Select Page

# GMAT vs GRE: Which Test Should You Take

by | Sep 10, 2024 | GMAT

#### Fatma Xhafa

Fatma is our Director of Operations and has been with Apex for over 3 years. With a background in computer science and business, she has the skills and expertise to manage day-to-day operations and lead the team effectively.

Choosing between the GMAT Focus and the GRE can be a pivotal decision on your journey to graduate school. Both exams have undergone significant changes recently, with both the GMAT Focus Edition and the new GRE having shorter formats.

This comprehensive comparison illustrates the differences between these exams, so you can see how they might align with your strengths and admissions goals.

## Overview of the GMAT and the GRE

### GMAT (Focus Edition)

The GMAT Focus Edition, introduced to provide a more streamlined and relevant testing experience, includes three main sections:

Quantitative Reasoning: Measures problem-solving abilities and understanding of data.

Verbal Reasoning: Assesses reading comprehension and critical reasoning skills.

Data Insights: Combines data sufficiency questions and the former Integrated Reasoning to evaluate how well you analyze and interpret data.

### GRE

The GRE’s new shorter format retains its core components while reducing the total test time:

Verbal Reasoning: Tests vocabulary, reading comprehension, and critical thinking.

Quantitative Reasoning: Assesses basic math skills and the ability to analyze data.

Analytical Writing: Requires writing an essay to demonstrate analytical writing and critical thinking skills.

### GMAT Focus vs GRE: How Do They Test Your Skills

Quantitative Section: The GMAT Focus is known for its challenging quantitative section, which often involves complex problem-solving and emphasizes creative thinking skills. The GRE, while still rigorous, tends to focus more on basic math skills and more straightforward math-based problem-solving.

Verbal Section: The GRE places a significant emphasis on vocabulary and reading comprehension, making it potentially more challenging for non-native English speakers. The GMAT Focus emphasizes logical reasoning and critical thinking within its verbal section, making it universally accessible.

Writing Section: The GRE includes one essay task, while the GMAT Focus does not have a separate writing section. Again, this tends to favor native and fluent speakers.

The GMAT Focus is a computer-adaptive test (CAT), meaning the difficulty of questions adjusts based on your performance. This can make the test feel more dynamic and challenging.

The GRE employs a section-adaptive format, where the difficulty of the second section depends on your performance in the first section.

## GMAT or GRE: Which One to Take

### Which Test Does Your Program Require?

Business Schools: Most MBA programs accept either GMAT or GRE scores, but some may prefer the GMAT. The GMAT Focus is designed with business school applicants in mind, emphasizing skills relevant to business and management.

Other Graduate Programs: The GRE is widely accepted across various graduate programs beyond business schools. If you are considering a broader range of programs, the GRE provides more flexibility.

### Choose Wisely, Show your Strengths

If you excel in higher-level math and enjoy solving complex problems creatively, the GMAT Focus is the more suitable exam. The test’s quantitative section requires a deep understanding of math concepts and the ability to apply them in unique situations.

If you have a strong vocabulary and excel in reading comprehension, the GRE might be a better fit. The GRE’s verbal section is heavily focused on understanding and analyzing written material.

For those who are comfortable with data interpretation and integrated reasoning, the GMAT Focus’s Data Insights section offers a unique opportunity to showcase these skills.

## GMAT or GRE: An Admissions Perspective

### How MBA Admissions Committees View the Exams

The GRE’s eligibility as an alternative exam for admissions to MBA programs is a fairly recent phenomenon. This has several implications for those determining which exam is best in light of a competitive admissions process.

First, GMAT scores are used by the publications that publish annual rankings (US News, Financial Times, …) to influence their models. As such, MBA programs are concerned with maintaining their median and average scores. The GRE, due to it’s novelty, can be used to sidestep these averages for programs wishing to admit candidates with strong applications, but weaker test scores. This means that the GRE is most advisable for those who cannot exceed the threshold of their target programs average GMAT scores. For those who can, the GMAT is preferable, as it makes them especially appealing to programs, as their score will raise the average.

Second, it should be said that the GMAT is the more specialized of the two exams, meaning it’s used for a smaller variety of graduate programs specifically related to graduate business and management education, so think degrees like Masters in Finance, PhD in Management, and MBAs or EMBAs. The GRE, on the other hand, is the go to exam for non-professional graduate schools and is used for anything from MBAs to philosophy degrees. In that sense, the GMAT projects more seriousness to business schools on the part of the candidate.

## The Apex Perspective on GMAT and GRE

Mike Diamond, Apex’s Head of Instruction and Director of Curriculum Development, highlights that the GMAT quantitative section tests your ability to solve problems creatively under pressure.

‘It’s not just about math skills but understanding how to apply them efficiently.’

He notes that many high-achieving individuals, including many engineers, struggle with the GMAT due to its emphasis on quick, logical problem-solving rather than detailed calculation.

On the other hand, the GRE’s verbal section can be more challenging for non-native speakers due to its focus on vocabulary. However, Mike points out that the GRE’s quantitative section, while perceived as easier, tests different mathematical skills than the GMAT and can be just as challenging.

See why if you are doing Math on your GMAT test, you are doing it wrong.

## Get the Experts by Your Side for Your Test Prep

Choosing between the GMAT Focus and the GRE depends on your strengths, career goals, and the requirements of your target programs. Here at Apex, we regularly evaluate prospective client’s skills, preferences, and program requirements to help them make an informed decision. Sign up for a complimentary consultation so that we can help you select the exam that’s right for you.

Once you make the decision that’s right for you, don’t delay preparation – start right away.