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Applying to Business School? Revised GRE vs. GMAT: MyGuru's Perspective

Many MBA programs are now accepting the Revised GRE test for admissions.  We recently wrote a post on our blog which covers most of what you’d need to know about the specifics of the revised GRE, in case you’re unfamiliar with it.  In any case, the GMAT has dominated this market for a long time, but this new version of the GRE is making serious inroads.  Fourteen of the top 20 MBA programs accept the GRE for admissions and 3 of the six holdouts in the top 20 accept the GRE for their evening and weekend MBA programs.

So, which test is right for you? Here’s what we’ve been telling students at MyGuru:

    • The obvious answer is that it depends on where you want to go to school. All the top schools accept the GMAT, and it’s unlikely that this will change any time soon. Several top schools – such as Duke, Brigham Young, and Michigan State – only accept the GMAT. Finally, some schools – University of Chicago, Berkeley, and UCLA are prime examples – require the GMAT for their regular full-time programs, and only accept the GRE for part-time admissions.

    • Beyond this it comes down to your individual strengths and weaknesses. All of the MyGuru tutors who have taken both the new GRE and the GMAT find the GMAT to be a more challenging test – especially when it comes to the quantitative section. This is only anecdotal evidence, but our internal stats undermine ETS’s GRE / GMAT conversion chart – when we convert our GRE scores to GMAT, the chart ALWAYS overestimates our actual GMAT scores.

    • If you haven’t cracked a math book in a decade, then you should seriously consider the GRE, but there is a lot of work you can do on math fundamentals that will help you with both tests, so it’s not an obvious decision.

    • If you’re a verbal geek, it’s still not an obvious decision: the verbal portion of the GRE shows up as a single score, while the verbal portion of the GMAT is factored into your overall score, and, because GMAT test takers tend to be quant geeks, strong verbal scores can really separate you from the field.

    • If you’re wavering between MBA programs and other graduate degrees, such as public policy, or if you are considering a dual degree, then the GRE is the way to go – why take both tests if you don’t have to.

Interestingly, we’ve worked with a lot of students on GRE prep over the past few years, and only one of these students was using the GRE to apply to business school.  But, it seems to be gaining in popularity at a steady pace.  It’s also important to remember that the conversation about this is ongoing, and is about to get a lot more interesting. The GMAT is changing too in June of 2012. They’re dropping an essay and adding a ‘Integrated Reasoning’ section. This adds a new wrinkle to any decision about which test to take. Stay tuned for updates on the GRE and GMAT.