Jump-Start Your GRE Prep With a Free GRE Strategy Session

GREWhether you are planning to apply to business school, pursue another field of graduate study, or simply want to keep your future options open, you’ve decided to take the GRE. The GRE is a challenging exam and if you are planning on taking the test, you undoubtedly have questions about how to prepare and how to maximize your score.

If you’re looking to jump-start your GRE preparation, register to attend Veritas Prep’s free online GRE Strategy Session. Hosted by Veritas Prep’s GRE Course co-creator, Brian Galvin, this one-hour session will go over the basics of the GRE and show you some of the advanced strategies needed to tackle this exam. In addition, each session concludes with a Q&A session, so you can have your toughest GRE questions answered in live time.

So what are you waiting for? Register to attend the next Veritas Prep GRE Strategy Session now and improve your chances of GRE success!

Wednesday, February 24
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Wednesday, March 23
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Register now!

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Six Predictions for 2011

GMAT Prep Washington DCIt wouldn’t be right to start off the new year without some predictions about what will happen with the GMAT and in graduate school admissions in 2011. While last year’s predictions of 3D GMAT classes and a free solar-powered Kindle for every HBS student never quite materialized (we’ve still got our fingers crossed), we’re feeling bold enough to issues some new predictions for the coming year.

Without further ado, here are six things that we expect will happen in the GMAT and admissions spaces in the year ahead:
Continue reading “Six Predictions for 2011”

ETS Introduces Updated GMAT/GRE Score Comparison Tool

GMAT GRE Comparison ToolEducation Testing Service (ETS), the group that runs the GRE, has introduced an updated version of the GMAT/GRE score comparison tool that it first announced last year. It provides a slick, easy-to-use interface for applicants to input their GRE General Test scores and see a predicted equivalent total GMAT score.

The changes to the tool look mostly cosmetic, with a Flash-based interface replacing tables and charts, although it does look like ETS also increased the sample size on which the comparison tool is based. The 2009 version of included the results of 525 people who took both exams, while ETS says this version includes data from 893 test takers.
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U.S. News MBA Rankings Survey to Gather GRE Data This Year

U.S. NewsScore one more point for Educational Testing Service (ETS) in its effort to take market share from the GMAT as the preferred test for business school admissions. On his Morse Code Blog, U.S. News Director of Data Research Robert Morse announced that this fall’s U.S. News survey will ask admissions offices detailed questions on GRE test scores and the number and the percentage Class of 2012 students who submitted them.

Morse stopped short of promising that U.S. News‘s 2012 MBA rankings (which will be published next spring) will contain GRE data, but said that U.S. News “is considering changing its ranking methodology for the 2012 edition of the America’s Best Business Schools rankings… to include both the GMAT and GRE test scores of all M.B.A. students entering in fall 2010.”

In his blog post Morse points out that nearly 27% of the graduate business schools that U.S. News last surveyed are currently accepting GRE scores for admissions. Assuming that U.S. News does eventually decide to include GRE data in its rankings, it will be interesting to see how it manages it given that the majority of top schools still do not accept the GRE. Will it blend GRE and GMAT data by looking just at percentile scores? Will they only include GRE numbers when school report them, and ignore them otherwise? Could some schools have an incentive to include or exclude GRE data to manipulate their rankings, similar to what law schools have been doing with their employment data? It will be interesting to see.

While we still believe that the GMAT is the best predictor of how someone will do in business school, there’s no denying that ETS has made impressive strides this past year in promoting the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT. If you’re an applicant, the question to ask is, “What do I want?” If you’re considering a variety of graduate program options (including business school), then the GRE may make sense. If you’re certain you really want to pursue an MBA, though, it’s still difficult to justify choosing the GRE over the GMAT. We’ve written about this decision at length, and still feel the same way.

Thinking about taking the GMAT? Visit our site for a GMAT course overview to see why thousands of applicants choose Veritas Prep every year. And, as always, be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow Veritas Prep on Twitter so that you don’t miss a beat in the worlds of GMAT prep and MBA admissions!

Veritas Prep Weighs in on the GMAT vs. GRE Debate on BusinessWeek

GMAT Preparation
In an article on BusinessWeek.com yesterday, BW’s Francesca Di Meglio dug deeper into the “GMAT or GRE?” question. She interviewed several leading experts on the subject, including our own co-founder and CEO, Chad Troutwine.

Di Meglio referred to the battle between the two tests as a “Coke-or-Pepsi debate,” an appropriate comparison given that they are two tests that seem similar (at least on the surface), and that each one has its ardent backers. However, everyone interviewed for the story (including Chad) had a very clear take: If you’re serious about getting into business school, don’t over-think it. Doing well on the GMAT is still the best way to prove that you have the aptitude to excel in business school.

According to Chad (via the article):

In general, Troutwine says, the GRE is not taken as seriously as the GMAT in the B-school world. He tells clients to take the GMAT unless they are applying to other graduate programs that require the GRE. “If you can take on the challenge of what may be a slightly more demanding exam, the score will have more value,” says Troutwine.

If you’re dead set on getting into a top business school, keep in mind the schools’ rationale for starting to accept the GRE — to attract applicants who might not otherwise have considered applying to business school. MBA admissions officers’ image of the typical (or even ideal) GRE-taking applicant is the one who has an impressive background but maybe an unclear career path. Maybe he just took the GRE to prepare to apply for a graduate program in public policy, but now he learns about the HBS 2+2 Program or a similar program designed for younger or somewhat unusual applicants. Since he can apply with his existing GRE score, he says “What the heck,” and applies, helping Harvard sprinkle some more diversity into its MBA class.

Not all GRE-taking applicants must look like this, but contrast this with the more “typical” business school applicant, who goes to a top-20 university, works for a prominent New York bank for two years, and is now ready to apply to business school. He has a great undergraduate transcript, impressive work history at a blue chip firm, essays that convincingly describe why an MBA has been in his plans for the last four years, and… a great GRE score? Why would someone like this not take the GMAT if he’s so serious about getting into a top MBA program? Is he hiding a bad GMAT score? Is he trying to “game the system” and take the GRE since he thins he can do better on it than on the GMAT?

Admissions officers’ minds are not quite swimming with so many conspiracy theories, but remember that your entire application does need to hang together as a whole. If anything jumps out as a big inconsistency vs. the rest of your business school application, that’s a chink in the armor as you try to get accepted ahead of literally thousands of other great applicants. If you’re serious about getting into a top-ten MBA program, stick with the GMAT, at least until the GRE is better proven in the graduate business educations space.

If you’re ready to get started with your own GMAT prep, take a look at the free resources available at Veritas Prep, including our free practice GMAT. Or, give us a call at (800) 925-7737 and speak with a GMAT expert today!

More on the Coming Changes to the GRE

Much has been made of Educational Testing Service’s announcement that it will introduce significant changes to the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test in 2011. With the market for grad school-related standardized testing heating up as GMAC and ETS butt heads, these changes are sure to be closely watched.

Interestingly, ETS planned a big change to the GRE in 2007, but later canceled its plans, blaming computer problems for the aborted effort. Clearly, with the stakes being raised as ETS and GMAC (the people behind the GMAT) battle fort he hearts and minds of admissions officers, competition has brought out the best in ETS.

The big changes to the test include (adapted from Inside Higher Ed):
  • People who take the new version of the GRE on the computer will be able to skip questions and come back to them later, and revisit answers before submitting an entire section. While test takers will surely like this, it’s hard to envision there being much of a computer-adaptive component to the test with this model.
  • The scoring range for each section will change from 200-800 (with score increments of 10 points), to a scale of 130-170, with score increments of one point.
  • The section of antonyms and analogies in the verbal section will be removed, with more reading comprehension added. We think this reflects ETS’ push to make the GRE more like the GMAT in what skills it tests.
  • The geometry section in the quantitative section will shrink, with additional questions being added related to data analysis. This is another push to test more of the skills that the GMAT also tests.
  • A calculator will be provided, to shift the emphasis from how quickly someone can calculate a number to that person’s actual analytical and problem-solving abilities.
  • The time of the exam will increase from around 3 hours to 3 hours, 45 minutes.

If you’re applying to business school and are wondering which test you should take, our advice remains the same: We agree with GMAC that the GMAT is still the most proven measure of the skills an MBA applicant needs to succeed in the classroom. If you’re thinking about grad degrees and general and are only somewhat interested in earning an MBA, then perhaps the GRE is the better place to start. If you’re sure that a top-tier MBA is what you want, however, the GMAT is still your best bet.

For more GMAT prep assistance, take a look at the free resources available at Veritas Prep, including our free practice GMAT. If you’re ready to start working on your own 700+ score on the GMAT, give us a call at (800) 925-7737!

GMAT vs. GRE: GMAC Strikes Back

After seeing ETS make some significant inroads into GMAT market share with its own GRE over the past year, GMAC is now hitting back with an article on its site that debunks ETS’s GRE Comparison Tool for Business Schools.

“This GRE comparison tool is not as precise at it may appear, and using it is not as straightforward as presented. The comparison tool is about averages. Admission decisions are about individuals,” argues GMAC in the article on its site.

Appropriately, GMAC turned to statistics to bolster its argument against the comparison tool:

“As a specific example, for a GRE verbal score of 660 and quantitative score of 670, the tool would predict a GMAT Total score of 650. In this case, 1 in 4 people with this predicted score would actually earn 600 or below if they were to take the GMAT exam. In addition to prediction error, there is also measurement error in both the verbal and quantitative GRE scores, so the chance that this individual would actually score something close to 650 is extremely thin.”

Going further, GMAC then raises the question of whether comparing students with actual GMAT scores to those with predicted scores is fair: “To use predicted GMAT scores along with actual ones unfairly penalizes both sets of test takers, because applicants with valid GMAT scores could be displaced by applicants with predicted scores that are much too high.”

Interestingly, ETS launched the GRE Comparison Tool GRE® Comparison Tool at www.ets.org/gre/comparison about a year ago, but now that web address redirects to a promotion encouraging business schools to start accepting the GRE. Maybe GMAC was able to apply enough pressure to get ETS to remove the tool? Maybe ETS decided it needs to go back to the drawing board?

While we expect that the GRE is here to stay in the graduate management education admissions business, we agree with GMAC that the GMAT is still the most proven measure of the skills an MBA applicant needs to succeed in the classroom. If you’re thinking about grad degrees and general and are only somewhat interested in earning an MBA, then perhaps the GRE is the better place to start. If you’re sure that a top-tier MBA is what you want, however, the GMAT is your best bet.

And, if you’re ready to dig into the GMAT, start with the GMAT preparation tools and services available at Veritas Prep.

Business Schools That Accept the GRE

After NYU Stern’s announcement that it will start accepting the GRE as well as the GMAT for MBA admissions, we’ve been getting more and more questions from business school applicants about what top business schools accept the GRE. While we still believe that the GMAT is the best predictor of how someone will do in business school, there’s no denying that ETS has made impressive strides this past year in promoting the GRE General Test as an alternative to the GMAT.

We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of the top business schools that accept the GRE General Test. This list is not meant to be exhaustive (ETS’s exhaustive list is here). Rather, these are the top business schools — in which our clients tend to be most interested — that have taken the plunge and started accepting the GRE.

Top MBA Programs That Accept the GRE:

  • Harvard Business School
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • University of Virginia (Darden)
  • Yale School of Management

Additionally, Wharton will accept the GRE starting in Fall 2010.

For more information about GMAT prep and MBA admissions, please visit veritasprep.com. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Harvard Business School to Accept the GRE

Yesterday Harvard Business School joined the likes of Stanford GSB and MIT Sloan when it announced that its general two-year MBA program will starting accepting the GRE from applicants this fall. This move comes after the HBS 2+2 Program announced in March that it would accept both the GRE and the GMAT this year. While this won’t affect your plans if you have already taken (or are about to take) the GMAT, it will potentially attract a bigger and more diverse applicant pool to Harvard’s two-year MBA program.

In an HBS press release, director of admissions Dee Leopold said, “We are pleased to widen our requirements to give all MBA candidates the option of submitting results from either the GRE or GMAT exams. Since many HBS applicants are also considering graduate programs besides the MBA, there is now no need for them to take the GMAT if they have already taken the GRE. We believe that both the GMAT and the GRE meet our expectations of what a standardized test can tell us about a candidate’s ability to thrive in our MBA Program.”

This is consistent with the school’s push (of which the HBS 2+2 Program is an important part) to find more business leaders outside of the traditional MBA program feeders, such as business-oriented college programs, investment banks, and consulting firms. It also marks another win for ETS in its push to position the GRE as a credible competitor to the GMAT in assessing MBA applicants’ abilities. With a handful of top-ten schools already accepting the GRE, we expect more schools will soon follow suit.

With ETS making slow but steady progress in winning over the top business schools, it’s no wonder that the Graduate Management Admission Council has started to make noise about producing a next-generation GMAT exam, due to reach the market by 2013.

GMAC Announces the Next Generation GMAT

Perhaps motivated by ETS’s push into the MBA admissions market with the GRE, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) recently announced that it will introduce an upgraded GMAT in 2013. Dubbed the “Next Generation GMAT,” the new exam will be designed to overcome the business school community’s largest objections to the current exam.

One common criticism of the GMAT is that has a strong bias in favor of Western culture, in part because it is only offered in English. While this does create some built-in unnatural advantages and disadvantages based on a student’s native language, one strength of this “single language” approach is that it makes it easier to compare GMAT scores of students from anywhere in the world. If, with the new exam, Student A scores a 720 in English and Student B scores a 720 in Mandarin, will an MBA admissions officer really be able to make a direct comparison between the two? It will be interesting to see how GMAC tackles problems such as these.

The GMAT has also recently been plagued other problems, such as last year’s Scoretop scandal and issues with “proxy test takers” that prompted GMAC to introduce pal-scanning technology to its GMAT test centers. It’s not clear how a new exam by itself will overcome these issues, although one solution could end up involving more face-to-face evaluation (which would be time-consuming and expensive).

GMAC has promised to include business schools in its discussions for what the next generation GMAT should look like. As the world’s fastest-growing GMAT prep and admissions consulting provider, we think we also have something to add to the discussion. How about you? What do you think would make the GMAT a fairer and more effective measurement tool for business school applicants?

HBS 2+2 Program to Accept the GRE

We’ve previously weighed in on the GRE vs. GMAT question in the media. Now, one more big name among business schools plans to start accepting the test: Harvard has announced that it will accept the GRE for HBS 2+2 Program applicants starting this year.

This is consistent with the strategic aim of the HBS 2+2 Program, which is to attract more applicants who may otherwise not have considered pursuing an MBA. While many top business schools compete with HBS for high-potential applicants, HBS sees other top grad programs (especially law schools) as their main competition for top young talent. Accepting the GRE allows HBS to attract more of these applicants who may not have originally planned on pursuing a business education.

By the way, the Forbes article makes it sound as thought HBS will only accept the GRE for the 2+2 Program, but it will actually accept both. (See the HBS admissions FAQ.) If you already have a strong GMAT score, then don’t even worry about the GRE.

If you’re still in college and might eventually want to pursue a Harvard MBA, read more about the HBS 2+2 Program on our blog, and see if it’s right for you.

In the Media: The GMAT vs. GRE Question

Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik just wrote a story about the Educational Testing Service’s push to replace the GMAT with its own GRE exam as the standardized test for business school admissions, and he turned to our own Chad Troutwine for his take on this budding competition:

Chad Troutwine, CEO and co-founder of Veritas Prep, a high-end test-prep service for the GMAT, said that the the news from ETS could be significant. Troutwine said that ETS has faced “two big liabilities” in trying to promote the GRE. One has been a fear that minority test takers do not perform as well as white students