GMAT Vs. GRE: Which Schools Prefer Which Test — And Which (Still) Don’t Require Any

Two things can be true at once. In 2024, far fewer business schools allow applicants to submit their applications without an entrance exam score than did so in the previous three years. The era of test-optional admissions is over at all but a handful of B-schools.

Also true: Despite the renewed pressure on MBA candidates to sit for an exam, the years-long slump for the Graduate Management Admission Test — long considered the essential exam for admission to graduate business programs — continues. More people simply aren’t taking the GMAT.

More are, however, turning to its chief rival.

As GMAT submission rates continue to fall — especially at the top 25 U.S. B-schools, but generally across the top 50 — the Graduate Record Exam is surging. According to data from the April release of U.S. News & World Report’s annual MBA ranking, around half of the top 50 schools reported increases in the rate of GRE submissions in 2023.


P&Q 2024 Rank School % GRE 2023 % GRE 2022
15 UC-Berkeley (Haas) 53% 45%
3 Dartmouth (Tuck) 42% 38%
33 Texas-Dallas (Jindal) 41% 44%
1 Stanford GSB 39% 33%
44 Minnesota (Carlson) 39% 15%
5 Yale SOM 37% 39%
6 Duke (Fuqua) 37% 36%
24 Georgetown (McDonough) 37% 49%
31 Pennsylvania (Wharton) 37% 30%
9 Michigan (Ross) 36% 30%
Source: U.S. News & World Report and school websites


Poets&Quants has written for years about the decline in GMAT test-taking and submission rates. In 2023, the slump continued apace: The number of B-schools in the P&Q top 50 with greater than 50% submission rates of GMAT scores declined to just 11 from 18 in 2022; nine schools remained above 60% in 2023, mostly in the upper echelons (including five of the M7 schools), but only one school — Florida Warrington College of Business — reported that more than 70% of applicants submitted a GMAT score, down from five schools the year before. (See details on GMAT submission percentages on page 2.)

Conversely, schools below 50% GMAT submission increased to 41 in 2023 from 32, while the ranks of those below 40% grew to 35 from 21. Those below 30% doubled in number to 20. Meanwhile the number of schools at 25% or more GRE submissions grew in one year to 30 from 23.

In the top 10, the GMAT still reigns by a wide margin — but it’s slimming. The average percentage of GMAT submissions among the 10 highest-ranked B-schools was 50% in 2023, down from 55% in 2022, while GRE submissions grew slightly, to 32.3% from 31.1%. Across the top 25, the picture is similar, with GMAT rate falling to 46.5% from 54.2% and GRE inching up to 30.6% from 29.6%.

Thirty-nine B-schools overall (out of 49 for which data was available) lost GMAT volume in 2023. Eighteen were by double digits. The biggest declines:

And the lowest rate of GMAT submission in 2023: Northeastern D’Amore-McKim School of Business, at just 4%. Both George Washington School of Business and William and Mary Mason School of Business were near the bottom at 10%.


P&Q 2024 Rank School % GMAT 2023 % GMAT 2022
25 Florida (Warrington) 72% 54%
2 Harvard Business School 69% 74%
12 Northwestern (Kellogg) 67% 76%
31 Pennsylvania (Wharton) 67% 71%
13 UCLA (Anderson) 65% 77%
11 Chicago (Booth) 63% 73%
5 Yale SOM 62% 58%
1 Stanford GSB 61% 67%
3 Dartmouth (Tuck) 61% 68%
Source: U.S. News & World Report and school websites


Looking at the year-over-year change in GRE submissions in the last two- and seven-year periods, the rise of the GRE is clear. From 2022 to 2023, 23 schools saw increases (out of 45 for which there is enough data to compare), including 14 of the top 25, and seven by double digits; 19 schools saw GRE declines. But since 2017, 30 schools are up — including 19 by double digits — and only nine down. The biggest gain in the latter span has been at UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business, which saw its GRE submission rate grow by 43 percentage points to 53%, making the Haas School the only one in the P&Q top 50 to currently eclipse 50% GRE submissions. Other noteworthy increases in that seven-year period: Dartmouth Tuck School of Business, up 27 points to 42%; both the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Duke Fuqua School of Business up 26 points to 37%; and Virginia Darden School of Business, up 26 points to 34%.

The number of B-schools with more GRE than GMAT in 2023 grew to 16 of 53, or more than 30% of schools in the top half (or adjacent to it) of the P&Q ranking; in 2022, in the same group of schools, only eight (17.4%) had more GRE than GMAT submissions.

Of the 19 of 45 schools to lose GRE submission volume between 2022 and 2023, seven were by double digits, with the biggest decline at Florida Warrington, where GRE subs fell 40 percentage points to just 6%. Other noteworthy declines: 23 points at UC-Irvine Merage School of Business, to 6%; 20 points at Washington-St. Louis Olin Business School, to 27%; and 14 points at Utah Eccles School of Business, to 24%.

Twelve of 45 schools lost ground in both GMAT and GRE rates of submission; one school — Boston Questrom — gained in both: to 27% from 17% GMAT, and to 28% from 18% GRE.


P&Q 2024 Rank School % GRE 2023 % GRE 2022 2-Year Trend
18 Rice (Jones) 31% 7% +24
44 Minnesota (Carlson) 39% 15% +24
17 Washington (Foster) 32% 9% +23
26 Rochester (Simon) 27% 16% +11
30 Notre Dame (Mendoza) 27% 16% +11
52 Pittsburgh (Katz) 33% 23% +10
Source: U.S. News & World Report and school websites


A central question for the MBA candidate today: Can you still get into a top school without taking an entrance exam?

The answer is yes, but the window is closing fast.

Only 10 schools out of 54 examined by P&Q allowed applicants to apply to their MBA programs in the 2022-2023 cycle without providing a test score. That was down from 14 schools in 2021-2022. An even bigger shift: Only eight schools allow waivers — down in one year from 23.

Where a test score is required: 34 B-schools, including eight of the P&Q top 10. That’s up from just 13 schools in 2021-2022 (of which 10 were in the top 12). Nineteen schools went from waivers or no test requirement to requiring a test; zero schools went the other way, from requiring a test to not requiring one, or to offering waivers.

Among the schools that changed in the past year: NYU Stern, Virginia Darden, CMU Tepper, Emory Goizueta, USC Marshall, Indiana Kelley School of Business, and Georgetown McDonough School of Business all went from waiver to required; Washington Olin, Rutgers, and Penn State Smeal College of Business went from not required to required.

How have waiver/test-optional policies affected submission rates? At 33 schools with no waiver in 2023, the average GMAT rate was 40.7%; in 2022, at 13 schools with no test-optional policy, it was 57.8%. At 10 schools with no test required, GMAT submissions sank to 27.7% (from 39.1% at 13 schools in 2022); and at the eight schools with conditional waivers, the rate was 35.8% — down from 41.3% at 22 schools in 2022.

For the GRE, the average submission rate at schools with no waiver was 25.8% at 35 schools in 2023, down from 36.4% at 11 schools in 2022. The average at schools with no test required was 24.4% (10 schools), up from 19.6% in 2022 (13 schools); and the average at schools with conditional waivers was 28.1% (eight schools), up slightly from 26.8% in 2022 (22 schools).


P&Q Rank School % GMAT 2023 % GMAT 2022 2-Year Trend
25 Florida (Warrington) 72% 54% +18
41 Boston (Questrom) 27% 17% +10
40 UC-Irvine (Merage) 33% 24% +9
32 BYU (Marriott) 47% 39% +8
5 Yale SOM 62% 58% +4
Source: U.S. News & World Report and school websites

See the next page for data on GMAT and GRE submission rates and test requirements at the top 54 U.S. business schools from 2022 to 2023; and page 3 for GRE submission rates over the last seven years.

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