Admissions, Executive MBA

Darden Exec MBA Application Tips #2: Standardized Test Waiver Requests

By Susannah Fuller-

The Executive MBA application tips series rolls on! Today, we’re back with some thoughts about our standardized test waiver request process, but if you’re new to the blog/application tips series, be sure to check out our first post all about our company support letter requirement. And while you could listen to OutKast’s “Aquemini” (a Discover Darden blog favorite), we think this recent Admissions podcast with Whitney Kestner is the ideal pairing for this series. Why just read application tips, when you can read and listen to application tips at the same time? We’re moving on up in the world like elevators!  

We’ve been getting a few questions about our standardized test waiver process, and we wanted to address one of our more frequent questions in this rather public forum.


Let’s start at the beginning – How does our test waiver request process work?

As you are hopefully aware, we accept three standardized tests in our Executive MBA application process – the Executive Assessment (EA), GMAT and GRE. However, we also have a process by which an applicant can request a test waiver.

You can find more information about our waiver request process (including a link to our waiver request form) via our Admissions FAQ. Applicants interested in being considered for a waiver must submit the request form and all requested supporting materials (transcripts, resume and a short statement detailing the reasons for the request) to be considered. Each request is reviewed by members of our Admissions Committee, and our response time is typically 2-3 business days from submission.     

It is worth noting that each waiver request is considered on a case-by-case basis, and all requests are evaluated within the full context of all supporting materials.  

Lastly, while you do not need to start an application to submit a test waiver request, a link to the waiver request form can also be found from the standardized test portion of our application.  

Will it hurt me in any way to submit a standardized test waiver request? What if I’m not granted a waiver?

This is easy – No! Even if you are not granted a waiver, there is no harm in asking. After all, sometimes applicants prefer the clarity of knowing they were not granted a waiver before making test plans (and in this otherwise uncertain world, who doesn’t like clarity?). Of course, if you do not qualify for a waiver, we will likely recommend you consider taking the Executive Assessment, but we also encourage you to consider the test that best aligns with your strengths and application plans. After all, you know you best!  

Pro Tip: New to the Executive Assessment (EA)? Be sure to check out this recent webinar with Director of Admissions, Brett Twitty, and GMAC’s Eric Chambers. Everything you want to know about the EA (and more!) in under 30 minutes.

If I’m granted a test waiver, will I be disadvantaged in any way in the admissions or scholarship processes?

Another easy answer – No! We have a limited, but meaningful, set of instances in which we have historically granted test waivers, and we have arrived at this list through thoughtful reflection on the alignment between these credentials and the demands of our executive formats.

So, out of curiosity, how does the Executive MBA scholarship process work?   

Our scholarships are merit-based, and require applicants, as a threshold concern, to demonstrate academic merit in one or more ways:

  • Standardized Test Score
  • GPA (Undergraduate, Graduate, etc.)
  • Masters or Other Advanced Degree
  • Professional Certifications

If you meet one or more of these criteria, our scholarship committee can then consider additional factors (interview, cultural fit, contribution to class, etc.) as we make our scholarship determination. With this process in mind, sometimes an applicant who would otherwise qualify for a test waiver may decide to take a standardized test in order to give our Scholarship Committee one more piece of information to consider when making scholarship awards.

Of course, if you have questions about our standardized test requirement, let us know! We are here to help in any way we can, and we can be reached at