It is an interesting fact that increasingly more and more MBA programs are using GRE General Test scores when deciding on admissions. So far over 800 MBA programs are doing so and this is a good thing as it gives you another possible option when applying.

The reality is however that MBA programs usually still prefer the traditional GMAT over the GRE according to surveys of admissions committees.

Why business schools are accepting the GRE?

The trend in admissions indicates that a growing number of undergrad students are showing an interest in pursuing an advanced business degree. Business schools are seeking diversity among applicants and so want people with backgrounds other than in business. A younger set of people tend to take the GRE compared to the GMAT. This may in part be due to the lower cost for taking the GRE test. Often undergrads may take the test after completing their initial degrees so that they have the option of continuing in a master’s program while they think over what they want to do after graduating. GRE test scores are valid for up to five years so people can get a couple years of work experience before applying to an MBA program.

What should MBA applicant do?

In order to figure out whether the GMAT or the GRE is better for you, you should consider the following. First of all, do the schools you are targeting even accept the GRE? Next, try some practice exams and decide which test you better at.

How do the business schools feel about these two tests?

GMAT’s are still the preferred choice among MBA programs. The intent behind using the GRE as well is that schools do not want to miss a good candidate coming from somewhere where a student doesn’t have access to a GMAT test center. But if you are from somewhere where GMAT tests are readily accessible then the GRE is simply seen as a less appropriate test.

Many schools for example do not even accept the GRE since the GMAT is a tried and true choice whereas the GRE has had a problematic past and has had to undergo redesigns.

So while admissions committees might not acknowledge this publicly, many counselors suspect that the GMAT has more clout.

So basically the GMAT is taken more seriously among business programs.

Which test is easier?

It is hard to say that one exam is harder than the other since the tests are so different from each other. Besides even if one was easier then business schools would factor that into their decisions.

While the content covered is similar, the tests are significant differences between the exams. For example, the GRE does not have any data sufficiency questions (questions that ask if a statement has enough information to solve the problem). These type of questions are an important part of the GMAT.

The verbal section of the GRE is focused more on vocabulary. The GMAT verbal puts more emphasis on grammar, logic and reasoning skills. While both the GRE and GMAT are designed for native English speakers, the GRE favors those who have a good understanding of English. As a result non-native English speakers often find the GMAT verbal section easier.

In summary:

If the GMAT is available to you then you probably should take that. The GMAT is designed specifically with business programs in mind while the GRE is not. Admissions officers may use the GRE score in place of a GMAT score but they will likely not trust it as much. It is risky to submit a GRE score if they know you could have easily done the GMAT but didn’t simply because you don’t belong to the right demographic population. This might jeopardize your chances since you are seen as trying to get round the GMAT. Also non-native speakers will need a better knowledge of vocabulary, writing skills and general subjects for the GRE compared to the GMAT. Non-fluent English speakers will thus likely be better off doing the GMAT.


, Ian Gani ,