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GMAT vs. GRE: Which Test Should MBA Aspirants Take?

Introduction

When pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA), one of the most critical decisions you'll face is choosing the standardized test that best reflects your abilities and helps you gain admission to your dream business school. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are the two most popular options for MBA aspirants. In this blog, we will comprehensively compare GMAT and GRE, considering various aspects to help you make an informed decision.


GMAT vs. GRE: Which Test Should MBA Aspirants Take?
Source: Fortune

Graduate Management Admission Test(GMAT):

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), is tailored specifically for individuals seeking admission into business schools. It comprises four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative, and Verbal. The Quantitative and Verbal sections are computer-adaptive, which means the difficulty of the questions adapts to your performance.

You are allowed to take the GMAT up to eight times, with a maximum of five times per rolling 12-month period.


Exam Structure:

The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test that consists of four main sections:


1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA):

  • Time: 30 minutes.

  • Task: You are presented with an argument and are required to analyze it and write a critique.

  • Scoring: Scores range from 0 to 6 in half-point increments.


2. Integrated Reasoning (IR):

  • Time: 30 minutes.

  • Number of Questions: 12

  • Task: This section assesses your ability to analyze and interpret complex data, including graphics, tables, and text.

  • Scoring: Scores range from 1 to 8 in one-point increments.


3. Quantitative:

  • Time: 62 minutes.

  • Number of Questions: Approximately 31.

  • Task: Measures your mathematical and problem-solving skills. Questions cover topics like arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.

  • Scoring: Scaled score, contributing to your total score (out of 800).


4. Verbal:

  • Time: 65 minutes.

  • Number of Questions: Approximately 36.

  • Task: Evaluates your reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction skills.

  • Scoring: Scaled score, contributing to your total score (out of 800).


Graduate Record Examination(GRE):

The GRE, administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), is a more general exam used for various graduate programs, not just business schools. It consists of six sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and an unscored research section (either verbal or quantitative). The GRE does not use computer-adaptive testing for the entire exam.


You are allowed to retake the GRE up to five times within any 12-month period, with a minimum interval of 21 days between each attempt. In case you take the test multiple times, you have the freedom to choose which scores you want to send to the schools where you are applying.


Exam Structure(beginning September 22, 2023):

The GRE is also a computer-based test, but it is not computer-adaptive. It consists of four main sections:


1. Analytical Writing(One section):

  • Time: 30 minutes.

  • Task: You are presented with an argument and are required to analyze it and write a critique.

  • Scoring: Scores range from 0 to 6 in half-point increments.


2. Verbal Reasoning(Two sections):

  • Time: Section 1: 18 minutes

Section 2: 23 minutes

  • Number of Questions: Section 1: 12 questions

Section 2: 15 questions

  • Task: This section assesses your ability to analyze and interpret complex data, including graphics, tables, and text.

  • Scoring: Scores range from 130-170 in one-point increments.


3. Quantitative(Two Sections):

  • Time: Section 1: 21 minutes

Section 2: 26 minutes

  • Number of Questions: Section 1: 12 questions

Section 2: 15 questions

  • Task: Measures your mathematical and problem-solving skills. Questions cover topics like arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.

  • Scoring: Scores range from 130-170 in one-point increments.


4. Unscored Research Section:

  • Time: Varies (not counted in your test duration).

  • Task: An unscored section used for research purposes by ETS (the organization that administers the GRE).

  • It can be either a Verbal or Quantitative section and is not revealed to test-takers.


Let's take a closer look at some key differences between these two exams.

Criteria

GMAT

GRE

Purpose

GMAT is primarily designed for admission to business schools and MBA programs.

GRE is a more general graduate admissions test used for a variety of graduate programs, including MBA programs.

Sections


  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA): Assesses your ability to analyze an argument.

  • Integrated Reasoning (IR): Tests your data analysis and interpretation skills.

  • Quantitative: Measures your mathematical and problem-solving abilities.

  • Verbal: Evaluates your reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction skills.



  • Analytical Writing: Assesses your ability to analyze an issue and an argument.

  • Verbal Reasoning: Measures your vocabulary, reading comprehension, and critical thinking skills.

  • Quantitative Reasoning: Tests your mathematical and problem-solving abilities.

  • Unscored Research Section (either verbal or quantitative): Unscaled and used for ETS research purposes.


Scoring

  • Total Score: Ranges from 200 to 800, based on Quantitative and Verbal sections.

  • AWA Score: Ranges from 0 to 6.

  • IR Score: Ranges from 1 to 8.

  • Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning Scores: Range from 130 to 170, in one-point increments.

  • Analytical Writing Score: Ranges from 0 to 6, in half-point increments.


Test Format

Computer-based, adaptive for Quantitative and Verbal sections.

Computer-based, non-adaptive.

Test Duration

Approximately 3 hours and 7 minutes.

Approximately 1 hour and 58 minutes.

Test Fee

Delivered at a test center:US $275

Delivered online: US $300


US $150

Retake Policy

Five attempts in a rolling 12-month period and 8 attempts in a lifetime.

​Five attempts within any 12-month period, with a minimum interval of 21 days between each attempt.

Score Validity

​GMAT scores are valid for 5 years.

​GRE scores are valid for 5 years.


Conclusion

Choosing between the GMAT and GRE is a crucial decision for MBA aspirants and should not be made lightly. These standardized tests have unique features, structures, and acceptance criteria. It is essential to understand these differences to customize your application to the specific requirements of your preferred business schools. Whether you decide on the GMAT or GRE, remember to align your choice with your strengths, goals, and the preferences of the institutions you are applying to. The business education sector offers a vast array of opportunities, and your test selection is the first step towards securing your future in the field.


We know and understand that the application process can be overwhelming, so we are here for you. The study abroad experts at Hello Study Global are there for you every step of the way. From preparing for entrance exams to college applications, we will guide you to success.

Feel free to reach out to us at Hello Study Global.



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