GMAT vs. GRE – What to consider, from expert GRE & GMAT tutors

Tyler York
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Testcrackers founders Yuri Gottesman and Seth Capron have tutored thousands of both GRE and GMAT students, with an average teaching experience of 18+ years across their entire staff. In this episode, Yuri and Seth deep dive into the differences between the GRE verbal and GMAT verbal, the GRE quant and the GMAT quant, and how each exam is perceived by graduate programs and MBA programs. Don’t miss this expert deep dive on a critical topic.

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Full GMAT vs. GRE – What to consider, from expert GRE & GMAT tutors video transcript:

Welcome to GRE snacks, snackin full episodes about the GRE exam and graduate school admission. Tyler founder of achievable. Our $199 GRE course includes everything you need to ace the GRE: a full textbook, tons of questions, and full-length practice exams. Try it out for free at and if you like it, the code podcast gets you $20 off at checkout. Now, today we've got the two founders of testcrackers on with us to talk about GMAT vs. GRE and do their business covers both exams. They are uniquely suited for this topic. So, really excited to have you guys on now, if you want to Lose Yourself real quick. Thank you so much. Tyler Perry, I think Tyler and and I'm sad quick moment on testcrackers, we've been running an in-person and online courses for the team and Jerry for some time now is 1000

Interactive and just give you a lot of time to work through this material with an expert who understands it very well if you want to learn more about Us website call at 415-323-5728, thanks really just at a high-level how you approach GRE vs. GMAT. If you're you know let's say you're playing either just to any program or to an MBA program, I think the NBA's probably where they're going to be the most overlap between this to exam and what do you, how do you start adding stuff? You had some good thoughts on kind of like once the starting point from which to start, to lay out this decision framework and what you think about us.

Sure. I mean quick version goes like this.

If you're going to business school right now, both are very viable option and you're choosing, which one's better for you. Either one's probably sensible, if you're not going to cut it at all because he programmed outside of NBA, some real estate some other Finance that's a little but mostly you're going to need the GRE programs or aren't sure what program the GRE he's got them off the value against you that flexibility that you know you can do more things with the GRE score or both are good for 5 years in terms of business school. Historically, the GMAT was the way to go and within the time I've been teaching these test, it was a weird thing to apply to store in the business school.

Students as a result, it kind of felt like this way. You could sneak in you had a good application, otherwise because they wouldn't have to take a hit to their averages by letting in somebody with a lower GRE score. That's just it's become so normal to apply with the GRE. Now, it's a huge percentage of the current classes in business programs and it's totally standard report. These average scores now, to get it, that's really faded. And if you know what it comes down to me at this point, is I think the schools from what I see are sophisticated enough to understand that, the scores mean different things into a sort of use them to evaluate you compared to other people who took the same exam. And then mostly you want to take the exam that you're better suited for personally that you are going to have a competitive advantage on to something about the format of content or type of things. Tested on this exam, has to be where you're going to excel a bit more.

Yeah, you're any thoughts that? I think the two exams are are different in significant ways and similar in some ways and there are advantages and disadvantages to each exam. Did you wish to talk about the the difference is like in the specific sections? Oh yeah. So I think that's kind of the next step of this riotous is, as such said, you should be taking it assuming, you're kind of, you know, that you could take either. Write. Obviously it's if you're applying for like a masters in Psychology or something, maybe you should take the GRE, but if it's either. And so how do you determine which of these things is better suited for you? And that really comes down to the three sections, right? Like you've got the verbal, the Quan and the writing. So which one do you guys want to jump tackle? First, maybe the verbal. And how did the sections differ?

Another point before we do, it just struck me there that, yeah, executive assessment which is increasingly common way for people to a standard for Executive MBA programs. Which, of course, were traditionally taking the GMAT and still will take the the GRE. But, you know, there are there. Full-time program is taking that as well, and it really does feel like it's somewhere in between and try to take some pages from the way the GRE is structured as well as quite a bit from The Wizard. That makes sense to focus mostly on these two high-level. But then like, what it's sort of what are the skills or it's like if you're better at this skill than you should take one or the other?

Yeah, so you can split the GRE verbal in half and there's half the questions on GRE verbal are testing vocab in one way or another. And the other half for testing

On the GMAT.

It's 36 questions. And so a little more than a third about fourteen of them or going to be passing, grammar difference, right there. That's 12 of them are pretty much. Exactly. A third. And then the smallest percentage on a third of the GMAT. Verbal question, what's one question on them for Matt? Very similar there overlap the big difference the big thing that's unique about the house of the GRE are both of these questions. You need to know a ton of obscure words that hardly anyone would have any reason to know going in many of which fell out of favor and usage in the English language.

It's like a hundred fifty years ago and somehow her back to haunt us on this test. And you know, I mean that's that's that's good in some ways. If you're somebody who likes memorization, if you're somebody good at memorization or even, just somebody who is willing to put in the time and do memorization kind of minute. For a minute, putting in time to bring your score up memorizing, vocab, one of the best ass you got out there that's available to anyone. If you're disciplined enough to go in and do this verses on the GMAT, there's no real memorization component like that for the purple Improvement and the biggest thing, you know, I do think sentence, correction the grammar one, it is perhaps the best place for a lot of people to improve but it's going to involve a very different sort of process if it's about and a really learning the nuances of grammar rules and the rules about how to choose the best sentence. And in a way that's it.

I guess, one more follow up on that. It's just that I've noticed that among non-native English speakers. My anecdotal experience, is that they'll have an easier time with the GRE for that. Because of the fact that memorizing vocabulary is sort of a component of learning a new language anyway, and it will work. You're already doing to become fluent in English whereas weird rule, that can be very nuanced, a difficult, I've learned all the rules, I was supposed to learn, but what's wrong with this answer? It's something that a native speaker in the back for better. For worse. English has become the de-facto standard of these tests at least, and English is a language that is

Movie not like super easy to learn. There's a lot of an exception and there's a lot of stuff that is for lack of a better word. Like just kind of unfeeling now like as a native speaker. Like I know that I can't say some things or but if you are not a native speaker, it's all out of hits. All the all the check boxes. Like you said, some really interesting because it my first inclination. When you were talking about the differences was that maybe it would be better to not have to memorize vocab that you'll never use or would have never heard of before if you're not a native speaker. But maybe that's it's actually just easier to keep doing that with harder words than to try and figure out these weird grammar rules.

Yeah, you know I mean that those those are different questions, right? Is this useful to have to learn this obscure vocabulary and to me it's it's kind of this funny cork of the testis that almost feels like this Antiquated idea of how you're going to graduate school, you need to use fancy words, like we're going to, we're going to make sure only people who know fancy words for the graduate program idea or not. You just have to worry about whether it's something you'll do well with even more ridiculous. But normal

I got it. I have read through our courses vocabulistics to just for fun and there's some ones on there. It's like I don't think I've ever seen in my life and I know I went, I went to like schools where people might have tried.

Great. I mean, I think then let's talk about GRE Quant, so the GRE Quant, what do you feel like are the core differences between GMAT GMAC Pawn and Jewelry pawn? And then put a witch, test-taker should take, which exam I'll start by saying, I think that with the verbal sections, there is a real difference in content, as Seth mentioned, between vocabulary and grammar questions in the GMAT, and in the GRE and GMAT Quant sections. I don't think there's a big difference in content. Both test exam in arithmetic, algebra geometry and a little bit of statistics and that really is it for both exams in the section for Content. So, content is kind of the same

The format though is pretty different sections of these tests. The the timed nature of these exams is very different in the GMAT. You cannot go backwards. You have a 31 questions for 62 minutes late and you can skip questions by guessing an answer but then you can never go back to that question. And people generally feel that the GMAT Quant section is more stress-inducing in terms of time, where is in the GRE Quant, section? Ready to get 20 questions for 35 minutes and you can jump around. You can skip questions and then come back to them. And so it's a little bit less stressful bear. And then the other I think big difference is the level of logical reasoning that the GMAT Quant section requires is I think,

More pronounced in the GMAT Quant section because a significant number of questions are in this data. Sufficiency formatting, the GMAT that does require more logic, then. Quantitative comparison questions do in the GRE and quantitative comparison questions are unique to the GRE and data. Sufficiency questions are unique to the GMAT terms of your second question. About who should take which exam, I think, generally people who feel pretty confident about their high school math skills. At least for the Quant tend to gravitate towards the GMAT and it's a little bit easier to dine with your high school math skills in the GMAT. Because there's much more room for error in the GRE Quant to get extremely high score. You can miss almost no questions and in the GMAT Quant to get a very high score, you can miss a lot of questions.

Now they get very difficult but you can miss them in GMAT Quant and you really can't miss any anytime. Any questions at all to get a very high GRE Quant score. I'm in that said, people don't feel as comfortable with high school math. Tend to do better on the GRE Quant, section, brought up their wishes. If you're the type of person who feels really bad when they don't definitively get a question, right? Then maybe you ought to take the GRE right? Cuz I, I know people like that on the mass side in particular, right? Where it's like they'd rather answer 40 kind of above-average difficulty questions and know that they got them. All right, then answer like, you know, 3010 of which were super hard and they got five of them, right? No. But I think you're right so I can logically but that's also as an instructor I think that's something that

Is Lord of all. And for a lot of people taking the GMAT, for example, and digimet is a somewhat more strategic exam but it really allows you to store your best on the team at, take some time, but people are capable of making that change. I have to realize my limits, I have to accept that this is a test where I will, maybe see stuff. I don't know how to do and get it wrong and be okay with that. And I can still walk away with a good score.

Yeah, I think that was actually, I mean, I am also may be speaking a bit for my personal experience cuz when I was cracked like I took the GMAT not the GRE and a problem that I ran into a lot was I I was trying to solve every problem and you just drive time, you can be you can maybe solve this thing. That's the one of the, you know, 700-plus score range questions on the GMAT but if it takes you 5 minutes, you're not really doing very well in the whole exam at night. I'll just be me and needing to learn to manage my test, taking all the better, which is, to me, I do think, and in your allotted to us to share it for a verbal. I think, the more anxiety producing exam for most people, it's a bit more of a pressure cooker. And again, I think you can learn strategy. I think that's something that you can overcome, but if you are

Buddy who's very prone to fighting exam stressful. But yeah it's giving makes the biggest difference for that which GMAT just can't do because it has adaptive / problem, right. But that's a good move. Official practice exam as an experiment in skipped every third question. So every and you can't literally skip so I guessed see for every multiple of 3 because it Rhymes and I like Rhymes and so at the end of the exam, I got a 49 out of 50 1in, perfect scores 51 and so I did it same experiment again exactly every multiple of three, I guess. See. And that time I

50 out of 50 one. So and as a side I was not unreasonably lucky with multiples of 3 being see. Almost exactly 20% of those questions I got right. 80%, I got wrong, which is what I should have gotten in probability, so you can skip a lot of questions on the GMAT and do exceedingly. Well. It has a note. Yeah, I think my, my, my last comment on this one. Specifically is the one difficulty I did find with studying for it was that you had to study for a much wider range of difficulty. Problem set the GRE difficulty kind of goes from like average to above-average and the jeer in the GMAT difficulty for Quad seems to go from average to like this is hard and I like took Advanced statistics.

Like not like an AP class. I took it in college and like a stud looks like I can do this, right? And then gets hit hard GMAT questions and know I am. So it's really I mean that dude you think that that makes it harder to study for or do you think that there's ways around that? Yes, there are definitely ways around that as a g, my teacher about picking and choosing, which questions you can do and completely skipping with questions. You can't do but you're right that there aren't, but if you're getting a ton of GMAT questions, right? That's the only way you're going to see exceedingly hard questions. Whereas on the GRE, you're not going to see the same ridiculously hard questions ever. But if you get into the hard, second section in Quan,

They are going to be difficult and to do well you'll have to get almost all of them. Right. I think a different pressure with the GRE Quant section to but you know the way you study for the T matter should study is you should get really good at doing that, you do something and then you can get really good at doing the medium problem and then you can keep leveling up. Like, it doesn't matter how good you are at the hardest problem, until you're really good at the problems that are a bit easier. You know, your value really comes in from sort of getting the easier things, right? First, it's on that way. It's almost just like the highest level of the GMAT is only unlocked. And only important for you to study after you're really saw it on those, you know, one level below and on the GRE you never unlock that hardest level, but you have to get closer to perfect on that second hardest level and then so it's almost like which one is

More doable for you. Are you a perfectionist enough that you can be error-free on a bunch of like moderately High difficulty problems? Or would you rather have more room the mess if you up but have to see some harder ones as well.

Yeah, no, that's really interesting to you cuz it reminds me of some of the other like things that I've learned in the GRE space. We're minimizing the stakes. Particularly like careless, mistakes is a huge emphasis for the GRE but maybe like you said you you know, you made it. You made an intentional escape with a third of your answers for the GMAT Quant, and it was okay, if you cannot do that with the GRE,

Cool. So then I think we've covered most of the writing section. So curious kind of which of you wants to take this one on what the differences are and she's better suited for each. Yeah, I mean I can jump in and I'll throw some other stuff with it cuz it need answered with pretty short. There's two essays on the GRE, there's one essay on the GMAT one of the two essays on the theory. It's almost identical to that argument the GRE second essay is called the issues that saying it's a personal stance on and it is a bit different and it is a bit harder for the same kind of work that prepares you for the sort of short arguments based reading, questions that you show up on both GMAT and GRE verbal section does prepare you really well so that argument essay

But I know they're both programs which is not a primary factor in more than one of the other are a bit vague. You know, I've read statements from these programs were from from the exams himself or they say, schools should not make a decision or less in applicants because there's kind of a plus or minus one margin of error in our 026 scoring system for their telling you, you were somewhere between a 3 and a 5 on a on a spectrum that only has six points to begin with, you know, a snapshot of how good you are at writing in either case. And it's mostly not a factor in admissions. In any case, I can't really see if that's going to be the best way to decide what?

Read. We had people essentially grade thousands of your essays, we had multiple groups creating them and we put it all in the kind of our our internal, so the data science and machine learning team to figure out roughly speaking. Like what are the parameters that make your GRE essay score goes up? And a lot of them are things like for the word count, right? And you know how many of your body paragraphs included like certain keywords from like your thesis statement, right? And then it is true that these things are being Auto graded by both the GRE and GMAT and I would argue

It's likely that the GMAT has similar characteristics and how it's great. It's right, it's not graded by human whose like, this is really persuasive. It's graded by an automated greater. That's making decisions based on essentially Like rules and yeah, so yeah, I think it's like 93% of all cases. The human in the computer algorithm agree, meaning to give you a job or within one point of one another, and it's meant to be a check. Where is your argument for the checks? All the boxes mechanically but doesn't make any sense and isn't as good an argument doesn't think it is. They throw out the computer score and they bring in a second and they give you the average men's Adidas Element shoes, a little bit there.

Yeah, and I would say not only is it a rough Snapchat but if if you know schools are saying it's not a huge emphasis and maybe it's just not the core trucks of your decision to go with one Tester, the other. Yeah, and I will point out, you know, it does have another section called the IR, which is, is separate from all these and is another component in this. Although it's also not as big as factor in admissions, from what I understand for most people, but it is important factor in the choice as well. I was shocked at how much time it took, you know, when are you really get all the breaks in in in the experimental section? All of that. I was just like,

This is a huge chunk of time that I need to sit down and be focused for and be trying to do my best on this test is going to you no matter a lot for me and the GMAT is shorter and say something nice about that, but you might also let you choose the section order which is really nice for people who want to have certain sections first before they're mentally, fatigued and put things that are low or less important factors in admissions or easier for them. Later, fourth section 5th 6th and 7th sections of the GRE. Whereas in 2 hours on the GMAT, you can be done the two. Most important sections, Eric wanted verbal, are 2 hours and 10 minutes out or so. And so that is, I think an important difference

Yeah, I think it, it really comes down to kind of how comfortable you are. You have skipping versus not skipping. And then how much you like, yes or verbal? Like you said, I'm kind of summarizing everything we talked about today for verbal. It was really about, you know, grammar versus vocab like what you feel strongest. And if you're a non-native English speaker than perhaps, it might actually be easier to do vocab, that was kind of a suggestion to GRE Bean 2. Vocab alonge might be grammar. And then I mean it's basically that you can get more questions wrong but if they're going to maybe be harder, if you are doing well on our questions that you want to add to that. Yeah I know I think the timing is more friendly on the GRE.

The timing for quads more friendly but then the timing of the overall test is a little brutal. For the GRE, there are experimental questions on the GMAT but it's a small number of them with the other piece of it. You know, that I would throw out there for him, by making the choice, you should definitely take both. You can take a practice exam in both and there's a copy out there because it's misleading. People take the GMAT and they don't know what they're doing, because they haven't studied math for a while potentially, and they be easy questions and they think, oh, this is what the GMAT like, because they don't realize that it's not adapted and showing them the hardest thing and similarly, with the GRE if you get the easier sections because you don't do well in the first one and you think so, I know what this is like

Are you still do have a much better idea just from the fuel and formatting. A lot of people from doing both, walk away with a much clearer sense of which one is going to be like for them and ask if I send on actually. Well thank you very much. Seth, this is great. I really enjoyed that. So today this is Ben, Jerry snacks hosted by Niecy Tyler from achieve and don't forget that you can try our GRE course for free at If you want to check out what the content is like before making a decision. Take care. Thanks so much. Tyler.
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