GRE vs GMAT: Which Test Should You Take for Your MBA Journey?

Neha Rawat

Oct 6, 2023
GRE vs GMAT: Which Test Should You Take for Your MBA

Unsure about GRE vs. GMAT for your MBA journey? Discover the ideal test for you. Pros and cons compared to making an informed decision.

When it comes to deciding between the GRE and GMAT for your MBA journey, it's essential to understand the nuances of each test and how they align with your strengths and aspirations.

1. Purpose of GRE and GMAT

Both the GRE and GMAT are standardized tests designed to assess a student's readiness for graduate-level academic work. While the GRE is a general test used for a wide range of graduate programs, the GMAT is specifically tailored for business school admissions.

2. Content and Structure

2.1 GRE Content and Structure

The Verbal and Quantitative sections evaluate your verbal and quantitative reasoning skills, while the Analytical Writing section assesses your ability to critically analyze arguments and articulate ideas.

2.2 GMAT Content and Structure

The GMAT comprises four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. The Integrated Reasoning section measures your ability to analyze and synthesize data from various sources, reflecting real-world business scenarios.

3. Scoring System

Both tests have different scoring scales. The GRE's Verbal and Quantitative sections are scored on a scale of 130-170, while the GMAT's Verbal and Quantitative sections are scored on a scale of 0-60. Both tests also have separate scores for the Analytical Writing/Integrated Reasoning sections.

4. Test Preparation

4.1 GRE Preparation

GRE test-takers often find advantage in its versatility, as it is accepted by a broader range of graduate programs. This might influence your decision if you have interests beyond business school.

4.2 GMAT Preparation

The GMAT's business-specific focus can be advantageous if your heart is set on an MBA. GMAT preparation materials are tailored to this specialization, offering targeted practice for the skills required in business studies.

5. Test Format and Duration

Both tests have distinct formats and durations. The GRE is adaptive within sections, meaning the difficulty of the second section depends on your performance in the first. The GMAT, on the other hand, is adaptive overall, adjusting the difficulty based on correct or incorrect responses throughout the entire test.

6. Admissions

6.1 GRE for Admissions

GRE scores are accepted by a wide array of graduate programs, giving you more flexibility in your choices beyond business school.

6.2 GMAT for Admissions

Many business schools, especially top-tier ones, favor the GMAT for its specificity to business-related skills.

7. Popularity and Acceptance

The GRE has gained popularity in recent years due to its versatility, being accepted by thousands of graduate programs. The GMAT remains a staple for MBA admissions but is more focused in scope.

8. MBA Programs and Test Requirements

Research the specific requirements of the MBA programs you're interested in. Some schools may accept both tests, while others might have a preference for one over the other.

9. Skill Assessment

9.1 Analytical Skills

Both tests evaluate your analytical abilities, but the GMAT's Integrated Reasoning section provides a unique platform to showcase your skills in interpreting complex data.

9.2 Verbal Skills

The Verbal sections of both tests assess your grasp of the English language, but the GRE's emphasis on vocabulary might differ from the GMAT's focus on reasoning.

9.3 Quantitative Skills

Both tests include a Quantitative section, testing your mathematical proficiency. The GMAT might delve more into data sufficiency.

10. Test-Taking Strategies

Understand the format of each test and develop strategies to manage your time effectively, tackle challenging questions, and maintain your focus throughout the test.

11. Advantages of GRE

The GRE's versatility and broad acceptance across graduate programs can be a significant advantage if you are uncertain about pursuing an MBA exclusively.

12. Advantages of GMAT

The GMAT's business-oriented approach aligns precisely with the skills required in business school, making it an ideal choice for dedicated MBA aspirants.

13. Consider Your Strengths

Assess your strengths and weaknesses in terms of the skills each test evaluates. Consider how your performance on each test aligns with the requirements of your desired MBA program.


Choosing between the GRE and GMAT is a pivotal step in your MBA journey. Make an informed decision based on the specific requirements of your chosen programs and your own strengths.

FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Can I take both the GRE and GMAT? 

A1: Yes, you can. However, research the preferences of the schools you're applying to.

Q2. Do all MBA programs accept both GRE and GMAT scores?

A2:  Not all programs do, so it's crucial to verify the requirements of each program.

Q3. Is one test easier than the other?

A3: The difficulty of each test depends on your strengths and skills. They are not directly comparable in terms of difficulty.

Q4. Can I switch between GRE and GMAT scores for different schools?

A4: Yes, you can choose which scores to send to each school based on their requirements.

Q5. Are there test prep resources available for both GRE and GMAT? 

A5: Yes, numerous resources, both free and paid, are available for both tests to help you prepare effectively.

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