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Should You Take the GRE or GMAT?

The GRE has grown in popularity in recent years.

In fact, according to a survey by Kaplan Test Prep in 2016, roughly 92% of 224 US b-schools accepted the GRE score for admissions. In 2009, only 24% did the same.

While the flexibility in testing is a benefit for applicants, many may be wondering which exam they should take and how each exam differs.

The admissions team at The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business recently broke down the differences between the GMAT and the GRE and which exam applicants should take considering their goals.


At Booth, there is not specific preference for either the GMAT or the GRE.

However, Booth admissions advises applicants to consider their plans to help determine which test might make sense to take.

“If you are looking to apply to joint degree programs where the non-MBA degree requires a GRE score, narrowing your focus to the GRE may help you focus your preparation and attention on a single test that would meet the degree requirements for each program,” according to Booth admissions.

Applicants should also consider what industry they intend to be in post-MBA.

“Though the recruiting process is continually evolving, there are companies within certain industries (investment banking for example) that will ask for your GMAT score as part of the recruitment process,” according to Booth admissions. “Doing some research into this ahead of time can ensure that you choose the test that best represents you to future employers.”


Regardless if you decide to take the GRE or GMAT, experts recommend taking your chosen test at least three to six months prior to applying for b-school.

“Knowing that scores are valid for five years does afford you some flexibility,” according to Booth admissions. “If you are an undergraduate student, you may consider taking the test before graduating as you are more recently exposed to relevant subject matter. Whenever you choose to take the test, give yourself enough time to achieve a score you’re happy with and that will make for a strong application.”


While test scores are important, experts stress that they are just one aspect of the holistic admissions process.

“Be sure to place an equal emphasis on the rest of your application and present the strongest version of yourself across your essay responses, expression of long and short term goals, by selecting recommenders who will best speak to your strengths, and adequately representing your employment history and extracurricular involvement,” according to Booth admissions. “Working to thoughtfully develop these aspects of your application can also have a significant impact on the overall strength of your profile.”

Sources: Chicago Booth, Accepted


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