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The GRE vs. the GMAT

The GMAT is taken by those applying to business school, while the GRE is taken by those interested in pursuing the non-business graduate level degree. Because of the difficulty level, the GMAT has long been the bane of business school applicants. In some special cases the GMAT test for MBA hopefuls is waived if you already have a graduate degree or have exceptionally high undergraduate grades. Many accredited business schools and traditional MBA programs are beginning to allow the GRE test in lieu of the GMAT. If you are not familiar with either test, read on to learn some of the differences.

How is the GRE Different from the GMAT?

The GRE is primarily used by those who are pursuing graduate level degrees of a non-business type. The GRE offers several advantages over the GMAT. The GRE is less expensive than the GMAT test, making it more desirable. The higher GMAT test fees can be a barrier for some students especially when you factor in multiple re-takes. The GRE is also given in more locations than the GMAT, making it easier to find a test center close by. But, the most apparent differences in the two tests show up in the analysis of the Verbal and Quantitative sections.

Will My School Accept the GRE?

The business schools that have made the decision to allow GRE scores in place of the traditional GMAT scores will be looking for a really high percentile score on the GRE, most especially in the quantitative section. For example, Charleston Southern University does not require the GMAT for its MBA program if the applicant has an undergraduate GPA higher than a 2.5-or a Master's degree. Morehead University does not require the GMAT if the student has a Master's, and Rutgers Business School doesn't require the GMAT only if the student already holds a PhD, JD, MD or PharmD. Sloan Business School at MIT accepts the GRE in lieu of the GMAT and Frostburg State University does as well. Idaho State University accepts the GRE in lieu of the GMAT if the student has a Master's degree, and the University of Wisconsin waives the GMAT as long as the applicant has a graduate degree, professional certification or more than ten years of experience in upper level management.

Which Test Should I Take?

If you have really good quantitative skills, you should probably take the GMAT, although if you have outstanding writing and verbal skills, the GRE might be a better option. The GMAT might be a better choice if you are not a native English speaker, and both exams have fee waivers, depending on your financial need. Both the Executive MBA program (EMBA) as well as online MBA programs do not require the GMAT test. The Executive MBA degree is for those professionals who already have a significant amount of business experience, and a ton of real-world knowledge which cannot be measured by the GMAT. Online MBAs are growing in popularity for several reasons-they are much more flexible and affordable, and do not require applicants to pass the GMAT. Some argue that accepting GRE scores will provide access to a much more diverse applicant pool, however others counter with the fact that the GRE does not measure non-cognitive skills such as resilience and teamwork, which are critical in the business world. Some business schools like Wharton in Philadelphia are taking a firm stand regarding the GMAT-and definitely not changing their testing policies. There are, however, more than 150 MBA programs which now accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT, with certain restrictions.

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