Pretty much all the top business schools now accept the GRE along with the GMAT as part of an MBA application. In other words, you can submit either one or the other; they’re equivalent substitutions. Even Tuck and Columbia, who had been holdouts in favoring the GMAT over the GRE, now have normalized their test acceptance policies so that they’re more in line with other schools.
Given that the schools will allow you to apply with either a GRE or a GMAT score, which one should you take?
In most cases, we would still recommend that you take the GMAT.
The main exception to this rule is if you’re planning on applying for other graduate programs too – maybe you’re interested in speech therapy along with the MBA, or you want to go for a creative writing program. (Why you’d want to do these along with business school is a baffling idea; we’re just tossing out graduate studies programs here at random. There’s maybe one person in the whole world who’d ever consider these combinations. They are just examples.)
If you’re going to be applying to diverse educational programs, either because you really haven’t decided what to do with your life (which is actually going to cause you untold problems throughout the MBA application process, but that’s a story for another day) or because you’re glomming together different disciplines to create your own path, then sure, the GRE makes more sense. Those other programs don’t accept the GMAT as part of their application processes. These tests are hard, and expensive. EssaySnark would never suggest that you take both the GMAT and the GRE when taking just one would serve your purposes.
But for those of you purists* who are just applying to business school, we strongly encourage you to do the GMAT.
If you already hold a GRE score and it’s still valid, then no, don’t bother with the GMAT. Provided your current GRE is competitive, then stick with that and go forward.
If your GRE is borderline… and you’re only trying for MBA programs…. well it might make sense to suck it up and study for the GMAT now.
In case you can’t tell, we’re saying that the GMAT is indeed better than the GRE. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule — all the schools will tell you that they have no preference, that you can apply with either. And that’s true.
But they don’t have much data accumulated on accepted candidates who applied with a GRE, so there’s a tiny disadvantage for them in terms of having valid comparisons to use when evaluating your score.
And the stickler is that many people feel the GRE is an easier test – at least on the quant side. The verbal is considered more difficult than the GMAT (or at least, more equivalent). If you did OK on the quant on the GRE then that does not translate to OK on the GMAT; it’s likely going to be discounted a smidgen if the adcom is trying to see how you stack up against your GMAT-taking peers. If you did poorly on the GRE quant, then that’s a bigger blemish. We know of one school that has a higher standard for applicants submitting a GRE score – they need to see a better performance there relative to what they prefer for the GMAT, percentile-wise.
All things being equal, we would say just do the GMAT if you can. It’s the standard for the MBA programs. You’re not going to be hurting yourself if you apply with a GRE score instead, but it needs to be a **GOOD** GRE score. If it’s a mediocre GRE score then we’ve got more concerns.
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*ROFLMAO. BSers? Purists?!?? hahahahaha