are going to start releasing data on how they’re using GRE scores and what, if any, comparisons are occurring between GMAT and GRE scores from applicants.

We’ve delved into this issue on a number of occasions (most recently in the blog post How to Choose: GMAT vs GRE), but the jury is still out on what to expect from business schools and the GRE, and may be out for some time to come. Right now, there not telling anyone much at all about the two tests with respect to one another. This is a consequence both of the GMAT’s long-standing dominance in the business school arena, as well as the relatively recent rise in schools accepting the GRE. Because of these factors, it is likely going to be some time before any actionable information in that regard is released, not the least of which because the Revised GRE is coming out in August. Any historical data that might have been available from the current GRE seems largely irrelevant now, and we’ll have to wait a while until enough test-takers have gone through the application process with Revised GRE (and likely GMAT) score before we know what the verdict is.

The bottom line: in the short term, the safer (which isn’t necessarily to say the better) bet is to go with the GMAT if you’re planning to apply to business school. There are a host of factors that could affect your decision for the GRE or the GMAT (see the blog mentioned above for more details), but until we have more info from business schools themselves on how the two stack up in the admissions process, you might want to go with the known quantity, which in this case is the GMAT.

One group of students, however, that may want to more seriously consider the GRE are those planning to take it for graduate school applications and don’t have any immediate designs on business school. Down the road a much clearer picture should exist regarding the two tests in the admissions process, and you may just end up saving yourself time and money by already having a GRE score on the books. The most important thing, as always, is to take the necessary steps to ensure you get yourself the best score possible to give yourself the best opportunities, regardless of which test you’re taking.

For more on what ETS has to say about the GRE and business schools, check out their press release here.

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