GMAT vs GRE
Everyday, prospective MBA candidates contact our MBA Admissions team to ask whether they should consider taking the GMAT or GRE test in order to apply for graduate programs in Business, particularly to an MBA (Masters in Business Administration).
This dilemma has grown in recent years since more and more graduate schools have begun accepting the GRE in lieu of the GMAT, and in some cases, even as an alternative to the LSAC. Today, if MBA applicants check the list of Business Schools that accept GRE scores, they will see that it is broadly accepted among well-ranked programs.
Here is a comparison between both tests:
|Where Is It Accepted?||Accepted at 1200+ business schools worldwide||Accepted by all business schools|
|Unique Quantitative Section||Quantitative Comparlsons||Data Sufficiency|
|Unique Verbal Section||Sentence Equivalence & Text Completion||Sentence Correction & Critical Reasoning|
|Better For Which Test-Takers?||Better for “nunber-crunching” thinkers. Also, the GRE relies heavily on testing vocabulary in context. If that’s your strength, consider taking the GRE to show off your skills.||Better for “creative/flexible” thinkers. Many-test-takers find the GMAT Quantitative section more challenging.|
|Test Structure||Analytical Writing Sections; two 30-munute essays: two 35-minute sections (if taking computer-based GRE); one 30 or 35-minute experimental section||Analytical Writing (1 essay): 30 minutes; Integrated Reasoning section: 30 minutes; Quantitative: 62 minutes; Verbal: 65 minutes|
|Test Format||Computer-based Multi-Stage (MST) for for most test-takers (can be taken on paper in some locations).||Computer-adaptive test (CAT)|
|Total Testing Time||3 hours 45 minutes||3 hours 7 minutes plus two optional 8-minute breaks|
|Scoring||Scores for each section range from 130-170 in 1 point increments for verbal and quantitative reasoning. The Analylical Writing section is scored separately.||Total score ranges from 200-800.|
Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing are scored separately.
|How Long Is Your Score Good For?||5 years||5 years|
So how effectively to decide which test is best?
The answer depends on a series of factors. Let’s address them here:
1) The Quantitative Section: Many candidates view the GRE as a chance to avoid the “harder” quantitative section of a GMAT, but there a drawbacks to this strategy. First, while it is true that the GMAT tests harder math application questions, and the test is adaptive, which means that a good score depends on reaching questions that are harder to answer and thus are worth more, the subjects tested in a graduate level standardized test is the same – high school level math. What in fact changes is that the GMAT requires more abstract concepts through its data sufficiency questions, whereas the GRE is more about number crunching. Depending on your background or ability, one test or the other may be better suited. The is why at MBA House, both GMAT Prep and GRE Prep courses share most of the quantitative concept classes. In both tests, it is important to develop a strong basis, which can later be applied in a way that best individually suits Test takers. Once we’ve defined which route to pursue, the candidate will fine-tune their abilities on either the GMAT or the GRE with geared questions and practice tests.
2) The Verbal Section: Similarities between the GRE and GMAT Verbal Section include Reading Comprehension representing about 30% of the test questions, and writing assignments (1 for the GMAT, 2 for the GRE, each 30 minutes long – the GMAT also has an Integrated Reasoning Section). But similarities end there. The GMAT, as in its quantitative section, focuses on assessing how well the test taker deals with incomplete information, following a certain logical standard. The GRE Verbal Section, on the other hand, is trying to assess whether the candidate possesses a “graduate level vocabulary”, which is tested via its Text Completion and Sentence Comparison questions. In essence, the GRE Verbal section involves learning by heart, on average, anything from 500 to 1000 words! Once more, it depends on how comfortable a candidate is with their memorization skills, but, on and all, the GMAT Verbal section is preferred because it depends on learning standards, instead of specifics.
3) School Preference. So, up to now it is possible to say that we have a tie in terms of which test to take. But what about an admissions perspective? Is there a preference? Once more, although there is no hard and fast rule here, our experience is that Top business programs still favor the GMAT. In a sense, they are more used to working with this test and therefore have a better comparison pool as to what entails a strong candidate. But, even so, many candidates apply successfully with the GRE, which proves that it is actually one of the many components of your business school application that must work together to result in a competitive profile that makes an impression to the admissions committee of an MBA Program. At MBA House, we pride ourselves in working all elements of a candidate’s application, and that way we are able to build a clear and compelling case.
Taking the GMAT or GRE Online test at Home
With the event of COVID-19, which has resulted in closures of testing centers for both tests, there presently is the option of sitting for either test in the comfort of your own home.
Both options are actually very similar at this time – the GMAT has gotten up to speed to correct what had been its main disadvantage in comparison to the GRE that is the allowance of using a physical whiteboard for note taking and calculations. Also, both tests cost essentially the same at approximately $200 (The GMAT lowered its standard $275 fee for the online version of the test, and removed the Writing section. The GRE made no changes to its original version). Both exams will be proctored online, and allow for certain breaks.
The main difference is actually after the moment you finish the test. As in its original Test Center version, the GRE allows you to preview and decide whether or not you want to cancel your scores. The GMAT however, does not enable this option – your score will go into your record, and you are only allowed to take this online version once.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of both:
|GMAT vs GRE||GRE at Home||GMAT Online Test|
|Length of Time||3 hours, 45 minutes||2 hours, 37 minutes|
|Differences from Test Center||NO||No AWA|
|Breaks||1-minute breaks between sections, Optional 10-minute break after Section 3 (all must be taken in front of camera)||Optional 5 minute break before last section|
|Physical Whiteboard Allowed||YES||YES|
|Quantitative Section Structure||40 Questions in 70 minutes||31 Questions in 62 minutes|
|Verbal Section Structure||40 Questions in 60 minutes||36 Questions in 65 minutes|
|Integrated Reasoning Section||NO||12 Questions in 30 minutes|
|Analytical Writing Section||2 Writing Tasks, 30 minutes each||NO|
|Score Preview After Test||YES (Except for Writing Section)||NO|
|Cancel Score after Test||YES||NO|
|Official Scores||10-15 days to post online||7 days to receive by email|
|Retake Policy||Wait 21 days – can be taken up to 5 times in a year||None|
|System Requirements||Windows 7, 8 or 10; Mac OS||Windows 8.1 or 10; Mac OS 10.13 or above|
|Refreshments Permitted||NO||Water in Clear Glass|