Should you do a GRE or GMAT before doing a foreign MBA?
For students opting for an MBA or specialised master’s in business, the GRE vs GMAT debate places them in the horns of a dilemma, as there are valid points on both sides of the argument.Updated: Sep 19, 2018 12:37 IST
A standardised test is a common pre-requisite for admission to overseas business programmes, but which to take?
Fortunately for Indian students, there are multiple options to consider.
WHETHER GRE OR GMAT?
For students opting for an MBA or specialised master’s in business, the GRE vs GMAT debate places them in the horns of a dilemma, as there are valid points on both sides of the argument. However, there need not be a dilemma provided the applicant consider a few pieces of information before making his or her decision.
The most important consideration is whether scores from both exams are accepted for entrée to the programmes you wish to pursue. If a school accepts both tests, then you are free to choose whichever exam you prefer.
The vast majority of schools these days accept both exams, and 73% of business school admissions officers said that GMAT and GRE test-takers were treated equally during their admissions process, according to a 2016 survey of 224 US business schools.
Three main benefits to taking the GRE test are access, flexibility, and test-taker friendly features.
IS GRE A BETTER TEST?
Regarding access, more than 1,300 business schools around the world accept GRE scores for admission to their MBA, specialized master’s and other graduate business programmes. These include top-ranked business schools, as recognised by QS World University Rankings, such as the business programmes at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago and University of Pennsylvania in the United States, and University of Cambridge and Oxford in the UK Saïd Business School, HEC Montréal in Canada and University of Toronto Rotman School of Management in Canada are among the top business schools that accept GRE scores.
The GRE test is always more flexible than the GMAT in that it is an exam used to gain admission to graduate programmes across almost all subjects, including business, the sciences, IT, engineering, and the humanities.
This underscores the intrinsic advantage in opting for the GRE.
The GRE will be the best choice for those applicants who want to pursue their MBA in conjunction with another master’s degree, i.e. a dual degree programme, or in pursuit of a PhD. Taking the GRE allows one to apply to both programmes with one test, which is not only a cost savings, but a huge savings in the amount of time and energy required to prepare for and take two separate exams.
Unlike the GMAT test, the GRE test has a number of features that allow test takers to use their own test-taking strategies, which can reduce the amount of stress involved in completing the test and may even lead to a better score. Within each section, a test-taker can preview and review questions, skip questions and go back, and change answers. These features can give a student a real advantage, since data from ETS shows that most GRE test takers who changed answers went from wrong to right and boosted their scores. And all test takers who skipped a question and later completed it saw the same or better scores.
Should an aspirant take the GRE test and feel not quite satisfied with her scores, there is another benefit to help take the pressure off.
Should an examinee feel the need to take the GRE General Test more than once, she can choose which scores you send to schools. Only the GRE test offers this option.
(The author is senior director of global education at Educational Testing Service. Views expressed here are personal)
First Published: Sep 19, 2018 12:31 IST