The GRE and GMAT are extremely intimidating exams that both come with their own set of obstacles and own benefits over the other. With more and more MBA programs accepting either one, more and more test-takers are facing the decision: Which one should I take?
There are many different factors that will determine which one you should study for and ultimately take. These factors include:
MBA Program Requirements
Obviously the first thing you should do is check the requirements of the program to which you’re attempting to apply. The GRE is a requirement for most master’s degree programs while the GMAT is a requirement for most business degrees. More than 1,000 business programs are now accepting either GRE or GMAT and more and more are added each day. So checking with your school or program is the first step you should take.
If for some reason you can’t find out or are still weighing out business programs, know that the GMAT is the normal requirement and more than 6,000 programs nationwide accept this test score. If you’re attempting to get an MBA, the GMAT is the safer route to take.
This is a small influential factor and certainly should be how you ultimately decide which test to take. The difference is so small, it’s almost not worth mentioning. The GRE costs right around $200 while the GMAT costs $250. Considering the other differences between the two tests, cost should only be a factor if you really can’t decide based on any of the other factors.
Time and Location
This another very minor factor, even more so than cost since the two tests have very similar options. Each test is taken on the computer at test centers around the world year round. The only difference here is that the GRE is offered as a paper-based test in select areas where the computer-based one isn’t an option.
Some research can be done to find the testing center closest to you as well as their testing schedule. These factors might play a role in your decision since one might be at a more suitable time or closer location than the other. However, with the wide option of test centers and schedules, odds are you should be able to find an option for either the GRE or GMAT and so this, like the cost, shouldn’t be a very influential part of the decision of which test to take.
Of all the factors, the one that should play the largest role as you decide which exam to take is which one is easier for you. This is not an easy question to answer however as each test is designed to be difficult and test your knowledge and abilities in similar areas. However, a little further research into each exam might reveal your inclination toward one over the other.
The math section of the GRE can be easier as it is more straightforward and allows the use of a calculator while the GMAT is more analytical and problem-solving based. At the same time, when it comes to the formatting of the questions in each exam, there are mostly multiple-choice questions on the GMAT while the GRE offers many multiple-choice AND multiple-answer questions. Many people find taking multiple-choice exams to be easier while questions that allow for multiple answers for each question can be more difficult.
In the end, the best way to determine which testing format suits you best is to start going through practice questions or even a whole practice exam and find out which one works best for you.
Finally, if you really can’t decide, if it’s possible, it might not hurt to officially take each exam to see which one you perform best at. If you choose to take both the GRE and GMAT however, make sure you thoroughly study and prepare for each one to the best of your ability.