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GMAT Vs GRE: Which Test Should You Take for Graduate School?

Choosing Your Path: Navigating the GMAT vs GRE Dilemma for Graduate School Admission

In the journey toward graduate school, one faces a pivotal decision: which standardized test to take? These tests hold significant sway in the admissions process, acting as gatekeepers to coveted programs. But amidst the sea of acronyms, one dilemma reigns supreme: GMAT vs GRE.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) stand as titans in the realm of standardised testing. Both wield considerable influence, yet each boasts its own strengths and weaknesses. As aspiring graduate students weigh their options, they must navigate this maze of assessments with care and consideration.

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of the GMAT vs GRE dilemma, unravelling the challenges of these standardised tests and guiding aspiring graduate students toward informed decision-making. Through an exploration of their respective formats, scoring systems, and test-taking strategies, we aim to empower readers with the knowledge needed to conquer this crucial step on the path to higher education. 

Understanding GMAT vs GRE: Key Differences

In the journey of graduate school admissions, two titans stand tall: the GMAT and the GRE. But what sets them apart? Let's dive into the intricacies of these standardised tests to investigate the question of GMAT vs GRE.

GMAT: Mastering the MBA Gateway

For those eyeing the coveted realm of MBA schools, the GMAT reigns supreme. Comprising verbal and quantitative sections, this test delves deep into analytical prowess. But that's not all; it throws in an analytical writing section and integrated reasoning, too, making it a comprehensive assessment of business acumen.

Scores range from 200 to 800, reflecting a candidate's aptitude for navigating the challenges of MBA education. The GMAT takes 3.5 hours and costs $250.

GRE: Gateway to Diverse Opportunities

On the other side of the spectrum lies the GRE, a versatile contender that opens doors to both graduate schools and business schools for master's programs. With verbal and quantitative sections ranging from 130 to 170, it assesses a candidate's academic prowess across various disciplines.

Add a 60-minute analytical writing section into the mix, and you've got yourself a well-rounded evaluation. The GRE experience spans 3.5 hours and comes at a cost of $205.

Adaptive Testing: A Tale of Two Approaches

One key distinction between the GMAT and GRE is their adaptive testing mechanisms. The GRE adapts at the section level, tailoring question difficulty based on previous responses within the same section. This means your performance influences the complexity of subsequent questions, offering a personalised testing experience.

On the other hand, the GMAT follows a similar adaptive approach but operates at the question level. The difficulty of each question hinges on your response to the previous one, shaping the trajectory of your test journey.

Navigating the Exam Terrain

Both exams are conducted on computers, offering a seamless testing experience. However, their approaches to question navigation differ. In the GRE, test-takers can revisit and revise answers within a section, offering flexibility and room for refinement. Conversely, the GMAT adopts a one-way street approach; once you've answered a question, there's no turning back. This adds an element of strategy and decisiveness to the test-taking process.

Aspect GRE GMAT
Purpose Used for various graduate programs Specifically for business school (MBA)
Test Sections Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing
Focus Broadly assesses reading, writing, and math skills Emphasizes math and critical thinking skills
Business Schools Accepted by some business schools, especially for non-MBA programs Required or preferred by most MBA programs
Scoring Scored on a scale of 130-170 for Verbal and Quantitative, 0-6 for Analytical Writing Scored on a scale of 200-800 for Verbal and Quantitative, 0-6 for Integrated Reasoning, and a separate Analytical Writing score
Exam Time Approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes Approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes
Calculator Use Limited calculator use in the Quantitative section An on-screen calculator is provided for the Integrated Reasoning section
Availability Offered year-round, computer-based Offered year-round, computer-based
Test Fees Varies by location, typically around $205 Varies by location, typically around $250

 

GMAT Vs GRE – Verbal Section

Verbal

The GRE verbal section includes -

  • Sentence equivalence: It tests your ability to understand the meanings of words, sentences, and entire texts and understand relationships among words and concepts. The questions asked consist of a single sentence with one blank and six answer choices. You have to select two answer choices.
  • Reading Comprehension: It tests your ability to analyze a situation and come to a conclusion, reason from incomplete data, and understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative, and author’s intent. The questions asked are multiple-choice questions with five answer choices, of which you must select one.
  • Text Completion: It tests your ability to interpret and evaluate information. It checks whether you can picture it as a whole and revise that picture. The questions asked are in the form of a passage, out of which about 1-5 sentences are long with a couple of blanks. You have to choose the right answer from among the five answer choices.

The GMAT verbal section includes -

  • Sentence Correction: It tests your grammar and effective communication skills. The questions asked will be in the form of a sentence. A part of the sentence will be underlined. You’ll have to choose the right phrase from among the five choices to replace the underlined part.
  • Reading Comprehension: It tests your skills to analyze a situation and come to a conclusion. A set of questions will be asked on a passage. You have to read the content of the passage carefully and choose the best answer to each question.
  • Critical Reasoning: This tests your reasoning skills. You must analyze the information on which the question is based and then select the right answer.

A major difference between the GRE and GMAT here is that while the GRE tests your vocabulary, the GMAT is more about grammar.

GMAT Vs GRE– Quantitative Section

Quant

The course content (algebra, data interpretation, geometry, arithmetic, and word problems) is the same for both exams in the Quantitative section. However, the question format is different for each exam.

The Quantitative section questions for GRE are divided into four categories -

  • Quantitative comparison questions
  • Multiple-choice Questions – Select One Answer Choice
  • Multiple-choice Questions – Select One or More Answers Choice
  • Numeric Entry questions

The Quantitative section questions for GMAT are divided into four categories -

  • Problem-solving
  • Data sufficiency

However, the GMAT math is much more challenging than the GRE one. Also, while the GRE asks you to choose from multiple answers, type in the correct values or make quantitative comparisons, the GMAT focuses on testing your problem-solving skills and throws some sufficiency questions.

A major difference between the GRE and the GMAT is that the GRE allows you to use the calculator for the answers while the GMAT does not, even though Math is more difficult in the GMAT. Therefore, proficiency in mathematics can help you decide on GMAT vs GRE tiff.

 

GMAT Vs GRE For MBA - Which one is the best for you?

Let us summarise what you have read till now and connect it with your profile.

  • If you are focused on Business Schools, the GMAT will help you the most. Over 6,000 business graduate programs at approximately 1,700 universities and organisations around the world accept the GMAT exam. It is designed specifically to test your management aptitude.
  • Though there are Business schools that accept the GRE, some may not necessarily weigh it as equal to the GMAT. Additional IELTS or any other English Language testing exam is required for eligibility requirements. 
  • GRE is a good option if you are still thinking about choosing a program for yourself but want to take the exam now, as the scores are valid for five years. That way, you can later opt for either Business Schools or non-management courses. However, the GMAT is seen as a sign of commitment to management programs for the same reason.
  • if you want to test GMAT vs GRE, which is easier, then the GRE is a good option if an amazing vocabulary is your strength. But then again, if you are fluent in English but less fluent applicants can get past you by learning over 1000 words, you have one more reason to go for the GMAT over the GRE.

No matter what you choose, ultimately, your aim should be to get a score that the Admission officers can’t ignore.

Study Tips: GMAT Vs GRE for MBA

Even while the prospect of GRE vs GMAT for MBA preparation might first seem intimidating, rest assured that with a reliable study schedule, a successful test-taking technique, and our knowledgeable GMAT VS GRE for MBA study advice, you can position yourself for success and get your greatest score.

gre vs gmat

Plan your GMAT vs GRE prep early

There are numerous requirements for MBA and business master's applications, including essays, letters of recommendation, resumes, and more. The last thing you want to do is juggle all of these while simultaneously studying for the GMAT in a short amount of time. Create a study plan for the GMAT Vs GRE, which is easier to study early on in your application to business school, and get ready in just eight weeks.

Knowing the test sections will help you prepare for them

Make sure you are familiar with the format of the GMAT or GRE test before creating a study schedule. The GMAT vs GRE for MBA exam is divided into three sections, each of which assesses a different skill: the ability to comprehend words clearly, analyse textual structure, identify its main ideas, and draw specific conclusions.

In addition, each area includes a specific collection of tasks with unique needs and formats. You can greatly improve your chances of achieving a decent grade by addressing the complexities of their completion during preparation.

Determine your weak points

Your entire preparation strategy must consider which talents require the most work. After analyzing your results, create a tailored study plan to brush up on the subject areas where you need to improve your abilities to achieve your objectives. Also, keep in mind that achieving a 700 or better on the GMAT isn't always a possibility.

Many people make the error of concentrating solely on the theoretical study while completely ignoring test preparation for the GRE or GMAT. You must realize the value of practice in test preparation if you hope to perform well.

Challenge yourself with Advanced Questions

Regularly practising practical exercises has various benefits. First, it enables a more in-depth analysis of the characteristics of the exam format and its assignments. The GRE exam is divided into three sections, each of which assesses a different skill: the ability to comprehend words well, analyze text structure, identify its main ideas, and draw specific conclusions.

In addition, each area includes a specific collection of tasks with unique needs and formats. You can greatly improve your chances of achieving a decent grade by addressing the complexities of their completion during preparation.

Study Plans and Resources

study plans

For comprehensive GMAT preparation, leverage official GMAT materials such as the GMAT Official Guide, GMATPrep software study collection, and GMAT Study Plan. Consider enrolling in GMAT prep resources, which often provide structured study plans, expert guidance, and additional resources to enhance your preparation.

From comprehensive study guides and practice tests to interactive online platforms and tutoring services, the options are vast and varied. Aspiring test-takers can explore renowned publishers like ETS (Educational Testing Service) for official GRE study materials, including the Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test and the GRE Super Power Pack.

Additionally, seeking guidance from experienced tutors or joining study groups can enhance comprehension and retention of key concepts. With a well-rounded arsenal of GRE study materials and resources at their disposal, test-takers can embark on their GRE preparation journey with confidence and aim for a stellar score of 320 or above on their first attempt.

You can also use our in-house experts and resources to prepare for your GRE and GMAT tests.

Conclusion

Numerous graduate institutions, including law and business schools, examine the GRE, which is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) when deciding who gets into their programs. Your verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing abilities will be assessed in the exam. 

The GRE consists of three scored sections and a potential experimental or unscored section. The component on analytical writing will always appear first, but you won't be aware of the placement of the other sections or which one isn't assessed.

If you decide to take the GMAT, determine your target GMAT score by looking at the 5-year trend of GMAT vs GRE scores at leading business schools. Whichever exam you want to take, be better!

Is it possible to get an accurate GRE to GMAT score conversion?

You can refer to the official tools for the conversion, and the closest you can get is by comparing the percentile. However, multiple factors are crucial in calculating individual scores; thus, getting a highly accurate conversion is impossible. 

How should I choose between the GMAT or GRE?

The exam that you choose will depend on the requirements of your preferred school. For example, some students believe that the quantitative section of the GMAT exam is more challenging due to the complexity of the questions. However, you’ll only be able to find out the differences once you take a practice exam. Thus, it is recommended that you take an initial test to determine the difficulty level, which can vary for different people. Then, the conversion chart can be used to estimate the approximate score and figure out the most suitable exam for you.

Which is easier the GRE and GMAT exam?

The GMAT exam’s mathematics section is perceived to be a little more complex than the GRE. Additionally, if verbal reasoning is your strong suit, you might be more inclined to take the GMAT exam. If you have a stronghold on y, you might consider taking the GRE instead. Moreover, it also allows you to be eligible for a wide range of master's programs, unlike the GMAT exam, which is only used for management-related programs. 

Is there a difference between score and percentile?

Both the GMAT and GRE test takers receive an average score and a percentile. For instance, a total GMAT score of 730 is considered to be in the 96th percentile. This means that if you obtain a 730 on the GMAT, you will have outperformed 96 percent of the GMAT test-takers

Know Your Author
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Abhyank Srinet
Study Abroad Expert
Abhyank Srinet, the founder of MiM-Essay.com, is a globally recognized expert in study abroad and admission consulting.His passion lies in helping students navigate the complex world of admissions and achieve their academic dreams. Having earned a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Europe, Abhyank's expertise in data-driven marketing strategies has driven growth for some of the most competitive industries. As the founder of MiM-Essay.com, he has helped thousands of students get into top business schools with a strong emphasis on research, shortlisting, and applying to schools from a single platform. His dedication to education has also led him to create MentR-Me, a free-to-use social platform that simplifies the study abroad process for students, while providing universities with a powerful recruitment tool. As a leader in the field of admission consulting, he is constantly researching and implementing the latest strategies to ensure that his clients receive the best possible guidance. He leads the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of both companies, and has grown both ventures to 7 figure revenue.His unique insights, experience, and dedication to his clients make him a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance their education or career.
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