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

If you are aspiring to pursue graduate studies abroad, the choice between the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination) can be a pivotal decision. Both tests have their unique characteristics and are widely accepted by universities and business schools worldwide.

When deciding between the GRE and GMAT, it’s essential to consider your academic and career goals, as well as the specific requirements of the programs to which you plan to apply.

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.
In contrast, the GRE serves as a more general graduate admissions test, spanning various fields of study, including business, science, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities. It opens doors to a wide array of graduate programs, not limited to MBA courses.

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. Both tests offer fee reduction programs for eligible individuals.

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
The GRE is a lengthier test compared to the GMAT. The GRE offers two formats: the computer-based version takes approximately 3.75 hours, while the paper-based GRE lasts about 3.5 hours.

The GMAT generally takes 3.5 hours.

In terms of score validity, both the GRE and GMAT scores are valid for five years, meaning candidates can use their scores for admissions applications during this time frame.

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.

Similarly, in Europe, universities such as INSEAD in France and the London Business School in the United Kingdom also welcome both GRE and GMAT scores for admissions. This flexibility extends to other fields of study as well, with graduate programs in various disciplines, including engineering, social sciences, and the arts, accepting these scores. It’s essential for applicants to check the specific score requirements and policies of the institutions and programs they are interested in, as some may have preferences for one test over the other or specific score thresholds.

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