A recurring theme in our admissions myths series is that applicants should never think that admissions officers are trying to trick them. Many candidates worry that admissions officers say one thing but really mean another. As a result, they assume that their interviews are worthless—that they essentially “don’t count”—unless they are conducted by someone from the admissions office, or that they need to know a highly placed alumnus/alumna from their target school to be admitted, or that they need to pander to a school’s stereotypes to get in. These days, another common myth is that schools take the GMAT far more seriously than the GRE, so the GRE is therefore of dubious value.
We think we can destroy this myth with a few simple rhetorical/logical questions: Why would an admissions committee encourage you to take a test that it would not then consider seriously? Why would a committee disenfranchise applicants who take the GRE, when one of the primary purposes of accepting the GRE is to expand the applicant pool? Why would admissions officers waste precious time devising and propagating such a devious scheme? They no doubt have more important things to do.
“The exam itself is less important than your performance on that exam relative to your peers,” explained Dan Gonzalez, the president of Manhattan Prep. “Think less about which exam schools want you to take and more about which exam will give you the best shot at showing off your skills. The GMAT and the GRE are quite different—take some time to learn about these differences before making your decision.”
So if you are considering taking the GRE—because you want to keep your options open for grad school or just because you think the test plays to your strengths—you should first check to see whether your target schools accept the test. Next, if they do, you should study hard and… take the GRE!