GRE or GMAT for an MBA?

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
While many business schools accept both GRE and GMAT scores, you should carefully consider the pros and cons of each before deciding which to take. Answer the questions below to determine which exam is right for you.

Should You Take the GRE or the GMAT?

The GRE and GMAT are similar in content and structure, and neither has a significant advantage over the other when it comes to admission to schools that accept both exams. That said, it is important that you weigh your personal goals and strengths when considering the GMAT vs. the GRE. Your answers to these questions will help you decide which test to take.

To What Schools Will You Apply?

While more than a thousand MBA programs now accept GRE scores as part of their admissions process, the GMAT is still the standard that is accepted at nearly all business schools. Before you begin considering which test to take, check the requirements at the schools you would like to attend to make sure they accept scores from both exams.

Are You Certain that You Want to Earn an MBA?

If you have no doubt that you want to earn an MBA, you may want to take the GMAT. While it won't improve your chances of acceptance to business schools, it will demonstrate to admissions officers that you are 100% committed to studying business at the graduate level.

Are You Considering a Dual Degree Program?

If you are thinking about pursuing a joint or dual degree that combines an MBA with a graduate degree in a subject such as engineering or education, the GRE may be the best option. Because the GRE is the standard for most non-business graduate-level programs, your GRE score may be used (at most schools) for consideration by both the business and the other academic program.

Do You Think You May Pursue An Additional Graduate Degree?

You may not be looking to earn a dual or joint degree right now, but do you think you may want to earn another graduate degree at some point? If so, keep in mind that GRE scores are valid for five years and may be used to apply to another graduate program.

Do You Consider Yourself Stronger in Math or Vocabulary?

While the content of the GMAT and GRE don't differ drastically, the GMAT requires somewhat stronger math skills, while the GRE requires greater vocabulary skills.

Have You Attempted to Take Practice Exams for the GMAT or GRE?

Before deciding which exam to take, you may want to take a practice exam for each to understand how the content and types of questions differ between the exams, and if you are more comfortable with one than with the other.

Is Cost A Factor For You?

The GMAT costs $250 for test takers anywhere in the world, while the GRE costs $205 for test takers anywhere except for Australia, China, and Nigeria. Australian GRE test takers must pay $230, $220.70 in China, and $220 in Nigeria.

What to Do Once You've Chosen Your Exam

Once you've decided which exam to take, you should map out a study plan and calendar, allowing yourself enough time to fully prepare for your test. Consider, for example, that the majority of those who take the GMAT spend at least a month preparing, and those who score 600 or above spend at least an average of 99 hours studying for the exam. For tips on how to plan your study time, check out this short How to Make a Study Guide lesson. You will also want to:

  • Find a prep course that works for you. For self-paced online courses that allow you to fully prepare for your exam on your own schedule, check out's GMAT Prep and GRE Prep courses. Both feature engaging video lessons, self-assessment quizzes and practice tests to help you master your exam's content.
  • Utilize the prep materials offered by the exam administrators. An abundance of resources are also available on the official websites for the GRE and the GMAT.

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