Should I Take the New GRE or the GMAT Focus in 2023/24?

The MBA admission tests are changing! The new GRE and GMAT focus are shorter, but with switched-up content and the old tests going away at the end of 2023, how do you know which one you should take for MBA admission success?

Angela Guido is staring into the crystal ball at the balance of probabilities to give us a pretty straightforward answer (for once, no ifs and buts!). We’ll be back when the dust settles to see how to tests fare and give a new recommendation. Good luck test takers!

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Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

Hello and welcome back to MBA Monday! I am Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol. I'm a former GMAT Instructor, I'm an MBA and Career Coach. I have an MBA, I used to recruit MBAs… I've spent my whole career on the MBA gauntlet, supporting people in applying to business school and achieving their dreams through the MBA. One of the things that comes up for everyone on their MBA journey is the test. The standardized test, the GRE, the GMAT, could also be the Executive Assessment exam, and the big question that is on everyone's mind in 2023 and 2024 is, which test should I take? I'm going to help you answer that question today on MBA Monday.

The Short Answer Is The GRE, Here’s Why

All right, you know me. I like to give you the answer right up front so you can just tune out and get on with your day, although I do hope you'll watch the rest of this video so that you understand why I'm making this recommendation that will make it much more meaningful and useful to you. Here's the short answer: the GRE! You should be taking the GRE in 2023 and 2024. If you didn't catch my other video about the GMAT Focus Edition that is coming right down the pike, it is coming for you and it is going to totally change the GMAT preparation landscape, possibly eventually for the better. But in the short term, it's going to be a mad dash, a crazy, crazy scramble for the thousands — possibly tens of thousands — of people out there in the world who have learned how to teach the GMAT. There are dozens of large test prep companies and thousands of small providers. Basically, everybody in the MBA universe has a little finger at least, and sometimes a whole arm, in the GMAT preparation game. Those people have been trained, they've developed all of their materials and all of their expertise on the old test, which has basically not changed for decades. The introduction of the integrated reasoning section over a decade ago was the biggest change that had befallen the test, but the integrated reasoning section has never been part of your score. As a result, test prep gurus worldwide have more or less waved their hand over the IR section and said, “Hey! Practice a little, do your best, but it doesn't matter.”, because the only thing schools care about is your overall score and the degree to which it bolsters their rankings or hurts their rankings.

In The Short Term, The GMAT’s Going To Be A Big Mess

You've heard me talk about this before. If you've ever worked with a GMAT study person, they've probably told you exactly that same thing. Up until now, the integrated reasoning section, for better or worse, didn't really matter. There was no financial incentive for test prep companies to focus on it and no energetic incentive for you to focus on it. You needed to save your energy for the main event, which is where your score used to come from and still comes from until the end of this year when the GMAT Focus Edition takes over with its much-enhanced integrated reasoning section that is now going to be a part of your final score. This is going to introduce all kinds of chaos into the GMAT prep universe. People will figure it out. They will learn how to teach the integrated reasoning section and make it easier for you to do better on that part of the test, regardless of which background you're coming from. Whether you're a native speaker or not, whether you're a legitimate business person or a Philosophy major and English teacher like me, people will be able to help you do better on the integrated reasoning section eventually. The GMAC hasn't even revealed what the new test actually looks like to anyone. They've kept it under wraps. So there will not be anyone in January that can really help you master the timing and pacing of this test, the new content type, the way to balance your test taking strategy when you can now go back to answers that you skipped. It's changing so much and in the fullness of time, I do believe it will be a better test. I hope it'll be a fairer test, though that one is harder to predict. But in the short term, it's going to cause a big mess.

Don’t Invest Time & Money Into The Unknown When There’s An Alternative

Harvard is not accepting that test this year because they admittedly have no idea what's going to happen, and they don't want to introduce that chaos into their admissions process. They're only taking the old GMAT. They are, however, taking the new reduced-time GRE. So both of these tests are changing. They're changing in some ways to cater to test takers, to make test takers' lives easier by shortening the tests, but the GRE is not changing its content. It's just removing the unscored section, which caused all kinds of problems and anxieties for test takers. They're removing that so now you've got the same basic test just in less time. The scoring criteria isn't changing, the question type isn't changing. So all of the vast universe of GRE preparation resources that have come into existence over the last decades are still going to be good for the next several years. Not so with the GMAT. So if you are looking at these two tests and asking yourself, “Which one should I invest in? Which one should I choose to let at least a part of my future ride on?”, because let's face it, we know that those test scores do affect school's decisions. It's not the only basis of their choice, but it will limit your options if your test score isn't high. So you're making a potentially life-altering choice between these two tests. Why would you bet on the dark horse? Why would you start to invest your time and energy into getting ready for something that we don't even know what it's going to look like? Even when we do know what it looks like in the first several months, it's going to be the blind leading the blind for a little while.

So if I were you, if I were someone who was calculating and wise and wanting to dedicate my time and energy to the most efficient and least risky path, I would take the GRE. I would take the GRE at least until the end of 2024. At that point, we'll see if the test prep industry has caught up with this new Focus Edition and will allow you to really master that test and perform your personal best with the appropriate support and tools and resources that you need, but a year would be fast. We'll be back! We'll be back at the end of 2024. We'll check in and we'll see how is that test shaping up and how are the people who help you do well on that test doing in their learning journey with this new exam. Until then, my money is on the GRE, and I think yours should be too. I'll see you next week!

Angela Guido

Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder and
Chief Education Officer of Career Protocol

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