GRE Fails To Sway Many Away From GMAT

A major campaign to attract business school applicants to the Graduate Record Exam has apparently had little to no impact, according to a new analysis of GRE test takers in the past year. Educational Testing Service, the organization behind the GRE, admitted that only 2% of surveyed respondents sat for the exam in the past year took it with the objective of applying to an MBA program.

That very low number compares with 40% who took the GRE to apply for an M.A., M.S., or Master’s in Education. Another 28% sat for the exam with the objective of going into a doctorate program. The 2% number, moreover, followed a fairly aggressive effort by GRE to gain ground over the dominant GMAT exam which many admissions consultants say business schools prefer.

The disclosure by ETS is in a report on some 534,761 people who had taken the newly revised GRE between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013. Some 381,417 examinees responded to the question regarding their ultimate objective for taking the test. The most commonly reported intended graduate majors were within the natural sciences and other fields, followed by engineering and social sciences. Of all the “major” categories, business showed the smallest percentage of intended graduate major—just 5% (this number was larger than the 2% because it includes graduate programs in addition to the MBA).

MEN ARE SCORING SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER THAN WOMEN ON GRE QUANT

GRE said there was a higher percentage of men (52 percent) than women (45 percent) who indicated MBA as their graduate degree objective. The men, moreover, had a substantially higher mean score on the GRE quantitative reasoning measure than women. For test takers with MBA ambitions, ETS said the mean GRE verbal reasoning score was 150.9 for men and 149.7 for women. The equivalent mean GRE quant reasoning score was 151.1 for men and 147.7 for women, while the mean analytical writing score was 3.6 for both men and women.

GRE also broke down average test scores by racial and ethnic groupings in its report. White scored the highest verbal average–152.7–while Asian test takers had the highest quant scores–153.0 (see table below). Asian test takers also scored the highest on the analytical writing portion of the GRE exam with an average score of 3.9.

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Of the GRE test takers who hope to apply to an MBA program, 65% said they were interested in full-time study, with 24% preferring to take their MBA on a part-time basis. Surprisingly, the test takers who want to get an MBA part time scored higher than the full-timers in verbal reasoning and analytical writing. They did less well than full timers on the quant part of the exam (see below table).

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DON’T MISS: GRE VS. GMAT: WHICH TEST? or HOW THE GRE STACKS UP AGAINST THE GMAT

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.