Here’s how to figure out whether to take the GMAT or GRE when applying to B school

Harvard Business SchoolIt can be tricky to figure out which exam to take.Harvard Business School/Facebook

Business school admissions are extremely competitive, with schools looking for the right mix of experience, undergraduate grades, and, of course, GMAT test scores.

Recently, however, business schools have started to accept GRE scores for admissions, further confusing an already-fraught process.

To figure out whether business school applicants should take the GMAT or GRE, Business Insider talked to Stacey Koprince, a GMAT and GRE instructor who got a perfect GRE score, a near perfect 780 on the GMAT, and is now senior academics manager for GMAT at Manhattan Prep.

“There are only two circumstances in which someone is not going to take the GMAT,” Koprince told Business Insider.

People should consider skipping the GMAT if they’re applying for a dual-degree program where one of the programs only accepts the GRE, she said.

Those who worry their scores on the GMAT aren’t high enough to get into a particular school should also consider not submitting those scores, Koprince explained.

Koprince said that in the case of a student scoring similarly on the GRE and GMAT, she would advise the student to submit their GMAT scores, in case an admissions officer has an unconscious bias for the GMAT.

People who plan on going into banking or consulting after business school should absolutely take the GMAT — even if their business school accepts both scores, Koprince said.

Many banking and consulting firms require GMAT scores on job applications, and it’s best to avoid the added stress of taking the GMAT in the midst of business school just to land a job or internship.

It’s also important to understand whether a particular school prefers one exam or another, even if they accept both the GRE and GMAT.

Koprince explained that some schools — like Haas, Columbia, and Anderson — prefer the GMAT. Others — like Harvard and Darden — view the two exams equally.

The last step is for people to understand their own individual strengths and weaknesses. People will generally perform better on the GRE if they’re stronger on vocabulary, geometry, data interpretations, and multi-answer problems. Alternately, they’ll perform better on the GMAT if they tend to be stronger on grammar, story problems, math theory, and logic problems.

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