GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test and is conducted by a non-profit council of leading business schools, known as GMAC (Graduate Management Admissions Council). GRE stands for Graduate Record Entrance and is conducted by ETS (Education Testing Services), the world’s largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization. Until 2011 GMAT was the test for master degrees in management (MBA, MiM, MSF etc), and GRE was the test for master degrees in core disciplines (MS in a range of science, arts, and humanities subjects). Then GRE underwent a major change of format and began to be accepted by almost all of the world’s main business schools. As a result, “GMAT or GRE” has become a major question.
Both the GMAT and GRE test verbal, quantitative, and writing aptitude. However, the nature of their questions is different. The differences between the two are subtle but significant enough that the two tests require different preparation strategies. The GRE focuses more on memory testing, its verbal questions focus on vocabulary and its quant questions often require an almost direct application of formulae and concepts. The GMAT, by contrast, focuses on logical ability. GMAT verbal questions require more exact reasoning and its quant questions require an extended application of mathematical concepts.
The GRE maximum score was 2400, until 2002 when it was changed to 1600. At the moment, GRE candidates are scored on a scale of 260 to 340, with 327 being the approximate 90th percentile. GMAT candidates are scored on a scale of 200 to 800, with 700 considered to be the 90th percentile. While the GRE scoring has changed a lot; the GMAT scoring has been consistent, for decades. Both tests also have an analytical writing assessment, which is scored on a scale of 6. This score does not contribute to the candidate’s total score.
Most business schools are more comfortable with GMAT scores than with GRE scores. This is because they have been using GMAT scores for much longer and the GMAT scoring has remained consistent. Another reason is that the GMAT has a wider score range, which allows for a more accurate interpretation of the candidate’s standing.
Most admissions to the US top 50 happen through GMAT:
As per the official GMAC website, 90% of all enrollments in the top 50 United States business schools happen through GMAT. While GRE scores are just as valid as GMAT scores, the numbers do not lie. The top business schools have a clear preference for GMAT, as it is the preferred choice of serious MBA candidates and the one that they are more familiar with.
While there is no one correct answer, the facts are clear. For a variety of factors, mentioned above, the world’s leading business schools prefer to consider GMAT scores. This may be because GMAT, unlike GRE, was always meant to be a management admissions test. However, it is worth noting that with a high enough score the format will largely be overlooked.
There is one scenario where GRE is better. For those who have not decided whether they want to pursue core discipline or management education, GRE’s versatility makes it a good option.