Admissions School Admission - GRE or GMAT?
An MBA (Master in Business Administration) is a graduate degree designed to develop the skills for careers in business and management. As with most graduate programs, an aptitude test is one of the factors considered for admission. In the past, MBA schools only accepted GMAT scores, but in recent years, universities have started accepting GRE scores too. One of the key decisions for prospective students to make early on is which admissions test to take - the GMAT or the GRE. Not sure which exam you should take? Here’s what you should know…
So what are these tests all about?
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is the test required for admission to most business schools. Since business schools have accepted this exam for many years, they often have more data on the scores of previously admitted applicants. This may not be available for the GRE yet.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for admission to most graduate schools and a growing number of business schools.
The Basics on the GMAT
- This exam has more emphasis on the quantitative section and interpreting data presented in charts, tables, and text to solve complex problems
- The test consists of a 30-minute Analytic section with one essay, a 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section, a 75-minute Quantitative section and a 75- minute Verbal section
- This is a computer adaptive test
- Cost: $250
The Basics on the GRE
- This exam has less emphasis on the quantitative section; a calculator is included for all quantitative problems
- The verbal section emphasizes vocabulary, which may make it more challenging for non-native English speakers
- The test consists of a 60-minute Analytical Writing section - with two essays at 30 minutes each; two 30-minute Verbal Reasoning sections; two 35-minute Quantitative Reasoning sections; and a 30-35 minute experimental section that can be either math or verbal
- This is offered as a paper or computer adaptive test
- Cost: $195
Key factors for deciding between the GRE and the GMAT
If you’re having difficulty deciding which test is right for you, take a look at the steps outlined below to help you explore your options.
- Consider your graduate school plans
- Considering an MBA or another graduate degree? The GRE is used as an entrance exam for other programs, so it may be a better option if you’re unsure about the graduate program you’d like to pursue.
- Business undergrad and committed to business - take the GMAT
Admissions officials may expect a business undergrad student to take the GMAT
- Do your research
- Some schools may only accept scores from one type of test so make sure you check universities you’re interested in attending
- Consider potential scholarships, some may be only available for the GRE or GMAT
- Consider your quantitative and verbal abilities
If you have a strong vocabulary or weaker math skills, you may want to consider the GRE
If you excel with quantitative, analytical, and data interpretation skills, the GMAT may be the test for you
- Try a practice exam to get your feet wet!
This will give you an idea of what test you’ll do the best on and what sections are your strongest
There are many options for practice exams both online and in paper form for you to choose from
Although some prospective students may decide to take both exams, admissions experts will recommend picking one of the exams for your aptitude assessment. Here’s why - test preparation is time-consuming and expensive. Students will likely perform their best if they focus all their time and energy on one exam instead of two.
A few helpful reminders
As you’re preparing for your admissions exam to earn your MBA, remember that your tests scores are just one piece of your application. Work hard and do your best but remember that schools consider multiple factors when deciding what candidates to admit. Also, plan accordingly with your exam dates. Both GMAT and GRE scores are valid for five years from the date you take the test. Don’t take the test too early because you want to make sure the scores you report are valid.