GRE to GMAT Conversion in 2021

GRE to GMAT Conversion

As the GRE becomes more settled as an MBA admissions exam we’re going to be doing more GRE articles. Here we’re looking at GRE to GMAT conversion. For a no holds barred, in depth look at how the GMAT and GRE compare check out our GMAT vs GRE post.

GRE to GMAT Conversion

How do schools compare a GRE score to GMAT score? Good question. The two business school test behemoths have starkly different scoring systems making comparison a tricky business. In its quest for a piece of the MBA admissions pie, ETS has created a clever tool that admissions officers can use to convert GRE scores to GMAT scores. There is some evidence to suggest that MBA programs do use the ETS GRE to GMAT conversion tool to equate the two tests rather than relying on the GRE score alone. Here’s a video from Duke on how they evaluate GRE scores.

Why convert GRE to GMAT?

The GRE hasn’t been around for very long as an MBA admissions test so admissions committees haven’t 100% figured out how to evaluate GRE scores on their own. In time it’s likely that you won’t need GRE to GMAT conversion but for now it seems most programs are more comfortable converting GRE scores and pegging results to GMAT standard.

How is a GRE score converted to a GMAT score?

ETS has the scores from a sample of people who have taken both tests. Data scientists made some assumptions, massaged the numbers, and voila: the GRE conversion tool!  

Is GRE to GMAT conversion accurate?

GMAC, the owner of the GMAT says no. Here is a scathing article written by Chris Han (Head of Test Development and Psychometrics at GMAC) suggesting that the GRE to GMAT conversion is complete nonsense.

ETS, the owner of the GRE says yes-ish. ETS provides this little disclaimer: “The predicted score range is approximately +/- 50 points for the total GMAT score and +/- 6 points on the Verbal and Quantitative scores.” The swing on the total and on the individual sections seems massive considering that people stress about a 690 vs a 700. Do MBA programs consider this 50 point margin of error in the score conversion? My guess: no.

At this point if a school is using the conversion tool it’s probably taking the results at face value and not bothering with the disclaimers. And, just to add some balance here, GMAC also states that the GMAT should be viewed in 30 point score bands. Do MBA programs consider a 690 the same as a 720? In terms of you being able to do the work at the program, probably. But in terms of admissions I don’t think so. The 690 is going to bring a top ten MBA program’s GMAT average down hurting MBA rankings. 

Things actually get worse on the sub-section score conversion. The quant and verbal scores potentially swing 6 points. That means on the quant you could be at a 45 (55th percentile) or a 51 (96th percentile). That is some wild GMAT to GRE score conversion!

OK, cough it up. What’s the GRE conversion formula???!

(drum roll please)

GRE to GMAT Total score = -2080.75 + 6.38*GRE Verbal Reasoning score + 10.62*GRE Quantitative Reasoning score

GRE to GMAT Verbal score = -109.49 + 0.912*GRE Verbal Reasoning score

GRE to GMAT Quantitative score = -158.42 + 1.243*GRE Quantitative Reasoning score