GRE, GMAT? What are they? | 05.05.10

Posted in Graduate Loans By Evan Jacobs

It’s no secret that graduate school tends to be insanely competitive. You are looking to broaden and significantly deepen your level of skill in a specific area of study, and with depth of knowledge comes authority and competition. Granted, a graduate school focusing on art or science may not be quite as cut throat as a business or MBA school, but the desire to attract and retain high quality students is a constant concern for these colleges.

In order to address these worries and weed out “less qualified” candidates (I use that term loosely, since it’s well known that smart people don’t necessarily do well on standardized testing), many schools have adopted the GRE and/or GMAT test.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the de-facto standardized test for graduate school. It essentially is the SAT on steroids and costs anywhere between $160 and $205, depending on what country you live in. There are also subject-specific versions of this test available (much like the Subject SATs) that schools may or may not require. The exam is somewhat different from the SAT style, as its default testing environment is actually a computer. You can take a paper version as well, but the computer test is more adaptive and some say you have a higher chance of netting a better score with it.

The structure of the GRE test is a rotation of questions increasing in difficulty with each consecutive correct answer. You start off with an “easy” question and every consecutive question you answer correctly gets harder and harder. If you eventually get one wrong, you are reset back to an “easy” question and begin the cycle again. The exam is also timed; for more information, check out the ETS’s official GRE page.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a specialized exam designed for prospective graduate students pursuing an MBA degree. The cost is currently pegged at $250. Business schools use the GMAT as a tool to “assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management.” ( Much like the GRE, it is meant to sort applicants into “tiers” of academic success and makes an impact on your application. Once you take the test, your score is valid for approximately five years — plenty of time to pick a school and save up some money.

If you’d like to learn more about masters degrees and see what is available, check out the Edvisors Masters Degree web page. There is a ton of information available at your disposal.

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One Response to “GRE, GMAT? What are they?”

  1. Darren says on June 10, 2010 at 7:06 am:

    Anyone taking the GMAT is strongly recommended to check out the

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