GMAT Versus GRE–Which One Should You Take?

Jan. 7, 2021


What’s the Difference?

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) are two different tests used as an admission requirement for many business colleges and schools. Both have the same purpose—to gauge basic verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and writing skills—but with different methods.

The GMAT is used mainly to apply to business schools and is geared more towards prior business knowledge and skills, whereas the GRE is used as an admission requirement for a variety of graduate programs and is more generalized. However, the GMAT is not required for all business schools and sometimes the GRE can be taken in lieu. Make sure you know which one (if any) your school/program of choice requires before taking either one.

Which One Should I Take?

It all depends on your strong suits and future plans. There are a few factors that you should consider when deciding which one to take:

  • Career goals and planning
  • Cost
  • Math skills
  • Language skills
  • Test-taking skills

Career Goals and Planning

When it comes to career goals, if your goal is to eventually enroll in an MBA program or similar program, the best option may be to take the GMAT. Many management consulting and investment banking firms require GMAT scores, so make sure you know what test (if any) your career field of choice requires.

The GRE is acceptable for most graduate schools and is therefore more flexible, but GMAT is geared towards business schools. The test sections and questions are meant to prepare you for business school programs. If your plan is to enroll into a business school, then GMAT is likely the exam you should take, as it will prepare you for skills you’ll need in your program.


The GMAT currently generally costs $250, though the price is $150 for current undergrad students or those who take the test within six months of graduation. The GRE sits at $205.

Math Skills

The GMAT is heavy on quantitative math questions, whereas the GRE is less so. Those with stronger math skills may consider taking the GMAT to focus on those strengths.

Language Skills

As for language skills, the GRE is generally more difficult when it comes to obscure vocabulary as well as the verbal section, which may be challenging for nonnative English speakers.

Test-taking Skills

Something to consider for both tests is how the examination is dealt. The GRE allows test-takers to return to questions they find difficult, whereas the GMAT does not. The GMAT is provided in a more structured format that allows test-takers to move through the examination at a faster pace, if that is your ideal test-taking method.

Eller Requirements

The Eller College of Management requires either GMAT or GRE scores for its Full-Time and Online MBA programs, while allowing the requirement to be waived on certain conditions. Learn more here.

For the year 2021, however, due to COVID-19, the GMAT and GRE are either waived or not required for all students applying to the following programs:

For programs that still require GMAT or GRE test scores, online and at/home versions of the test are also accepted for 2021.

To learn more about the GMAT requirement at Eller, watch this video.

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