gmat-vs-greMany MBA programs are now willing to accept GRE scores in lieu of the GMAT. The question is, which test should you take?

Do Your Target Schools Accept the GRE?

Before you get too excited about closing your GMAT books forever, research what your target business schools have to say about the GRE. Some schools feel that the GMAT is still the best exam for their needs, and while they accept the GRE, they may state a clear preference for the GMAT. Others deny the GRE outright. Know the requirements for each school before committing to an exam.

Which One Plays to Your Strengths?

Both the GMAT and GRE assess your verbal and quantitative reasoning, writing, and critical thinking, though each tests these concepts in different way. If English is your second language, you may have an easier time with the GMAT since it does not directly test vocabulary. If you are a non-traditional candidate with a limited quantitative background, you may prefer the GRE which is considered less quantitatively rigorous. (Conversely, quant jocks and financiers who shy away from the GMAT may raise a few eyebrows.)

What is Your Past Exam History?

Did you already take the GRE for prior graduate work, and you have a perfectly strong score in hand? Have you taken the GMAT three times and failed to achieve your desired results? Both would be compelling reasons to consider the GRE for your business school applications. If your target schools say that they will consider the GRE equally to the GMAT, then you can believe them.

Are You Definitely on the Business School Track?

If you are considering other graduate programs besides business school, or if you are a joint degree candidate, the GRE may be your best investment. While many other masters programs accept the GRE, the GMAT is exclusively for business school applicants. So unless you are exclusively pursuing an MBA, the GRE is the more versatile option.

Still not sure which exam to take? The best way to decide is to take practice exams for each and see which one feels more intuitive and produces a higher score. Both the GMAC (GMAT) and ETS (GRE) websites offer free exams. Try them both on for size, and ultimately pursue the exam that shows your capabilities in their best light.

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© Shine/ MBA Admissions Consulting, February 23 2015, 10:00am MT