The GRE is accepted at 1200+ Business Schools worldwide. Its Unique Quantitative Question focuses on quantitative comparisons, while the GRE’s Unique Verbal Questions look at Sentence Equivalence & Text Completion. This test is better for creative/flexible thinkers.
The GMAT is accepted by all business schools. Its Unique Quantitative Question focuses on Data Sufficiency, while the GMAT’s Unique Verbal Questions look at Sentence Correction & Critical Reasoning. This test is better for number-crunching thinkers.
Differences between the GMAT and GRE
With ‘management’ forming part of its acronym, you might expect the GMAT to hold some sway over its GRE counterpart, if MBA admissions and related business master’s programs are the main goal. The test does place a heavier focus on quantitative and analytical skills – interpreting data presented in text, charts and tables to solve complex problems, for example. Tasks are therefore customized to evaluate skills seen as being specific to business managers.
The GRE, as a more versatile test, has less of a focus of math and includes a calculator for its quantitative problems. However, for those for whom English is not their first language, the verbal section may be more challenging than the GMAT’s, as it places an emphasis on vocabulary rather than on grammar.
The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test – this means that the questions you answer correctly, or incorrectly, determine the difficulty level of the questions that follow. During the GMAT, students can’t go back and review their previous answers. The GRE, meanwhile, is not a computer-adaptive test and allows students to check their previous answers.
Here is a table that outlines the principal differences between the GMAT and GRE:
GMAT verbal places greater emphasis on grammar, logic and reasoning. GMAT quant is harder if math isn’t your strength.
GRE places more focus on vocabulary, making it easier for native versus non-native English speakers.
If math isn’t your forte, the GRE could be more suited to you.
|Format||Computer-adaptive test||Computer delivered or paper delivered|
|Test time||3 hours 30 minutes||3 hours 45 minutes|
|How it’s scored||Total scores range from 200-800. The mean score among 750k test takers between 2013 and 2015 was 552, while a score of 700 would have put you in the 89th percentile||Scores from 130-170 in 1 point increments for verbal and quantitative reasoning sections; scores from 0-6 in analytical writing|
|Score validity||5 years||5 years|
|Source: GMAT and ETS (GRE) websites|
Top schools take a holistic approach to the MBA admissions process
Most business schools opt to accept GRE scores as an alternative to the GMAT so as to widen their pool of applicants, and bring in students from backgrounds outside of the ‘traditional’ norm – those with backgrounds in finance, accounting, economics and so on. Diversity, in all of its forms, matters and is therefore positively encouraged at top business schools.
‘Holistic’ is a word commonly used by institutions to describe their approach to reviewing MBA applications. The GMAT and the GRE are therefore just one element of the evaluation process – academic background, personality, experience, and the effort you invest in the application process are all just as important.
The key to choosing the GMAT or GRE for MBA admission is to first identify which of your chosen schools require which test. If you think a school might accept both, but could prefer one test over the other, email, phone, or chat online to find out.
Playing to your strengths is also a factor. If your dream school can confirm that it values both tests equally, simply choose the one you think you’ll do best in. Lastly, whether you’re taking the GMAT or GRE for MBA admission, make sure you go into the test fully prepared!
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