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  GMAT vs. GRE

Which is the best option for applying to a MBA program?


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Most business schools require students to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) before submitting an application. However, it is becoming increasingly common for business schools to accept the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Traditionally, individuals take the GRE in order to apply to graduate school in a major unrelated to business.

The best way to figure out which test you would excel in is to take a few practice tests.

The first thing you should do when deciding which test to take is to find out if your program even accepts GRE scores. Currently, there are over 250 business schools accepting the GRE. This number is expected to rise after the new GRE test begins in August 2011 because the format and questions will be more suited towards the type of learning you will do in an MBA program.

A few business Schools that accept the GRE include:

Visit the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website for a complete list of business schools that accept the GRE.

Why are Business Schools Accepting the GRE?

There are several reasons why business schools have begun to accept the GRE. Doing so opens up the door for students who would have otherwise not applied. The GRE is cheaper than the GMAT by over $100 ($140 and $250 respectively), thus it allows lower-income individuals the opportunity to apply. In addition, there are more GRE test sites than there are for the GMAT, which means that some students might not have easy or affordable access to the test.

The new GRE will be more similar to the GMAT. However, in the past business schools have steered away from accepting the GRE for two reasons:

  • The verbal section includes vocabulary that is used out of context, while the GMAT focuses more on critical reading.
  • The quantitative section does not test data interpretation. It is known for being easier and testing lower level mathematical skills.

Should You Take the GRE or GMAT?

After you have confirmed that your target business school does accept the GRE, you now need to decide if your abilities are best suited for the GMAT or GRE. If your verbal reasoning is stronger than your quantitative skills, you will probably do better at the GRE. Students who speak English as their second language will have a better chance at scoring high on the GMAT, as this tests focuses heavier on logic and quantitative skills.

The best way to figure out which test you would excel in is to take a few practice tests. If you decide to take the GRE and your school requires you to take the test before November 2011, then you will be taking the older version of the GRE. It might be easier to study for this test as opposed to the new GRE because there are more prep materials available for it.

If you are applying to other masters degree programs that are unrelated to business, the GRE is probably your best option. While the GMAT and the GRE are sometimes both accepted at business schools, most other masters degree programs will only accept the GRE.

How Do Business Schools Compare GRE to the GMAT?

ETS and Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) both have comparison tools to help schools better understand a student’s GRE scores. Most schools use the ETS comparison tool, so check with the schools in which you are applying to find the acceptable score range.

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