App Tips: Which Test Is the Best?


The new admissions cycle has begun and the admissions team has been engaging with interesting candidates from all over the world. We’ve “met” prospective students from Sao Paulo to Tokyo, all through the magic of Zoom. 

Many of the questions we frequently hear are related to standardized tests: Which one? Do you look at the total score or sub-scores? Do you accept any other tests besides the GMAT and GRE? 

Here are our answers! 

Should I take the GMAT or the GRE?

The choice is yours! We describe ourselves as “test agnostic”, meaning we don’t favor one over the other, and we really mean that. Nearly 40% of our incoming students took the GRE this year. 

Our advice is to choose the test you feel you can score best on. How can you know that? Take a practice test. You also can refer to online resources that highlight the differences between the two tests so you can determine which might be better for you.  

In addition, don’t sweat a retake. An improved score after a retake can only help you, and if your score slips, we will use your highest score. Test retakes signal to the admissions team that you’re goal-oriented and resilient - traits we’re looking for in Ross candidates! 

Do you look at the total score or the sub-scores?

Both the GMAT and the GRE have sub-scores for the quantitative and verbal portions of the test, along with writing and integrated reasoning assessments (note that the online version of the GMAT doesn’t include the Analytical Writing Assignment section). Applicants often wonder how we weigh the sub-scores, and the truth is, it depends. 

Throughout your application, we look for indications that you can handle the quantitative and verbal work required by a top MBA program. One data point is your test score. But we also look at your undergraduate transcripts and work experience, and consider all of that together. For example, if you’ve been working as an accountant after a quantitatively rigorous undergraduate education, but your quantitative test score was a bit lower, we won’t be so concerned about your quantitative abilities. On the flip side, if you had no quantitative classes in college and a non-quantitative job, we’ll want to see a solid quant sub-score. 

What do you accept besides the GMAT and GRE?

The MCAT and LSAT. Though test centers around the world are slowly starting to open back up, we want to be as supportive as possible and recognize that COVID-19 has placed unique limitations on your ability to take the GMAT or GRE. This year, we are accepting the MCAT and LSAT in lieu of the GMAT or GRE. We have accepted those tests for current dual-degree students at the University of Michigan, and found their performance in the MBA program to be on par with GMAT and GRE test-takers. 

No matter which test you decide to take, remember to practice, practice, practice! Good luck, and stay healthy! 

Psst - our Round 1 deadline is less than two weeks away! If you have any questions, you can connect with the team every Wednesday from 8am - 10am ET for our Office Hours!