Scott Edinburgh
March 26, 2024

Answering Your GMAT & GRE FAQs

Are you planning to apply to business school in the 2024-2025 application cycle? Now is the perfect time to begin your GMAT or GRE preparation. (If you are wondering if the executive assessment is an option for you, check out this Executive Assessment 101 blog!)

If you have not already begun studying for the GMAT or GRE exam, take this opportunity to sign up with one of Personal MBA Coach’s tutors so that when the round 1 deadlines roll around, you have one less thing to worry about!

Even if you already have a strong GMAT or GRE, you want to make sure that you are fully maximizing your potential, especially if you are hoping to get a scholarship!

To help you get started, below are the questions Personal MBA Coach is asked most often about the GMAT and GRE.

How Important Is the GMAT/GRE?

While these MBA admissions tests are just one part of the MBA application process and are not the be-all and end-all, they are very important. Further, the GMAT or GRE score will play a more important role for some candidates than for others. If you are applying with a low GPA or from a field of study that is less analytically intensive, your score (particularly your quantitative scores) will be key to showing that you can handle the academic rigor of an MBA program.

Additionally, if you are applying from an overrepresented applicant pool, differentiating yourself with a strong GRE/GMAT score will be even more important.

Beginning tutoring for GRE/GMAT test

What Is a Good GMAT Score? What Is a Good GRE Score?

With the new GMAT, the answer to this question is not as straightforward as it used to be. In prior years, we shared how it is becoming less common to see students earn admission to top 10 or even top 20 schools with a GMAT score below 700. However, a 700 on the GMAT converts to a 645 or 655 on the new Focus (now the only GMAT offered). Check out GMAT to GMAT Focus conversion data here.

For the Wharton class of 2025, the average GMAT (old scoring) was 728 and the average GRE was 162 V/162 Q). For Stanford GSB, the class of 2025 average was 738 (old scoring) while the average GRE was 164 V/164 Q). Harvard Business School reported a median GMAT score of 740 (again, old scoring) and a median GRE of 163V/163Q for the class of 2025.

When determining your target GMAT or GRE score, researching average GMAT or GRE scores is a great way to start. While those with a very strong profile, a unique background, or from an underrepresented applicant pool could gain admission with a below-average score, it is becoming less common to see large numbers of applicants succeed with GMAT scores more than 20 to 30 points below average.

In some cases, such as those discussed in the previous question, you may need a GMAT score above the average to be on the same playing field as other applicants.

GMAT vs. GRE for MBA – Which Should I Take?

This question is much easier to answer. Candidates should take whichever test they can score better on. Schools do not have a preference about the two tests, and the GRE has become more common over the past few years.

Personal MBA Coach’s advice is to take a practice test for each and see which one comes more naturally to you. Generally, if quant is a strength the GMAT may be your friend, while those stronger in verbal tend to prefer the GRE.

Further, if you have taken one test many times and have not been successful, consider switching gears and trying the other test. Of course, you will need additional preparation for this new test, but that may be worth the effort!

For more tips on how to choose the ideal test for you, watch this quick-tips video with Personal MBA Coach Founder Scott Edinburgh:

How Many Times Can I Take the GMAT?

GMAT scores are valid for 5 years, and you can take the exam up to 5 times during a 12-month period. There is a lifetime maximum of 8 tests.

Our average candidate now sits for the exam 2 to 4 times, with some giving the test as many as 6 or 7 attempts.

How Many Times Can I Take the GRE?

GRE scores are valid for 5 years, and currently there is no lifetime test limit for the GRE. You can take the GRE exam once every 21 days and up to 5 times within any 12-month period. As with the GMAT, test takers can cancel their score if they are unhappy with the result.

As with the GMAT exam, our average candidate sits for the exam 2 to 4 times, with some taking the test as many as 6 or 7 times.

What about The New GRE?

On September 20, 2023, ETS changed the GRE format. The old format is no longer available. So far, no changes have been made to testing limits or fees, and candidates continue to have the option of taking the test online or at a test center.

The new GRE is significantly shorter, lasting just 2 hours (as opposed to nearly 4 hours). This makes the GRE shorter than the GMAT. There are now 46 fewer Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning questions. There is also only one Analytical Writing essay. Given the shortened test, there is no scheduled break. Finally, it will take less time for the official score to be released—with the new GRE, the official score will be reported within 8-10 calendar days as opposed to 10-15.

How Does Online Testing Differ from The Standard GMAT/GRE Testing?

The GMAT online test is administered using the same time, scoring, and number of items as the test center-based exams. At this time, the online exam is available in all locations, except for Mainland China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan. Like the in-person GMAT, scores are valid for 5 years and count toward the 12-month and lifetime limits.

The GRE General Test at Home is offered everywhere that the GRE is normally available and is available seven days a week around the clock, with appointments available as early as 24 hours after you register. The online GRE has the same content, format, and on-screen experience as the test center-based exam. Your GRE score report will not indicate that you took the test at home, and the retake policies are the same as the test center-based exam.

How Should I Prepare for the GMAT/GRE?

Think about how you learn best and use this to inform your study plan. Personal MBA Coach feels that most applicants do best with one-on-one tutoring, allowing the applicant to target areas where they are struggling the most. For this reason, we offer a variety of one-on-one tutoring packages with tutors who scored in the 99th+ percentile on the GMAT and GRE exams and are graduates of MIT, Harvard, UPenn, Yale, Columbia and more. Check out our advice on how to plan ahead for the standardized tests.

In addition to tutoring services, Personal MBA Coach also offers comprehensive support packages, ranging from 1 to 8 schools. See below for pricing and reach out if you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss these services in more detail.