Guide to MBA Applications • MBA

GMAT or GRE: Which Test Is Preferred for MBA Admissions?

POSTED ON 03/04/2017 BY The Red Pen

GMAT or GRE: Which Test Is Preferred for MBA Admissions? | The Red Pen

The GMAT or GRE don’t work like an entrance exam, however, your test scores are a critical component of your business school application. Business schools use your GMAT and/or your GRE scores to gauge your academic potential, evaluate your quantitative and verbal skills and to better understand your readiness to be part of a rigorous programme.

You may wonder if it matters whether you take the GMAT or the GRE. Well, here are some things to keep in mind when making this choice:

1) Consider the business schools and programmes to which you are applying:

The good news is, most global business schools accept both GMAT or GRE scores and have no preference for either exam. Having said this, there are however a few MBA programmes that only accept the GMAT.

If you have a programme in mind, it’s worth checking the programme’s specific test requirements. If you are applying to a range of programmes, you are probably better suited to take the GMAT instead of the GRE to cover all your bases. 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 programmes only accept this test.

2) 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 over 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.

Here are the main differences between the GMAT and the GRE:

Variable GMAT GRE
Administration Graduate Management Admission Council Education Testing Service
Skills Greater emphasis on grammar, logic and reasoning Greater emphasis on vocabulary, making it easier for native versus non-native English speakers
Format 4 sections with 90 multiple choice questions:
Writing section with one essay: 30 minutes
Reasoning section: 30 minutes
Quantitative section: 62 minutes
Verbal section: 65 minutes
6 sections, including one unscored research section, with 80 scored multiple-choice questions and 20 unscored:
Writing section with two essays: 30 minute
Two Verbal sections: 30 minutes each
Two Quantitative Sections: 35 minutes each
Experimental section that can be either math or verbal: 30-35 minutes
Test time 3 hours 30 minutes 3 hours 45 minutes
Score 200-800 in ten-point increments 260-340 with the verbal and quantitative sections each ranging from 130 to 170 in one-point increments
Supplemental subjects None Biology, chemistry, literature in English, mathematics, physics and psychology
Cost USD 250 USD 205
Score validity Five years Five years
Frequency Once every 16 days; max five times in a year Once every 21 days; max five times in a year

If you are not sure which test you would do better at, it’s worth taking a diagnostic and practising both tests to understand each format and learn in which you score better. Since MBA programmes that accept both tests don’t have a preference, you might as well take the one that allows you to perform the best!

Remember the GMAT or GRE is only one of the ways programmes evaluate your candidacy and they will review this score alongside your undergraduate transcripts, essays, resume, and letters of recommendation. Getting a strong score on either test can allow your application to clear the initial business school hurdles and let the admissions committee focus on other aspects that set you apart. So pick the test that works for you and study hard! To know more get in touch with us.