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GMAT Volume on Track to Set Record High in 2009

More people will have taken the Graduate Management Admissions Exam (GMAT) this year than ever before, according to projections issued yesterday by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), which owns the test.

With just two weeks left in the year, the GMAT is on track to eclipse its previous record set just last year, GMAC reports. The council is projecting an all-time high in 2009 of more than 267,000 tests administered, compared to last year’s high of 264,700.

“The unprecedented GMAT testing levels we are seeing are a clear indication of the value of graduate management education in today’s marketplace,” David A. Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC, said in a statement. “This record volume also underscores the GMAT exam’s strength as the best measure to help business schools evaluate talent,” he added.

Behind Wilson’s second statement is the fact that the GMAT is facing increasing competition from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), whose administrator, Pearson, has been aggressively marketing the test as an alternative entrance exam to business schools and prospective business school applicants. Several top business schools have begun to accept scores for either test in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience of prospective applicants. 

That GMAT volume is rising steadily even amid broader acceptance of the GRE exam does seem to support Wilson’s initial statement that the perceived value of management education in today’s marketplace is indeed high. 

In its announcement, GMAC shared specific details about the GMAT’s evolving testing pool, stating that in addition to growing larger it is also becoming more international and diverse. In fact, analyses of the most recent complete GMAT testing year, which ran from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009, reveal that 51 percent of exams administered were taken by citizens of nations other than the United States, the first time since the test’s creation in 1954 that non-U.S. test takers have accounted for a majority of tests taken. 

Growth in China and India has been particularly pronounced, GMAC reports. In China, the number of GMAT exams taken rose 35 percent over last year, to 23,550, and a whopping 181 percent since 2005. Tests taken in India were up 7 percent last year and 128 percent during the past five years.

Women, too, have been taking the GMAT in greater numbers, as have test takers under the age of 24. During testing year 2009, the number of women taking the test hit a record high of 104,880, exceeding 100,000 for the first time ever and registering a 36 percent increase over five years ago. Test takers under 24, meanwhile, grew to 79,577 in 2009, up 132 percent from 2005 figures.

African Americans and Hispanic Americans are also taking the GMAT in greater numbers, GMAC reported. The number of African Americans taking the exam is up 27 percent since 2005, to 10,751, and Hispanic American test takers have increased 16 percent, to 7,339. Finally, the number of test takers from undergraduate fields other than business is also growing rapidly, GMAC reported.

For more details on the GMAT testing population, click here.

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Posted in: GMAT News

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