So you have decided to pursue your post-graduation abroad? Good for you! You may even have set your sights on a few colleges, eh? Even better! And now that you’re ready to take the first step and begin your preparation, you’re stumped. Because you don’t know whether to prepare for the GMAT or the GRE.
This post is meant to resolve all your questions about these two exams and help you choose the one which works best for you.
Graduate Record Exam or GRE is a standardized computer/paper-based test that is taken by individuals who are interested in pursuing postgraduate study at universities all over the world. The 3 hours 45 minutes exam has 3 sections- Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning — that check your writing and reasoning skills. The Analytical Writing section requires you to write your analysis on two arguments within 60 minutes. The Verbal Reasoning section expects you to answer 40 questions in 60 minutes and the Quantitative Reasoning section requires you to answer 40 questions within 70 minutes. There is also an unscored section that is used for research purposes by the ETS (the GRE-conducting body) and appears in between sections or at the end of the exam. GRE is scored on a scale of 260-340, in 1-point increments.
Graduate Management Aptitude Test or GMAT is a computer-adaptive standardized test that is taken by individuals to apply to business schools all over the world. It lasts for 3 hours 30 minutes and comprises 4 sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. You can choose the order in which these sections appear on the test.
Analytical Writing Assessment requires you analyse an argument in 30 minutes. Integrated Reasoning has 12 questions to be answered within 30 minutes. Quantitative Reasoning requires you to answer 31 questions in 62 minutes and Verbal Reasoning expects you to answer 36 questions in 65 minutes. GMAT is scored on a scale of 200-800, in 10-point increments.
Earlier, there were no doubts on this issue. If you wanted to apply to B-schools, you took the GMAT. End of story. All this changed in 2006 when Stanford started accepting GRE scores, reportedly, to encourage diversity among applicants. Other B-schools soon followed.
According to the ETS, GRE scores are now accepted by thousands of MBA programs around the world and this number is growing each day. Check out a comprehensive list of B-schools that accept GRE scores.
Notable Indian B-schools that accept GRE scores are IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Raipur, ISB and IMT Ghaziabad. Always check the website of the school that you are interested in, for eligibility requirements.
Both GMAT and GRE scores are valid for 5 years after the test date.
Both the exams are held on multiple dates throughout the year and allow you to reschedule on demand.
Quantitative sections of both the exams are based on high-school level concepts in algebra, arithmetic, geometry and data interpretation. However, the difficulty level and variation of GMAT’s quant is slightly higher than GRE’s.
GRE costs you USD 205 whereas GMAT’s test fee is slightly higher-USD 250.
GMAT is question-adaptive for each section. If you answer one question correctly, the next one will be of a slightly greater difficulty level. GRE, on the other hand is, in-section-adaptive. There are two sub-sections within a section, say verbal; if you attempt the first sub-section correctly, the next sub-section is going to be of a higher difficulty level.
Given the question-adaptive format of GMAT you cannot skip, return to or change your answers. However, GRE has no such restrictions.
GMAT and GRE both have a 30-minute analysis-of-an-argument task in which you are expected to evaluate an author’s argument by assessing its claims and evaluating the given evidence. GRE has an additional analysis-of-an-issue task that requires you to construct your own argument by taking a stand and supporting it with evidence from the argument.
GRE is vocabulary intensive. More often than not, an average Indian test-taker will find words that they are unfamiliar with during the exam. Hence, developing a GRE-specific vocabulary during the training period is crucial.
GMAT primarily tests your critical reasoning and comprehension skills through passages and sentence correction questions. It doesn’t care much for your vocabulary.
GRE allows you to attempt quant with a calculator. GMAT has no such provision because many of its questions require astuteness in estimation.
GMAT’s DS questions are unique to it.
GMAT’s integrated reasoning section (with 12 questions) is unique to it. It expects you to synthesise, combine and manipulate information presented in the form of charts, graphs, tables, etc.
You choice of test obviously depends on your skills and abilities, your target program and your future plans. A quick look at this template will help you ascertain whether you’re a GMAT or a GRE person*!
*Names of persons in this template have been changed to protect privacy. The rest of the profile details are those of actual Jamboree students.
Hope this post helped you wrap your head around the nuances of both these exams. Now it’s time to make an informed decision!
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