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Which Should You Take: GMAT or GRE?

Posted on Sep 17, 2019
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Earlier, it was as different as chalk and cheese. Students aspiring to study MBA in an international school would need to take the GMAT, while those planning to pursue a Masters (MS) graduate degree in Science, Math or Liberal Arts. However, things have changed over the years. According to the GMAC, around 5900 business programs across over 2100 universities and institutions around the world, accept the GMAT even today. But recently, around 1200 MBA colleges now accept GMAT or GRE scores for their business school admissions.

How Do I Decide Whether to Take the GMAT or GRE?

Assuming that you are targeting MBA schools abroad, here are some factors to keep in mind before you decide which test to take.

1. Have you decided on pursuing an MBA abroad, or do you want to keep the MS option open?
2. Are the colleges you selected accepting both GMAT as well as GRE scores?

These two factors will influence what exam you will have to take. For instance, if you want to keep all your options open, then it may make more sense to opt for the GRE, since the scores of GRE may be useful to apply to the MBA as well as MS programs. Thus, you would not need to exhaust yourself preparing for two separate standardized tests. The second factor will also ride on your decision. If the colleges you wish to target don’t accept GRE scores for an MBA program, then the point is moot. You will have to either rethink your college selection, or opt to take the GMAT instead of GRE.

How Are These Two Tests Different?
Comparing the GMAT and the GRE is like comparing apples to oranges. They are very different in their approach, treatment, and analysis. Here’s a quick overview.

Gmat vs gre

Which Test is More Suitable for Me?
As we stated above, whether you take the GMAT or the GRE will depend on which colleges you are applying. However, if the colleges you wish to apply to are ambivalent about which the test, consider selecting GMAT if you have strong quantitative and analytical skills. Students who are good at interpreting data presented in charts, tables, and text to solve complex problems also tend to do well. If you prefer straightforward math questions, then GRE is for you. The GRE allows you to use calculators, as it involves intensive calculations. The GMAT however requires you to use your analytical skills to reach your answer.

What Do Business Schools Prefer? GMAT or GRE Score?
In a 2015 survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep, about 73% of business schools in the US will accept either GMAT or GRE scores. Top-tier schools, like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, UC Berkeley, Duke, MIT, NYU, and Yale all accept GRE scores. While the number of schools accepting both GMAT and GRE scores for a business program is increasing, some experts believe that the GMAT still remains the preferred test for evaluation. They feel that the Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning sections of the GMAT are oriented to assessing your skills and knowledge, a necessary skill in a business school. Another reason that analysts present is that schools are smart enough to realize that the applicant who uses the GRE score is keeping the Masters option open. This does not give them the signal that you are passionate or keen to pursue an MBA. Why would they want to admit a student who is not clear or committed to the career path?

But that’s only a small fraction of the business schools. Most of them are equivocal about the test. Schools want to encourage as many applicants as they can, and don’t hold any particular test in special favor.