Way back in 2010 we wrote a post about how to convert your GRE score to a GMAT equivalent. The gist of it was, and is, that if you submit a GRE score in your application for an MBA, then it’s highly likely that the bschool adcom will convert that GRE to a GMAT-equivalent before processing your application. And we gave you a couple links to conversion tools that ETS publishes:
GRE – GMAT conversion tool (XLS file) provided by ETS, the makers of the GRE
An updated and very fancy ETS GRE/GMAT predictor is available here (if you have a GRE score it will extrapolate what your GMAT score should be).
Now before you get too crazy with those tools, keep in mind that they’re published by ETS – the makers of the GRE. We don’t accuse ETS of intentionally skewing these results but they do have a vested interest in showing the marketplace that the GRE is a valid equivalent to the GMAT for bschools. Importantly, ETS admits to having a huge range in what the same test-taker’s GMAT score might be. They cannot “predict” an equivalent score with much accuracy. Go play with the online conversion tool and you’ll see.
As an example: Someone with a GRE of 166 Q (94th percentile) and 162 V (87th percentile) comes up with a respectable 720 GMAT equivalent – but that little footnote at the bottom of the tool says that the “predicted score range” could be from 650 to 780.
650 to 780?!?
Doesn’t that render this “predictor” near-meaningless? Hmmm.
Now, we used that score from an actual EssaySnark client who had a very decent profile overall. We’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and say yes, he probably could’ve scored a 720 GMAT. We get a strong sense of where candidates fall out, given how closely we work with them.
But here’s the deal: The GRE has a reputation for being easier on the quant side. That 94th percentile score is NOT equivalent to a GMAT score of Q51; it’s just not. And the schools know it. In fact, we know of one school that very explicitly tells candidates that they need to come in with a higher GRE score than if they were presenting a GRE.
(EDITED 8/24/13: Actually, a bunch of schools are being more straightforward this season saying yes, they do in fact prefer the GMAT – Tuck and Columbia are two that come to mind. Others will express this privately even if they don’t state it on their websites.) What it means is that these tests are not equivalent.
That doesn’t mean that they prefer the GMAT.
If you’re submitting a GRE score, then it’s hopefully a bright and shiny score – shinier than you may have assumed it has to be.
This is one reason why we say, all things being equal, you should go for the GMAT test instead of a GRE if you’re applying to a top MBA program.
If you’re sitting here with only a GRE score in hand and wondering what to do: Then use the ETS converter tool, but be sure to recognize that full range that they’re predicting. The entirety of your profile will be evaluated and if you’re shown to have certain weaknesses, then the schools may “convert” your GRE to the lower end of the GMAT scale.
If you want some one-on-one advice into your own specific situation, you can either go for the Comprehensive Profile Review, where we’ll slice and dice the GRE along with all the other elements of your profile, or you can simply ask us a specific GRE question (or any other MBA question) using the evisors service and we’ll tell you what we think about your case.