Life Lessons From A Stanford GSB Grad

More and more students are opting for the Graduate Record Exam over the Graduate Management Admission Test, though some top schools have seen their proportion of GRE test score submitters drop.


You want to attend b-school but you aren’t sure whether you should take the GMAT or GRE.

Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at US News, recently spoke to experts about the key differences between the two exams.


A number of b-schools have changed their application process to allow for the GRE in lieu of the GMAT.

In fact, according to Kaplan Test Prep, among 156 MBA programs surveyed, 93% reported that they now allow the GRE scores to be submitted as an alternative to the more traditional GMAT.

“Since many HBS applicants are also considering graduate programs besides the MBA, there is now no need for them to take the GMAT if they have already taken the GRE,” Deirdre Leopold, Managing Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Harvard Business School, explained in a press release when the school announced it would begin accepting the GRE. “We believe that both the GMAT and the GRE meet our expectations of what a standardized test can tell us about a candidate’s ability to thrive in our MBA Program.”


Experts say that between the two exams, the GMAT tends to have more quantitative-focused questions.

“As a result, students with stronger math skills may want to take the GMAT in order to demonstrate those skills,” Dan Edmonds, a test prep tutor with the New York-based admissions consulting firm IvyWise, tells the US News. “Further, if you plan to apply to a program that values math skills, that program may look more favorably on the GMAT than the GRE.”

On the other hand, the GRE tends to be more language-focused.

“The GRE verbal section is generally more difficult than the GMAT verbal section; that difficulty is in large part driven by the extent to which the GRE tests tough vocabulary,” Edmonds tells US News.


For those with test anxiety, it may be a better option to take the GRE as it allows test-takers to save and return to questions in each section.

“You can skip back and forth on questions on the GRE, which some people just prefer for reducing anxiety,” Erfun Geula, the owner-operator of two test prep companies, GRE Compass and GMAT Compass, tells US News.

Additionally, there’s the process of reporting your scores.

The GRE offers a ScoreSelect option that allows applicants to hand-pick which scores they want to submit.

Bryan Moschel, director of admissions and operations with The Graduate School at Montclair State University in New Jersey, says this feature “can be reassuring for a prospective student who may not test well.”

Sources: US News, HBS

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.