All Magnificent 7 (M7), Super 7 (S7) and European 7(E7) MBAs accept either the GMAT or the GRE for admissions applications. As a result, more and more of you are asking us which exam you should take. The answer is fairly straightforward:

Take the GMAT if you exclusively plan to apply to MBA programs

Designed as a business school admission test, GMAT has an established track record with business school admission committees. For this reason, GMAT may be the safer choice for risk-adverse MBA applicants. Around 90% of MBA applicants worldwide will submit a GMAT score. Every year, we help between 80 to 90 applicants secure offer at top MBA programs. Over the last 3 years, less than 10 applicants submitted a GRE score. In other words, we suggest that you only consider the GRE if you are considering applying to additional Specialised Master’s Degrees and/or Joint Degrees that will require you to submit a GRE score (e.g. JD/MBA).

It is generally (and wrongly) conceived that the GMAT suits those who have strong quantitative and analytical skills, who also excel at interpreting data presented in charts, tables, and text to solve complex problems. It is true that the GRE Math section tends to be easier and, unlike the GMAT, includes a calculator for all quantitative problems. However, the difficulty of the GRE Verbal section (in comparison to the GMAT one) makes the GRE a deceptive option in many occurrences. Every year we help hundreds of students preparing for both the GMAT and the GRE and we realised that the GMAT preparation time is, in average, 1 to 2 months shorter than the GRE one.

GMAT & GRE Overview

Adaptiveness

Both tests are online and adaptive. However, the GMAT is adaptive within a single section – correct answers lead to harder questions. The test taker is therefore not permitted to omit a challenging question and return to that question later.

The GRE, by contrast, is section-level adaptive. This means the computer selects the second operational section of a measure based on your performance on the first section. Within each section, all questions contribute equally to the final score. Within each section, the test taker is free to return to an omitted question at any time within the 30 minutes allotted for that section.

Test Structure

 GMATGRE
Analytical Writing Ability1 Essay - 30 min2 Essays - 60 min
Integrated Reasoning12 Questions - 30 min
Quantitative Reasoning1 Section - 31 Questions - 62 min2 Sections - 40 Questions - 70 min
Verbal Reasoning1 Section - 36 Questions - 65 min2 Sections - 40 Questions - 60 min
Experimental35 min - Quantitative or Verbal
Total Duration3 hours 7 minutes3 hours 45 minutes
Analytical Writing Ability0 - 60 - 6
Integrated Reasoning1 - 8
Quantitative Reasoning Scoring0 - 60 (scaled score)130 - 170
Verbal Reasoning Scoring1 - 60 (scaled score)130 - 170
Total Scoring200 - 800 (10-point increment)260-340 (1-point increment)
What's a good score?720+329+
CostUS$250US$205
When
Given year-roundGiven year-round
WhereOnline or in a secured test centreOnline or in a secured test centre
Test Takers Per Year530,000+250,000+

Verbal Section

The GMAT emphasises on Grammar; you must learn to “speak” grammar and know your clauses and commas. On the other hand, the GRE emphasises on Vocabulary and you must learn words rather than just definitions.

The GMAT consists of 3 question types: Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction and Reading Comprehension. You can only pick one answer. The GRE consists of 3 question types: Sentence Equivalence, Reading Comprehension (with a Critical Reasoning component), and Text Completion. Depending on the questions, you must choose all answers that apply, a sentence in the passage or pick one answer.

Quantitative Section

Both tests will assess similar mathematical concepts (arithmetic, algebra, geometry, data analysis, word problems). The GMAT consists of 2 question types: Problem Solving (your typical MCQ math problem) and Data Sufficiency (something you’ve never seen before). The GRE consists of 4 question types: Comparison, Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer, Numeric Entry. You can use a calculator on the GRE whereas it is forbidden on the GMAT (in other words, force yourself to do basic arithmetic in your head regularly). 

Ultimately, the GRE and GMAT have more in common than they have differences. To succeed at either, you’ll need mastery of essential math (algebra, arithmetic, geometry, data analysis), as well as reading and critical reasoning skills and efficient test-taking strategies.

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Jonathan Deforge

Jonathan Deforge

Jonathan has 8 years of work experience in Education Management. Since 2013, Jonathan has helped applicants get into top 15 MBA programs and has an immaculate track record with INSEAD (both full-time MBA and EMBA programs). His applicants received offers from the Magnificent 7 (HBS, Stanford, MIT, Kellogg, Booth, Columbia, Wharton) and from other leading business schools such as INSEAD, LBS, NYU Stern, Yale, Tepper or UCLA.

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