The Educational Testing Service is announcing today that applicants to graduate school will no longer have to submit all their scores on the Graduate Record Examinations, but will have the option to select the best scores to share.
The move is similar to one made by the College Board with regard to the SAT in 2008. For test takers who worry about having an “off day,” the shift is likely to be popular, as they will gain the option of retaking the test without flagging for admissions offices that they once had a low score. ETS will require an entire administration to be submitted, so a test-taker couldn’t submit part of a GRE score from one day and another from another day.
ETS may gain from the move in its competition with the Graduate Management Admission Council. ETS has been promoting the GRE for use in business school admissions. While the GMAC’s Graduate Management Admission Test is the dominant exam in M.B.A. admissions, that test is not focused on business-related questions, and ETS has been encouraging applicants to submit GRE scores instead of GMAT scores. Currently all GMAT scores must be submitted, so the new GRE policy could sway some business school applicants to consider that exam. But ETS is also facing some questions over whether the move will simply encourage more students to take the test multiple times, and to get expensive test coaching (practices typically utilized by wealthier applicants, but not those from low income levels.)