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GMAT vs. GRE: Which is better?

Posted on April 22, 2013

Well, to quickly answer that one – neither is “better” than the other! 🙂
Comparing the relative merits of these two competitive tests is impossible since there is really no concordance between them. The various factors that impact the percentile scores of these tests are so different that it’s impossible to make an ‘Apples to Apples’ comparison!


Some of these factors are:

Question types tested
Difficulty level of questions
Adaptive algorithm used
Scoring pattern
The test-taking population

You will have to answer the following 2 questions to answer the GMAT versus GRE question:


1Why do you need the scores?


If you are applying to an MBA program, then the GMAT is the gold standard. Some B-schools do accept GRE scores, but less than 5% of B-school applicants apply with their GRE scores. So it is that much harder for the AdComs to compare you with the vast majority who have a nice solid GMAT score.


If you keep it flexible and apply to both MBA as well as Masters programs, then the GRE is perhaps a better bet. It is more widely accepted for specialization and non-business courses; so you can save costs while keeping your options open.


2What is your preparation style?


All things being equal, you want to apply with higher test scores, which, in turn, are determined by your comfort level with the question types tested.

If you can hack your way through vocabulary and are not confident of your quant skills, then GRE might be the way to go. Even after the changes in August 2011, the test predominantly tests you on your ability to use the right words in context in Verbal.
The Quant portion is also easy if you are comfortable with the basics and can apply yourself to cracking advanced questions.
If you feel logic is your forte and loathe wordlists, then GMAT might be your cup of poison… er, I mean tea 🙂 Yes, even the dreaded Sentence Correction section can be cracked if you have decent English skills and can apply logic (another myth busted!) However remember that the preparation can stretch to a few months.
So what is the bottom line?
Keep your end objective and your strengths/weaknesses in mind, and then take your pick!
Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.
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