Up until recently, students seeking an MBA had only one test option to be submitted for their respective programs: the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). This changed a few years ago, in 2006, spearheaded by Stanford University, when most business schools began accepting the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) score. Fast forward to today when close to 90% of business schools accept both the GMAT and GRE tests, and students more than ever are in a quandary as to which test they should take. Is the math easier on the GRE as the rumor purports? Do they need the GMAT test score beyond their MBA? [1]


Despite the questions about which test to take, a  social media poll by Crystal Ball, the MBA admissions consulting firm, targeted 3000 business school applicants and found that a significant 78.7% voted in favor of the GMAT, compared with 21.2% who preferred the GRE. [2] While most business schools in the US now accept both tests, you’ll still want to confirm with these official links that the MBA programs you’re interested in are among them. Here are the schools that accept the GRE and schools that accept the GMAT.

Some schools may favor one test over the other. Follow the school’s guidelines on their information page or ask directly when speaking to the admissions representatives at business school fairs or at info sessions and on broadcasts, such as QS Top MBA, Poets & Quants, The MBA Tour, AIGAC’s applicant fair and on MBA Wave. As the numbers of business school applicants increase, it’s important to achieve your best score on the GRE or GMAT, but also to choose the right exam for the schools you’re applying to. The below breakdown of the two tests will help you discern which one might be best for you.


We consider nothing more revelatory to your decision process than your results from taking a good old-fashioned Official GRE and Official GMAT diagnostic tests for most accurate scoring feedback. Your performance and feelings about taking either or both tests are likely more important determinants beyond the data and information herein. Whichever test you score highest on and feels easier and better in the taking, we recommend as your ultimate deciding factor. Still there are other considerations such as testing location and frequency of when the test is offered and available, whether you want to take the test online and at home, and whether certain schools will reward financial support as the result of scoring high on one test over another.


To help you make an informed decision about which test to take, we have compiled information comparing and contrasting them. Both test scores are valid for up to 5 years, so you have options and (hopefully) some luxury of time to take your test and apply to your programs without the stress of rushing. Most of the students we work with take their test within 2 – 3 months of applying to programs, especially since you want to plan on taking the test at least twice. 


If you are leaning towards the GRE you’ll want to speak to an admissions consultant in case they have knowledge as to why you might NOT want it, based on the school you’re applying to and any data available including accepted student GRE scores, as well as whether you may have professional goals beyond the MBA in which the GMAT is better to have on your resume. They may also know if there are any scholarship opportunities based on scores. 


While we encourage students to take the test that they feel and perform better on, some schools view the tests differently. In a 2015 survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep, they found that out of 222 business schools, 25% prefer the GMAT over the GRE. This number had risen from 18% in their 2014 survey. (Note: it has not been updated since 2015). In an April 2021, Business Because article, they shared that “business schools generally take a holistic approach to admissions, and most now accept both the GMAT and the GRE. But some, like INSEAD and Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, prefer the quant-heavy GMAT.” The article also states that “the GMAT remains the most respected standardized admission test; the correlation between GMAT scores and academic performance an accepted truth.” Still, some of the country’s most prestigious business schools, including Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, have specifically stated that they consider the GMAT and GRE equally. And so…you be your own best judge on the matter. Here are some deets to go by:

GMAT and GRE Test Overview


General Information


If a school says they accept the GRE, they really do welcome it; though you’ll have to dig a little deeper to ensure they do not favor one test over the other. For some industries, the GMAT remains a great personal data point to put on your resume. The GMAT is only used for business schools, so some schools might consider you a more serious and focused candidate. This compares with the GRE test which is a general admissions test for most, if not all, graduate school programs. We often affectionately refer to the GRE as the “SAT on steroids” due to its more general nature as well as level of difficulty.


Both GRE and GMAT are taken on a computer and are now offered at testing centers or via  home proctored versions (more on this below). Both the GMAT and GRE are CAT tests (Computer Adaptive Test). 


City Test Prep PRO TIP #1: Generally, it’s believed that questions at the end of the GMAT parse between a smaller score range, and that those questions in the beginning of GMAT represent a sifting larger score range. As a result of this theory, many test prep companies promote spending the most time getting earlier test questions correct. GMAC, the folks who make the GMAT, keep their scoring algorithm under lock and key, and dispute this ‘gaming’ strategy.


GMAT adapts the level of difficulty after each individual question, reacting to the accuracy of your answer choices. The difficulty level changes as you move through the test: it will increase or decrease based on whether you answer questions correctly or not. The theory is that when you answer correctly, the question will either be more difficult, or at the same level, but testing a different concept than the prior grouping. Likewise, the opposite is true: if you answer questions incorrectly, your next question will either be easier or at the same level, but testing a different concept. You move through the entire test with this adapting process determining your path through the database of questions. A veritable ‘choose your own adventure,’ if you will.


In order to proceed on the GMAT, you need to answer every question, with only the ability, while not advisable, to leave the last questions blank and unanswered at the end of a test section when time expires. You are unable to return to any prior question on the test. You can only move forward, progressing on the test.


The GRE is also adaptive, but by entire sections. Your performance on the first section of Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning affects the difficulty level of the questions on your second session relative to each subject. Unlike the GMAT, you are able to move around within each GRE section, returning to questions you’ve already answered or left blank.


So what is the most important question on the GRE and GMAT? The question you’re currently answering!



City Test Prep PRO TIP #2: While moving around a section provides flexibility, we recommend students be self-aware of their ‘second-guessing’ behavior to determine whether this is a pattern to encourage or limit. Monitor this practice while doing homework and taking diagnostic tests. Typically, our first choice is our best one.


Structure and Timing

The GMAT has four sections, consisting of three multiple choice sections (Verbal, Quant, and Integrated Reasoning) and one Essay Prompt Question. There is not a separate “experimental section,” but rather, ‘research’ questions are embedded and dispersed within each Verbal and Quant section.


On the GRE, there are five multiple choice sections, one of which is an experimental section. This experimental section can be either Math or Verbal, and its order in the groupings of multiple choice can be anywhere in the section sequence, after the AWA. You only know whether Math or Verbal is an experimental section because you will have either three Verbal or three Math sections. Of those three sections, however, you don’t know which one the experimental section is. And we advise, don’t bother to guess.


The entire GMAT test needs to be completed in 3 hours and 30 minutes; the GRE, 3 hours and 45 minutes.









3 hours and 30 minutes

3 hours and 45 minutes

Number of Essays



Number of Multiple-Choice Questions


80 plus 20 unscored experimental questions

Number of Sections


6 (Including an unscored research section)


Composite GMAT score ranges from 200-800, in ten-point increments

Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning each have score ranges of 130-170, in one-point increments, for a total score of 260-340




How Long Are Scores Valid?

5 years

5 years



 GMAT Overview

 Total Time 3.5 hours    Cost: $275 *Online / Center Tests are the same


Number of Questions  

Time Allotted

Analytical Writing Assessment

One Essay

30 minutes

Integrated Reasoning

12 questions

30 minutes


31 questions

(2 minutes/question)

62 minutes


36 questions

1 minute 48 seconds/question

65 minutes






GRE Overview

Total Time 3.75  hours    Cost: $205


Number of Questions   

Time Allotted

Analytical Writing   

Two Essays

30 minutes (each)

Quantitative Reasoning

Two sections/

20 questions each

(40 total) Avg. 1 minute 30 seconds/question

30 minutes (each)

Verbal Reasoning  

Two sections/

20 questions each

(40 total) Avg. 1 minute 30 seconds/question


30 minutes (each)

Experimental Section                   

One Section/20 questions – Quant or Verbal 

1 minute 30 seconds/question

30 minutes 




At both the center or at home GMATs, you can now select your section order. You can choose which section of the exam you want to take first. You can also take two 8-minute optional breaks.  You can take each break after about an hour of testing. The first comes after the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) and Integrated Reasoning, and the second comes after the Quantitative section–assuming the traditional test order as opposed to one of the alternate orders that test takers can also choose.


On the GRE, there are six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section and one-minute breaks between the remaining sections. You are required to remain in your seat for the one-minute breaks. You are allowed to leave your seat during the 10-minute break. You must return on time.




  • Schools look at your composite score from the Verbal and Quantitative multiple choice questions. This score range is from 200 to 800.


  • You also receive individual Verbal and Quantitative scores, from 0-60, in one-point increments.


  • The separate score for Analytical Writing ranges between 0 to 6, in half-point increments.


  • On the Integrated Reasoning section, scores range from 1 to 8, in one-point increments.





  • Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are each scored from 130 to 170, in one-point increments. The GRE’s three section scores are generally reported separately, and not combined into a single composite score.


  • The Analytical Writing section is similar to the GMAT with a score range of 0 to 6, in half-point increments.

After the Test – To Wait or not To Wait? 


 When taking the GMAT at a center, you can order an Enhanced Score Report (ESR) which is useful if you’ve not taken the GMAT prior. You get a sparse but helpful rundown on how you scored on the exam which can help further study. It specifically provides insights on strengths and weaknesses. More information at the link. Because you cannot relook at the questions, your answers and the correct answer so it won’t be the most robust response to work off of.


GMAT and GRE Content


Both exams cover three main subject areas: verbal, quantitative (which includes the GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning section) and writing. The tests overlap in content; however, the GMAT is more focused on grammar, and the GRE on vocabulary. While there isn’t a huge difference, the GRE Verbal section is generally considered to be slightly more difficult because of vocabulary, which is more difficult to accrue through study prior to a test, versus learning and trusting grammar rules, which are more predictable. Still, non-native English speakers should not automatically choose the GMAT over the GRE because they are worried about increasing their vocabulary: non-native speakers have some advantage as they can lean into their native tongues, since English is a rich amalgam and tapestry of different languages.



Verbal Sections


GMAT Verbal


The GMAT Verbal section tests your ability to understand formal written material, evaluate logical “arguments,” and identify and correct errors in written material, in both grammatical and sentence meaning. The test refers most to formal written English as compared to the more informal spoken language. This section features three types of questions:


Reading Comprehension tests your ability to read a passage, and then answer questions that ask you main ideas and conclusions, provide analysis of an argument, and understand the significance of details. Because you’re getting credit for answering questions correctly, not memorizing what you read, you want to be sure you read effectively, and fast. If you’re reading less than 300 wpm, you would benefit from increasing your reading speed. Check your reading speed here.


Critical Reading or Arguments prompts you to evaluate, understand, and analyze short passages, presenting logical ‘arguments’. The passages are typically 2-4 sentences in length and each followed by a question.


Sentence Correction evaluates your knowledge and facility of formal grammar and sentence meaning. Answer sets present four options to correct the sentence and/or more effectively express its meaning; choice (A) option always keeps the sentence as presented and unchanged.


City Test Prep PRO TIP #3: Just because English may not be your native tongue, don’t assume you won’t perform well on this section. Some students are intuitive at deciding what is correct grammar and what is not. Other test-takers base their answers on sticking strictly to grammar rules. If you want to know your best way of answering these questions and find out where you are on the ‘answering’ spectrum to determine how much you can reliably depend on this method, contact us to learn how.



GRE Verbal


The GRE Verbal Reasoning section tests your skills in analyzing and drawing conclusions from essays, which includes, among other things, being able to identify ‘general points’ such as main ideas, summaries, authors’ tone, and vocabulary in context. Test takers are also rewarded by effectively answering specific questions and understanding details in context.


There are three different categories of GRE Verbal questions:




Number of Verbal Sections


2 (more if one is experimental)

Number of Verbal Questions


40 (20 questions in each section)


(additional 20 questions if given experimental section)


65 minutes

60 minutes (30 minutes per section)

Main Topics Tested

Reading Comprehension


Critical Reasoning

Sentence Correction

Reading Comprehension


Text Completion

Sentence Equivalence

Score Range





 Like the GMAT, the GRE Reading Comprehension questions test your ability to read a passage then answer both general and specific questions on the text. Similar to the GMAT, making sure you’re reading as fast and effectively. Check your reading speed here.


Text Completion questions are short passages with one or more blanks. You will choose from a list of words which best completes the idea presented. You can pick multiple answers  and this is often vocabulary driven.


With Sentence Equivalence questions, you choose answers to fill in blanks and produce sentences that have same or similar meanings. Like Text Completion, this is also vocabulary driven.


GMAT and GRE Quant &

 GMAT Integrated Reasoning 


While the GRE and GMAT quantitative sections present similar math concepts, their approach in how they test those topics is different. The majority of math concepts on both tests include Arithmetic, Algebra, Data Analysis, Geometry, as well as Combinations, Probability, Statistics, and more — mostly, believe it or not, learned in middle and high school math. Neither exam tests higher-level math concepts, such as Calculus or Trigonometry.


GMAT Quantitative


The GMAT tests math acumen through the Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning sections, and features two types of questions: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency.


Problem Solving questions are straight forward, multiple choice questions. You typically solve equations, interpret graphs, evaluate data, or perform a combination of the three. Answers are among five multiple choice options.


Data Sufficiency questions (roughly half of the 31 math questions) require you to determine whether you can answer the question with either a combination of, either, or both of the two statements provided. You are only required to determine if you have sufficient information to answer the question numerically; not actually answer the equation. The test taker determines whether one, both, or neither statement is sufficient. This question type is unique in the world of standardized tests, and most GMAT test takers haven’t come into contact with it prior to taking this test. Please note: Sometimes just being aware and becoming familiar with this odd question type helps give you an edge.


Integrated Reasoning Section


While this section is not strictly ‘quant’, it does feature four mathematical types: graphics interpretation, two-part analysis, table analysis, and multi-source reasoning. Your performance on this section, again, is not included in the ‘multiple choice’ GMAT score. This section evaluates your skills in analysis and interpretation of data, relationships between presented information, and ways to identify and combine information necessary to solve complex math questions. Yes, the presentation of the material in these questions is typically more complex than straight forward problem solving. In addition, because of their multiple parts, you need to be able to handle their details as well as their computation accurately.




Number of Sections


  • 1 Quantitative
  • 1 Integrated Reasoning

2 (unless quant is experimental, in which case you have 3 sections)

Number of Quantitative Questions

31 Quantitative

12 Integrated Reasoning


(20 questions in each section) (unless the quant is experimental, in which case you have 20 additional questions, for a total of 60 questions)


62 minutes Quantitative

30 minutes Integrated Reasoning

60 minutes total

(30 minutes per section — if the quant is experimental, it’s 90 minutes, total)

Main Topics Tested:





Data analysis

Data Sufficiency

Problem Solving

Integrated Reasoning:

Multi-source reasoning

Graphics interpretation

Two-part analysis

Table analysis

Problem Solving

Quantitative Comparison

Score Range



Integrated Reasoning: 1-8



GRE Quant


Quantitative Reasoning questions are mostly multiple-choice; however, like the SAT (remember that test?), you will have several numeric entry questions in which you input correct answers instead of selecting from given answer choices.


Also similar to the SAT, you have multiple-choice questions known as Quantitative Comparison. For these questions, you are presented with two quantities that answer the question of whether Quantity A is larger, Quantity B is larger, whether the two quantities are equal (C), or whether the relationship can’t be determined (D). With these questions, (E) is not an option.



Which Quantitative Section Is More Difficult?


Typically, the quantitative section of the GMAT is considered to be more difficult than that of the GRE. Even though these exams test similar topics, the format of the GMAT’s Data Sufficiency questions and that of Integrated Reasoning section are objectively ‘weirder’ in format than what most test takers are accustomed to, and the math is typically at a higher level and more difficult. The GMAT generally demands more critical thinking and analysis than the GRE, where quantitative questions are presented in a more straightforward multiple choice or numeric entry format — both of which you’ve likely seen before.


City Test Prep PRO TIP # 7:

One way we’ve described the differences in these math sections is to remind test takers that the GMAT is solely for business school, and that the test simulates business situations. As such, you’re tested not only for critical thinking skills, but also in what kind of business person you are; for example, do you take calculated risks? Do you move too quickly through the questions? Too slow? The GRE, on the other hand, is a more general test, and less tricky because it casts its net wider for more types of test takers headed to a variety of graduate programs, including law school and business school. Ultimately, it comes back to which types of questions you perform better on to help decide whether you’ll want to take the GRE or GMAT.


Analytical Writing


The major difference between the GRE and GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment sections is that the GMAT requires one essay, whereas the GRE has you write two; so this GRE section is twice as long (1 hour). For the GMAT, you are presented with one essay prompt in the form of an argument. Your job is to evaluate this argument’s strengths and weaknesses. You focus only on the information presented — its strengths and weaknesses, as well as how it can be improved. You aren’t asked to present your own opinion or draw from your experience.


On the GRE, you will have two essays: Analyze an Argument and Analyze an Issue. The Analyze an Argument essay is a similar process to that of the GMAT essay. You critique an argument but do not bring in outside information or opinions. For the Analyze a Issue essay, your job is to respond to the prompt, and take a stance, and explain, and justify your stance with evidence. The reasoning can exist outside of the essay itself. Each essay is scored on a scale of 0 – 6, and needs to be completed in 30 minutes.


FUN FACT: The GMAT originally had the GRE writing essays and the GRE originally didn’t have a writing section at all!


Comparison of Analytical Writing Sections: At a Glance




Number of Writing Sections



Number of Essay Prompts




30 minutes

Two 30-minute sections

Main Topics Tested

Analysis of argument

Analyze an Issue


Analyze an Argument

Score Range






City Test Prep PRO TIP #4 – Questions vs. Problems


While it’s fairly standard test prep lingo, we don’t call questions on the GMAT or GRE “problems.” We call them questions. Why? We’d rather find answers for questions than solutions for problems. Problems seem big and dramatic and by seeking ‘answers’ we are able to apply a simple linguistic pivot which we believe gives a test-taker greater agency and confidence.


City Test Prep PRO TIP #5 – Ways to Answer


One of the best ways to answer questions on multiple choice tests, especially those on a computer, is to create an answer sheet for yourself before taking the test. Using your scratch pad, you can effectively create an answer sheet, as well as a brain dump prior to beginning the test. Once you have an ‘answer sheet,’ you can actively engage in the ‘process of elimination.’ As you complete your math computations, cross off answer choices on your scratch pad that are incorrect. For the verbal process of elimination, pick the answer which is ‘least wrong’ rather than one that is ‘correct.’


City Test Prep PRO TIP #6 – Answer GMAT’s Data Sufficiency Questions


For your answer sheet you’ll write question numbers followed by each of the multiple choice letters — A, B, C, D, and E. For Data Sufficiency questions, however, it’s easier to engage with answer choices non-linearly. The answers for Data Sufficiency questions can be summarized as the following::


Choose (A) if  only statement 1 ALONE is correct

Choose (B) if only statement 2 ALONE is correct 

Choose (C) if BOTH statements1 and 2 TOGETHER are sufficient to answer the question , but neither are correct individually

Choose (D) if statement 1 and statement 2 are correct, ALONE, only individually, but not together

Choose (E) if statement 1 and statement 2 are neither correct individually NOR together


With each Data Sufficiency question you do, read the question, then based on how statement 


(1) works, you will either write down AD or BCE. Why? Because once you know statement 1 works, the answer choice can ONLY be either:

(A) meaning only statement 1 works


(D) — that (A) and (B) each work individually, but not combined together.

If Statement 1 does NOT work, the answer choice can only be B, C or E. 


**Sometimes, you might apply the information of Statement 2 first, because you’re more comfortable with it or it seems easier. In that case, you will use a BD/ACE template. Same reasoning, except when starting with B, if statement 2 works, you only have B or D as an option.


SO it’s AD or BCE as two answer groups or BD or ACE


New Considerations – How/Where you can take your GMAT/GRE


Remember that pesky pandemic? Oh, that’s right: it’s still happening. One of the innovative solutions from ETS and GMAC due to COVID was that students gained the option to take the tests at home because the centers and test dates became untenable. They kept this option available so now you can take the identical tests as at-home proctored exams. Taking the test at home provides an interesting not typically discussed perk for when you want to retake the test in less time than is prescribed when taking at the centers (how many days?) If you take a test at home, you can retake the test at the center soon afterwards. And as much of a test-prep superstar you anticipate being, you’ll likely want (or need) to take your test at least twice, so plan accordingly.


Should You Take Your Test at Home or at a Center?


One of the newest aspects of taking these tests, thanks mostly to COVID, is that you can now take them at home. During the COVID-19 pandemic, test taking was mostly limited to only taking these tests at home. Now that things have opened up a bit, you have the option of

taking the test at a center again. Here are some of the pros and cons of either option.


Home Version


At-home proctored versions of the test are similar in the respective test’s question types and sections. Still, despite the comforts of home, don’t be mistaken: the rules and set up can be a bit of a nail-biter. You need to clear out your space in terms of “things,” animate and inanimate, and any regular/normal noises are not kosher either. But taking the test at home can be beneficial for those struggling with test anxiety. For one, you’re in a comfortable, familiar environment without any of the distractions of the people around you, and the monitoring will keep you on track. But the set-up can be pretty overwhelming when you have to know what to do on top of studying for the actual test. 


Here is where you can find out if you have all the recommended technical requirements.


Center Version


Taking a test at a center has its own benefits and challenges. Online testing may not be an option if you don’t have a computer, but in-person testing may not be an option if transportation is unreliable. One silver lining for taking the test at a center is that you are not responsible for the “setup,” so it may not be as anxiety-inducing. 



You get unofficial scores immediately for both versions of the GMAT, and official score turnaround is about the same for both versions unless your online exam gets flagged for administrative review. 


How Many Times Can You Take the Test?


While you may only want to take either test one time, most students should plan on taking it at least twice. Many students wind up taking it multiple times, often because they don’t address what they need to improve the most effectively. While schools perceive taking the test multiple times as your having perseverance, your score not improving may not fare as well. This is an endorsement for getting effective customized support rather than taking the test multiple times without making gains. Remember: the test simulates how you’re perceived as a business professional, and you can apply the adage, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If you don’t change HOW you’re going to improve your test performance, and you keep earning the same score, schools may not believe you’re insane, but they may wonder about your business acumen. 


Based on what test you take and where you take it, you’ll have different options as to what feedback you get AND when you can take the test again. 


  •     For the GRE, you can take the test once and then retake it after 21 days (once you receive your scores). 


  •     Right now for the GMAT, it’s a 16-day waiting period to retake the GMAT in-person.


  •     The work around however for the GMAT is if you take the test at home, you can “turn around” and take the test at a center, not needing to wait the 16 days.


  •     You can take the GRE up to 5 times of any rolling 12 month period.  


  •     You can take the GMAT, once every 16 days, and no more than 5 times in any rolling 12 month period and no more than 8 times total. Both center and at home versions of these numbers count towards these calculations.


Even More Considerations


  1.           Research the exam policies of the schools you’re interested in. Most schools will state whether they accept either or both tests. If they aren’t explicit, contact their admissions office directly, and ask someone whether they prefer one exam over the other.


  1.     As stated initially, how you perform and feel while taking a diagnostic exam may indicate which test to take. You can download software to take diagnostics for both exams on their official sites, and they’re free. Here is a link to GMAT practice exams and a link to GRE practice exams. Since you now know these tests take over 3 hours, set aside time to take them on different days, and take them under realistic testing conditions if possible; in one sitting, with the same breaks you’ll get on the real test, and with minimal distractions. Score your exams, identify if you had to guess on any of the questions, and take note of how you felt during the exam. Remember: Tests don’t only measure what you know; they measure how well you take exams.



Now, about those scores… Compare your performance! Did you score significantly higher on one test? Did one test feel more challenging than the other?  Further, since the GMAT and the GRE use different scoring scales, use a conversion table to convert your scores so you can compare apples to apples, score to score, and apply the results of objective data to see which test you’re scoring higher on. Here is a 2020 listing of GRE scores for the top business schools. Remember your scores are not all you are, just a part of your application, albeit an important one. 


While you can prepare and register for both tests, this may not be optimal planning. As a business professional, consider the time and money it takes to prepare for both the ‘best’ business decision. While there is overlap in content between the tests, studying for and taking both tests will likely take more time, and if working with professionals, will certainly cost more.


  1.     One school of thought is that if you’re sure that you want to attend business school, seriously consider the GMAT: It may indicate to business schools that you’re committed to attending business school and only business school, not a double degree or another graduate degree. Some students who take the GRE to get into business school have to take the GMAT while enrolled to qualify for subsequent professional opportunities! The GRE, on the other hand, may be perceived as keeping options open for other kinds of graduate study.


  1.     Take inventory on whether you’re better at one of the sections. If you’re better at math, you might want to take an easier verbal section. If you’re better at grammar, you might want to take the GMAT, and if you’re a vocab wiz, you might veer towards the GRE. Play to your strengths, take the least resistant path, and pick the test that you will score higher on.



  1.     The last considerations, which should be a very low priority, are the time you have to prepare for the tests, the cost, the convenience of the location they’re offered, and whether you’ve got enough opportunities to take the test multiple times. The GMAT score cancellation option effectively allows you to “choose” which scores to send, Most students take each of these tests at least twice.  Since the GRE is a more widely accepted test, there are more dates and locations to take it. Research the location and date availability of each test.


City Prep PRO TIP #8: Go to the test center before your test date so you can reduce surprises on test day. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the bureaucratic policies for when you go to take your test, and be sure to have all your documentation and identification with you!


Schools don’t penalize or judge a candidate who has taken a test twice, or even three times, but if you think you may need to take a particular test more than that, or if you’re worried you might get a particularly low score the first time you take the exam, be aware that the GRE is flexible in allowing you to choose which scores to send.




The fees of both exams are pretty comparable, so this likely won’t be a deciding factor. However, it’s still good information to know. The GMAT costs $275 either at the center or at home as compared to the GRE, which costs $205.


The GMAT fee includes five free score reports, while the GRE only includes four free score reports. If you think you’ll have to take the test multiple times, the GMAT’s higher fee could be something to consider. To send additional score reports, it costs $28 for each GMAT report and $27 for each GRE report sent. The online at home version fees may be different.

Another consideration in choosing one test over another is if a school has specific scholarship eligibility requirements. Some schools or programs require applicants to submit scores from a specific exam. Make sure you don’t limit yourself for this opportunity by choosing a standardized test that isn’t counted towards financial support.


Remember that your test scores are ultimately only one part of your application and candidacy. Be sure your personal statement, letters of recommendation, interviews, grades, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work are also strong reflections of who you are, in order to maximize your chances of being admitted into your top schools.


Next Steps and More Support


If you’re still not sure after taking diagnostics and considering test content information, we can offer our expert advice through a comprehensive evaluation which will identify your strengths, weaknesses, and any patterns in HOW you answer questions (not just which ones you answer incorrectly). Our evaluation also includes a reading speed assessment, evaluation of your diagnostic, our quizzes, and a thorough intake which indicates if you need support to eliminate stress and anxiety or would benefit from tools that will increase focus and confidence. Based on your GRE and GMAT diagnostic, we can also assess which test you take compared on your performance, provide feedback on which test will reflect your best score and which one will more easily help you to meet your goals/needs.