Is the GRE Taken Seriously?

A common theme in our MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed series is that applicants should not assume that admissions officers have “right” and “wrong” answers in mind and are trying to trick candidates in some way. Applicants often worry that admissions officers say one thing but really mean another. As a result, many assume that their interviews are worthless—that they essentially “do not count”—unless they are conducted by someone from the Admissions Office, or that they need to have a connection with a particularly successful or well-known 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, an emerging myth—which assumes that admissions officers are up to their old (and candidates’ entirely imagined) tricks—asserts that the GMAT is taken far more seriously than the GRE and that the GRE is therefore of dubious value to applicants.

We think we can destroy this myth with a few simple rhetorical/logical questions: Why would an Admissions Office encourage you to take a test that it would not value? Why would an admissions committee disenfranchise applicants who take the GRE, when one of the main reasons for accepting the GRE is to expand the applicant pool? Why would admissions officers waste precious time devising such a devious scheme in the first place?

“The exam itself is less important than your performance on that exam relative to your peers,” says Dan Gonzalez, former 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—perhaps because you want to keep your options open for graduate school or just because you think the test plays to your strengths—you should first check to see if your target schools accept the test. Then, if they do, study hard and… take the GRE!

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