What Should I Take GMAT or GRE?

Written by Shreya Berry

Her foray into blogging was not planned; it was accidental. Shreya has expertise in writing engaging content for the readers and has a deep interest in unique applications of technology in various domains.

October 21, 2020

For MBA admission, should you take the GMAT or GRE? Although the GMAT is explicitly designed for applicants from business schools, the GRE is an examination that can grant students admission to graduate programs in almost all subjects, including the MBA.

The GMAT has, historically, taken precedence over the GRE. A good number of international business schools will, however, consider both assessments these days. 

Here’s a look at each exam’s meaning and some of its fundamental differences.

What is GMAT?

A fundamental part of the business school application process is the Graduate Management Acceptance Examination or GMAT. The GMAT is a structured multiple-choice, computer-based, and computer-adaptive exam that is often required globally for admission to graduate business programs (MBA).

The GMAT is developed and administered by the GMAC test maker to provide business schools with standard preparation measures for graduate-level academic work by applicants. To test your preparation for the rigors of an MBA program, business school admission committees look at your GMAT ranking, along with work experience, academic record, and supporting materials.

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, is an essential phase in the application process for graduate school or business school. The GRE is a computer-based, structured, multiple-choice exam that is often required globally for admission to graduate programs and graduate business programs (MBA).

To equip graduate and business schools with standard measures to compare applicant qualifications and preparedness for graduate academic work, the GRE is developed and administered by test maker ETS. To test your preparation for graduate academic research rigors, graduate school and business school admissions committees look at your GRE ranking, along with your academic record and supporting materials.

Difference Between GMAT and GRE

With ‘management’ being part of its acronym, if MBA admissions and associated business master programs are the primary objectives, you might expect the GMAT to hold some control over its GRE counterpart. The test focuses more strongly on quantitative and analytical abilities, such as analyzing data displayed in the text, charts, and tables to solve complex problems. Therefore, assignments are customized to test abilities seen as unique to business managers.

As a more flexible test, the GRE has less of a math emphasis and contains a calculator for its quantitative issues. However, the verbal segment will be more difficult for those for whom English is not their first language than the GMAT’s, as it emphasizes vocabulary rather than grammar.

The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, meaning that the questions you correctly or incorrectly answer decide the level of difficulty of the following questions. Students can’t go back and study their previous responses during the GMAT. Meanwhile, the GRE is not a computer-adaptive test and enables learners to review their previous responses.

Top Schools Take a Holistic Way to the MBA Admissions Process.

Most business schools chose to consider GRE scores as an alternative to the GMAT to increase their applicant pool and bring in students with backgrounds beyond the ‘traditional’ standard-those with banking, accounting, economics, etc. In all its aspects, diversity matters and is therefore promoted positively at the top business schools.

‘Holistic’ is a term widely used by institutions to describe their approach to evaluating MBA applications, and one that often appears in our Q&A series of MBA Admissions. Therefore, the GMAT and the GRE are only one component of the assessment process-academic context, personality, experience, and the effort you are putting in the application process are all equally significant.


The GRE is recognized worldwide by 1200 + Business Schools. Its Unique Quantitative Query focuses on quantitative comparisons, while the GRE’s Unique Verbal Questions look at Sentence Equivalence & Text Completion. For innovative/versatile thinkers, this test is easier.

Both business schools embrace the GMAT. Data Sufficiency focuses on its Unique Quantitative Query, while the Unique Verbal Questions of the GMAT look at Sentence Correction & Critical Reasoning. For number-crunching thinkers, this test is easier.

GMAT vs. GRE Scores for MBA Programs

Trends in admissions show that business schools are searching for candidates with more than just a business background, which means the GMAT is no longer the only test in the game. Since the GMAT and the GRE are entirely different exams, comparing apples to oranges to compare scores on the two is like weighing apples to oranges. Both ETS (the people who administer the GRE) and GMAC (the people who administer the GMAT) use comparison tools to bring student scores into context. Still, the ETS comparison tool is used by many MBA programs as a benchmark. You should study your chosen schools and see what score ranges they need for admission to get the most out of your score and your application.

Which One is Easier?

The GMAT typically matches those with suitable quantitative and analytical abilities who also excel in analyzing data presented in maps, graphs, and text to solve complex problems. The GRE math section appears to be simpler and contains a calculator for all quantitative concerns, unlike the GMAT. Strong editors may gravitate to the GMAT’s verbal portion, while test-takers may prefer GRE with a strong vocabulary. Both assessments have their “oddball” query forms, which will take some training to get used to, quantitative contrast on the GRE and data sufficiency on the GMAT.

Which One to Choose?

First of all, the answer to choose the GMAT or GRE for MBA admission is to decide which of your chosen schools requires which examination. If you think a school would approve both but would prefer to find out about one test over the other, email, phone, or talk online.

Playing to your strengths is a consideration as well. If your ideal school confirms that it equally values both assessments, choose the one you think you’re going to do better in. 

With a practice test for each examination, the best way to decide if the GMAT or GRE is better suited to your expertise is to get your feet wet. It’s competitive to get into business school, and you don’t want to take an unseen real GRE or GMAT sight.

No matter which exam you plan to take, if you want to get a score that admissions officers can’t forget, you will need to prepare.

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