gmat vs greDid you know that many MBA programs now accept GRE scores in place of the GMAT? The question is: which test will play best to your strengths and demonstrate that you’re the most capable candidate?

Make Sure Your Target Business Schools Accept the GRE

Before you get too excited about the prospect of throwing away your GMAT books, make sure your dream schools accept the GRE. Some MBA programs still only accept the GMAT, citing that it more directly tests the analytical and quantitative concepts you’ll need to utilize in business school. Others do accept the GRE, yet they state a clear preference for the GMAT. Know what the admissions requirements are at each school you’re targeting before you commit to an exam.

GMAT vs GRE Structure

While both tests assess verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and writing, the way in which these tests ask you questions varies. It’s similar material being presented in different ways, which means that for some people, the GMAT makes perfect sense, but for others, the GRE approach is more intuitive.

Only the GRE tests vocabulary, which could be a challenge for those for whom English is a second language. However, the GRE is a bit shorter in time and length, it costs less than the GMAT, and test centers are more widely available. Furthermore, the GMAT math is considered more difficult, so if math isn’t your strong suit, the GRE may serve you better. Conversely, if you come from an financial services background, it might be hard to justify taking anything but the GMAT.

Why Else Should I Consider the GRE?

If you’re considering business school but may switch gears and attend a different grad program, or if you’re pursuing a joint degree, the GRE may be your smarter investment. Most grad programs (except for law and medical school) require the GRE for admission, whereas the GMAT is designed only for business school applicants. So if you’re unsure of your plans, even if you get a stellar score on the GMAT, you wouldn’t be able to use it unless you go the MBA route.

So Which Test Do I Choose?

The best way to find out if the GMAT or GRE is better suited for you is to take the free practice test offered for each exam. See which felt more intuitive and which produced the highest score.

The GMAT continues to be the gold standard for business schools, though the GRE is rapidly gaining traction. Ultimately, if you’re grappling with poor performance on the GMAT, it’s better to get an outstanding score on the GRE that can demonstrate your aptitude, than to continually struggle with one that may jeopardize your candidacy.

[For personalized advice on choosing the right test for you, or other MBA admissions questions, please contact us at]

© Hillary Schubach, July 30, 2014 10:10 am MT