GMAT or GRE for Business School?

by on August 8th, 2015

mbaYou know you’re going to get an MBA. The question is, what route will you take? More specifically, you may be wondering which test to take—GMAT or GRE?

Deciding between GMAT or GRE for business school

Of course, the ultimate determiner is whether the MBA programs to which you’re applying accept both tests or indicate a preference for one.

The GMAT and GRE are, in many ways, nearly identical:

  • Both involve early-high-school-level math.
  • Both rely heavily on reading comprehension.
  • Both require essay-writing at the beginning of the test.

But there are notable differences between the two



  • Accepted by all business schools.
  • Unique Quantitative QuestionData Sufficiency.
  • Unique Verbal Questions—Sentence Correction & Critical Reasoning.
  • Better for ”number-crunching” thinkers.

Which test is right for you?

MBA programs can read your transcripts, résumé, and application essays to find out about your academic history, work experience, and business-school trajectory/story. What they don’t know is, “Will [insert your name here] work smarter—not just harder—while under the stress of going to business school?”

MBA programs want you to thrive and graduate with their MBA advertised to the world. The GRE and GMAT both measure how readily you apply critical thinking to the kind of problem solving demanded by business school. So, when choosing settling on the GMAT or GRE, don’t fret about which test is easier or harder. Instead, ask, “Which test is right for me?”

GMAT for more quantitative business leaders

The GMAT tests critical thinking specifically geared towards business leaders. For instance, the dreaded Data Sufficiency question-type involves a math question with which business thinkers are regularly confronted: “Is it enough?”

In this problem, you’re asked whether one, both, combined, or neither statement(s) deliver enough information to answer the question, “Is x a positive number?”

Every day, business leaders are offered new initiatives, product launches, expansions, etc. for which they must ask variations on “Is it enough?”

  • “Does our organization have the resources and cash flow to do this?”
  • “Will our market(s) sustain this?”
  • “Are we positioned to take advantage of this opportunity?”

Data Sufficiency alone might be enough (excuse the pun) to tell you whether the GMAT is for you. Are you a number cruncher? Are you adept at reading spreadsheets, people, and systems, and rendering the information needed to execute an initiative? Such aptitudes are indicative of test takers who thrive at accounting, finance, economics, logistics, and organizational management.

GRE for flexibility and creativity

Although the GRE offers its share of number-crunching math, it does so with an emphasis more amenable to those whose routes to business school slant towards communications, marketing, entrepreneurship, and the liberal arts. Take, for example, one math question-type unique to the GRE: the Quantitative Comparison. See the problem here.

The answer choices are always the same:

(A) = Column A is greater.

(B) = Column B is greater.

(C) = The Columns are equal.

(D) = Unable to determine from the information provided.

Here, the goal is not so much to calculate as it is to compare the values. The GRE rewards flexibility and creativity under stress: i.e., how well can you manipulate one or both columns to render them more easily comparable? Such intuitive skills are indicative of Steve-Jobs-like business leaders who have to inventively take the raw materials of an opportunity and turn it into gold for their organizations.

Try a GMAT or GRE practice test

The best way to determine whether the GMAT or GRE is right for you is to take them for a test drive. Get to work on our free GMAT practice test, then try our free GRE practice test. Which test feels more intuitive to you? By taking a practice version of each—no matter which is your route to an MBA—you’ll be taking the first step towards a earning a dominating score.

Looking to get more advice on building your business school application strategy? Check out our free live online MBA Admissions Seminar.

The post GMAT or GRE for Business School? appeared first on Business School Insider.

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