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The GRE – A Quick Guide

What is the GRE?

The Graduate Record Exam, a computer-adaptive standardized test that is an admissions requirement for many graduate schools in the US.

The GRE was created in 1949 and has three sections: Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical Writing.

How is it different to the GMAT?

The GMAT places more emphasis on logic, while the GRE tests vocabulary and language comprehension more thoroughly. The quant section on both tests is usually tough for liberal arts folk!

How is it scored?

The Verbal and Quantitative sections are each scored out of a maximum of 700. The Analytical Writing section is scored out of 6. The scores are aggregated into a “scaled score” between 130 and 170.

Why are more business schools accepting it?

Over 1000 business schools worldwide now accept GMAT scores in lieu of the GMAT. The main reason seems to be diversity: business schools want to tap into the pool of potential candidates who take the GRE – a different demographic to the GMAT, which is solely for business school admissions. GRE takers include people in the sciences, social sciences and liberal arts.

Which business schools accept GRE scores?

Big hitters like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT Sloan, Chicago Booth and many others. Lots of b-schools came on board after the test was overhauled in 2011.

How do you prepare?

ETS, the company that runs the GRE, has official preparation software called PowerPrep, with practice questions, review material and practice tests. There are also plenty of unofficial guides from the likes of Kaplan and Barron’s.

Inside tip

The test from start to finish takes about four hours.  Take a sugary snack with you, such as a Snickers bar. Sugar apparently helps you make decision!


Maria Ahmed is Editor of BusinessBecause.com, a professional networking and news site for the business school world. Visit the site for info on MBA jobs, MBA rankings and the popular Why MBA series!

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