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What Test Should You Take To Apply for An MBA: GMAT or GRE?

What Test Should You Take To Apply for An MBA: GMAT or GRE?

Choosing a specific MBA program can take some soul searching as you consider which program will best position you to accomplish your career goals, but making a choice on this front is just the start.

This is so because you also need to mull over whether to pursue a GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or a GRE (Graduate Record Examination) before applying for an MBA program. While some business schools prefer one or the other, the majority of them will accept both. This means that you need to know a thing or two about both tests to determine which one you should take as part of the admission process for an MBA program.

Here are some tips on how to decide between taking the GMAT or GRE:

Check first

Don’t assume that the educational institution you’re focusing on accepts both the GMAT and the GRE. Check and determine whether or not there is a preference. If the university prefers one over the other, than you can focus on studying to take the required test.

The two tests: GMAT & GRE


Admissions officials at institutions offering MBA programs rely on the GMAT exam to help them determine whether or not to accept you into their programs. The three-and-a-half hour exam includes analytical writing assessment, verbal, quantitative, and integrated reasoning sections.


While the GMAT is the most popular standardized test used by admissions officials, the GRE test is a good alternative. The questions on the three-hour-and-forty-five-minute test reflect the sort of thinking that you will be required to do in business school. Sections on the GRE include verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.

How to Choose

In the event that the business graduate school you’re interested in will accept either of the tests, then it makes sense to consider which one plays to your strengths.

The following are some things to consider before making a selection:

mba gmatAre you comfortable with charts?:

With the GMAT exam, you’ll have to be good at reading charts to score well in the integrated reasoning section. This section will require that you look at information in tables and charts in order to resolve complex multi-step problems. Integrated reasoning questions are not part of the GRE test, however, so if you don’t really feel all that comfortable dealing with tables and charts, then consider going with the GRE test instead.

Are you comfortable with mathematics?

The same basic mathematics skills required to do the GMAT are the same basic mathematics skills required to do the GRE. That said, the math questions on the GRE test tend to be easier than they are on the GMAT. The reason for this is that the GRE is a standardized exam covering numerous disciplines, so the math questions are more approachable. Meanwhile, math questions of the GMAT exam are a tad more difficult since quantitative abilities are a must for business. Whichever test you choose, you can brush up on your math skills by making use of the many online preparation courses available.

Are your English skills up to par?:

If you are confident in your English skill–in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and logic–then you’ll do fine with either the GMAT or the GRE. That said, you should go with the GRE if your vocabulary is good but your grammar is only so-so, and you should stick with the GMAT if English is not your native tongue.

Whether you take the GMAT or the GRE largely depends on factors that include, among other things, your comfort with charts, math, and English. With the right preparation and study, you can do well at either test. But you can make things easier by choosing the one that’s more up your alley.

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