The GMAT vs. the GRE

To take the GMAT or GRE … that is the question.

Business student

As part of our admissions process, TMMBA requires either the GMAT or GRE exam. This requirement tends to be the most daunting hurdle for applicants. Why? For most people, it’s been many years since they’ve been in school, so they are far from being in the “swing of things” with standardized test taking. Test prep also takes a great deal of dedication and time – time that applicants must fit into their already busy lives of work, family/friends and extracurricular activities. And, there’s no denying that taking a standardized test can be a stressor for many people.

So, why does TMMBA require an admissions exam?

Purpose of the Admissions Exam

The GMAT or GRE allows TMMBA to measure general intellectual ability, and the exams are a comparable stat that can be used across applicants. To gauge how your scores stack up, our student GMAT averages typically fall in the upper 500s and GRE averages are between 1240-1300 (old test format) and 308-320 (new test format).

The exam also demonstrates your dedication to the admissions process. If you don’t have time to prepare for the GMAT or GRE, then you surely won’t have time to commit to the rigor of the TMMBA Program over 18-months. So, the admissions exams act as a test drive for applicants to map out their time management & commitment well before the Program starts.

The test displays applicants’ ability to think under pressure and highlights certain skills that may translate well in the classroom environment.

Selection Process

The TMMBA selection process is very holistic, and the admissions exam is just one of many factors in the evaluation. You shouldn’t let this exam be the one thing stopping you from applying to TMMBA. The TMMBA admissions team recognizes that test scores aren’t the sole indicator of success in the classroom, and some otherwise very competitive applicants just may not be the best test takers (but still be an excellent fit for TMMBA). In short, if you’re concerned about your scores or have any apprehensions about taking the test, come talk with someone on the admissions team. We’re always happy to help share test strategies, discuss your fit with TMMBA or explain more about the role of the exam in the admissions process.

Now that you know more about the “why” of the exam, let’s shift to discussing which exam you should consider taking.

The GMAT and GRE Compared

As we connect with applicants, we receive a lot of questions on whether it’s more advantageous for someone to take the GMAT or the GRE for admission to the TMMBA Program. The answer – TMMBA does not have a preference for either exam and evaluates candidates equally across both. 

With that said, there are a few helpful pointers* that someone can consider when deciding which exam to take:

GMAT:

  • The math can be considered more difficult due to the different type of questions. The GMAT includes data sufficiency rather than quantitative comparison, which is found in the GRE.
  • The interface is difficult because there is no going back or forward. You must answer each question before proceeding.
  • The verbal section can be considered easier because the questions are grammar questions and doesn’t really test vocabulary like the GRE does.
  • The test overall is more forgiving. You can miss many questions and still get a top score, if test is adapted up.
  • It is very hard to get a top quantitative score, but it is relatively easy to get a top verbal score due to the high percentage of math-focused test-takers.

GRE:

  • The math is easier because it includes quantitative questions instead of data sufficiency.
  • The interface allows you to go back and forward, making it much easier to use.
  • Test takers can use a calculator for math.
  • The verbal section is harder due to the significant amount of vocabulary-based questions.
  • Overall the test is very unforgiving for top scores, particularly for math: a few errors will drop the score significantly.

Best plan: take both as practice tests and see if your percentile scores vary greatly. If they don’t, take the test you feel more comfortable with. If you feel like you can be extremely accurate on easier questions, the GRE is probably the right move. If you feel like you make a few errors, but are able to do well on advanced questions, the GMAT is likely the better option.

*(These tips were shared by a Kaplan Test Prep representative at a recent TMMBA GRE/GMAT Strategy Workshop. TMMBA hosts a couple of these workshops each year; click here to stay informed of our 2017 dates).

We wish you the best of luck on whichever test you decide to pursue. And know that the TMMBA admissions team is here to help along the way. Connect with us individually or join us for an upcoming application workshop for more tips on navigating the admissions exam. Happy test prep!