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Why the GMAT matters

Studying for the GMATOne of the most frequently asked questions we hear is “Why does your program require the GMAT or GRE?”

While numerous criteria inform our admissions decisions, applicant test scores are indeed important. Sure, standardized tests aren’t perfect, but they do help students demonstrate their capabilities and help our admissions team compare candidates uniformly.

>> Download our custom tips: “How to score big on the GMAT or GRE.”

Here are seven reasons why the GMAT and GRE matter:

1. Your undergraduate GPA isn’t great. Many people, for many reasons, didn’t perform as well as undergraduate students as they will as graduate students. A strong test score can signal your potential to handle the rigors of graduate study when your GPA does not.

2. They demonstrate your quantitative skills. If your undergraduate degree did not require you to take quantitative courses, showing that you have mastered the basics with a standardized test can help strengthen your case for admission to an analytical or quant-focused graduate program, like the UNC Kenan-Flagler Master of Accounting Program.

3. They help us compare apples to apples. Comparing undergraduate performance among applicants from different schools and majors with varying standards, rigor and quality can be a challenge. Because standardized tests put applicants on a relatively level playing field, we can better compare history majors to econ majors and Ivy Leaguers to state-school grads.

4. They keep it competitive. Top programs want to enroll top students, and top students want to enroll in top programs. Average test scores and test-score ranges help graduate programs signal their competitiveness to applicants. In turn, applicants can factor this into their program selection process.

5. They help with employer relationships. Competitiveness is also important to accounting firms and major corporations when they select universities as on-campus recruiting partners. One key factor that firms use in this selection process: average GMAT/GRE test scores.

6. They indicate your horsepower. Most challenging programs want to admit students who have a high likelihood of academic success. A strong test score provides an indication of that potential.

7. They help you prepare. At their core, the GMAT and GRE are tests of preparation. A good test score communicates your willingness and ability to take the time to study and perform well on an exam. While the material is not necessarily hard, it may include content that you have long forgotten. Earning high scores – whether you are a currently enrolled undergraduate or have been out of school for years – requires dedicated preparation.

Your GMAT/GRE test score is certainly not the only factor we consider, but yes, it does matter.


Study hard and good luck. To help you earn your best score, we’ve compiled some helpful tips on preparing for and taking the GMAT or GRE.