Should I Take GRE or GMAT for Business Schools?

Raghuram Sukumar GRE 6 Comments

gre or gmat business schoolYou’ve probably heard that most b-schools these days are accepting GRE scores. What is probably not so clear is which test you should take: the GMAT or the GRE?

To answer this question you should figure out what your strengths are.

For instance, have you always been strong at grammar (maybe your boss is persnickety about the quality of emails you send), but weak at vocabulary (most bosses don’t care for words like persnickety!). Whatever the case may be, you want to take the test that you feel will best allow you to shine.

GRE vs GMAT : Quantitative

If math is not your strong suit, taking the GMAT may not be the right path for you.

It’s not that the GRE math is easy—it’s not. But the GMAT quant can be fiendishly difficult. You don’t so much have to know your basic math rules, as to apply them to convoluted questions. These questions usually are packaged in paragraph-long word problems.

The GRE, by contrast, wants to make sure that you understand the basic quantitative questions. There will be some difficult questions, of course. But the good news is you’ll be competing against the graduate-school pool—a group that typically has not had as much math background as the typical GMAT-taker.

On the math side even the typical Princeton GRE scores for computer science majors is around 160 out of 170. That’s quite a prestigious institution with less-than-perfect averages.

Vocabulary vs. grammar

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, if you struggle with vocabulary the GRE may not be right for you. If, on the other hand, you love big words but don’t care much for the niceties of grammar, the GRE is waiting for you.

If you struggle with both grammar and vocabulary, I’d recommend that you consider the GMAT.

See, it is easier to learn grammar rules and to apply them than it is to memorize the 1,000+ words you’ll need to for the GRE (a number that increases the worse your vocabulary is).

GRE or GMAT for Business Schools?

There is only one way to find out… Besides taking the actual GMAT and GRE. Instead, you can take the Powerprep II test to gauge your GRE score and the GMATprep test to gauge your GMAT score.

Your GRE and GMAT score percentiles—i.e., where you rank compared to other students, should give you a pretty good indication which test you should take. If the scores are very close, then consider whether you’d spend your time with a deck of vocab flashcards or books filled with nail-bitingly challenging questions.

This post was written by Chris Lele, resident GRE expert at Magoosh. For more advice on taking the GRE, check out Magoosh’s GRE blog.

See Alos : Watch Magosh GRE Test Prep webinar by Chris


  1. I am currently pursuing MBA in USA and i know what these guys mean.
    Apart from the facts mentioned below also bear in mind that GRE allows you to use calculator during exams while GMAt doesn’t. So you need to be pretty confident of doing large percentage, fractions, divisions and multiplications in ur head before you choose GMAT.
    Gmat is easier in writing section. It now gives only 1 section that is analysis of Argument. (Analysis of issue has been removed). However this has been compensated by inserting more tough section called Integrated reasoning (more math for business fanatics…hi hi hi)
    True GMAT verbal section doesn’t required you to be a very good reader. You just have to know the rules. you are not likely to loose any points because you did your schooling in vernacular medium and guy next to you have studied throughout english medium.
    Finally almost all business schools now accepts GRE scores in USA. However it’s still better to check requirements. And last thing is yes higher score will raise your chances of being accepted in good business schools but it’s not the only thing they take into consideration. Your academics record through out your career is scanned. Some work experience is must if you want to make any sense out of MBA. And then it all depends on school that you apply to. There are schools in USA that gives you admission with out GMAT/GRE and requires you to attend college only 2 hrs every week. People like us sweat 25 hrs every week in classroom. So never generalise such things…

    Hope it helps
    Khushboo Patel

    1. Hi khushboo, thanks for your information. Kindly let me know list of universities which require only 2 hours week and their requirements to admission. I have 2+ years experience as of now and GRE score is 980.

      1. Try University of Bridgeport in connecticut
        Also search Pace university & Raider University (Both in new york)

  2. I have already given GRE and I am having a score of 320 in it. 163 in quant and 157 in verbal. Do you suggest me to give GMAT too or my GRE marks will be sufficient to enable me compete for the best b- schools in USA. I will be applying for the admission next year. Please reply.

    1. its pretty good score do not worry now focus on your resume and other part of profile try to make it more competent

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