Four Predictions for 2013

There is no shortage of opinion and points of view here at Veritas Prep. We’re an opinionated lot, and we’re also not afraid to stick out our necks and make a few predictions about how we see the worlds of test prep and admissions evolving in the coming year. The following are four trends and news items we expect to see emerge at some point in 2013:

At least one Top 20 MBA program will introduce an all-online MBA program.
Right now, Kenan-Flagler’s MBA@UNC is still the only game in town when it comes to top-tier business schools offering real, full-blown MBAs available online. The segment certainly still has a ways to go in terms of burnishing online education’s reputation, and UNC has tried to tackle this problem head-on with ads that go as far as to warn that you probably can’t get into its program. With most of the elite American universities making much more aggressive strides into online education (most frequently with MIT & Harvard’s edX or Stanford’s Coursera), it’s not hard to imagine that another top-ranked business school will soon move to offer a full MBA over the Internet in 2013.

Repeated “irregularities” in how some schools have reported data will bring about some changes in college and grad school rankings.
So many cases of schools misreporting data have been revealed in the past year that U.S. News had to publish an FAQ to explain how each case affected its rankings. In some cases it was a university intentionally sending incorrect SAT scores, and in other cases it was a school being choosy in what it did and didn’t send to U.S. News. While we don’t place a lot of blame on U.S. News for these scandals — after all, the publication only has so many resources to research are verify hundreds of schools’ data — it seems as though something has to change. Whether it is U.S. News or another prominent publication setting higher standards for schools in verifying their data, or it’s an entirely new rankings competitor emerging with a better way of doing it, we expect to see something change in the coming year.

The idea that “test takers should not worry much about Integrated Reasoning” will die out.
It was inevitable that MBA admissions officers (not typically a very daring lot) would take their time getting to know Integrated Reasoning before using it as a deciding factor in admissions. It was also inevitable that some general, reassuring statements from admissions officers (such as this one from Stanford GSB) would be repeated and interpreted until it got boiled down to headlines such as “Stanford Says Integrated Reasoning Doesn’t Matter.” Well, now that admissions officers have had a year to get to know the new section and its scores, and since GMAC is pretty aggressively pushing the message that Integrated Reasoning is in fact valid and provides a data point different from what the Quant and Verbal sections provide, we expect that Integrated Reasoning will matter much more in business school admissions in the 2013-2014 application cycle.

Testing year 2013 will show a drop in GMAT volume.
Knowing how many applicants rushed to take the GMAT before the new Integrated Reasoning section debuted in June, 2012, we expect that testing year 2013 wills show a drop in the numbers of GMATs administered. This prediction is sort of a corollary to one we made a year ago, which said that GMAT volume would spike right before new section was added. That prediction proved to be correct, making this prediction a fairly easy one to make.

Also, note that if we do see a drop, it will largely be driven by how GMAC defines its testing years, which run from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. It’s not hard to imagine that the change in the exam caused anyone who was thinking of taking the GMAT in the summer to instead take it several months earlier. Given that the change to the GMAT came in June, that pulled forward a lot of volume from testing year 2013 to testing year 2012. If the change had happened in January, much of that “pulled forward” testing volume would still have happened in the same testing year (if, for example, someone took the exam in December instead of March). GMAC could have perhaps done itself a favor and smoothed out this issue by making the change earlier or later in the year, but presumably the organization had its reasons for introducing the Integrated Reasoning section in June.

Let’s check back in 12 months and see how we did. In the meantime, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

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