Applying for the MBA: GMAT or GRE?

Friday, August 30, 2019

You have made the decision to apply for a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Have you checked out the application requirements of the universities that you are interested in applying for? 

Well, if you haven’t started yet, allow us to spoil one thing for you—you are likely to see something along the lines of “All candidates are required to take the GMAT or GRE exam prior to the deadline for which they are applying.”

Not sure whether to take the GMAT or GRE? Let us help you figure out which test to take.

Over 1,200 MBA programs accept scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) for their business school and college admissions. Before deciding which university entrance test to take, make sure to research the universities' business schools and colleges you are interested in and find out which scores they will accept although, in general, most schools accept both the GMAT and the GRE. 

First, let’s take a look at the differences between the GMAT and the GRE.

Test Content
  • Analytical Writing sections: 2x30 minute essays
  • Verbal Reasoning sections: 2x30 mins
  • Quantitative Reasoning: 2x35 mins (computer-delivered version: timings vary slightly in the paper-delivered test)
  • **Focus on language and vocabulary abilities
Test Format
  • Computer-delivered or paper delivered
Testing Time
  • 3 hours 45 minutes
How is it scored?
  • Scores range from 130-170 in 1-point increments for verbal and quantitative reasoning sections; average score = 150-152
  • Scores from 0-6 in analytical writing; average score = 3.5
  • $205.00 USD
How long are scores valid for?
  • 5 years
Test Content
  • Analytical Writing section with one essay: 30 mins
  • Integrated Reasoning section: 30 mins
  • Quantitative section: 62 mins
  • Verbal section: 65 mins
  • **GMAT verbal places greater emphasis on grammar, logic, and reasoning
  • **GMAT quant is harder if math is not your strength
Test Format
  • Computer-adaptive test
Testing Time
  • 3 hours 30 minutes
How is it scored?
  • Total scores range from 200-800; average score = 552
  • $250.00 USD
How long are scores valid for?
  • 5 years
Now that we have looked at the differences between the GMAT and the GRE, let's figure out which one makes sense for you to take.

When should you choose the GRE?
→ Are you interested in applying to master’s programs in non-business schools or colleges? Perhaps you are going to apply for an MBA in one university and a master’s of arts or science in a different major at a different university. The MBA is not the only degree that exists if you are interested in advancing your knowledge of business systems. If this is the case, you will want more flexibility with the standardized test you take. Take the GRE so that you can use the test results for the other master’s degrees that are currently capturing your interest. This would be the best way to give yourself the chance to make yourself a competitive applicant for both 
Do you consider writing, verbal reasoning, and vocabulary learning as strengths? Are you a native English speaker? Do you consider mathematical reasoning as less of a strength than your written language abilities? Take the GRE because it places a huge focus on vocabulary and written reasoning. The GRE’s math section is more straightforward and, unlike the GMAT, includes a calculator for all quantitative problems. 

When should you choose the GMAT? 
Are you only applying to MBA programs? If you are absolutely certain that you are applying to MBA programs only and the universities of your choice explicitly state that they prefer the GMAT, you should take the GMAT! Keep in mind that most universities state that they have no preference between the GRE and the GMAT.
Do you have strong quantitative and analytical skills? The GMAT favors those who are best at interpreting data presented in charts, tables, and text to solve complex problems. 
Is English your second language? The GMAT does not have the same intense focus on vocabulary that the GRE has. Many foreign students applying for MBA’s will opt for the GMAT because of the additional language challenges that the GRE poses.

Related Articles

Get Instant Information about the University

By clicking “Get Information Now,” I hereby authorize, their dependents, subcontractors, or associates to contact me in regards to education proposals offered by universities in the United States.