With over 1200 schools accepting GMAT and GRE scores for admission to their graduate programs, it can get confusing to choose between the two – GMAT vs GRE.
Which test should you give?
What are the differences between the two?
Which test is more suitable for MBA?
Do all colleges accept GRE scores?
Which one of the two is harder to score on?
So many questions plague students’ minds. In this blog, we’ve compiled answers to these questions and more. Read on to find out which test is the right one for your skills and future goals.
GMAT vs GRE – What are the differences between the two?
Both the tests have quite a few differences because they assess different sets of skills using different exam structures. While the GRE has a greater focus on Verbal and subject matter, the GMAT is largely focused on quant and critical thinking skills. Most international graduate programs in STEM, arts and humanities, and other fields require GRE scores for admission. On the other hand, most business programs, such as MBA and MiM, ask for GMAT scores. But increasingly, many colleges have started accepting both GRE and GMAT scores for admission to their business programs.
Here are the major differences between the two:
|Accepted by||Most graduate business programs||Most graduate programs, including business|
|Location||Online or at a testing centre||Online or at a testing centre|
|Cost (US)||$250 online or $275 in person (includes free score delivery to up to five schools)||$205 (includes free score delivery to up to four schools)|
|Length||2 hours and 15 minutes||2 hours|
|Sections||Data Insights, Quantitative, Verbal||Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning|
|Scores good for||5 years||5 years|
|Scoring||Verbal and quant scored between 130-170 each with one point increment||A total score on a scale of 205 to 805 with a 10-point increment|
What is GMAT?
Administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council or GMAC, the GMAT is the world’s most widely taken computer-adaptive management (MBA/MiM) entrance test. The most competitive management programs consider GMAT scores to be the right standard for admission. The test itself is designed to test students’ critical thinking and decision-making skills, considered by most to be the benchmark for success in graduate business school.
Students can take the GMAT up to 5 times a year, allowing them to improve their scores and chances of admission to good programs. With a total of 64 questions to be answered in 135 minutes, a sectional cutoff of 45 minutes, and a scaled score of 60-90 for each section, the new GMAT Focus Edition has introduced substantial changes.
- Quantitative reasoning – You have to answer 21 problem-solving questions in 45 minutes. Data sufficiency questions have been moved to the new Data Insights section, and geometry has been removed entirely.
- Verbal reasoning – This section has 23 questions and 45 minutes to answer them all. Sentence correction questions have been removed, and a greater focus has been put on critical reasoning and reading comprehension.
- Data insights – This is a new section that has been introduced in lieu of Integrated Reasoning. 20 questions and 45 minutes for a scaled score between 60-90. The questions include a healthy mix of the old integrated reasoning ones in addition to new data sufficiency questions.
Students will also be able to choose the order they want to attempt the sections, bookmark questions to attempt later, and edit three answers. A good score should be around the 90th percentile or 650.
What is GRE?
Much like the GMAT, the GRE is another leading standardised test for graduation programs worldwide. But unlike the GMAT, the GRE has largely been focused on admissions to non-business programs. However that stance has been changing in recent years, with more and more schools willing to accept GRE scores for MBA and MiM programs.
It is conducted by the Educational Testing Service or ETS throughout the year. Students can appear for the test 5 times in a 12-month period with a minimum gap of 21 days between consecutive attempts. While the GRE General Test is designed to test verbal, quant, and analytical skills, the GRE Subject Test assesses student grasp of subject matter.
The GRE has also adopted a new, much shorter format to make it more in line with evolving graduate school requirements.
- Quantitative reasoning – This section includes 27 questions on arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis that are designed to test your basic math skills.
- Verbal reasoning – The new GRE format has 27 questions encompassing reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence.
- Analytical writing – As opposed to the previous format wherein test-takers were expected to answer two essay-type questions, the new format has eliminated the Analyse an Argument question.
GMAT vs GRE – What should you choose for your MBA?
Up until a few years ago, most business schools only accepted GMAT scores for consideration. They wanted to assess the students on their ability to understand and manipulate numbers and data along with critical reasoning skills. But recently, schools have shifted their position in favour of non-business and non-math students who display great aptitude. Due to this change, they’ve also begun accepting GRE scores.
You can choose either of the two for your admission process. But always make it a point to check with your target schools before picking one.
GMAT vs GRE – Which test is more difficult?
Most test-takers and experts agree that the quant section of the GMAT is harder than the one on the GRE. While the Verbal section is said to be harder on the GRE than the GMAT.
If you believe that our quantitative and analytical skills are better than your verbal ones, then give the GMAT a try. It has no questions on Geometry and quite a few on data interpretation and sufficiency. On the other hand, if you think your verbal, vocabulary, and comprehension skills are better, then the GRE is better suited for you.
If you’re still confused, read on to learn how to pick the right one for your academic goals.
GMAT vs GRE – How to choose which one to give?
Since most business schools now accept GRE scores, it is up to you and your analysis of your strengths that should decide the equation.
GRE is more widely accepted than the GMAT on account of it being the premier test for all non-business programs. If you’re not sure of your commitment to business school, taking the GRE will let you keep your options open.
While most schools accept both scores for their business courses, it is still a good idea to check with the admissions office. You can also personally call them up and discuss their expectations of students. See if one particular test fits in with their expectations better than the other.
Many consulting, financial, and investment firms require potential job candidates to have GMAT scores ready to demonstrate their prowess with numbers. If you’re inclined towards joining such a company in the future, then taking the GMAT might be a good idea.
What are your academic strengths? If your maths is better, then the GMAT will give you the perfect opportunity to showcase those capabilities. But if your written as well as spoken language is stronger, GRE is the way to go.
The GRE vs GMAT is a quintessential debate with no single correct answer. It is up to you to analyse your own requirements and strengths to reach the right answer. But if you require more guidance with this dilemma, feel free to fill up this form, and one of our experienced mentors will get in touch with you.