GMAT vs GRE. Which one to choose?

If you’re a future grad student, you may be worrying about which “test” to take, as both GMAT and GRE are of similar value in terms of getting admitted into a graduate school. Whether you should choose GMAT or GRE depends entirely upon what kind of goals you have for the future. Generally, GRE is designed for students who are planning to apply for a graduate school, while GMAT is only for MBA candidates. Beside that key difference, both tests have some level of similarities and dissimilarities. Check out the details below to understand what will be best for you. 

So, What are GRE and GMAT?

GRE and GMAT both are standardized tests that you can take for getting into a graduate school. While with GMAT you can only get into an MBA program, with GRE you will have a wide variety of programs available to you in any graduate school. Moreover, 90% of MBA programs also accept GRE. Although in a business school the admission committee may prefer an applicant with GMAT. 

GMAT has four sections which are; Analytical Writing Analysis, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. You have to score between 200 and 800 in 10-point increments. GMAT can be taken round the year and you can take it a maximum of 5 times in a year and 8 times in a lifetime. The total duration of this test is 3 hours 7 minutes. The test fee is roughly $250. 

On the other hand, GRE contains 6 sections in total, including an unscored research section. The three most distinct sections of GRE are Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The Verbal and Quantitative portions are comprised of two sections each. These two portions can be scored from 130 to 170 in 1-point increments, having the total test score range from 260 to 340. While taking the exam you have to spend 3 hours and 45 minutes with a 10-minute break in between. The test fee for GRE is approximately $205. 

Both tests have a validity of 5 years.

Now, which test should you take?

There are several things to consider regarding what test will be best for you. You might want to check out these deciding factors first,

  • If you’re still unsure about what path you want to pursue, then you should take the GRE. Since this test is required to get into most graduate programs, you will be in a more safe zone. Besides, many business schools also accept GRE. So, having a good GRE score will keep a lot of options available to you.   
  • If you’re certain that you’re gonna go for business school, you definitely should consider GMAT. Because, even though business schools still accept GRE, with the GMAT test you’ll get priority over other GRE test takers. 
  • In case you don’t have a strong track record in solving mathematical problems, you should consider taking GRE. Although GRE and GMAT both have the same math topics, which are; Arithmetic, Algebra, Data Interpretation, and Word Problems, they use different formats for math questions. The GRE contains multiple-choice, multiple answers, numeric entry, and quantitative comparisons, while the GMAT has problem-solving (multiple-choice) and data sufficiency questions. Unlike GMAT, GRE has more straightforward math problems. It’s somewhat given that GMAT math is harder than GRE math. On top of that, you can use a calculator in the GRE test, which you cannot in the GMAT test. 
  • You will notice that GMAT has an integrated reasoning section which GRE does not have. This is another way of testing your quantitative and data analysis skill. So, if you’re really good at math you should go for the GMAT. 
  • The GMAT is kind of forgiving in the way it is scored. In order to get a high score in GRE, you’ve to get practically every question right. But, in the case of GMAT, you can get away with a comparably high score, leaving the high difficulty questions blank. 
  • The GMAT verbal section emphasis more on grammar and reasoning whereas GRE verbal questions mainly focus on testing your vocabulary. You may find GRE verbal challenging if you struggle with vocabulary. On the other hand, you’re good with words, GRE would be a better choice for you. 

Both GMAT and GRE have their own pros and cons. It’s upon you to decide what suits you the best. If you haven’t decided where to apply yet, try taking the test of GRE, to keep your options open. In case, you’re sure to go for business studies GMAT is the test for you. Now, try to understand the structure and contents of both tests to decide which test you can ace easily. In order to understand whether your skill set aligns with the test or not, you’re recommended to take as many practice tests as possible. Finally, no matter what test you decide you need to make sure you have a good score that the admission committee cannot ignore!

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