Should you take the GMAT or the GRE?

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Should you take the GMAT or the GRE?

In the 2012-2013 testing year, about 10% of MBA applicants chose to eschew the GMAT for the GRE.


But what’s the difference?


The GMAT (Graduate Admissions Test) is divided into Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing Assessment. The test is computer adaptive and takes 3.5 hours to complete. GMAT quant is considered much more difficult than the GRE equivalent.

The GRE (Graduate Records Examinations) includes Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The GRE also includes a short experimental section in either verbal or quant that doesn’t count toward your score. The GRE puts more emphasis on verbal skills. The test is computer adaptive (though paper tests are available in some countries) and takes 3.75 hours to complete.


Both the GRE and the GMAT are available by appointment at a testing center, and can be taken virtually any time. However, both exams can only be taken 5 times each year.

The GRE allows test-takers to take the exam once every 21 days, for $195 per exam. The GMAT is marginally more expensive at $250 per exam, and test-takers must wait until the next month.


Over 6,000 business programs worldwide accept the GMAT, and it’s the only option for some business programs. That being said, about 800 programs now accept the GRE. Of course, you should always check with your target schools before eschewing the GMAT.


A GRE score breaks down into a verbal score and a quantitative score, both measured from  130 to 170 in 1-point increments. The overall GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800 in 10-point increments.

The graph below shows the equivalent scores for each exam.


Many applicants believe that the GMAT is more strenuous and therefore more favorable in the eyes of admissions committees. Though some admissions committees say both tests are judged equally, some programs admit that applicants who submit GMAT scores have an advantage over those who submit GRE scores.

However, the GRE might be better for you if you’re applying to a variety of graduate programs, you’re particular weak in math, you’re especially strong with vocabulary, or all of your target schools accept the GRE.

The GMAT might be the best choice for you if your English skills aren’t as strong (particularly vocab), you’re applying to business schools that don’t take the GRE, you want to stick to the “tried and true” option, or you’re worried about how your target school will view your choice.

If you’re planning on taking the GMAT, Prep4GMAT app has thousands of questions and flashcards to help you achieve your highest possible score. 


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