GMAT or GRE? Which Should You Take For An MBA Application?
Posted on
20
Jul 2021

GMAT or GRE? Which Test Should You Take If You Seek An MBA And Why

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Elizabeth Valcheva
Date: 20 July, 2021

If you are planning to advance your career with an MBA and have already started your research, you have probably encountered one of your first dilemmas: GMAT or GRE. While all business schools accept the GMAT, to encourage diversity and give aspiring MBAs more flexibility, more than 1200 business schools worldwide nowadays accept the GRE as well. The key to the dilemma then rests on two important considerations: admissions committee exam preference and personal thinking style.  

Talk to the admissions office

The most important factor to consider is which exam is accepted and preferred by your schools of choice. Once you have identified the business schools you plan to apply to, contact them to find out whether they accept both exams and if so, which one their admissions committees assign more value to. According to a 2016 survey among 224 business schools, 26% of admissions officers report giving advantage to applicants who have submitted a GMAT score, 2% consider GRE applicants with priority, while the vast majority assign equal weight to the two exams. If your school of choice does not express a clear preference, choose the test you are more likely to get a better score at.

Play to your strengths

Is math your forte? Do you impress everyone with your English vocabulary? Each exam uses specific question types to test different cognitive skills, so it is best to identify which question types are naturally easier for you and can therefore help you get a higher score. With its 62-min quantitative section focusing on Data Sufficiency, the GMAT is traditionally considered better suited for math lovers, while the GRE – whose two 35-min quantitative sections feature Quantitative Comparison questions and allow the use of a calculator – is preferred by more versatile thinkers. Meanwhile, the two exams’ respective verbal reasoning sections seem to divide applicants into two other categories: grammar police and vocabulary wizards. The GMAT focuses on Sentence Correction, while the GRE’s Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions require the skilled command of highly sophisticated vocabulary, which may be particularly challenging to non-native English speakers. 

If you are not sure which exam is better aligned with your brain’s wiring, it is worth giving each one a try with a practice test or two. Importantly, when comparing the results, have in mind that MBA admissions committees pay special attention to the quantitative section scores as they are generally considered a key predictor of academic success, given the quantitative focus of the program.

Preparation is key

While determining your brain’s natural predilection for one of the two exams is crucial to your success, it does not in itself guarantee a high score. Whether you choose the GMAT or GRE, being among the top scoring applicants requires rigorous test preparation. To make the best use of your prep time, develop a plan that builds on your strengths to help you achieve even better scores at the sections you are already good at, while also dedicating enough resources to improve your performance at the question types you find more challenging. 

If the solution to your test dilemma is the GMAT, we are here to help you prep for a 700+ score and get into your dream MBA program. Schedule your free consultation call and speak to an instructor today.

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Posted on
01
Sep 2020

GMAT vs GRE

If you’re on the verge of pursuing a professional career in business administration, finance, marketing, marketing management, accounting, law, etc. then taking the GMAT or GRE will be a detour along the way to the top. The type of exam you choose matters. There’s a positive correlation between test scores and future earnings; with higher test scores, you may qualify for a more competitive program, and ultimately, a more lucrative career. This article describes the applications of the GMAT and the GRE in today’s labor market, as well as their similarities and differences, to help you determine which test is right for you. 

1. GMAT vs GRE | Admissions Differences

By far the most important factor to consider is which exam your desired institution accepts and prefers. 

Traditionally, the GMAT is the more common option when it comes to pursuing an MBA or a similar program at a business school. The test is specifically designed to evaluate skills that help MBA admission committees determine not only industry knowledge but also critical traits like risk and time management, problem solving under pressure, and adaptability, all of which are essential for a successful business career.

The GRE’s most distinguishing feature is its suitability for a wider variety of graduate school programs in fields such as business, education, engineering, humanities and arts, life sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. If you’re targeting a non-MBA graduate discipline, pursuing a dual-degree, or you’re still unsure, then taking the GRE may allow you to kill two birds with one stone. It’s also worth noting that about 90% of MBA programs also accept GRE scores. 

To determine which exam will make you the most competitive, ask the institution’s admissions counselors if they prefer the GMAT over the GRE. Despite many business schools’ claims that they don’t have a preference, around 90% of applicants decide to apply with a GMAT score. This discrepancy might be the result of test takers’ desire to show admissions committees that they have a clear understanding of their graduate program goals and career aspirations. If you aren’t sure which type of graduate program you’re interested in, then the GRE might be the better option. However, if you want to make sure you will be as competitive as possible for an MBA program, then pick the GMAT. In both cases, ranking among the top performers requires rigorous test preparation.

2. Do Business Schools Prefer GMAT over GRE?

The answer to this question is not concrete and can vary, based on various aspects. Consider each exam’s structure to determine which you’re more likely to perform well on. GMAT prep will involve more focus on the quantitative section, which is more challenging than the GRE’s. MBA committees agree that an applicant’s performance on the quantitative section is one of the strongest indicators for a successful career. Hence, one of the advantages of taking the GMAT can be the opportunity to show your strong quantitative skills and make your application more competitive. Conversely, the GRE’s sentence equivalence and text completion sections require a skilled command of highly sophisticated vocabulary, which may be particularly challenging to non-native English speakers.

The choice between the GMAT and the GRE may affect long term career earnings beginning at the graduate level. Applicants with strong GMAT scores are more likely to receive MBA scholarships, which are usually not available for GRE applicants. Some companies even finance GMAT tutoring and exam fees for their employees or interns as an investment that will yield long term results. When it comes down to actual labour market opportunities, however, the GMAT has an even stronger influence. Many firms, especially in consulting and finance, explicitly require a high GMAT score upon recruitment. So, your job opportunities after the GMAT can be affected by how well you perform on the test.

3. Lifetime Earnings Difference

Moreover, there is a high correlation between GMAT score and post-MBA salary. Over the course of 12 years working with applicants to the top 10 MBA programs, we at Apex have been able to track their progress from pre-GMAT to their post MBA careers. With data gathered from admission consultants who work with elite programs, as well as financial data from clients who have completed their MBAs, we conducted an internal analysis of the relationship between the exam score and post MBA financial gains. After correcting for other factors, our study suggested that each ten point increment in one’s GMAT score equates to $80,000 – $90,000 (NPV) of extra lifetime earnings.

An investment in GMAT preparation can result in a successful high-paying professional career in the most competitive fields that draw MBA graduates:

  • Finance – Financial Analysts, Financial Advisors, Investment Bankers, Investment Fund Executives
  • Management – Marketing Managers, Business Operation Managers, IS Managers
  • Business Consulting – Management Analysts, Marketing Managers, Business Operations Consultants, Information Technology Directors, Operation Research Analysts and all C-level positions

If you excel at test-taking and exam preparation, your GMAT journey can also lead you to securing a job as a GMAT instructor. The concept of private, one-on-one GMAT prep that Apex’s GMAT tutors offer is built around a customized GMAT curriculum. The goal of this approach is to work with both native and non-native English speakers to build cognitive skills that can be applied in and adapted to diverse working environments, resulting in career success.

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