GMAT or GRE For Admission Success?

We’re finally getting down to it. GMAT vs. GRE. Is the GMAT better? Should you take the GRE instead? Which will be crowned the ultimate test for business school applications? All will be answered and more in this week’s MBA Monday.

Obviously, there isn’t a simple this/ that, one-or-the-other answer, but Angela Guido is literally on the cover of the Manhattan Prep GMAT book, so who better to help you decide which test is best for you?

YouTube video

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol. Welcome to MBA Monday. Today I'm talking about whether you should take the GRE or the GRE. It's an age-old question. Of about five years.

So, Is The GMAT Better For MBAs? Nope!

For a long time, schools only accepted the GMAT, but the GRE came on the scene several years ago and has been edging up in the competition for everybody's favorite test in applying to business school. So, a question that a lot of people ask is “Is there really a difference? Do schools really care which test I take if I take? If I take the GRE, am I screwed because schools prefer the GMAT?”. Well, the simple answer to all of those questions is: no. It doesn't matter which test you take. If the school accepts both tests, they value the GMAT and the GRE equally. However, which test is right for you does depend on you. Here's how to decide whether you should take the GMAT or the GRE.

Take the GMAT Practice AND the GRE Practice Tests

Step number one, take a practice test of both. Before you dig deep into preparing for either test, take one of each under timed conditions and see how your score comes out. If you do much better on one test or the other in your relative scoring, or if one of the two tests feels just much more intuitive to you, then pick that test and stick with it. Swing for the fences, don't give up, study, work hard, hire a tutor if you have to, but pick one test and don't change in the middle because there's some tricks and idiosyncrasies to each test that takes time and energy to master and abandoning all of that to go master the other one is going to double or triple the entire amount of time that you're spending preparing for these tests. So pick one and stick with it. And again, if you do marginally better or much better on one of the others, just pick that one and run with it.

The Better Test for MBA Applicants, Depends on the Applicant

The second decision criteria, if you kind of hate them both or maybe you love them both or you just kind of do equally poorly or well on both of them, then you want to understand where do you expect yourself to land on your final score? A really good way to sort of estimate your probable final score is to take your cold test score and add 100 points. This only works on the GMAT, you'll have to figure out what the equivalent GRE is. There's a GMAT/GRE convertor down in the description of the video so you can go and convert your GRE score to the GMAT and then add one hundred points and then reconvert that back to the degree and you can figure out what that means. But if you're if you're taking the GMAT, in my experience as a GMAT instructor – for many years – as a former instructor, in my experience, if you add about 100 points to your cold test score, that's what you can expect to get if you do everything right in the preparation process. That's a big assumption. It's a lot of work to get ready for these tests. But if you do all the right things, you should be able to see about a hundred point gain from a cold test to your final test. So think about where you believe your final test score is going to end up? Another good way to think about this is what's your history with standardized tests? Did you ace the ACT or the SAT? Were you really great at the AP tests, or do you generally freak out when you're faced with a computer that's testing you? Figure out kind of where you are on that spectrum. If you feel like your score is likely to be above the average of your target school, then I recommend you take the GMAT. If you feel like your score is going to be potentially below the average of your favorite schools, then consider taking the GRE instead, because if you look at the average GMATs and GREs of all of your favorite schools, what you'll notice is that in apples to apples comparison, if you convert them all to the GMAT, the GRE score average of these programs is a bit lower than the average GMAT at those schools. There are many reasons for this that go back to the history of MBA programs and rankings and test scores and all of that. You don't need to know any of that. All that matters is notice that on average the GRE scores at your given school are a bit lower than the average GMAT scores. So that means align yourself with where you think you're going to be. If you think you're going to be doing better than the average, then having a GMAT is going to help you more. If you think you're going to be doing a little bit less than the average then a GRE score is the way to go. So that's the way to decide which tests to take if you don't have a strong reaction positively or negatively, one way or the other, when you take the two tests as a sample test for the first time.

GMAT or GRE, Just Do Your Best!

Once you've picked your test, give it all you've got. Run for the fences and don't give up until you get the very best score that you can get. And that's not a seven eighty GMAT for everybody. You have your own best possible score, but your goal is to achieve that one because the test score, while it won't get you into school, it could keep you out. If it's not close enough to what the school is looking to see in the test scores of its candidates, good luck. This has been #MBAMonday. I'll see you next week.

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Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder and
Chief Education Officer of Career Protocol

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