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GRE and GMAT

Pros and cons of GRE and GMAT


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So now you are thinking of rowing ahead with your career plans and one of the stumbling blocks you often face, are the different types of qualifying exams that you will have to write to pursue your higher education abroad. While we cannot discuss about each and every one of these tests, let us give you an outline on the pros and cons of GRE and GMAT. This should clear your doubts regarding which qualifying exam you should attempt.


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If you intend to pursue a graduate program in any one of these subjects such as  Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Computer Science, Literature, English, Psychology, Physics and Mathematics, then you should go ahead with GRE. GRE i.e. Graduate Record Examination is a qualifying test conducted all over the world by Educational Testing Service. The test is of two types GRE General Test and GRE subject test.

The General test is not related to any subject specific knowledge, instead it assesses your abstract thinking skills in areas of math, vocabulary and analytical writing. The subject test covers a broad range of subject matter. The basic idea is to measure your skill and knowledge that you have developed on the subject over a long period of time.


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While the General Test is compulsory, the subject test is optional. When you apply to the school of your choice you have to find out whether you need to answer the subject test, as this option varies not only in each university but also in different departments of each university

GRE is basically a computer based test, but if this facility is unavailable in your area then you are given an option to go in for paper based test. You can log into the official website of GRE to check whether the paper based test option is available in your location.

If you are looking forward to career of advanced studies in business and management then you have to answer GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). Conventionally GMAT has been the qualifying test for entry into B-Schools and almost all of business schools in US require your GMAT scores but we do have a number of B-Schools including Harvard, Stanford and Yale that are also fine with GRE scores. For those who want to join the B- Schools, and are still wondering on which is the better option, the following table should give you a brief rundown on the pros and cons of taking GRE and GMAT.

GRE GMAT
Questions are designed to cater to students who want to apply for a wide range of graduate programs. Questions are designed to cater to students who want to go to B-Schools.
If you are planning to join a business school then answering GRE will have limited B-school options for you. If you take the GMAT test then you have a wider option and better chance at getting into any one of the B-schools
It is a computer based test. In areas where the computer test is not available it offers paper based test. It is a computer adaptive test
In CBT you can review and preview your questions. In CAT only one question is presented at a time, you cannot revert back to your questions.
In the beginning you will be given questions of average difficulty, thereafter the level of difficulty will increase or decrease within each section of the same part, for e.g. if you have answered all the questions correctly in the first section of the verbal reasoning measure then the second section of the same part will have questions with higher level of difficulty. Here again the level of questions in the beginning will be of the average kind, thereafter the difficulty level of each question will increase or decrease depending on how you answered the previous question, for e.g. if you have answered the first question correctly then the next question will be of a higher difficulty level.
In the Verbal section you will have question types such as reading comprehension, sentence equivalence and text completion. In the Verbal section of this test you will have question types such as critical reasoning, reading comprehension and sentence correction.
The test is conducted for three hours and forty five minutes. The test is conducted for three and a half hours
The verbal and quantitative sections are scored on a scale of 130-170 with 1 point increment The verbal and quantitative sections are scored on a 0-60 scale(in multiples of 10) with the total score ranging between 200-800. The essay is scored on a 0-6 scale in intervals of 0.5 and the Intergerated Reasoning section is scored on a 1-8 scale in intervals of 1.
You will receive your scores within 10-15 days of taking the test. If you have attempted the paper based test then, you will have to wait for six weeks for your scores. You can expect your scores within 8-20 days of taking the test.
Your scores will be sent to a maximum of four universities of your choice. Your scores will be sent to a maximum of five universities of your choice.
To register for the test you will have to pay US$195. To register for the test you will have to pay US$250, which is the same everywhere.
If you are a US citizen then you could be eligible for the limited number of fee waivers. You need not be a US citizen to be eligible for fee waivers.

From the above table you get a fair idea that GRE and GMAT are standardized tests which provide a common platform to rake in the potential students. There are quite a number of similarities between GRE and GMAT such as; you can avail these tests anytime of the year as they are conducted throughout the year.

Though the question types may differ, both these tests measure your verbal, mathematical and Analytical writing skills to check how well you can align your skills, which you have acquired over a period of time, to meet the demands of the present day situation.

While you need to have minimum computer skills in both these tests, remember time is critical and hence speed is important.

The results of these tests is not the only parameter that your graduation or business school will look into, so just because you have a high GRE or GMAT score does not guarantee you an admission offer. Your scores however, for both these tests are valid for five years.

There will be a few multiple choice questions in both the tests which can appear anywhere in your test. It is purely for research purpose and will not be scored.

Most test takers are of the opinion that while GRE is tougher in the verbal section GMAT can be quite challenging in the quantitative section. Nevertheless both require time, patience and preparation. Both have their pros and cons, how you approach these exams and fare in it depends on your attitude towards it.

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