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For those looking to pursue graduate education, there are two examinations that are a vital step in the admissions process: the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test); and the GRE (Graduate Record Examination).

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Though the GMAT has historically been exclusive to candidates seeking admission to business schools with management programs (MBA, MSA, etc.), more business schools have started to accept GRE scores for admission as well. According to a study by Kaplan Test Prep, 69 percent of the 265 business school admission officers surveyed now give applicants the option of submitting either GRE or GMAT scores. Furthermore, the majority of those schools (69 percent) say that both test scores are viewed equally, while 29 percent said that applicants who submit GMAT scores have an advantage over those with GRE scores.

Below is a snapshot overview of each test:


  • Used for 5,400 programs offered by more than 1,500 universities and institutions in 83 countries
  • Test Areas: Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytics
  • Computer-Adaptive Test
  • $250 Test Fee
  • Scores Valid for 5 Years
  • Scores range from 200-800
  • Test Time: 3.5 Hours (prepare for 4 hours with breaks)


  • Created and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), beginning in 1949
  • Major overhaul in August 2011
  • Test Areas: Analytics (2 essays), Verbal, Quantitative, and Experimental Paper-Based as well as Computer-Adaptive
  • $130-$210 Test Fee (depends on which country in which the test is taken)
  • Scores Valid for 5 Years
  • Test Time: 3+ Hours (depends on format)

Which Test Should I Take?

Unfortunately, there is no exact science when it comes to an individual’s ability to succeed on either the GMAT or the GRE. With similar content, questions, and format, it really depends on the school to which you are applying. Most schools accept both scores, but it’s best practice to research the preferred test for each institution to which you are applying. That said, the best method for figuring out which test makes sense is to do a practice GMAT or a practice GRE. Take a free GMAT practice exam »