GMAT vs GRE
What are the tests and what are the components of each?
The GMAT or Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized and computerized test used in the selection criteria of more than 1500 institutions of higher learning located in many different countries. The GMAT is divided into four parts – quantitative, verbal, integrated reasoning, and an analytical writing section.
The GRE or Graduate Record Examination is used as in admission selection criteria for many graduate schools in the United States and in other English-speaking countries or where English is used as the teaching language. The GRE is divided into six sections – an analytical writing section, two verbal sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or research section.
HOW DO SCHOOLS USE THEM AS ENTRANCE CRITERIA?
Many business schools use the GMAT as selection criteria into their MBA, Master of Accountancy, and Master of Finance programs. How each institution uses the GRE varies widely and there is even variation among departments within the same institution. For example, if one is applying to the liberal arts school in a university, the verbal components of the test might only be considered or carry much more weight. Some schools only use the GRE as a formality for admission requirements.
SO WHICH TEST SHOULD I TAKE, THE GMAT OR THE GRE?
The answer varies on a case by case basis. First of all, you should check the admission requirements at the schools to which you are applying. If they require or prefer one test over the other then your decision is made. Most business schools prefer or require the GMAT, but many will accept the GRE as well. If you are going the liberal arts route then the GRE is probably required.
If you do have a choice, it might be a bit easier to score well on the GRE, but a lot depends on personal preference and strengths. For example, the GRE verbal is based more on vocabulary while the GMAT verbal is more grammar, reasoning and logic based. The GRE math focuses on number problems while the GMAT math is more word problem based.
Other considerations are cost and availability. The GMAT is more expensive while the GRE is offered in more test locations worldwide. Plus you should consider test timing because there might be a conflict between the test date and the due date for submitting your school application.
One important caveat: even though a business school might accept the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT they might PREFER the GMAT, and this preference might not be stated anywhere. The reason for this is that most business school applicants take the GMAT, and in order to be seriously considered and compared a GMAT score is needed. All that being said there seems to be a general trend among business schools in accepting the GRE as a viable and equal option.