Which test should you take – GRE or GMAT?

GRE or GMATThe GRE and the GMAT are both standardized examinations for gaining admission into graduate school programs in the U.S. The GRE or Graduate Record Examination and the GMAT or Graduate Management Admission Test, are specific exams that students have to take. The test scores of both these exams are valid for five years from the date of taking the test. There are many test-prep companies that offer test preparation courses and study material.

Where is the GRE accepted?

The GRE administered by ETS, is usually taken by those students who wish to pursue non-business related programs such as science, engineering, etc. However, in recent years, a few business schools are also accepting the GRE in lieu of the GMAT. The GRE is administered in 165 countries across the world and includes a computer-based and paper-based format. Among the top business schools that accept GRE scores, a few are:

  • Wharton
  • Stanford
  • Harvard
  • IE
  • NYU Stern
  • MIT

Where is the GMAT accepted?

More than 1900 business schools and 5000 programs across the world, currently accept GMAT scores. 51 percent of test-takers are non-US citizens and this test is administered in 110 countries in a computer-adaptive test format.

Many top business schools such Chicago Booth School of Business has refused to accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT. For business school admissions, many counselors feel that the GMAT still adds more value to an application. The GRE is not taken as seriously.

Differences between the GRE and GMAT

Both the GRE and the GMAT are offered all year round. They differ in test structure, time duration, format, fees, and scoring.

  • Test Structure

The GRE consists of a 75-minute Analytical Writing Section comprising two essays, two 30-minute Verbal sections, two 30-minute Quantitative sections, and a 30-minute experimental section, which could either be Verbal or Quantitative.

The GMAT consists of a 30-minute Analytical Writing section, comprising one essay, a 75-minute Quantitative section, a 75-minute Verbal section, and a 30-minute Integrated Reasoning Section.

  • Test format

GRE is available in two formats:

  • Paper-Based
  • Computer-Adaptive by Section

GMAT is available in one format:

  • Computer-Adaptive
  • Scoring

GRE Scores are between:

  • 130-170 on both the Verbal and Quantitative sections in 1-point increments

GMAT scores are between:

  • 200-800 on both Verbal and Quantitative in 10-point increments
  • Fees

The GRE costs $150 and the GMAT costs $250

  • Test Duration

The GRE is more than 3 hours long depending on the format and the GMAT is 3.5 hours long

How to choose between the GRE and GMAT?

  • First, you need to determine which test is more suited to you. Take a GRE and a GMAT practice test and familiarize yourself with the tests.
  • Ask yourself a few questions about graduate studies:
    • Where does your interest lie?
    • What field do you wish to study at graduate school?
    • Do you wish to learn about business or the arts, science, etc.?
    •  Which test score does your graduate program or school, accept?
    • What academic skills do you wish to acquire during your graduate studies?
    • The GMAT is a much more expensive exam to give. Do you really wish to acquire business skills or go to business school?
    • Which exam, do you like giving, more – the GRE or the GMAT?

Once you find the answers to the above questions, you would have, certainly, made your choice.

Which test should YOU take?

Before you decide which test to take, it is important that you understand that both exams test you very differently. While the GMAT focuses more on reasoning and logical skills the GRE is very much focused on quick number sense and math. The question types in both the exams are very different. It is only when you take a practice test that you will be able to understand the level of study involved in preparing for these exams.

The business schools that do accept the GRE look for higher scores in the quantitative section. The numbers of business schools, however that do accept the GRE are very few. Most prefer the GMAT. So if your real interest lies in studying business, management, consulting, etc. then you must take the GMAT.

If you are looking to study humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences at the master’s and doctoral levels then you must take the GRE, which is the exam accepted by these programs.