The Graduate Record Exam, or GRE, is one of the most-common admission requirements utilized by the admissions committees for numerous graduate programs, including master’s in human resources programs. Because many master’s in human resources programs may take applicants in from a number of schools and backgrounds, standardized tests such as the GRE provide one means for admissions committees to rank students on a level playing field. While the GRE is a common requirement for graduate school admission, there are several factors that you should consider before taking this exam.

Research School-Specific Criteria

While it may seem counter-intuitive, no two graduate programs in human resources are exactly alike. The philosophy and mindset coming from one program’s faculty and admissions committee may not mirror that of another program, even if those programs come from the same overall university system. When researching graduate programs in human resources, look at each program’s admission requirements to determine if the GRE is a requirement, and if so, how much weight is placed onto the GRE versus other academic prerequisites.

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Set Your Priorities

After researching graduate programs in human resources, take some time to consider which of those programs are most-ideal to your academic and professional goals. In many cases, you may consider graduate programs that are partnered with your current university as a top-tier choice due to cross-compatibility with your undergraduate training. As you tank the programs that are most-ideal for you, consider issues such as the minimum Grade Point Average required, minimum GRE score, and required prerequisite coursework necessary for each program and evaluate the importance of a strong GRE score for each program to aide you in making decisions on which programs you will apply to.

One criterion to consider when making the choice to apply to a graduate program in human resources is to determine if the program is aligned with standards set forth by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Although not an accrediting agency, SHRM-aligned graduate programs provide an industry standard for the training of human resources professionals by reviewing the program’s degree requirements, the course descriptions of classwork required by a program, assessing professional competencies taught, and evaluating the effectiveness of a program’s graduates in the workforce. Many SHRM-aligned human resources graduate programs require an entrance exam such as the GRE or GMAT.

Selecting the Right Test

The GRE offers several test versions, which can be overwhelming to would-be applicants for graduate human resources programs. While the specifics will vary based on the program, many programs that require the GRE will ask for the standard, computer-based, GRE. Some programs will accept either the GRE or the GMAT, Graduate Management Admission Test, while some programs may only accept a GMAT score. Narrowing your choice of top-tier human resources graduate programs will help you to navigate this issue and determine if the GRE is necessary for admission into your graduate study program of choice.

The GRE is just one of several components that you must consider when choosing a graduate program in human resources. In most cases, you can expect to take either the GRE or GMAT when applying to a master’s in human resources program. This test is often used as a means to standardize the application process and give the admissions committee for each school a measure by which to compare applicants from different programs, backgrounds, and universities.