GRE vs. GMAT: Which Test Should MBA Applicants Take?


The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) are the two most common standardized tests used by business schools to assess applicants’ readiness for a graduate-level business education. Many MBA applicants wonder which test they should take, and the answer is not straightforward.

The GRE is a general aptitude test that assesses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. The test is used for a wide range of graduate programs, including business schools, and it is accepted by many top MBA programs, such as Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. The GMAT, on the other hand, is specifically designed for business school applicants and assesses analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning skills.

One advantage of taking the GRE is that it can be used to apply to a variety of graduate programs beyond business school. This is particularly advantageous for students who are not sure if they want to pursue an MBA or a different type of graduate degree. Additionally, the GRE is slightly cheaper than the GMAT, which may be a consideration for some students.

Another advantage of the GRE is that it does not have a separate section for integrated reasoning, a component of the GMAT that some students find challenging. Instead, the GRE’s analytical writing section assesses similar skills, such as the ability to analyze an argument and to communicate ideas clearly and effectively.

On the other hand, some students may prefer the GMAT because it is specifically designed for business school applicants. This means that the test’s content and format align more closely with the skills and knowledge that are necessary for success in a graduate-level business program. In addition, some business schools may prefer the GMAT because it has a more established reputation in the business education community.

When deciding whether to take the GRE or the GMAT, it’s important to consider the specific requirements of the business schools to which you plan to apply. Many business schools accept both tests, but some may have a preference for one over the other. Additionally, some schools may require applicants to take the GMAT or the GRE subject test in a specific area, such as math or economics.

It’s also important to consider your own strengths and weaknesses when deciding which test to take. If you excel in quantitative reasoning and are confident in your math skills, you may prefer the GMAT, which places a greater emphasis on these skills. On the other hand, if you are more comfortable with verbal reasoning and writing, the GRE may be a better fit.

To help decide which test to take, some students may choose to take practice tests for both the GRE and the GMAT. These tests are widely available online and can help you get a sense of the test’s content, format, and difficulty level. By taking practice tests, you can also identify areas where you need to improve and focus your study efforts accordingly.

In summary, both the GRE and the GMAT are accepted by many top MBA programs, and the choice between the two will depend on the specific requirements of the schools to which you plan to apply, as well as your own strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not sure whether you want to pursue an MBA or another graduate degree, the GRE may be a better choice because it can be used to apply to a wider range of programs. However, if you’re confident that an MBA is the right choice for you, and you feel comfortable with quantitative reasoning, the GMAT may be a better fit. Regardless of which test you choose, preparation is key to achieving a high score and increasing your chances of being accepted into your desired MBA program.

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