GRE vs. “old GRE” vs. GMAT vs. SAT

Revised GRE vs. old GRE vs. GMAT vs. SAT

How different are the old GRE and the new GRE?

If you took the GRE over nine years ago, you took a very different test, which now goes by the unflattering name: the old GRE.

Click on the infographic below to expand it, for more detail on how the exam has changed:


What about a conversion between the new GRE and the old GRE?

Knowing the conversion between these two tests is still very important, especially if you want to see how your old GRE score stacks up against the scores of the new crop of GRE test takers (remember, old GRE scores are only valid for five years).

Luckily, there is a nifty little conversion chart can quickly answer that question:


How similar is the GRE to the GMAT?

The two tests are quite different. And quite similar. Because most business schools accept both, it’s become more common for students to have the option to choose between the two. Click on the GRE vs GMAT infographic preview below to find out more detail about which exam best suits your skills:


Is there a score conversion between the two tests?

The GMAT and GRE are very different, so there really is no such thing as a clean conversion. But don’t worry! We have another means at our disposal: comparing the percentiles for each test.

So let’s say that you score at the 90% level for GMAT quant. If you want to know what your score on the GRE would be look at which GRE score corresponds to a 90%. If you want to know what your score on the GRE would be, look at which GRE score corresponds to a 90%. Of course the two tests aren’t exactly the same. I’d recommend bumping up the GRE score by about 5 to 10%. So if you scored the 70% on the GMAT quant section, then you’d probably end up scoring around 80% for GRE quant section.

For verbal, the tests are more on par, though your verbal scores may differ more depending on your skill set (grammar vs. vocab).


Can I use the GRE for business school?

The short answer: yes.

The not-so-short answer: the GRE is now accepted at over 7,000 MBA-accredited universities world wide. In other words you’d be hard-pressed to find a business school that doesn’t accept GRE scores. Of course, it’s good to know for sure. To do so head over to ETS’s MBA Programs page.

A related question–and one that students are most anxious of–is, do business schools weigh the GRE as well as the GMAT? In other words, if you get a perfect score on the GMAT is doing so more impressive than getting a perfect score on the GRE?

There really is no easy answer to that question, and that’s mostly because only the admissions of a particular school can answer that. My hunch is that schools/programs that stress quant skills will favor the GMAT over the GRE (the former is known to have tougher questions).

Unless this is the case for you, don’t lose sleep over the fact that you scored really well on the GRE and not so well on the GMAT. This even goes for those who are looking to get into a top-15 school. After all, Harvard and Stanford were some of the first b-schools in the U.S. to accept GRE scores.


How similar is the GRE to the SAT?

The GRE and SAT are surprisingly similar–given that one is taken predominantly by high school sophomores and juniors, who in most likelihood were unable (at least legally) to drive to the testing center, and the other is taken by grad-bound students and Ph.D.s, some of whom may be over fifty.

Come test day, however, both the stuffy-nosed, pencil chewing sophomore and the venerable applied linguistics Ph.D candidate will have to face down sentences with blanks, circles inscribed in squares, and dense reading passages on subjects so arcane that both will be left befuddled.

The good news is you can actually use the SAT College Board book to prep for the GRE. Indeed, it is written by ETS, the exact same folks guilty of inflicting the GRE on you. You’ll get great vocabulary practice, quantitative practice, and, to an extent, reading comprehension practice.

That said, the tests are by no means identical. The sentence completions–the SAT equivalent of Text Completions–are far easier than their GRE counterparts. The reading passages are far more wide-ranging, in that they include fiction and narratives. The SAT also has grammar section–something you won’t find on the GRE.


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  • Chris Lele

    Chris Lele is the Principal Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh. Chris graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and has 20 years of experience in the test prep industry. He's been quoted as a subject expert in many publications, including US News, GMAC, and Business Because. In his time at Magoosh, Chris has taught countless students how to tackle the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, MCAT (CARS), and LSAT exams with confidence. Some of his students have even gone on to get near-perfect scores. You can find Chris on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

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