The road to business school is paved with numerous challenges, and one of the critical decisions you’ll face is choosing between the GRE and GMAT exam as your entrance exam. Both tests are widely accepted by business schools, but they have distinct differences in format, content, and requirements. In this blog post, we will explore the factors you should consider when making this decision and help you choose the right test for your b-school journey.
In this blog:
- Overview of the GMAT
- Overview of the GRE
- Comparing GMAT and GRE
- Factors to Consider
- Making the Decision
- Final Thoughts
Overview of the GMAT
The current GMAT is specifically designed for admission into business and management programs, while the GMAT Focus Edition is a shorter version of the GMAT exam, designed to provide candidates with a more streamlined test-taking experience.
The GMAT emphasises critical thinking, data analysis, and problem-solving skills. Business schools often prefer the GMAT because it assesses your ability to excel in the academic rigour of a business curriculum. However, it is important to note that the GMAT is a challenging exam that requires extensive preparation.
The GMAT Focus Edition consists of 64 questions and candidates have 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete the exam. The new GMAT exam now consists of only three sections of 45-minutes each:
- Data Insights (DI)
- Quantitative Reasoning (QR) and
- Verbal Reasoning (VR)
Overview of the GRE
Originally designed for admission into graduate programs across various disciplines, the GRE has gained acceptance in the business school community as an alternative to the GMAT. The GRE consists of three sections:
- Analytical Writing
- Verbal Reasoning
- Quantitative Reasoning
Compared to the GMAT, the GRE places more emphasis on vocabulary and includes more complex maths concepts. One advantage of the GRE is its broader acceptance, as it allows you to apply to a wider range of graduate programs beyond business schools.
Comparing GRE and GMAT Exam
Here is a table that summarises the key differences between the shorter GRE general test and GMAT Focus Edition:
|Test format||3 sections: Data Insights, Quantitative, and Verbal Reasoning||3 sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Research, and Quantitative Reasoning|
|Scoring||205-805 total score, with separate scores for Data Insights, Quantitative, and Verbal||130-170 for both Verbal and Quantitative sections, with a separate score for Analytical Writing (1 task)|
|Test length||2 hours and 15 minutes||1 hour and 58 minutes|
|Number of times per year you can take the test||5||5|
|Validity for graduate school admissions||Widely accepted by business schools||Widely accepted by graduate schools for a variety of programs, including business, law, and engineering|
|Study materials||Available from the test maker and third-party publishers||Available from the test maker and third-party publishers|
Factors to Consider
Here is a more detailed explanation of each factor to consider:
- Target Schools: Research the admission requirements of the business schools you are interested in. Some schools have a strong preference for the GMAT, while others accept both tests. Understanding the preferences of your target schools will help you make an informed decision.
- Strengths and Weaknesses: Assess your strengths and weaknesses in different test sections. The GMAT’s quantitative section is considered more challenging, while the GRE’s verbal reasoning section may be more vocabulary-intensive. Reflect on your skills and determine which test aligns better with your abilities.
- Preparation Resources: Consider the availability of study materials and preparation resources for each test. There are ample resources for the old GMAT and GRE that can be used to prepare for the GMAT Focus Edition as well as the new and enhanced GRE. These include textbooks, practice tests, mock tests and coaching services, specifically tailored for the tests. New test prep resources for the exams are also rolling out.
Making the Decision
After considering the factors mentioned above, you should have a clearer picture of which test is better suited for your business school journey. If you are specifically targeting business schools and have a strong quantitative background, the GMAT may be the better choice. However, if you are considering a broader range of graduate programs or have stronger verbal and analytical skills, the GRE could be a viable option.
Selecting between the GMAT and the GRE is a crucial step in your business school application process. Remember, both tests have their own merits, so choose the one that aligns with your strengths and goals. Ultimately, the key to success lies in thorough preparation and leveraging your strengths to showcase your abilities to the admissions committees. Whichever test you choose, embrace the challenge, dedicate ample time to preparation, and approach the exam with confidence.
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