GMAT or GRE- which Test for admissions to MS, MBA or PhD courses

A dilemma which many students may face is to ascertain the trade-off between the GRE or GMAT exams to gain admissions to top colleges and universities worldwide.GMAT vs. GRE image

Often you will find students contemplating over whether to take the GRE or GMAT when they want to apply to universities abroad. Oh, and you may be among them 😉 So what is the ideal choice between the two, and how do you make it?

Lets present here a much debated discussion of the GRE vs GMAT exams:

Who should take the exam: GMAT vs. GRE?

Well, the common advice is that those who are more centered towards MBA programs should go for the traditional GMAT as B-schools tend to value the GMAT more than the GRE, though they never state that explicitly. Though now a growing number of B-schools tend to be moving towards the trend of accepting GRE scores, yet the GMAT still holds its value in essence!

On the other hand, GRE is advisable to those who are applying to both MBA and graduate school programs; the GRE is an easier test, both in structure and content.

GMAT vs. GRE format

What are the advantages of taking the GMAT or GRE?

GMAT should ideally be the first choice of those who are serious about getting an MBA; it gives the B-school you apply to an indication of how serious you are for your MBA! GRE, like I said above, is more suited for the students who want to keep options open and are applying to both MBA and grad. school programs.

Who should take the GMAT vs. GRE?

Those who are serious about getting into a B-school should aim for the GMAT; the GRE is for the more laid back student applying to both B-schools and grad. schools.

GRE might also work better for students from a non-quant background (more on this below)

Also, if your target school explicitly favors one exam over the other or does not recognize a particular exam, the choice for you becomes pretty clear.

The best way to determine whether the GMAT or GRE is better suited to your abilities is to get your feet wet with a practice test for each exam. Getting into a top business school is competitive and you don’t want to take an actual GRE or GMAT sight unseen. NOTE: Studycopter offers FREE full-length tests for the GMAT and our GRE course would be available very soon!


Your GMAT scores can also be of great help in landing a great job after your graduate level course. Experts opine that generally, investment bankers and recruiters will look at your GMAT scores; they don’t tend to take GRE scores seriously, for the simple reason that the GRE is at an easier level than the GMAT. A GMAT student is likely to spend way longer preparing than a GRE student. GMAT prep requires hundreds of hours devoted to preparing, specially the quant section, unless you are from a math background. GMAT, they say, serves as the “gold standard”.

GRE, on the other hand, is the easier test to give; it also it has an easier grading curve. While getting into the best percentile of the GMAT (say, the 99th percentile) may be close to impossible, getting the max. scores on the GRE is not a difficult nut to crack.

Tough nut to crack!

In the GRE, the grammar section is the tough nut to crack, what with the GRE’s ~4000 words’ vocab that is to be learnt religiously. Two writing sections also mean that there is great emphasis on writing.

In the GMAT, the verbal section can be challenging for the mathematically inclined. On the other hand, the quant section can be a drawback for students with a non-math background as many test-takers with a background in mathematics may be able to get a near perfect score in this section and thus use this strength to get an overall higher score!

Fact is, GMAT favours the determined student.

GRE or GMAT: Cost

You may also want to contemplate the two in terms of cost effectiveness. While the GMAT costs $250, the GRE costs only $150; both are valid for a term of 5 years.

ETS offers a comparison tool that allows you to compare your GRE score with what you might get on the GMAT exam. The tool is available here

The differences will lie in your choice. In summary, those who have outstanding quant skills should go for the GMAT; those with outstanding verbal skills should go for the GRE.

According to your own preference, you may pick on which side of the debate you may wish to favour! Ultimately, your stand of the GMAT vs. GRE debate will be shaped by your own preference of MBA programs or the graduate school programs.

Make a well-informed decision so you may not have to look back and regret!

Happy studying 😉

Interested in the GMAT?

  • The Integrated Reasoning (IR) Section is the newest section on the GMAT. Did you know that we have a free IR guide for you here (this is in addition to the FREE IR study material and practice tests that Studycopter offers)

Comment Here

Leave a Reply