Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Application Process: Standardized Tests

A lot of people ask us about the GREs and GMATs (aka Standardized Tests): what kind of scores we require, which exam we prefer, etc.
Here’s the skinny.
Who’s required to submit standardized test scores?  The answer to this one depends on to which degree program you’re applying.  Applying to the PhD? Then standardized test scores are required.  Applying to the MIPP? If so, the standardized test scores are strongly encouraged, but not required.
Are you applying the the MA program?  Then yes, standardized test scores are required.  The only exception for MA applicants is international students applying to Bologna, who have to complete an interview instead.
What’s the minimum test score?  We don’t have minimum requirements when it comes to test scores.  We think that’s an unfair way to judge applicants.  But successful applicants traditionally perform well on these exams.  You can get an idea of the average range of scores here.
Which exam does SAIS prefer?  We don’t have a preference.  No, really.  We’re perfectly happy to accept either the GRE or GMAT.
Will you accept GRE test scores from the old scale?  Yes, we will accept old format GRE test scores, provided that the scores are still valid (scores are valid for 5 years).
Will having GRE scores in the old format affect my application?  No, the format for test scores is not relevant to the application process, because we understand how the new and old formats compare.  A strong score is still a strong score, regardless of which format it’s in.
You can view more test score FAQs at  I also wrote a blog post last year which addressed how we consider standardized test scores in the application process, and it’s worth a second look:
Next week I’ll be posting about English competency exams: the TOEFL and IELTS, so keep an look out for that post.
If you have questions about recommendations, please feel free to post in the comments, and we’ll gladly address them.
Thanks for reading!
– Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions