As the GMAT exam continues to lose market share to the rival GRE exam, the Graduate Management Admissions Council will allow test takers to sit for its at-home, online exam twice starting late this month. When the online version of the GMAT was introduced on April 20th, GMAC would only allow students to take the at-home exam once.
That put the test at a distinct disadvantage to the at-home version of the GRE which was not only launched nearly a month earlier but also allowed students to take the online test as many as five times in 12 months, one of a number of features that gave test takers greater flexibility in choosing the GRE over the GMAT. Since the introduction of the online version of the GMAT, however, has made a number of alternations for test-takers who opt for the at-home exam.
A spokesperson for GMAC listed those changes since the launch of the online test. “As the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, we extended $200 GMAT Online exam availability through the end of 2020 while also making ongoing candidate-focused enhancements,” he told Poets&Quants. “These include the ability for test-takers to review their score before sending it to schools, the use of physical whiteboards, the introduction of accommodations, and the ability to send free score reports to an unlimited number of b-school programs.
‘A FOCUS ON CREATING FLEXIBILITY & PEACE OF MIND’
“Building on these enhancements with a focus on creating additional flexibility and peace-of-mind for candidates, starting in late-September GMAT Online exam test-takers will have the option to retake their exam, expanding GMAT Online exam attempts from 1 to 2. Since our introduction of the GMAT Online exam, less than six months ago, our ongoing enhancements have helped transition the exam from meeting an immediate application cycle need to providing flexibility and supporting the needs of schools and candidates throughout the full application cycle.”
Many competitive test-takers sit for the exam multiple times. At test centers, students can take the GMAT once every 16 calendar days and no more than five times in a rolling 12-month period and no more than eight times total over a lifetime. GMAC has never explained why it has placed greater limits on the retake policy for its online version of the exam, though observers believe the more stringent policy for the online test was adopted for security reasons. Effective with this change at the end of the month, online attempts will now be included in the GMAT 12-month and lifetime limit caps. Any online exams taken prior to the change taking effect will be excluded to honor GMAC’s stated policies prior to this update in policy.
Word of GMAC’s policy change spread a week ago when the organization began emailing test-takers notifying them that they could take the online exam a second time. GMAC, however, did not make an official statement about the change, though it confirmed it with Poets&Quants.
MOVE FOLLOWS CONTINUED GAINS IN MARKET SHARE BY GRE
However, the ability of the Educational Testing Service to get its online version of the GRE out earlier and without the widely reported technical glitches that plagued the early launch of the GMAT has led to some dramatic increases in the use of the GRE for business school admissions. This week, for example, UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business reported that a record 34% of its newly enrolled class of MBA students were admitted with a GRE score. That is up from 21% last year. Four years ago, in 2016, only 7% of the incoming class had taken the GRE. At Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, GRE gains were even more dramatic. Some 38% of this fall’s entering class of MBAs enrolled with GRE scores, up from 23% last year and 14% two years.
At Harvard Business School, a record 22% of the enrolled class submitted a GRE score to gain entry into Harvard’s MBA program this year. That’s two percentage points higher than last year’s level, itself a record, and up from only 12% three years ago, showing increasing acceptance of the GRE as a viable alternative to the GMAT exam.
Explaining the new policy change, a GMAC spokesperson told Poets&Quants: “We want candidates to be at their best on exam day, whether in a test center or at home. These changes, made with test-takers in mind, are consistent with that goal.”