Wednesday, September 5, 2012

GMAT Vs GRE - Which One Should You Take?

Recently, some business schools have decided to accept either the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) or the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score as a part of an MBA applicant's application.

Historically, the GMAT is taken by students applying to business school, while those who want to pursue a non-business graduate degree take the GRE.

While the GMAT is still the most widely accepted standardized test for aspiring b-school students, a few business school programs have chosen to start accepting the GRE score as a means to widen their applicant pool by encouraging increased applications from those with various educational and experience backgrounds, and those who have difficulty getting to a GMAT test facility.

Here are some other interesting facts about why business schools are starting to accept the GRE:

-Price: The GRE is less expensive than the GMAT. The GRE costs $140 to take, while the GMAT costs $250). The higher GMAT test fee could limit the amount of students who apply for business school programs, especially when you consider the cost of multiple re-takes and separate preparation programs/books

-Streamlining Applications: The GRE is taken by students applying to diverse graduate programs, which means students won't have to study, pay, and take another standardized test in order to apply for business school.

-Testing Centers: The GRE is given in more locations around the world than the GMAT. Schools are always looks for more diverse candidates, and accepting the GRE could lead to more applicants from around the world who might not have the finances or time to be able to travel to a GMAT testing center.

Although the GRE and the GMAT are somewhat similar, the differences between the two exams are most apparent in an analysis of their scoring, average scores, and verbal and quantitative sections.

-Total Score:

o GRE - Like the SAT, the GRE consists of verbal and quantitative sections, which each can earn you between 200-800 points. The writing section can garner you anywhere from a 0-6. For admittance, most universities don't consider the writing GRE score as much as the verbal and quantitative scores. Keep in mind that GRE scores are taken into consideration along with your undergraduate GPA, admissions interview, extracurricular activities, etc. The average GRE score across the board is 1050, while the average GRE score for a Harvard student is 1330.

o GMAT - The GMAT is scored from 200 - 800 and has verbal and quantitative sessions, while the writing section is scored separately, with scores ranging from 0 and 6. The average GMAT score is around a 500, while top-ten business school students average a 720.

-Writing Section: Both the GRE's and GMAT test writing sections are similar, consisting of two essay questions, one asking you to analyze an argument and the other asking you to analyze an issue.

-Verbal Section: the verbal section of the GRE consists of analogies, antonyms, sentence completion, and reading comprehensions passages. And unlike the GMAT, the GRE tests vocabulary knowledge out of context. The GRE is typically considered to have a harder verbal section than the GMAT. The GMAT's verbal section consists of reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction questions. Both tests are administered in English. If you are a non-native English speaker, I recommend taking the GMAT as its verbal section is easier to prepare for.

-Quantitative Section: The Quantitative section of the GRE is largely recognized as less challenging than the quantitative section of the GMAT. Unlike the GMAT Math section, the GRE currently does not have a Data Sufficiency section and overall, requires a lower level of math proficiency. However, the makers of the GRE, the ETS (Educational Testing Service), announced that it is adding more data interpretation questions to its test and increasing the overall difficulty level of the GRE.

In general, top business schools are looking for fairly high percentile scores on the GRE and GMAT, especially on the Quantitative Section. Some schools require at least a 50th percentile score on the quantitative section of either test to be admitted to their program.

When making a decision about whether to take the GMAT or the GRE, you should consider whether the schools you apply to accept the GRE in place of the GMAT. If they do, then look at your academic strength and weaknesses. In general, if you have excellent quantitative skills, look more into the GMAT. If you have outstanding writing and verbal skills with less stellar quantitative skills, consider taking the GRE. Remember, both tests are difficult and will require a significant amount of studying, no matter which test you choose. Make sure you prepare with a great GMAT Prep or GRE Prep program.

About Lee Burrell: Lee is a Professional GMAT Tutor with The Gmat Coach, which offers students expert advice and test prep help as they navigate their graduate school application process. Specializing in Home-Study Courses, The Gmat Coach offers top quality GMAT Preparation and GRE Preparation at extremely affordable prices, with average student score increases of over 80 points. To get FREE Gmat Prep resources, please visit their website.


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