Graduate Management News
Data & Trends

GMAT Test Taking Reflects Growing Program Diversity

The 2011 GMAT testing year broke records for the number of tests taken by women, non-US citizens, and prospective students younger than 24, according to the 2011 Profile of Graduate Management Admission Test Candidates released this month by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

“Our Application Trends Survey has shown that a majority of specialized master’s programs in business have reported application growth since 2007, and this year’s Profile seems to reflect the growing presence of these candidates in the pipeline,” said Alex Chisholm, GMAC senior manager of statistical analysis. Around one-fifth of exams taken in the testing year ending June 30, 2011, were by those pursuing non-MBA master’s degrees, which typically draw a greater proportion of women and recent college graduates.

The Profile shows that the 2011 testing year represented the third-highest GMAT testing volume ever, with a total of 258,192 tests administered. This marks a modest decline from the 263,979 tests in testing year 2010 and the record 265,613 in testing year 2009.

Notable figures from the Profile, GMAC’s annual yearbook detailing GMAT test taking by numerous demographics, include:

  • The number of women taking the GMAT increased for the sixth consecutive year in testing year 2011. The 106,800 exams taken by women represented 41 percent of the total pipeline, up from 39 percent just two years earlier.
  • By age, those younger than 24 took 91,028 tests, or 35 percent of all tests taken. This has been the fastest growing segment in the GMAT pipeline, growing 55 percent since testing year 2007.
  • Greater internationalization has meant that 141,646 tests, or 55 percent, were taken by non-US citizens—marking the third straight year US citizens were outnumbered by prospective student peers from around the world.
  • Although test takers residing in the US still outnumber those living outside the US (140,085 vs. 118,107), non-US residents are closing the gap and represented 46 percent of all tests taken in 2011.
  • There’s continued testing growth among Chinese citizens, the largest citizen group after the US. Chinese examinees sat for 40,069 tests, up from 30,264 in testing year 2010 and just 13,048 in testing year 2007. Other citizen groups that saw testing volumes increase in 2011 by more than 1,000 exams from five years ago include India, France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.

“Although overall testing volume is down slightly from a recessionary peak in 2009, early signs for testing year 2012 are encouraging,” Chisholm said. “Over the last several months, we’ve seen global test registrations up sharply. “

Mining the Profile

More on the 2011 Profile of Graduate Management Admission Test Candidates is available at

  • A PDF of the publication, open to all
  • GMAT Trends Tracker 2011: Supplement to the Profile of GMAT Candidates, a flex tool using Adobe Flash, available to schools that use the GMAT exam
  • The comprehensive Interactive Profile, a database allowing customized searches across multiple variables, available to schools that use the GMAT exam

GMAT Profile data will be featured in a webinar on GMAC Research Highlights 2011, 11:30 am Eastern Standard Time/8:30 am Pacific Standard Time, Wednesday, December 14. Registration has expired.


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