The GMAT vs. The GRE

Which Test to Take

I’ve taught both the GMAT and the GRE for many years, and I know both curricula well. In fact, I’ve memorized every concept on both exams and rarely miss a question. (Read our story on How to Get a Perfect Score on the GMAT and GRE for more.) But now that most business schools accept both exams, which test should you take?

The answer just got much more complicated.

Both the GMAT and the GRE are Changing

You may know that both the GMAT and the GRE are scheduled to change in late 2023, and the changes will be very significant.

In the new formats, both tests will be cut nearly in half in terms of time. That will make it less taxing to take the exams, but it will also make it harder for test takers to differentiate themselves.

Adding to this problem is the fact that some of the most coachable test question types are being eliminated. For instance, the two most coachable question types on the GMAT exam are sentence correction and data sufficiency. And both of those question formats are going away (as are questions involving geometry).

That means we’ll be left with an exam that is harder to coach. (There will be a greater emphasis on reading comprehension and critical reasoning-like questions on the new exam, and improving on those sections can be slow.)

What Schools are Saying

Some leading business schools are putting restrictions on which version of the tests they will accept. For instance, Harvard recently announced that it would not accept scores from the “new” version of the GMAT for applicants in the 2023–2024 application cycle. That means test takers need to take the current version of the GMAT or switch to the GRE.

But what about the new GRE? Will Harvard accept it or only the current version? We don’t yet know. We’re waiting for feedback on that from HBS and from all other schools.

Your Strategy

It’s probably best to take the GMAT or GRE in their current formats. We have plenty of information about those exams and lots of practice material. By contrast, the new versions are kind of unknow and, in my opinion, less coachable.

I’m looking forward to seeing the new exams, but I think most people in the 2023 – 2024 application cycle should probably stick with the current versions of the tests.