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GMAT or GRE: Which test should I take for business school?

by The Red Pen

GMAT or GRE: Which test should I take for business school?

A critical component to your business school application are your test scores. While testing doesn’t necessarily work like an entrance exam, it is still significant. Business schools view your GMAT and/or your GRE scores to gauge your academic potential, evaluate your quantitative and verbal skills, as well as to better understand your readiness to be part of a rigorous program.

You may be wondering if it matters which test you take, the GMAT or the GRE? Well, here are some things to keep in mind when making this choice:

First, consider what schools and programs you are applying to:

The good news is, most global business schools are now accepting both the GMAT or GRE score, and have no preference for either exam.

Having said this, there are however a few MBA programs that only accept the GMAT. If you are thinking about testing and you have a program in mind, it’s worth checking the school’s specific test requirements. For example, INSEAD, one of the top MBA programs in the world, will only be accepting GMAT scores from September 2017. Therefore, if you are looking for an MBA, but are not sure to which programs you are targeting, or are applying to a range of programs, you are probably better suited to take the GMAT instead of the GRE to cover all your options. Additionally, several companies, especially in the finance and consulting sectors will view your GMAT score when considering your applications for job positions after business school, so why not give yourself a leg up?

On the other hand, if you are still debating between pursuing an MBA or another graduate degree, you are probably better off taking the GRE as most non-MBA graduate programs only accept this test, therefore taking it gives you the widest amount of options for a variety of programs.

Second, consider your strengths:

While both the GMAT and GRE are trying to test mathematical aptitude, verbal skills and critical reasoning abilities, there are subtle differences between both these exams and you may do better in one format than the other.

The quantitative section on the GMAT is considered more challenging than the GRE, while the emphasis on vocabulary and writing sections in the verbal section of the GRE could make it tough for non-native English speakers to do well. If you are not sure which test you would do better at, it’s worth taking a diagnostic and practice both tests to understand each format and learn in which you score better. As we said, MBA programs which accept both tests don’t have a preference, so you might as well take the one that allows you to perform the best!

Remember the GMAT or GRE is only one way schools evaluate your candidacy, and they will review this score alongside your undergraduate transcripts, essays, resume, and letters of recommendation. Yet getting a strong score on either test can allow your application to clear the initial business school hurdles and let the school focus on other aspects that set you apart. So pick the test that works for you and study hard!

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