Competition between the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) and the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is hotter than ever, but how can you determine which test you should take?
The GMAT, long considered the gold standard for the specific academic skills needed in graduate business school, is more expensive and offered in fewer locations worldwide. Prospective grad students of the arts and sciences have typically submitted GRE scores, and ETS creator and administrator of the GRE exam, believes applicants deciding between business school and other graduate programs will appreciate having one less test to study-and pay-for.
Many elite schools say they hope to diversify their applicant pool by accepting the GRE as an alternative in the admissions process. Another favorable aspect for business schools: it creates a more competitive enrollment rate; the number of available spots stays the same but the volume of applications goes up.
Dan Gonzales, managing director of Manhattan GRE, tells M.B.A. Podcaster that in terms of content, the GRE verbal is much more focused on vocabulary and vocabulary recall whereas the GMAT is more focused on grammar, logic, and reasoning skills. However, your background in math may play a bigger role in your decision of which test to take. Math in the GRE is more focused on quick number sense, Gonzales says, while the GMAT is all about the classic word problem and having a systematic approach for solving this type of problem.
ETS confirms that the revised test still requires basic math skills such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis; however, it will focus more on questions involving data interpretation and real-life scenarios. It’s worth noting that both exams were designed for native English speakers, so foreign applicants might find the GMAT’s verbal component easier than the GRE-particularly where vocabulary and writing skills are concerned. In general, top business schools will be looking for fairly high percentile scores on the GRE, especially on the quantitative section.