GRE is Fast Becoming a GMAT Alternative for B-School Applicants

More than 300 business schools now accept the GRE, and many more may follow suit in coming years.


 [Read about the potential impact on B-school rankings.]

Now that so many schools are giving the applicants an option between the tests, it's important for business school candidates to know which exam is right for them. Sean-Michael Green, dean of graduate and adult enrollment at Marist College, is familiar with both tests, having taken the GRE and GMAT three times each in the past five years as a hobby. He claims the GRE places more emphasis on vocabulary and favors students with strong backgrounds in English. Conversely, Green notes that the math is easier on the GRE than the GMAT, so students who wish to attend business school but have taken little or no math during their time in college should steer clear of the GMAT. "If someone hasn't had many math courses, they would have a very difficult time with the GMAT, but that person could survive the GRE because a lot of the math is algebra," he says. 

Graduate exams are not cheap, so cost is a factor as well. In the U.S., the GRE costs $160, which is $90 cheaper than taking the GMAT. While that difference may seem negligible as a one-time payment, many students opt to take the tests multiple times. Given that the GRE is less expensive and allows students to apply to a broader range of graduate programs, some experts feel it's the test that makes the most sense for a broader number of students, especially those unsure if business school is right for them. "If you can take one test and get away with it, why not?" asks Neill Seltzer, national GRE content director for the Princeton Review. "Especially if you're not sure if you're going to go to business school or graduate school." 

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