The GRE is now competing with GMAT as the standard admission test for business school. The revised GRE will be accepted at over 450 MBA accredited institutions/programs, creating another dilemma for applicants.

For many of our non-MBA track customers (we just received an acceptance to the Harvard Kennedy School), the GRE is the only test accepted.

We offer GRE instruction, and have noticed rising demand for this test from Swiss Masters (mostly St Gallen) and international MBAs and graduate schools.

GRE prep is usually 1:1, and we will announce a class as soon as we receive sufficient interest.

I recently performed a detailed analysis of the GRE (Graduate Record Exam).

Here are the major differences that I found:

1. Cost

The GRE is cheaper ($140 vs. $250.)

2. Math section

The GRE math is easier. Why? The GRE is a general graduate school test. Many applicants use it to enter non-technical graduate programs. It is much easier to outperform than on GMAT, which attracts a much more mathematically inclined group. So it’s no wonder that the math on the GMAT is more difficult than that on the GRE.

The “catch” to this point is GRE is not as tolerant to  mistakes as GMAT. The first section of 20 questions is not mathematically hard, but a silly mistake can mean that the test-taker does not “qualify” for the second round of math questions, and this is where a good score is decided.

3. Verbal

Here there are major differences. The GRE is highly dependent on vocabulary. For non-natives, this is a huge problem. GMAT is recognition-based multiple choice, so you can use the context to help you with unknown words.

GMAT has a more logical orientation, and this can actually benefit non-natives, assuming they are good readers in English.

Both tests assume native-level proficiency, so there is no easy way out for people not confident in their English abilities.


4. What do schools want.

The GMAT is a pure-play for business school. The GRE is a newcomer to business school.

The GMAT makes it easy for schools to benchmark applicants. Often the GMAT is the only point in common on a diverse group of applications.

When I asked the schools, they mentioned the GRE as a way to attract women. MBAs are under pressure to increase enrolment among women. The GRE, with its more general orientation, is perhaps a way to take down a significant barrier (GMAT)  to women.

5. The final word

If you are looking at a general master’s, and not MBA, probably take the GRE.

If your math is not good, GRE math will probably be a bit quicker to crack.

If you are surely on an MBA track, the GMAT is the traditional test that MBAs expect and understand.

If you can’t decide, each test offers a free download exam that gives an accurate score. Take a practice test and see what feels “easier”.

Still don’t know? Call me and give me a bit of your personal background and I’ll make a recommendation.

Blog Comments

Hi there!

I just finished my Bachelor in political science at UZH this summer.
Now I am thinking about applying to the MIA program at HSG. One admission requirement is to either do a GMAT or GRE, where for the GMAT the overall score is taken into account but for GRE they only consider the quant. reasoning part.
I am working now full time until end of December 2018. I am planning on taking off January, February, if necessary March to solely study for this (I will be working 20-40% to stay sane and not get too broke during this time too). Right now, I am thinking on going for the GRE, as they only consider my score in one section (I need at least 158/170, my goal however is to be in the 165-170 range). Also I heard the math part of GRE is easier than the one of GMAT, although I am doing quite ok with math, I have taken math 1 and 2, microeconomics, macroeconomics and statistics at uni. Just haven’t used it for a while. So my questions are:

– Do you offer any kind of courses for GRE as well?
– If not, can you recommend a study resource?
– Do you know if it is possible to just do the quant reasoning part of GRE or will I have to do the whole test anyway?
– would you say my planned timeframe makes sense?
– I am also interested in applying for scholarships, can you give me some more information on that as well?

Really appreciate your support.
Kind regards,

Dear Vera, good afternoon, first of all sorry for the late answer, somehow the message was in the spam folder and I just saw it.
Yes, we are very active with GRE.
It has become a good alternative to GMAT with an even wider application.
And as you say the math is a bit more manageable.

How strange that the MIA only uses the GRE quant, but since it’s an achievable goal we can for sure make easy progress.

Let me answer your questions below:

– Do you offer any kind of courses for GRE as well?
Yes, mostly one to one but occasionally group courses depending on demand.
I have a good group of students right now.

– If not, can you recommend a study resource?
We recommend official guides from ETS, as they have the retired test questions.
Do the mock test on the GRE site if you haven’t done so already.

– Do you know if it is possible to just do the quant reasoning part of GRE or will I have to do the whole test anyway?

You should do the whole test because only the MIA has this bizarre rule of only considering quant. You will want to apply to several schools.

– would you say my planned timeframe makes sense?
You could do it faster if you needed to. It seems like you have enough of a math background that you don’t start from zero.

– I am also interested in applying for scholarships, can you give me some more information on that as well?
We have successfully won scholarship money for many students.
The normal procedure is that you follow the application process and if accepted apply for a scholarship.
A high GRE is quite useful for scholarships so that may give you some incentive to get it done.
I am not aware of scholarships at the MIA as the school is federal and already quite a good deal.

those are my thoughts for now, give me a call at 078 842 9910 to discuss further
Kind regards, Nick

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