Scott Edinburgh
March 22, 2024

What You Should Know about GMAT/GRE Waivers

With round 3 MBA deadlines rapidly approaching, many applicants who have not secured their desired test score (or have not yet had time to take the GMAT, GRE or EA) may be wondering if waiving the GMAT/GRE/EA is an option.

The answer is – MAYBE!

An increasing number of top MBA programs (including some T10 programs) are giving MBA hopefuls the chance to apply without taking a standardized test. This option can be particularly attractive for applicants who decide to pursue an MBA later in the application cycle and have not had adequate time to devote to studying. Waiving the testing requirement is also appealing for applicants who have not been able to achieve their target score (though if this is you, we do recommend you consider working with one of our expert tutors who can help you figure out where you might be getting stuck before throwing in the testing towel).

However, waiving the GMAT/GRE/EA is not an option for all schools and is not recommended for all applicants!

It is important to note that most admits to schools that offered test waivers still submitted a score. To determine whether waiving the test is possible for you, let’s start by taking a look at which schools are offering waivers for 2023-2024 MBA applicants and who is eligible to apply for these waivers.

1 London Business School offers guaranteed test waivers for EMBA applicants who hold a CFA II or above; additionally, their Master of Finance applicants may request a waiver, but it will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you are applying to Texas McCombs, you must have over three years of work experience to be granted a waiver.

For Chicago Booth applicants, the test waiver is available only to University of Chicago alumni with a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or above.

4 To receive a test waiver from MIT Sloan, the applicant is required to demonstrate how their current situation prevents them from being able to submit a test score.

5 NYU Stern offers to waive the test score only for the full-time and Fashion MBA programs.

If you are eligible for a waiver at one or more of your target schools, you next need to ask yourself:

Is waiving the test in my best interest?

You should NOT consider a waiver if you have a low GPA and/or no quantitative experience. Admissions directors need evidence of your ability to handle the academic rigor of an MBA program and, if your GPA is weak, you will need a strong test score to prove you have the potential to succeed.

Even with a strong GPA, waiving can also be a riskier option if you are applying from an overrepresented industry or demographic, given that you will be competing against other applicants with a similar background who are highly likely to submit test scores. As you determine whether to waive the GMAT/GRE/EA, ask yourself if there is ANY WAY you can get a competitive score in time.

If the answer is YES, Personal MBA Coach recommends that you give it a shot.

However, if you cannot achieve a strong score in time (perhaps standardized tests are not for you or you are reading this in December and really want to apply to round 2), Personal MBA Coach recommends that you evaluate whether a waiver is right for you.

To do this, you want to look at your application holistically and determine if there is enough evidence of academic success. Ask yourself the following three questions:

  • Do I have a strong GPA?
  • Does my resume show evidence of analytical ability and experience?
  • Have I demonstrated my academic ability throughout my application?

If you can answer yes to these questions a waiver could be a great option. Keep in mind, you need to request this waiver from your target school. While in most cases our clients who request waivers are successful, this is not a guarantee!

Ultimately, you want to know if your profile is strong enough without the test score and who you are competing against. If you need help evaluating your profile, Personal MBA Coach offers Gut Check services, as well as our holistic Comprehensive Packages!