Is the GRE Party Over?

For many years, GMAT-challenged MBA hopefuls flocked to the GRE as an alternative test considered by many to be more accessible and in some cases, easier to get a decent score.  Is this loophole closing?

The GMAT has always been the bastion exam for graduate business school education.  Forged by the GMAC specifically to assess the potential of b-school applicants, there was hardly a school in the country which didn’t require it as part of their application process.  Several years ago, however, business schools reluctantly began to accept the Graduate Record Exam instead, which is taken by more than five times the number of people who take the GMAT.  This was welcome news for many who had taken the GRE only to decide later to apply to business school, thereby saving themselves the time and expense of sitting for yet another standardized test.  Many test takers also favor the GRE over the GMAT simply because they feel like they perform better on it.

Perhaps the most compelling reason folks were flocking to the GRE, however, was because schools were not required to report the scores to the rankings boards. 

This little loophole gave them some wiggle room for candidates whom they liked, but either did not have a favorable GMAT score or did not have a GMAT score at all.  For the past several years, in fact, schools have been able to admit students with a GRE-only score which, if converted to a GMAT score, would fall well below the school’s average.  It was really win/win for the candidates and the schools alike, since schools could maintain their GMAT average for rankings purposes while still admitting test-challenged students they deemed a good fit for their program in other ways.  This fact alone was attracting more and more students to the GRE.

Well, the party is largely over, because so many students were exercising the opportunity to take the GRE, that the rankings boards began requiring schools to convert GRE scores to GMAT scores and submitting them along with the other GMAT scores. 

Suddenly schools have found themselves right back where they had been before—having to tow the line on rankings rules and figuring every admitted student’s score into the total average.

If this news sends panic through your veins, you can find solace in the fact you may still do better on the GRE (converted) than you would on the GMAT.  There are plenty of official online calculators to see what your GRE score becomes once changed into a GMAT score.  Additionally, the fact that rankings boards are requiring the conversion means more schools will probably be accepting the GRE now.  While many schools had climbed aboard the GRE train in recent years, there were still some who would only accept the GMAT.  It’s likely that one would find very little resistance to the GRE now that they all become GMAT scores in the end.

To find out more about your options and how we can guide your business school application process, email us at or contact us via