GMAT vs GRE- Which one is more suitable for you

As a test taker you have to decide on the most suitable test to take between GMAT and GRE. It becomes necessary for you to understand both the tests properly and what they offer, the outcomes before deciding on which test to take.

What is GMAT?: The Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is a standardized computer adaptive test which measures your aptitude to successfully take up a graduate business course. This test is set as criteria for admission by business schools in their business administration programs (MBA) mostly in the USA and in other English speaking countries of the world.

The GMAT exams are administered to test the student’s ability and skills in verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills. This test is administered as a Computer Adaptive Test. The computer adapts itself to match the test-taker’s ability to answer a question. For example, if a student will answer a difficult question correctly, the next question will be much harder. In locations where computer facilities are not available, the test is offered in paper based format, normally once or twice in a year. The test begins with the Analytical Writing Assessment followed by the Quantitative and Verbal reasoning sections. The duration of the test is almost 4 hours with short breaks in-between. The cost of taking the test is US$250 worldwide. The maximum available score is 800 and the scores are valid for a period of 5 years. Most schools do not inform about the score required by them by the applicants. However, the schools may publish the average and median score of their latest intake. This will give you an idea of what scores are required by the schools. Normally, a score of around 700 and above 720 is considered good for admission. The test is conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) to select qualified and capable applicants in graduate management programs. This test is used by over 1500 schools and over 1800 courses for admitting applicants into their programs. A lot of third-party test prep materials are available and a student can take the test only once in 31 days. An applicant has to first register to appear for the test.

What is GRE?: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test offered by Education Testing Services (ETS) for admissions to pursue a graduate or business program in a graduate or business school in the USA and in other universities around the world. The test is available in two versions namely, computer based test and paper based test.

The GRE tests are offered in two broad sections namely the general test and the subject test. The general test consists of three sections, the analytical writing, quantitative reasoning and the verbal reasoning sections. The subject tests are offered in 8 different subject disciplines. The length of the general test is around 4 hours with short breaks between the sections. A student is required to obtain a high score in the general test to earn admission in a graduate school. In locations where computer facilities are unavailable, the test is offered as paper based up to three times in a year. The tests are conducted in around 160 locations around the world. The exam fee for the general test is US$160 for students in the USA and its territories and US$190 for test takers in other countries respectively. The tests require hard work to get a good score. The scores for the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning tests are reported in a scale of 130-170 with 1-point increments respectively. The score for analytical writing section is reported on a 0-6 scale with half-point increments. It is required that you obtain a high percentile score to earn admission in a graduate school. You have to first register for the test.

Registrations can be done online or with your local test center. A lot of third-party test prep materials are available and a student can take the test only 5 times in a calendar year. An applicant has to first register to appear for the test.

What to choose; GRE vs GMAT?

As an ambitious student desiring to pursue higher academic programs, you may face the dilemma of which exam to take: GMAT or GRE? The answer is simple and you have to decide which test to take based on the academic program you want to join. If you want to study MBA, join a B-school then GMAT test is the way. If you want to want to study for a Master degree program, join a graduate school then GRE is the way. Also, it depends on the school you apply to and what score (GRE or GMAT) they accept at the time of admission. Since both the tests ensure high quality standards many of the graduate and business schools accept both the scores. So, it is better to check with the schools you are interested to join what they accept before you decide on which test to take and start your preparation.

The Pros and Cons of GRE and GMAT

  • The GRE is required by graduate schools and GMAT is required by business schools. The current trend indicates many B-schools also accept a GRE score and vice versa.
  • A high score in whatever exam you take rewards you with admission in a graduate or B-school. You are also eligible for a fellowship from sponsors.
  • People with higher qualifications are often treated with respect and regard by others both professionally and personally.
  • The money you spend for taking the test and preparation, though initially the spending could be big, the money spent is worth because you can attract a higher salary after your academic program is over.
  • The test fee for GRE is US$160 for US nationals and US$190 for non-US nationals. The fee for taking the GMAT tests is US$250 worldwide.
  • The duration of both the exams is almost same, and so are the subjects and test patterns with minor differences.
  • The GRE test is computer based whereas the GMAT tests are computer adaptive.
  • The level of difficulty is the same for both the tests, it depends on how well you prepare and practice.
  • Test takers in English speaking countries may find the GRE analytical writing section to be easy and may have difficulties with math sections. International test takers may find language sections difficult because of vocabulary and grammar requirements.
  • The paper based tests for GRE is offered three times in a calendar year, whereas the paper- based test for GMAT is offered once or twice in a year.
  • The scoring pattern is different for GRE and GMAT.
  • The scores are valid for a period of 5 years from the test date for both the exams.

You have to choose between GMAT and GRE as a test taker taking into consideration the various factors discussed above. Much depends on the course you wish to apply. Both the exams are aimed at testing the competency levels of a student and his or her capacity to take up higher education in a grad or business school and indicate high quality standards. The scores obtained in both the exams demonstrate the student’s analytical abilities and are accepted in many grad and business schools worldwide.