GMAT vs GRE: How to choose the right test for your study abroad journey

Embarking on a study abroad journey is a significant decision that involves numerous considerations, including choosing the right standardized test. For many students aiming to pursue graduate studies, the GMAT and GRE are two pivotal options. We will explore their relevance for scholarships, international students, study abroad opportunities, and visa requirements in popular destinations like the UK, Australia, and the USA.

Primary Purpose
The GMAT is tailored specifically for admission into graduate management programs, notably MBA courses. It evaluates skills essential for success in business and management, encompassing analytical, quantitative, and verbal reasoning, along with integrated reasoning abilities.


Test Content
The GMAT places a strong emphasis on quantitative skills, featuring separate sections for integrated reasoning and a unique Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). Its verbal section assesses critical reasoning, reading comprehension, and sentence correction skills, all with a business-oriented focus.
On the other hand, the GRE includes sections for Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning, evaluating general quantitative and verbal skills without specific emphasis on business-related content.

Comfort Level with Technology
Both the GMAT and GRE are computer-based tests, so your comfort with technology plays a crucial role. Familiarity with tasks like using on-screen calculators and managing time efficiently is key. Those who are more at ease with computer-based tasks may prefer the GRE, while those comfortable with computer-adaptive testing might opt for the GMAT. Your tech confidence can significantly impact your test experience, so choose accordingly.

Acceptance by Programs

Traditional, the GMAT has been the preferred choice for MBA programs, with many leading business schools either requiring or strongly favouring GMAT scores. However, there’s a growing trend among MBA programs to accept GRE scores as well.

Conversely, the GRE is embraced across a broad spectrum of graduate programs, extending beyond business schools to encompass fields such as science, engineering, arts and humanities, social sciences, and more.

Scoring Scales
GMAT has a  range from 200 to 800, with distinct scores allocated for the Quantitative and Verbal sections, while the Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning sections are graded separately.
GRE has a scoring system ranging from 130 to 170 for both the Verbal and Quantitative sections, with the Analytical Writing segment assessed on a scale from 0 to 6.

Cost of the Test
The GMAT is more expensive than the GRE. The current registration fee for the GMAT is US$275, while the GRE registration fee is US$220. Additional fees for GMAT include US$25 per score report, US$100 for rescheduling, and US$100 for late registration. Additional fees for GRE include US$27 p ..
per score report, US$50 for rescheduling, and US$50 for late registration.

Availability of Test Canters

Consider the availability of test canters when making your choice. The GMAT typically offers a more extensive network of test centres compared to the GRE. This means candidates have a broader range of options and locations to choose from when scheduling their GMAT exams, potentially offering more convenience and flexibility in selecting a suitable testing venue.

Test Duration and Score Validity

GRE

Duration: Approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and an Unscored/Research section.

Scoring: Verbal and Quantitative sections are each scored from 130 to 170, while the Analytical Writing section is scored from 0 to 6.

GMAT

Sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal.

Duration: Approximately 3.5 hours.

Scoring: Total score ranges from 200 to 800, with individual section scores reported separately.

Score Acceptance

Both GRE and GMAT scores are widely accepted by universities and business schools around the world, offering candidates flexibility in their choice of programs and locations. For instance, in the United States, prestigious institutions like Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management accept both GRE and GMAT scores for their MBA programs.

GMAT vs. GRE: Which One Should You Choose?

Consider Your Graduate Program

  • MBA Programs: If you are specifically targeting MBA programs, the GMAT is generally preferred. Many business schools accept both tests, but some may give more weight to the GMAT.
  • Other Graduate Programs: For non-business graduate programs, the GRE is typically the better choice as it is accepted by a wider range of programs.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

GMAT and GRE Scores for Scholarships

  • Merit-Based Scholarships: High GMAT or GRE scores can significantly enhance your eligibility for merit-based scholarships. Many institutions and organizations offer scholarships specifically for high scorers.
  • Country-Specific Scholarships: Explore scholarships available for international students in your target study abroad destination, such as Fulbright Scholarships in the USA, Chevening Scholarships in the UK, and Australia Awards in Australia.

Impact on Visa Applications

Visa Requirements

  • USA: While the US student visa process (F-1 visa) does not require GMAT or GRE scores, having a strong score can bolster your application, showcasing your commitment and academic preparedness.
  • UK: Similarly, the UK student visa (Tier 4) does not mandate GMAT or GRE scores, but high scores can enhance your profile for competitive programs.
  • Australia: For the Australian student visa (Subclass 500), GMAT or GRE scores are not required, but they can support your overall application, particularly for prestigious universities.

GMAT vs. GRE in Popular Study Abroad Destinations

United States

  • Business Schools: Top business schools like Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton often prefer the GMAT for MBA programs. However, many also accept the GRE.
  • Other Graduate Programs: The GRE is widely accepted across various disciplines, making it a versatile choice for students targeting a range of programs.

United Kingdom

  • Business Schools: Institutions like London Business School and Oxford Said Business School typically accept both GMAT and GRE scores.
  • General Graduate Programs: The GRE is accepted for a broad spectrum of programs, including humanities, sciences, and social sciences.

Australia

  • Business Schools: Leading business schools such as Melbourne Business School and Australian Graduate School of Management accept both GMAT and GRE scores.
  • General Graduate Programs: The GRE is commonly accepted for non-business programs, providing flexibility for students.


Embarking on a study abroad journey is an exciting and transformative experience. By carefully considering whether the GMAT or GRE is right for you, you can take a significant step towards achieving your educational and career aspirations.

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