More MBA Applicants Taking GRE Test

A record 800,000 people took the GRE last year, a 13% increase over 2010, the Educational Testing Service announced today.

ETS officials said the rise is due to the newly revised general test along with growing acceptance of GRE scores worldwide by thousands of graduate institutions, including business schools.

“We are excited to see such a sharp rise in interest in the GRE revised General Test because it ultimately leads to more people pursuing higher education,” said David Payne, vice president of ETS’s Higher Education Division, in a statement. “In addition, the growing use of GRE scores by business schools is great news for prospective students who now have more opportunities for success — applicants can take one test to pursue either graduate school or an MBA,”

In 2011, the GRE Program recorded growth in all major markets around the world. U.S. volumes increased nearly 10% from 2010, and ETS saw solid increases in important segments such as underrepresented groups, the variety of undergraduate degrees and individuals planning to pursue an MBA. Internationally, GRE test volumes increased nearly 25% over 2010. While growth was recorded throughout the world, including Europe, Africa and other regions, China saw a noteworthy 28% increase and India a 43% increase in test volumes.

More schools than ever, including business schools around the world and international institutions, are accepting GRE scores for admission, according to ETS. In 2011, the number of business schools accepting GRE scores for their MBA programs climbed to nearly 800, up from 450 in 2010. International institutions accepting GRE scores also grew by nearly 10% in 2011. “GRE test takers now have access to more institutions than ever before with substantial growth in acceptance by business and international schools,” added Payne in his statement.

Leading schools who accept GRE scores for their MBA program reported to ETS that they are now seeing a growing applicant pool of GRE test takers. In addition, GRE score reports sent to international schools rose more than 17% in 2011 compared to the prior year.


  • Thanks a lot John, as noted above, your articles and responses are certainly a great help to a lot of people. 

  • JohnAByrne
  • JohnAByrne

    Hard to say and Columbia would never divulge this info. So I’m going to guess here, but call it an educated guess. This is all theoretical, anyway. If the threshold is 88th percentile on the GMAT, I would not be surprised if the GRE threshold is ten points lower. But again, there are a lot of factors that go into an application and though test scores are more important than anything else, the other stuff counts.

  • JohnAByrne

    Many schools like non-traditional MBA applicants, such as teachers. And as a teacher you have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate leadership ability, by leading students in key activities or leading a group of teachers. So I wouldn’t worry all that much about your minimal management experience. In any case, there are schools that place greater value on test scores. Among them are Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, and Chicago as well as many schools ranked from 10 to 30 which are trying to improve the quality of their test scores (though that would apply more to the GMAT which is reported and factored into some rankings). Given your high GRE score and non-traditional status, I would definitely put Kellogg, Tuck, Darden, Michigan and Cornell in your mix of schools.

  • Hello John, I took the GRE and got a very high score (97% Verbal, 94% Q), so I would like to know if there are any schools that value test scores above other considerations, as I have work experience as a teacher but pretty minimal management experience. 

  • eshwar

    can you let me know which schools take GRE into consideration? is there any prior article on this topic? if yes request to give the link.


  • Thanks Said!

  • Said Mohammad

    Thanks a lot John. I can tell from the speed and devotion you answer your readers back with, that you care about this site and its readers. You mentioned you were writing a book on entrepreneurship, I think with the high quality service you provide on this site, you will have great tips in that book. Wait a minute! You’re not an admissions staff member why am I brown nosing? Just kidding.

  • Said,

    That’s hard to say because your application is based on a lot of different factors. If admissions like what they see generally but would be held back from a yes due to a low GMAT score, an equally low GRE might not hold them back. This would especially be true at schools that are sensitive to rankings that include GMATs in their methodology.

  • Said Mohammad

    I read on a different page on your website that (paraphrase) schools looking to prop up their GMAT scores would accept a student with a lower GRE. So let’s say Columbia demands that your GMAT score be in the 88th percentile. What would they require your GRE percentile be?