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Data & Trends

GMAT™ Registration Levels on the Rise

Who isn’t ready for the market to turn around? GMAT volume and b-school applications have been through a difficult couple of years—but there are clear signs that things are poised to get better. In particular, the number of GMAT tests administrations looks poised to increase during the coming months, particularly outside the United States. Registrations levels for the GMAT exam are up in many parts of the world—hinting that interest in applying to business school may be on the rise.

Year-to-date non-U.S. GMAT registration as of April 30, 2005, was 24,756, 6.4% higher than at the same point in 2004. India—one of the world’s largest sources of b-school students—Korea, and Taiwan led the way. Within the United States, GMAT registration levels fell 2.7 percent during the first four months of 2005; overall registration levels around the world rose a fractional 0.1%.

Interest in the GMAT exam is a reliable, if imperfect, gauge of future b-school application levels because people tend to register for the exam about three months before taking the test and apply to business school three months afterward. Moreover, GMAC research shows that by the time the majority of MBA program applicants take the GMAT, they have narrowed down their list of school choices to a group that includes the institution where they ultimately will enroll.

Although there is no guarantee that higher registration levels will translate into increased testing volume—and ultimately a larger global applicant pool for MBA programs—growth in the number of tests scheduled is a strong indication that testing activity is poised to rise.

Worldwide year-to-date GMAT volume through April 30, 2005, was off 2.92 percent, to 61,131. The number of GMAT tests taken in the United States during the first four months of 2005 declined 3.69% compared with testing volume during the first four months of calendar year 2004. Outside the United States, testing volume declined 1.25% during the period.

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