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GRE or GMAT: Which One To Choose and Why

Students may be confused in choosing the right test to target for their dreams of studying abroad. If you’re part of that clan, you’ll certainly find what I share here helpful in making up your mind in choosing between GMAT and GRE.

 

GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is organized by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), headquartered at Reston, Virginia, USA. GMAT is an entrance exam for admission into business schools across different countries, predominantly USA. 

Many top business schools in the world accept GMAT scores as an indicator of a student’s academic prowess. 

 

GRE

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS), headquartered in New Jersey. The GRE exam score is considered for a wide range of Masters degree courses in various universities in the US, Canada, and other countries.

Like GMAT, GRE scores are also accepted by many universities, especially the ones based in the US.

 

Average GMAT and GRE Scores of Top B-schools

US News Rank Business School University Average Score
GMAT GRE
1 Graduate School of Business Stanford University 733 329
2 Wharton School University of Pennsylvania 722 322
3 Booth School of Business University of Chicago 724 324
4 Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University 727 326
5 Harvard Business School Harvard University 730 326
Sloan School of Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology 720 322
7 Columbia Business School Columbia University 726 324
Hass School of Business University of California- Berkeley (Haas) 760 322
9 School of Management Yale University 720 328
10 Tuck School of Business Dartmouth College 720 320
Leonard N. Stern School of Business New York University (Stern) 723 324

 

Source: US News & B-Schools

 

Which One Is Preferred by Business Schools?

Almost all business schools unequivocally maintain that they do not differ between the two scores. However, most admission councillors believe that GMAT score holders may have the edge over the holders of a GRE score. The reason is that GMAT is exclusively designed for admission to business schools. 

Moreover, you might come across as a candidate focussed on pursuing an MBA program if you have a GMAT score. Alternatively, a GRE score may indicate that you are keeping the other options like MS open for consideration.

Having said so, note that reputed universities like Harvard and Stanford regularly admit students with GRE scores into their business management courses.

 

Key Differences Between GMAT and GRE

 

Differences GMAT GRE
Test Structure Analytical Writing 1 Essay-> 30 minutes 2 Essays -> 60 minutes
Quantitative Section 31 Questions-> 62 minutes 40 Questions -> 70 minutes
Verbal Section 36 Questions-> 65 minutes 40 Questions -> 60 minutes
Integrated Reasoning 12 Questions -> 30 minutes -NA-
Experimental Section -NA- 20 questions -> 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 7 minutes 3 hours 45 minutes
Test Score validity Five years
Test Score Can be Used for Admission in Management Programs like MBA Any postgraduate program like MBA, Master’s degree in law, science, engineering, humanities, etc.
Test Format Computer-adaptive test only Mainly computer-adaptive test, but the paper version is available in those parts of the world where computer-adaptive testing is unavailable yet.
Test Dates Round the year

 

Should You Take Both?

If you have made up your mind about pursuing an MBA, then you can consider the GMAT. It can be an unnecessary burden to prepare for two tests as both of the test scores can be used for securing admission into good MBA colleges. 

The cost of the tests should also be taken into account. You may have to shell out money unnecessarily as each of these tests cost well over Rs 15,000. 

 

However, you might consider taking both tests in the following situations.

  • You are academically very good, and you are confident of scoring high in both formats.
  • You made up your mind about going abroad for higher studies, but you are still in a dilemma about whether to pursue an MBA or any other postgraduate course.
  • You are sure of pursuing an MBA, and you want to widen your eligibility across various B-schools by securing good scores in both GMAT and GRE.

 

Which One Should You Choose?

If you are focussed on pursuing an MBA program, I would advise you to prepare for GMAT as it is exclusive for MBA admissions. Additionally, many applicants appear for GRE, making the competition relatively more intense.

However, every MBA aspirant should carefully assess the test format and scoring areas of both GMAT and GRE and the following factors before deciding which way to go.

 

  • Mathematics and Logical Reasoning

GMAT exams put more stress on quantitative aptitude. As a result, students from science and engineering backgrounds may have a natural advantage in taking GMAT exams. Also, students with stronger mathematical skills and logical reasoning may find the GMAT easier to clear.

On the other hand, GRE is known to have more geometry questions. So, if you are good at geometry, you may find GRE easier than the GMAT.

 

  • English Language Skills

Admission coaches usually agree that the verbal section of GRE can be more difficult than the GMAT. This is because GRE more extensively tests the vocabulary of the candidate. Therefore, candidates who are good in English can have a better opportunity to score in the verbal section of the GRE.

 

  • Test Formats

In GMAT, you can’t return to answer a question that you skipped earlier. On the contrary, GRE allows you to switch back and forth between questions during the commencement of each section. Both methods have their own set of pros and cons.

Knowing that you can return to a previously unanswered question can reduce your anxiety level and help you perform better. However, you can remain more focused while answering each question if you know that you won’t be able to return to that question later.

Although it doesn’t make a remarkable difference as the schedule is quite taxing in both exams to even think of getting back to the skipped question. So, it all depends on the examinee’s frame of mind and what kind of format they find convenient.

Whether you choose GMAT or GRE, you need to work hard and take a disciplined approach while preparing for either of the two exams. After all, remember that these are global exams that have maintained their standard over the years and are widely recognised. 

 

For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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