GRE to GMAT performance?

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I was wondering if anyone else has done both the GMAT and GRE and could speak to how performance correlated between these for you, versus the comparison tools online.

In a kind of impulsive move, I put in a last minute application to an MBA program including taking a "cold" GMAT. Since I hadn't done math since highschool and am about 8 years out of undergrad, I predictably did pretty poorly on the quantitative section, landing at about 38th percentile and pulling my overall down to 620 (I had about 89th percentile in verbal).

Since I'm interested in Public Policy or a joint MBA/MPP, I took a baseline GRE after revisiting the core math subjects for a few weeks. Although it is not exactly fluent yet, I'd been doing much better on practice tests for both (interestingly, although I keep hearing that the GMAT math is harder, I've found it the other way around...). My GRE quant came back this time at the 68th percentile.

Yet it's kind of surprising that when I plug my results into the ETS conversion calculator, I've barely moved the needle–a V95%/Q68% GRE equates to a 640. When I redid a GMAT practice test, my estimated score was 690-730. And oddly if I shift to the equivalent scores on the 800-point scale, the estimated GMAT indeed goes up to 690.

The comparison just seems awfully murky, and seems to disproportionately weight the GMAT math difficulty. It doesn't really matter at this point, but I'm curious if anyone else has data points on this, or if actual comparative performance data has been reported anywhere.

Edited by jlamb
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Hi jlamb,

I'm hoping that you can clarify a point in your post - you mention that it "doesn't really matter at this point..."

Does this mean that you've already taken the Official GRE, the Official GMAT (or both) and THAT's what it doesn't matter? Are you still studying and planning to take one Test or the other?

If the School(s) that you're interested in will take either Exam Score as part of the application process, then you should certainly go with whichever Test gives you the greater chance at a higher score. Much of the overall Quant content is the same for both Tests, but the 'specialty' questions differ (QCs on the GRE vs. DSs on the GMAT ) and GMAT questions tend to be a little more 'involved' than GRE questions. Learning the proper TACTICS is essential to scoring at a high level on either Exam.

GRE Masters aren't born, they're made,

Rich

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• 2 weeks later...

In my experience, the correlations are difficult to make because of the differences in the two tests.  The GRE Verbal is much more based on vocabulary, whereas the GMAT is more reading comprehension and sentence structure.  The GRE Quant is much more math-based; it tests your knowledge of algebra, statistics, geometry, etc.  The GMAT Quant is more of a problem-solving test; if you can find the loopholes, you won't have to do as much math.

So, for example, I did much better (about 20 percentile points better) on the GRE Quant because my background is in math and I wanted to work out all of the GMAT problems, but because the point is to skip the math and look for the quick solutions, it made the GMAT tougher.

Hope that helps!

Ed

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I wanted to piggy-back on this question. I'm studying for the GRE and I'm also quite weak in quant. Is it a good strategy to use GMAT materials for extra preparation? If it is harder, I would think that you would only do better on the GRE having done so.

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Hi annae,

When working with practice materials, it's important to stress the 'realism' of the content. As such, you shouldn't work on content from a DIFFERENT Test - some of the 'quirks' that come with GMAT questions won't show up on the GRE (and some of the 'quirks' that you need to learn about for the GRE won't show up in the GMAT practice materials that you might be considering). While many 'math concepts' show up on both exams, there are enough differences that you shouldn't 'mix' your study materials in that way.

How long have you been studying for the GRE?

What materials have you been using?

How have you scored on your MSTs?

GRE Masters aren't born, they're made,

Rich

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