While the GMAT used to be the only standardized exam that business schools accepted, that is no longer the case with candidates now having the option to submit GRE scores to most MBA programs. Both exams are computer adaptive tests that contain a quantitative as well as a verbal section. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of my clients and prospective clients ask which exam they should take.
So, which one should you take? The GMAT or the GRE? I advocate taking the GMAT over the GRE, primarily because the quantitative section on the GMAT is more rigorous than that of the GRE. Having strong analytical and quantitative skills is an extremely important quality that all of the top business schools look for in candidates; MBA programs want to gain comfort that you will be able to handle the curriculum. However, taking the GRE is the right choice in a couple of scenarios, which are laid out below.
Are you applying to a dual degree program?
If you are applying to a dual degree program, then it makes sense to take the GRE since most graduate programs primarily accept just that exam. For example, if you are pursuing an MPA or MPP degree in addition to the MBA, taking the GRE will satisfy the requirements for both programs. This is true for other dual degree programs as well. So, in this case, definitely save yourself some time by studying for just one exam!
Are you struggling with the quantitative section of the GMAT?
Since the quantitative section of the GMAT is more rigorous than that of the GRE, then it is often better for those candidates who are struggling to do well on that part of the GMAT to take the GRE. For candidates in this position, I recommend taking a practice test for both exams to assess which one to ultimately focus on. Getting at least an 80th percentile on the quantitative section of either exam is the score that you should be aiming for.
These are general guidelines that you should consider when trying to decide between the GMAT or the GRE, but remember that each person/case is different; therefore, the decision as to which exam to take should be assessed on an individual/case-by-case basis. If you are still struggling to decide which one to focus on, we can help!
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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.
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