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Deciding whether to take the GMAT or GRE

Traditionally, applying to a Masters of Business Administration program involved taking the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT. The test was designed to help determine such abilities like the reasoning and analytical skills of the applicant, and it allowed institutions to evaluate certain academic proficiencies – such as analytical writing or quantitative reasoning.

Conventional wisdom held that this test allowed the admissions department to select the most qualified candidates. However, today, a new way of thinking has turned that idea upside down.

In recent years, many top-notch business schools have abandoned the GMAT exam requirements, instead turning to other criteria such as the undergraduate GPA, career accomplishments, and work experience. The GMAT asks a mix of questions on topics such as algebra, geometry, word problems, and it tests grammatical and logical reasoning skills.

However, it does not ask questions related to the applicant’s actual business experience. Now, some schools are reconsidering the credence given to the GMAT.

This new approach takes into consideration what milestones applicants have been able to reach in their executive lives and how well they have done academically over the course of their studies, rather than basing it on the outcome of a single test.

The MBA program offered by The University of Scranton, which can be completed online, is among those that no longer use GMAT scores as an admission requirement. The University joins a growing and prestigious list of academic institutions, both public and private, that have adopted this new approach.

Why the change? The move away from GMAT requirements has created an interesting new landscape in higher education, where some schools still require the exams while other top-ranking master’s programs do not. Some school officials believe the test requirement is actually deterring l students who could potentially succeed in business school from applying.

Their reasoning was that some applicants, who may already be engaged in a busy career, don’t have the time required to sit down and prepare for such a demanding and time-consuming test.

Others may have been in the workforce for many years – which means they haven’t had to take tests during that time. The idea of having to prepare for the test may seem daunting. Additionally, some of the test’s requirements may be on subjects they haven’t studied since they were in high school, and the amount of time and energy required to relearn the topic doesn’t seem worthwhile.

Finally, schools began to recognize that not all applicants are good at taking tests. While tests are meant to evaluate skills, more and more institutions are recognizing they don’t necessarily reflect the applicants’ true strengths.

For those interested in pursuing an MBA, there’s now a choice of whether or not to take the GMAT. Those who are extremely busy or do not test well no longer have to give up on their dreams of pursuing the degree and furthering their professional skills and standing.

Because of online options such as those offered by The University of Scranton, courses can be taken at any time during the day or night, allowing students to let the education work into their schedule rather than trying to work their schedule around classes. This means it’s also good for professionals who travel frequently or work outside of the U.S.