To Test or Not to Test: What to Know About Taking the GMAT and GRE

August 15, 2023

In this Q&A, Scot Sanders, assistant director of admissions, helps prospective MBA students navigate the decision-making process surrounding standardized testing.

To Test or Not to Test: What to Know About Taking the GMAT and GRE

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Scot Sanders

Scot Sanders


Assistant Director of Admissions


Graduate Business Programs




One of the first questions that Scot Sanders fields from prospective students is whether they should
submit a GMAT score, GRE score or request a waiver.


As the assistant director of admissions for Graduate Programs at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business,
Scot has a finger on the pulse of the graduate business school community. With updated versions of the
GRE and GMAT launching later this year, he is poised to help prospective MBA students navigate
unfamiliar terrain.


Below, he shares his insights on how prospective students should approach the decision to take the
GMAT, GRE or request a waiver.

When choosing between the GMAT and GRE, what is a good starting point for prospective MBA students?

The GMAT is designed for graduate business students the same way the LSAT is designed for law students and the MCAT for medical students. The GRE, in contrast, is a general exam taken by graduate students across disciplines, including business and management. The first thing a prospective student should do when deciding between the two is to look at the requirements of all the graduate programs that interest them.


For example, many of the students who apply to our MBA in Healthcare Administration also apply to non-business graduate programs in healthcare that require the GRE, so they are best served by taking the GRE. Most graduate business programs accept both the GRE and the GMAT, so students who are only interested in these programs should choose which test better plays to their strengths and testing style. We typically find that students with a business background gravitate toward the GMAT, while non-business students gravitate toward the GRE.


Does Baylor's MBA program prefer the GMAT or GRE?


Baylor's MBA program has no preference between the two. We can just as effectively assess students with scores from either test. When making admissions decisions, we are looking for students with the tenacity, study habits and cognitive horsepower to handle a rigorous program, particularly the quantitative elements. Both the GMAT and GRE require students to demonstrate mastery of quantitative reasoning, so both are helpful in informing our decision-making process.

What do I need to know about the new GMAT?


A new edition of the GMAT called the GMAT Focus Edition will launch in Q4 of 2023, with registration opening at the end of August 2023. The new test is designed to be more efficient and flexible. It is nearly one hour shorter (2 hours and 45 minutes long compared to 3 hours and 23 minutes long) and does not include the written essay and integrative reasoning sections included in the current version. Instead, students will take a new data analytics section that gauges their ability to absorb and interpret data. The Focus Edition is also more user-friendly, allowing students to choose which section they begin with and flag specific questions to return to later.


To learn more about the GMAT Focus Edition, click here.

What do I need to know about the new GRE?


Like the GMAT Focus Edition, the revamped GRE is significantly more streamlined. The new version, which will launch in September 2023, takes less than two hours to complete—approximately half the time of the current version. The new version omits the unscored section included in the current version, and the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections have fewer questions. Test scores will now be available in 8-10 days instead of 10-15 days.


To learn more about the new GRE, click here.

Will Baylor still accept scores for the older versions of the GMAT and GRE?


Yes, we will accept scores from both versions. From my perspective, it is not worth taking the new version of either exam if you already have a solid score. I would recommend applying to our MBA program first before planning to take the new version. It is also worth mentioning that the average score will go down from the current GMAT to the GMAT Focus Edition. A 640 on the current GMAT, for example, is equivalent to a 605 on the Focus Edition. We have tables to equate the old and new scores so that we are comparing apples to apples.

What is Baylor MBA's GMAT/GRE waiver policy?


In 2022, our Full-Time MBA established a new entrance exam waiver policy that gives certain applicants the option to request a testing waiver. If a student applies with sufficient work experience (defined as four years or more of professional experience after completing an undergraduate degree), they may choose to submit a GRE or GMAT score or request a waiver. Even if their professional experience is not in the business realm, it is a good possibility that they have a track record of professional accomplishments that gives us confidence in their ability to perform well in our programs. We also consider waivers for current Baylor students and Baylor alumni with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.75, regardless of work experience.

Can I change my mind about requesting a waiver?


Absolutely. It is important to remember that you can add a test score to your application after submitting it. If you apply to one of our programs and do not gain acceptance—or do not receive the scholarship offer you were hoping for—you can add a test score to your application even if you have already been approved for a waiver. As long as you are in the same application cycle (late summer through May of the following year), you do not need to submit a new application.



For a firsthand perspective on the GMAT and GRE from two Baylor MBA alumni, click here.

When does it make sense to take a waiver instead of submitting a test score?


This is tricky because we evaluate each candidate holistically rather than simply plugging numbers into a formula to arrive at a decision. The application review criteria we use fall into three general categories: work experience, test scores and everything else (e.g., rigor of undergraduate program, extracurricular activities, interview skills, etc.).


Applicants aren't penalized for opting for a waiver instead of submitting a test score, but submitting a high test score will only strengthen an application. If you have extensive work experience, especially experience that is heavily quantitative in nature, there is less of a need to take the GMAT or GRE. If you qualify for a waiver, I would recommend applying with a waiver before opting to take either the GMAT or GRE. You may get accepted and be given a very competitive scholarship and then realize that taking an entrance wouldn't be necessary. If, on the other hand, you have less work experience, and it is mostly qualitative in nature, it could be advantageous to invest the resources to take one of the exams.


If you have taken the GMAT and GRE and are unsure whether submitting your specific score would strengthen your application, use Baylor's average scores as a benchmark (2022 Average GMAT: 624; Average GRE: 309). Even an average score with work experience will help you more than work experience alone, while a below-average score will not serve you well. In admissions, we are required to consider any score that is reported to us, but you can choose not to submit your score after taking a test if you feel as though it isn't competitive. We can then chat about your study plan and test-prep tools to determine how to possibly increase your score if you were to retest.

Any final words of advice?


Preparing for and taking either the GMAT or GRE demands a considerable investment of time, energy and money. So, it is not a decision to take lightly. Do your research and speak with admissions counselors to determine the most strategic course of action. We are here to help and love to see students succeed.



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