The GMAT is the de-facto business school test and is outright preferred by at least some admissions officials. But 92% of schools accept the GRE and the percent of people admitted to top business schools with GRE scores is rising (22% at Yale, 16% at Stanford GSB,...). We’ve done an in-depth GMAT vs GRE analysis but here are some quick points for taking the GRE over the GMAT:

  1. You’ve taken 5 GMATs this year. You can only take 5 GMATs in a 12 month period so if you’ve exhausted your quota, haven’t reached your score goal, and still have the juice to soldier on with your standardized test studying then the GRE is your sole option for business school admissions. Since the GMAT and the GRE cover nearly identical content all of that GMAT studying will apply to the GRE.
  2. You’ve taken 8 GMATs total. Same as above. 8 is the lifetime limit. Now, GMAC claims that you can appeal but the odds are against you. I haven't heard of any successful appeals.
  3. You’ve been offered special accommodation (extra time or otherwise) on the GRE but not on the GMAT. If you have an advantage on the GRE that could tip the scales.
  4. It's an unlikely combination of skills that would push you to the GRE but: If you have an insane vocabulary, aren’t good at grammar, are good at quant, but awful at puzzles the GRE could be a smart first choice. I would still take a GMAT and a GRE official practice test to support the choice with some evidence.
  5. You just took a GMAT, didn’t do well, and have to submit applications in less than 17 days before you can re-take a GMAT. In this case, why not give the GRE a shot?
  6. You’re planning on applying to some programs that require the GRE. Yes, the GRE is the underdog in the MBA universe but in the graduate world as a whole it is a behemoth and gives you a ton of options.
  7. You've hit a wall with GMAT studying and have 0% motivation to continue so it's either give up entirely or take the GRE. This is risky. Make sure that you’ve been studying the right way for the GMAT. That you’ve been organized and held yourself accountable. Fundamental issues will follow you to the GRE. That said, if for whatever reason the GMAT is eluding you maybe the GRE is just speaking your language. Most people will perform about the same on the GMAT or the GRE but you may be an exception.
  8. You cheated! You've been accused of a GMAT testing irregularity and are banned from taking another GMAT. Good thing there's a GRE option!

Have some other ideas on why to take the GRE over the GMAT? Have a GRE success story? Fire away with your experiences, comments, and questions!

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