GMAT to GRE Conversion – Can You Compare the Results?

by Maximilian Claessens
GMAT to GRE Conversion - Can You Compare the Results?

More than two hundred thousand people, including students and working adults, take the GMAT each year to get into top-tier business schools. However, the GMAT is often not the only option. For those who struggle with the GMAT or choose not to take it, the GRE may be a great alternative.
The Graduate Records Examination, or GRE, is a standardized entrance exam that is required for admission to many Master’s or Ph.D. programs at institutions across the world. There are two exam options: the General Test and the Subject Test. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers and monitors the test. The General Test concentrates on evaluating your verbal ability, analytical writing, and numeric reasoning abilities, whereas topic examinations evaluate your knowledge in a specific field of study. But can you compare GMAT and GRE results? In this article, we want to shed light on GMAT to GRE conversion.

GMAT and GRE Score Reporting

The GRE and GMAT are both standardized exams used for graduate school entrance at institutions in the US and other nations, including Canada, Australia, Germany, and the UK. For evaluating applicants for admission to graduate management programs, business institutions have traditionally favored the GMAT. However, many of the top B-schools now accept GRE scores in order to enlarge the candidate pool and diversify the student body.

Although the GRE and GMAT examinations have comparable content and question formats, there are few variations between the two exams, particularly in terms of score reporting and test structure. As a result, many people perceive the GRE as easier than the GMAT. You can better comprehend these distinctions by looking at this table.

The Testing ParametersGREGMAT 
Total Duration3 hours, 45 minutes, including a 10-minute breather following the third portion3 hours 30 minutes, two optional 8-minute breaks included.
SyllabusAnalytical Writing (0-6 in 0.5-point increments); Verbal Reasoning (130-170); Quantitative Reasoning (130-170)  Quantitative Reasoning (6-51); Verbal Reasoning (6-51); Integrated Reasoning (1-8); Analytical Writing Assessment (0-6 in 0.5-point increments)
Score rangeCannot be added together to create a total score since each segment is evaluated separatelyThe total score ranges from 200 to 800, in increments of 10.
Test formatSection-level adaptiveQuestion-level adaptive

Approximate GMAT to GRE Conversion

The GRE’s sponsor, ETS, has developed a program that converts GRE results to GMAT scores. Using the given GRE Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores, this GMAT to GRE conversion and vice versa tool aids schools in estimating the corresponding GMAT score (Quantitative and Verbal scores). But this is only a rough estimate. It is not possible to convert scores exactly (further info on that below). The GMAT to GRE conversion chart is shown below.

GRE Verbal Reasoning scoreGRE Quant Reasoning scoreGRE ScoreGMAT ScoreGMAT Verbal scaled scoreGMAT Quant scaled score

GMAT to GRE Conversion of Percentiles

Your GRE and GMAT score reports both include percentile scores. They show the proportion of test participants who scored below the target score. It’s crucial to verify your percentile scores after conversion, just like it’s necessary to estimate your total score. The percentiles of your GMAT score show how you performed on the test in relation to other test-takers.

You can see a summary of the GRE GMAT Quant and Verbal Reasoning Percentile Comparison in the table below. You can better grasp the GRE and GMAT comparable percentile scores by doing this.

Percentile Comparison – Verbal Reasoning

GMAT Verbal Score (0-60)GRE Verbal Score (130-170)Percentile (Approx.)
0-61300-2 %

Percentile Comparison – Quantitative Reasoning

GMAT Quant Score (0-60)GRE Quant Score (130-170)Percentile (Approx.)
6-10130-1310-1 %
5117096-97 %

Comparing GMAT and GRE Score

A GMAT to GRE conversion of scores and vice versa is not reliably possible. There is no conversion table or tool that can ever make the GRE and GMAT examinations similar since they are two separate assessments measuring two different types of information. The best approach in finding out your potential GMAT score is to study for and take the test.

The GMAT exam is the only admissions examination designed specifically for entrance to graduate business programmes. It assesses the higher-order abilities that are most crucial for success in a graduate business school. Its four sections focus on particular abilities that are very important for the business career path you want.

The three test components of the GRE, on the other hand, are not tied to any particular subject of study because it is (by purpose and nomenclature) a generic test. Only 3% of test takers utilize their results to get into MBA or specialty master’s programs in business.

Find a full comparison of the GMAT and GRE here.

Reasons Why You Cannot Compare GMAT and GRE Scores Reliably

The Educational Testing Service (ETS), which created the GRE General Test, has been promoting to business schools for more than ten years by hosting on their website a tool that they say may predict GMAT results based on GRE scores.

This tool must be used with care due to a number of significant faults in the study design and interpretation, as well as questionable comments by ETS.

Correlation Does Not Guarantee Linearity

Even if the rank order of the GRE scores were fully preserved in the GMAT scores—which is not true at all—their connection is likely to be non-linear, especially for the highest scorers, given the significantly different score distribution shapes between the GRE Quant scores (which is close to a normal, bell-shaped curve) and the GMAT Quant scores (which is severely negatively skewed). The derived prediction models are therefore expected to introduce a substantial level of prediction bias, particularly close to the high end of the score range. This is why GMAT to GRE conversion is problematic.

Fundamental Differences in Test Design

Due to the difference in test designs between the GRE and GMAT—Multistage Testing (MST) for the GRE and Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) for the GMAT—the conditional standard error of measurement (CSEM) across score areas for the GRE is anticipated to be significantly different from that of the GMAT. The CSEM for GMAT Total is constantly between 30 and 40 because of the GMAT’s CAT algorithm, which carefully regulates the CSEM throughout all reported score ranges, even in the upper score area (>700). GRE, however, only has two stages in its MST design (i.e., it is only at most 50% adaptable). Therefore, significant variations in CSEM are anticipated, particularly in the higher score range.

The Data is Outdated, and Integrity is Not Verified

The date used for the GMAT to GRE conversion tool is out of date, using GMAT scores that are more than ten years old. Therefore, the data is no longer applicable since the GMAT testing population ten years ago was quite different from the more globalized testing pool today, and there are significant variances in the score distributions for both the Quantitative and Verbal portions. There is no proof of data integrity, and all score information was self-reported by participants. ETS freely acknowledges this problem.

Sampling Issues

No proof of a representative data sampling procedure exists. The features of the sampled cases or the distributions of GRE vs. GMAT scores by ETS are not disclosed together with basic descriptive statistics like mean, standard deviation and measures of variability. It is quite rare for such important data to be omitted entirely, and this shows that ETS has little faith in the representativeness of the sample data.

In reality, there is proof that the samples are not typical. The SD for GMAT Total scores utilised in their prediction model development (with SD=136.8) were significantly different from the real GMAT population from the years 2018–2020 (SD=114.7), which ETS accidentally exposed in their equation for assessing prediction errors.

Different Levels of Test Preparation 

The GMAT and GRE require different levels of preparation from applicants. Typically, candidates take the GMAT exam first, and if their results are less than they had hoped, they may choose to study for the GRE (or vice versa). There is no reason to think that GMAT and GRE scores equally represent the candidates’ preparation, given this usual trend of applicants who ultimately took both the GMAT and GRE.

The widespread practice of repeating exams, wherein an examinee’s motivation in their first attempt at the exam is different, and they don’t necessarily try their hardest to get the highest score but frequently just scan through the test materials for the “experience” itself, was not addressed by ETS either. Additionally, ETS omitted to disclose how they dealt with participant motivating difficulties.

ETS also publicly acknowledges these problems.

Average GRE vs. GMAT Scores at Top Business schools

The table below displays the typical GRE and GMAT scores of the entering class at the top 50 business schools. The chart below should assist you in choosing a goal score for the GMAT or GRE, depending on which exam you decide to take, if you are aiming for one of the top business schools.

Business SchoolGMAT Score (2023 class)GRE Score (2023 intake)
Stanford GSB738330
Wharton School of Business740324
Chicago Booth School of Business732325
Kellogg School of Management727327
Harvard Business School730327
MIT Sloan School of Management730325
UC Berkeley Haas726323
Yale School of Management730331
Tuck School of Business724324
Michigan Ross School of Business722320

Preference of Business Schools

Institutions frequently use the phrase “holistic” to describe how they go about evaluating MBA applicants. The academic background, personality, experience, and amount of work you put into the application process are all just as significant in the review process as your GMAT and GRE scores.

The GRE score is accepted by about 90% of business schools for MBA applications. You will only be at a deficit if the business school explicitly declares that it favors GMAT over GRE if you take the GRE for MBA admission.

Nevertheless, the GMAT still retains an edge over GRE for MBA admissions. GMAT scores are more accurate predictors of future performance in MBA schools than GRE scores. If you have provided a GMAT score, it will be simpler for MBA admission committees to compare your application to others’ applications objectively. So, it is much preferable to take the GMAT if you are certain that you want to pursue an MBA.

The GMAT is another way to demonstrate your dedication to business schools and your choice of graduate management study. Reporting GRE results might give admissions committees the impression that you are unsure about your programme choice or that your professional objectives are unclear.

Final Thoughts

You can’t always choose which examinations you have to take and when with higher academic paths. While taking the GMAT at the time of your business school application undoubtedly made sense, the GRE is a requirement for the majority of graduate and PhD programs. Think positively—you have already passed one test, and perhaps the GRE will be simpler for you now that you are a little more experienced and knowledgeable. Fortunately, GMAT to GRE conversion tables give you a first estimate of where you would stand with the same amount of preparation, so you get a rough idea of your expected GRE score. However, treat them with care and keep the limitations of GMAT to GRE conversion in mind.

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