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.
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.
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
|Graduate School of Business
|University of Pennsylvania
|Booth School of Business
|University of Chicago
|Kellogg School of Management
|Harvard Business School
|Sloan School of Management
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Columbia Business School
|Hass School of Business
|University of California- Berkeley (Haas)
|School of Management
|Tuck School of Business
|Leonard N. Stern School of Business
|New York University (Stern)
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
|1 Essay-> 30 minutes
|2 Essays -> 60 minutes
|31 Questions-> 62 minutes
|40 Questions -> 70 minutes
|36 Questions-> 65 minutes
|40 Questions -> 60 minutes
|12 Questions -> 30 minutes
|20 questions -> 30 minutes
|3 hours 7 minutes
|3 hours 45 minutes
|Test Score validity
|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.
|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.
|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.