GMAT vs GRE: Choosing the Right Exam for You

  • If you’re considering pursuing a graduate degree, you may be wondering which exam to take – the GMAT or GRE. Both exams are widely recognized and accepted by graduate programs and business schools, which can make the decision-making process overwhelming.
GMAT vs GRE
GMAT vs GRE

In this section, we’ll explore the differences between the GMAT VS GRE exams to help you determine which one is the best fit for your academic and career goals. We’ll examine the exam formats, acceptance rates, content and structure, difficulty levels, and other factors that may influence your decision.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing between the GMAT and GRE exams can be a daunting decision for graduate school applicants.
  • Both exams are recognized by graduate programs and business schools, but they differ in their formats, sections, content, and difficulty levels.
  • It’s important to consider your academic strengths and interests, as well as the requirements of the programs you’re applying to, when deciding which exam to take.
  • Ultimately, the goal is to choose the exam that will allow you to showcase your skills and potential to the fullest extent, and help you achieve your career aspirations.

What are the GMAT and GRE exams?

If you’re considering pursuing a graduate degree, you’ve likely heard of the GMAT and GRE exams. Both tests are commonly used by business schools and graduate programs to assess a student’s readiness for graduate-level coursework. Here’s a brief overview of each exam:

GMAT ExamGRE Exam
The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a computer-based exam designed to measure a student’s analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills. The test consists of four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal.The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is also a computer-based exam that measures a student’s analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning skills. The test consists of six sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing, and one unscored research section (either Verbal or Quantitative) and one unscored section that could be either Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, or Analytical Writing.

Both exams are offered year-round at test centers around the world. However, the GMAT is only offered in a computer-based format, while the GRE is available in both computer-based and paper-based formats.

GMAT vs GRE: Which Exam is More Widely Accepted?

When deciding between the GMAT and GRE exams, it’s essential to consider the acceptance of each exam by graduate programs and business schools.

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is primarily designed for admission into business programs, while the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is widely accepted by both business and non-business graduate programs.

Although both exams are accepted to varying degrees by different institutions, the GMAT is more commonly required for admission into business programs, while the GRE is more widely recognized across a range of fields.

GMAT Acceptance

The GMAT is a globally recognized exam and is accepted by over 7,000 MBA and business-related programs worldwide. According to GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council), 9 out of 10 new MBA enrollments globally are made using GMAT scores.

Most business schools require GMAT scores as part of their application process. However, some programs may accept other tests, such as the GRE, instead of the GMAT.

It’s worth noting that the GMAT is still the preferred choice for admission into most top-ranking business schools.

GRE Acceptance

The GRE is accepted by thousands of graduate programs across various disciplines, including business, engineering, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Many business schools now also accept GRE scores as an alternative to the GMAT. Almost 1,300 MBA programs worldwide accept GRE scores.

The GRE is a good option for students who are unsure about their future educational and career paths, as it offers greater flexibility compared to the GMAT, which is primarily designed for business programs.

Ultimately, the acceptance of the GMAT and GRE exams depends on the individual requirements of each program. It’s important to check the admission requirements of each school carefully before deciding which exam to take.

GMAT vs GRE: Exam content and structure

When it comes to the content and structure of the GMAT and GRE exams, there are both similarities and differences.

Firstly, both exams test a range of skills, including verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking. However, the emphasis on each of these skills is different between the two exams.

The GMAT places a greater emphasis on quantitative reasoning, with approximately half of the exam devoted to this area. The remaining sections are roughly evenly split between verbal reasoning and analytical writing. In contrast, the GRE places a more balanced emphasis on all three areas, with the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections each comprising approximately 40% of the exam, and the analytical writing section making up the remaining 20%.

Another difference between the exams is the structure of the sections. The GMAT has four sections, including an analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. The GRE has six sections, including two verbal reasoning, two quantitative reasoning, one analytical writing, and one unscored research section. The research section does not count towards your score, but it is still an important part of the exam as it helps ETS develop new questions for future tests.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that the types of questions on the GMAT and GRE exams are also slightly different. For example, the GMAT includes data sufficiency questions in the quantitative reasoning section, which require you to determine whether the information provided is sufficient to answer the question. The GRE does not include these types of questions. Alternatively, the GRE includes numeric entry questions in both the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections, which require you to enter the answer using the keyboard. The GMAT does not include these types of questions.

GMAT vs GRE: Which Exam is More Challenging?

One of the most common questions that test-takers have when deciding between the GMAT and GRE exams is which one is more challenging. While both exams require significant preparation and dedication, they do have distinct differences in terms of their difficulty levels.

GMAT Difficulty

The GMAT exam is widely considered to be the more challenging of the two exams, particularly when it comes to the quantitative section. The GMAT places a heavy emphasis on complex mathematical concepts and problem-solving skills, which can be challenging for test-takers who are not well-versed in these areas.

Additionally, the GMAT’s computer-adaptive format means that the difficulty of the questions adapts to the test-taker’s ability level. While this can be an advantage for those who excel in math, it can also make the exam more challenging for those who struggle with this type of content.

GRE Difficulty

While the GRE also requires strong quantitative skills, it places more emphasis on verbal reasoning and critical thinking abilities. Test-takers who excel in these areas may find the GRE to be a more manageable exam than the GMAT.

Furthermore, the GRE does not have a computer-adaptive format, which can make the exam’s difficulty level more predictable and consistent for test-takers.

Overall, the difficulty level of each exam will depend on the individual test-taker’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their level of preparation and dedication.

GMAT vs GRE: Which exam suits business programs?

One of the main factors to consider when choosing between the GMAT and GRE exams is which one is preferred by business programs. Historically, the GMAT has been the standard exam for students applying to MBA programs, but in recent years, many schools have started accepting the GRE as well. So, which exam should you take if you’re interested in pursuing a business degree? Let’s take a closer look.

The GMAT is specifically designed to test skills that are essential for success in a business program, such as quantitative reasoning, analytical thinking, and critical reasoning. The exam is divided into four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. Each section tests a different set of skills, with the Quantitative and Verbal sections being the most important for business programs. Scores on the GMAT range from 200 to 800, and most top MBA programs require a score of at least 600 for admission.

The GRE, on the other hand, was originally designed for students pursuing graduate programs in non-business fields. However, many business schools have started accepting the GRE in recent years, as it tests many of the same skills as the GMAT. The GRE consists of six sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and an unscored research section. The exam also includes an unscored section that is used for experimental purposes. Scores on the GRE range from 130 to 170 for both the Verbal and Quantitative sections. Most top MBA programs require a score of at least 310 for admission.

So, which exam is better for business programs? The answer depends on your strengths and weaknesses as a test-taker. If you excel in quantitative reasoning and analytical thinking, the GMAT may be the better option for you. However, if you prefer more varied and less focused content, the GRE may be a better fit. Additionally, if you’re applying to programs that accept both exams, you may want to take both and see which score is stronger.

GMAT for Business ProgramsGRE for Business Programs
The GMAT is the traditional exam for MBA programs and is specifically designed to test skills relevant to business fields.The GRE is accepted by an increasing number of MBA programs and tests similar skills to the GMAT.
The GMAT is more focused and may be a better fit for students with stronger quantitative and analytical skills.The GRE is less focused and may be a better fit for students who prefer more varied content.
The GMAT is required by most top MBA programs and a high score is expected for admission.The GRE is accepted by most top MBA programs, but a high score is still necessary for admission.

Ultimately, the choice between the GMAT and GRE for business programs depends on your individual strengths and preferences, as well as the requirements of the schools you are applying to. Take the time to research your options and consider taking practice exams for both to determine which exam is the best fit for you.

GMAT vs GRE: Which exam suits non-business programs?

While the GMAT is traditionally associated with business programs, many non-business graduate programs also accept this exam. However, the GRE remains the more widely accepted test for non-business programs.

The GRE places more emphasis on verbal reasoning, making it a suitable choice for programs in the humanities, social sciences, and other fields that require strong reading and writing skills. On the other hand, the GMAT’s focus on quantitative analysis and critical thinking skills may be more relevant for programs in the natural sciences and engineering.

Here’s a quick breakdown of which exam is more commonly accepted for various non-business programs:

Program TypePreferred Exam
Arts and HumanitiesGRE
EducationGRE
Social SciencesGRE
Natural SciencesGMAT
EngineeringGMAT

Of course, these preferences can vary among individual programs, so it’s important to do your research and check with the specific schools and programs you’re interested in.

GMAT vs GRE: Which exam allows score select?

One factor that sets the GMAT and GRE exams apart is the score select option, which allows test-takers to choose which scores to send to institutions. Here, we’ll explore how score select works for each exam and whether it may influence your decision.

GMAT score select

The GMAT exam offers a score select option that allows test-takers to send only their best scores to business schools. With the ScoreSelect feature, candidates can decide which scores to send to schools. There are three options:

OptionDescription
All ScoresIt allows schools to see all scores from all of the candidates’ GMAT exams taken in the last five years.
Most RecentThis option lets schools see candidates’ most recent GMAT score for the past five years.
Any SectionThis option lets candidates select their best sectional scores across all the GMAT exams taken in the last five years.

It means that candidates can choose to send only their best scores to admissions committees, potentially improving their chances of being accepted into the graduate programs of their choice. However, it’s worth noting that some schools may request to see all of a candidate’s GMAT scores, so it’s important to check each school’s score reporting policy before selecting the score select option.

GRE score select

The GRE exam also offers a score select option, but it works slightly differently than the GMAT’s. With the GRE, test-takers can choose which scores to send to schools, but they must select them at the testing center immediately after taking the exam.

There are three options available through GRE score select:

OptionDescription
All ScoresThis option allows schools to see all GRE scores from the past five years.
Most RecentThis option lets schools see only the test-taker’s most recent GRE score from the past five years.
ScoredThis option lets test-takers send only their best scores to schools from all their GRE test dates.

It’s important to note that once a test-taker selects their scores, they cannot change their selection later, so it’s essential to carefully consider their options before leaving the testing center.

Which exam is better for score select?

When it comes to score select, both exams offer similar options, allowing test-takers to select which scores to send to schools. However, the GMAT’s ScoreSelect feature may be more advantageous than the GRE’s, as it allows candidates to choose between three options for sending their scores. With the GRE, test-takers must select which scores to send immediately after taking the exam, without the ability to view their scores first. Therefore, candidates who are not entirely confident in their GRE performance may want to consider taking the GMAT, which offers more flexibility when selecting which scores to send to schools.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Choosing between the GMAT and GRE exams can be a challenging decision, but we hope this article has provided you with the necessary insights to make an informed choice.

Remember to consider your academic and career goals, as well as the requirements of your target graduate program, when determining which exam to take.

GMAT vs GRE: Key Points

To summarize, both the GMAT and GRE exams are widely accepted by various graduate programs and business schools, but they differ in terms of their content, structure, and emphasis on quantitative and verbal skills.

The GMAT is often preferred by business programs due to its focus on analytical skills, while the GRE may be a better fit for non-business programs because of its emphasis on verbal and quantitative reasoning.

The score select option offered by both exams allows test-takers to choose which scores to send to institutions, and the difficulty level of both exams varies depending on individual strengths and weaknesses.

Final Recommendations

If you’re still unsure which exam to take, consider taking practice tests for both the GMAT and GRE to gauge your strengths and weaknesses.

Ultimately, the key to success on either exam is thorough preparation and careful planning, so make sure to give yourself ample time to study and take the exam that best aligns with your academic and career goals.

We wish you the best of luck in your exam preparation and future academic endeavors!

FAQ

What is the difference between the GMAT and GRE exams?

The GMAT is primarily used for admission into business programs, while the GRE is accepted by a wider range of graduate programs.

What is the format of the GMAT and GRE exams?

The GMAT consists of four sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The GRE includes three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.

How are the GMAT and GRE exams scored?

The GMAT is scored on a scale of 200-800, while the GRE is scored on a scale of 130-170 for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning, and 0-6 for Analytical Writing.

Which exam is more widely accepted by graduate programs and business schools?

The acceptance of the GMAT and GRE varies by institution, but the GRE is generally accepted by a larger number of programs.

Are there differences in the content and structure of the GMAT and GRE exams?

Yes, the content and structure of the GMAT and GRE exams differ. The GMAT places more emphasis on analytical and logical reasoning, while the GRE has a stronger focus on vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Which exam is considered more challenging?

The difficulty level of the GMAT and GRE exams may vary for individuals, but the GMAT is often perceived as more challenging due to its analytical and logical reasoning sections.

Should I take the GMAT or GRE for business programs?

The GMAT is the preferred choice for admission into business programs as it aligns more closely with the skills needed in the business field, such as quantitative abilities and critical thinking.

Which exam is recommended for non-business graduate programs?

Non-business graduate programs often accept both the GMAT and GRE. However, the GRE may be a better choice as it assesses verbal and quantitative reasoning skills, which are relevant across various disciplines.

Can I select which scores to send to institutions?

Both the GMAT and GRE offer a score select option, allowing test-takers to choose which scores to send to institutions. This gives you control over which scores are considered during the application process.

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