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Convert Your GRE or GMAT Score for MBA Admissions

GRE-GMAT Score Conversion Tool with Full Score Range

A common question we get asked in MBA admissions is how to convert a GRE score to a GMAT score, or vice versa (GMAT to GRE). ETS – the organization that makes the GRE and SAT – supplies a handy GMAT conversion calculator, but it’s somewhat cumbersome to use because only one score can be entered at a time.

For some reason, no one has created a GRE to GMAT conversion chart that allows you to see the entire score range in one bird’s-eye view – until now!

Table of Contents

GRE to GMAT Conversion Chart

130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170
GRE-Q 130 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 210 210 220 230 230 240 250 250 260 260 270 280 280 290 300 300 310 320 320 330 330 340 350 350 360 370 370 380 390

Can you trust GMAT conversion charts?

Chris Han, Head of Test Development and Psychometrics at the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), recently wrote an article “debunking” ETS’s GRE Comparison Tool – and all GRE conversion tables – claiming, “no conversion table or conversion tool can ever make [the scores] equivalent.” So should you even bother with GRE/GMAT conversion charts like the one above?

While Chris Han’s article is definitely worth a read, it’s important to remember that the GMAC has a vested (monetary) interest in the popularity of the GMAT and its significance to business school admissions committees. As the GMAT’s owner and administrator, the GMAC is probably none too keen on the GRE’s rising popularity among applicants and growing acceptance by business programs.

Is there a significant difference in the content of these two standardized tests? Of course! That’s precisely why the GRE could be a better choice for some applicants—particularly those who tend to struggle with standardized tests.

In the end, no conversion tool or chart is perfect. (We certainly wouldn’t claim that they are!) But they’re still pretty dang useful.

Which exam business programs prefer

Lower GRE scores have a less damaging impact on a school’s rankings than a lower total GMAT score.

Schools are self-interested institutions. And one thing that very much interests them is their ranking in various publications. One of the most influential is, of course, U.S. News & World Report. And part of U.S. News’ methodology involves weighting the average GRE and GMAT scores for each business program based on what portion of the admitted class took each test.

Since the majority of applicants take the GMAT rather than the GRE, a school’s average GRE score has less of an effect on its ranking than its average GMAT. One way of interpreting this is that if a school falls in love with you, but you have a low GRE score, you are more likely to get admitted than if you have a low GMAT score. This is simply because your low GRE score will do less damage to their rankings than a low GMAT score. Your low GRE is less of a liability, so admissions officers can view that part of your profile through a more forgiving lens.

Deciding between the GMAT and the GRE

There are some additional reasons why the GRE might be a better option than the GMAT for certain applicants.

The gap between the GMAT and GRE at some schools is significant.

To be honest, the gap between these average scores wasn’t news to us. We’ve been seeing this trend for years. What surprised us when we looked at the published data was the size of the gap between average GRE and average GMAT scores. In some cases, the difference was truly astounding. Looking at you, Fuqua and Ross!

SchoolAverage GMATAverage GRE converted to GMAT using ETSDifference
University of Florida 686550136
University of Texas70462084
Arizona State67159081
University of Virginia70363073
University of Washington69262072
University of Pennsylvania72266062
University of Chicago72468044
Georgia Tech66663036
Carnegie Mellon68066020

Does this mean you should immediately cancel that GMAT class you registered for and switch over to the GRE? Possibly. 

Use your performance on practice tests to decide between the GMAT and the GRE.

Take practice tests for both the GMAT and GRE to see where you stand before committing to a rigorous exam prep schedule.

As with most things in MBA admissions, whether you’re better off taking the GMAT or the GRE depends on a host of factors. Neither test is any “easier” than the other – they both reliably plot testers on a predictable bell curve – so if you struggle with one test, you’re likely to struggle with the other.

Such is life! We cannot escape it without struggle, but that discussion is for another post.

What’s important for you to know is that MBA programs are test agnostic and really don’t prefer one test over the other when it comes to their applicant pool.

Standardized tests are a tool for business schools to gauge your aptitude and your likelihood to do well in graduate business coursework. Many schools, including those at the very top, are likely to be forgiving of a lower score—on the GRE in particular—when you have an otherwise compelling application.

So if your GMAT score is consistently sub-par on practice exams, or you haven’t started prepping yet but predict that it will be, you just might be better off taking the GRE and leveraging the score premium you’re likely to receive for doing so.

Upward trend favors the GRE over the GMAT

If you do decide to go with the GRE, you’re not alone. Even before the pandemic began, MBA programs saw an increase in students submitting GRE scores over the GMAT.

More MBA programs have begun to accept the GRE in order to make up for a loss in applicant volume and to attract more nontraditional and diverse applicants. Accepting the GRE helps attract students with backgrounds in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, rather than a business background.

According to a recent Poets & Quants article, 26 out of the top 52 schools in the 2021 Poets & Quants Business School Rankings saw an increase in GRE submissions. According to the same article, the average percentage of applicants submitting GRE scores to the top 25 schools in 2019 was 13.5%. And what’s surprising is that even with the upward trend in GRE score submissions in the past 5 years, there hasn’t yet been a corresponding rise in average scores.

Another factor that makes the GRE increasingly popular with MBA applicants is the ScoreSelect option, which allows test takers to select the scores they want to report to schools. This option is more reassuring for applicants who tend not to test well and need to retake the test a few times. The official GMAT score report, by contrast, includes all test scores (unless cancelled by the test taker right after the exam session) from the past 5 years.

More schools are even dropping the GMAT/GRE requirement entirely.

If you’re in the boat where your practice performance on both tests is lowering your confidence level, there’s still some hope for you to put your best foot forward. More schools are now accepting the Executive Assessment (a much shorter exam usually submitted for Executive MBA applications) for admission to their full-time MBA programs.

Some schools are also offering test waivers to otherwise qualified candidates who can demonstrate (via a separate waiver application in advance of the R1 and R2 application deadlines) their strong potential to succeed in a rigorous MBA program through their professional experience and quantitative training/background.

If you’re planning to apply to business school and have questions about the best way forward, schedule a free strategy call with us!

Brian Birdwell

Brian Birdwell

Generalism Specialist | Senior Instructor and GMAT/GRE Guru

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