GMAT vs. GRE: Which Exam Should You Take?

GMAT vs. GRE: Which Exam Should You Take?

Roughly 90% of B-schools in the US now accept both GMAT and GRE scores.

While B-schools will take either exam for admission, the two exams differ entirely – from what they test to how questions are phrased. Stacy Blackman, of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently wrote about the key differences between the two exams and how B-schools view scores.


One of the biggest differences between the GRE and the GMAT is the style that each exam focuses on.

“The style expected from GRE test readers is more abstract and draws from various sources and disciplines for examples or references, whereas the GMAT is more concrete and analytical,” Blackman writes. “This supports the suitability of the GRE for the more academically-minded student.”

Due to their differing styles, the GRE and the GMAT focus on different material, with the GRE featuring more language testing and the GMAT having a strong focus on quantitative 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 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.”


In recent years, B-schools such as MIT have dropped their testing requirement. But, experts say, “test-optional” isn’t applicable to every applicant – especially if other aspects of your application aren’t as strong.

“Not submitting a standardized test score is only beneficial if all other measures work well, especially the grades,” Blackman writes. “So if you had stellar grades undergrad, AdCom would probably be ok evaluating you without a test.”

In general, B-schools will compare an applicant’s GRE score in relation to the GMAT using a converter tool.

“When in doubt, we will usually recommend submitting the score that is the highest, especially if the differential between the GRE and GMAT score is significant and if there’s enough quantitative exposure through college and career,” Blackman writes.

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, US News, P&Q, PrepScholar

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