02 January 2016 11:13:35 IST

“GRE becoming more accepted by B-schools worldwide”

BusinessLine speaks to David Payne, Vice-President and COO (Global Education Division), ETS

“The widespread notion that GMAT is required to pursue a degree at management schools is not true. When it comes specifically to business programmes, more than 1200 B-Schools worldwide accept GRE score for their MBA programme,” avers David Payne, Vice-President and COO (Global Education Division), Education Training Services (ETS).

Sharing a recent report released by ETS, Payne said, “More than 96000 candidates (from India) had taken the GRE revised General Test (GRE-rGT), up 12 per cent from the previous year. The GRE-rGT gives test takers greater opportunity for success as it is accepted by thousands of institutions around the globe for a variety of specialised programmes.

Excerpts from an interview with BusinessLine :

What are the upcoming trends that you foresee in India and globally?

Payne: In 2014-15, non-US citizen test takers accounted for 43 per cent of test takers worldwide, up 7 per cent as compared to the earlier year. Test taker numbers were up 12 per cent in India, 9 per cent in Korea, 5 per cent in Taiwan and 1.6 per cent in China.

Those that took the GRE-rGT a second time did better, and score improvements were noted in verbal reasoning and quantitative aptitude. To what would you attribute this increase in the number of takers for the exam?

Payne: It is a worldwide endorsement of the value of a higher education degree. As higher education mobility patterns evolve, we see strong growth from almost all regions of the world. And, an ever-increasing number of students looking to earn their MBA or specialised master’s degree in business are turning to the GRE-rGT to achieve their academic goals. During the recently completed 2014-15 testing year, citizens from more than 200 countries and regions worldwide sat for the GRE-rGT and the total number that sat for the test shot up significantly for the third year in a row.

What courses do most opt for after the exam?

Payne: In India, GRE test takers indicate a variety of intended fields of study. According to ETS 2014-15 data, the most popular graduate major fields are life sciences, engineering, physical sciences and social sciences. In addition to this, we are seeing significant growth in fields including business (+10 per cent), physical sciences (8.3 per cent) and engineering (+3.7 per cent).

How do Indian students fare in the test?

Payne: Although the data from 2014-15 indicate Indian test takers performance in verbal reasoning and analytical writing well below the total population mean, they performed well in the quantitative reasoning measure of GRE-rGT. Indian students achieved a mean score of 153.5, while the total population mean was slightly lower at 152.5.

Does GRE hold any advantage over GMAT?

Payne: Of course. While both (GRE and GMAT) tests measure verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills, GRE-rGT is the only admission test that is accepted by thousands of graduate and business school programs worldwide.

What are the options that can be pursued by those who take GRE?

Payne: The options are limitless as the test assesses the graduate-level skills institutions value, and seek in their applicants for a variety of masters and specialised programmes.