Despite a recent decline in GMAT test takers, prospective MBAs should not be too quick to speculate more broadly about the state of business school. This past June, the number of test takers reportedly fell by 48,000 (17%) compared with the previous year. While this may look to some critics like “more air hissing out of the MBA bubble,” Bloomberg Businessweek argues instead that the GMAT itself is to blame.
The drop in the number of test takers coincides with the Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC’s) introduction of the Integrated Reasoning section to the exam in June 2012. “Traditionally, there is an increase in testing volume before you change a standardized test as test takers opt for the familiar over the unfamiliar at transition time,” a GMAC spokeswoman explained to Bloomberg Businessweek. The same pattern apparently followed revisions made to the GRE in 2011 and revisions to the GED in 2002.
Yet even with the new Integrated Reasoning section, GMAT test takers did not fare much worse than in past years (the average score was 546—two points lower than in 2012 and two points higher than in 2011), suggesting that “all that angst over the revised exam appears to have been misplaced.”