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Is the GRE becoming an alternative to GMAT?

Stanford Graduate School of Business started accepting the GRE revised General Test as an alternative to the GMAT in 2004 because school officials felt it was nonsensical to accept the GRE from candidates applying to their Ph.D. programmes but not from their MBA applicants. In the years since hundreds of business schools have followed suit. According to Educational Testing Services, which administers the GRE, about 1000 business schools accept the GRE today: “Graduate and business school programmes worldwide use GRE scores in their admissions and fellowship decisions for a variety of programmes, including master’s, MBA, specialised master’s degrees, and doctoral programmes.” 

According to Educational Testing Services, some of the upsides of taking the GRE are a test-taker friendly design, the ScoreSelect option and a policy that allows candidates to retake the test. The test-taker friendly layout lets test takers use a calculator for the Quantitative Reasoning section. Candidates can also move around freely in the sections. Test-takers can re-take the test once every 30 days, and up to five times within 12 months. The ScoreSelect option then means that candidates can send schools the scores that they feel reflect their personal best.

The price is also reasonable: The test costs 175 US dollars worldwide and the scores are valid for five years. The recently released version 2.0 of the preparation software Powerprep includes two full-length practice tests as well as sample questions.

The GRE revised General Test takes 3 hours and 45 minutes and measures skills like verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing in six sections:
1 Analytical Writing section
2 Verbal Reasoning sections
2 Quantitative Reasoning sections
1 Unidentified/Unscored section

700 test centres in more than 160 countries take the computer-based test, which is available on a continuous basis throughout the year in most regions of the world.

Educational Testing Services, though, are still battling the myth that business schools prefer GMAT test takers. According to the private non-profit organisation there is no research basis for this prejudice. Educational Testing Services points to Harvard Business School's Director of Admissions, Dee Leopold and her recent webinars for applicants in which she states that Harvard is “indifferent between those tests”.


View the official worldwide list of graduate and business school programs accepting GRE scores at ETS-GRE

Harvard's webinars for business school applicants: Harvard Business School

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