GRE vs. GMAT
What are the differences between the GRE and GMAT?
The Graduate Records Examination, more commonly known as the GRE and the Graduate Management Admissions Test, the GMAT, are two popular tests required for admissions to universities in the United States. Generally speaking, the GRE is known as a more comprehensive exam, covering a variety of skills and therefore a more versatile example of one's skills. The GMAT, on the other hand, is usually taken only by students seeking admission into a business or management graduate program. With that said, some schools offer the choice of which exam to take up to the student and weigh neither more heavily than the other. As a prospective graduate student in the United States, it's important you consider which test will be best for you.
Which test is best for you?
- The GRE is an exam that is more widely accepted for a range of fields. While some business schools require you to take the GMAT, not all schools do, so for students who are uncertain of which program they are entering, the GRE offers a more versatile option.
- The GRE is slightly less expensive than the GMAT, although paying $175, compared to $225 shouldn't be a deciding factor.
- The GRE is a general exam which also offers subject specific exams for students interested in demonstrating their areas of expertise to their program of choice.
- The GRE examines a student's ability to think more abstractly and often requires a much higher level of English language knowledge for constructing written responses and understanding the nuances of vocabulary questions.
- While international students who are non-Native English speakers are inherently at a disadvantage when taking either of these exams which emphasize verbal skills, the GMAT aims to also measure a student's verbal, mathematical, and analytical skills that a candidate has developed through education and work, and not necessarily specific knowledge of business, job skills, or other subjective qualities like motivation, interpersonal skills, and creativity, so even if your first language is not English, you may still perform well on this exam.
- Because of the extensive knowledge required for the GRE, students who aren't strong English speakers will test better on the GMAT.
- The GMAT focuses less on abstract thinking skills and more on analytic. Rather than asking you to create an argument drawing from your broad base of knowledge, as in the GRE, the GMAT provides you with the argument and prompts you to provide the analysis.
Specific Test Differences to Note:
- The GRE Computer-Based Exam allows one the ability to go back and check or change answers throughout the testing time, the GMAT does not.
- Nearly half of the GRE is made up of verbal reasoning questions, for the GMAT these questions represent less than one-third of the exam.
- Critical Reasoning questions, which assess your ability to evaluate information, represent about one-third of the GMAT exam. They do not appear at all on the GRE.
- In the math sections the GRE uses a Quantitative Comparison format for several questions.
- In the math sections the GMAT uses a Data Sufficiency format for several questions.
- The new Integrated Reasoning section, which measures one's skills with authentic workplace problems, exists only on the GMAT.
Programs that require each exam:
Regardless of which exam you are more likely to be successful with, the most important requirement in choosing which exam to take should be which exam is required or more acceptable to your program and schools of interest.
Throughout the U.S. and the world, over 700 MBA programs accept the GRE and GMAT. Generally speaking, the GRE is required by most graduate programs with the exception of business, law, and medical programs which require their exams. The GMAT is required by some but not all business programs and related fields.