The standardized GMAT and GRE tests have a unique format where they assess, in their own way, certain skills and competencies of candidates for competitive postgraduate studies abroad. If you are preparing for them, surely you wonder what skills are evaluated? Is it just a knowledge test? What do I need to know in order to achieve a good score? In this blog post, we will elaborate on the answer to that question, analyzing the similarities and differences of each exam.
Remember, first of all, that knowing what you are up against is the first step to mastering the exams. That is why it is important to emphasize that neither the GMAT nor the GRE are tests of pure knowledge, where you must memorize concepts and answer questions based on them. All the questions will require you to use these concepts (so it is important that you learn them, but not memorize them) to solve complex problems that involve ingenuity, dexterity and creativity.
As you will see, these competencies will not only be useful in the exam, but also when performing in the academic and work world. That is why these tests are designed to try to predict your academic success, that is, if you will make the most of the opportunities that graduate school will offer you for your professional success.
In addition to the above, since they are tests that involve knowledge, in the different sections it is intended to evaluate the following academic abilities:
- Analytical writing: It is important that you know how to make yourself understood through writing. Proper writing, the use of language, bringing coherence and consistency in what you write, learning to string ideas and paragraphs, as well as building strong arguments is essential. It is not only writing without spelling errors, but building an academic text accurate enough to demonstrate this skill.
- Critical reading and comprehension: It is clear that both in graduate school and in life, it is critical to learn to read and understand the ideas that are transmitted. Analyzing, synthesizing, understanding and discriminating information will be skills put to the test at the time of the exam. At this point, rather than memorizing words (which will be discussed later), you should learn, initially, to know the purpose of the author of the passage and what he wants to make known. Starting there, a big step is taken for a competitive score.
- Use of quantitative information: Although memorized concepts in mathematics are vital, learning strategies to use them will be the real challenge that the GRE and GMAT will give you . With the comprehension reading ability, you will know what the problem asks you to do, but the audacity and efficiency when using the information will make the difference in the quantitative sections.
That said, you need to know how the two tests differ in what they measure.
- Vocabulary and academic language: The GRE is known to be more complex verbal, why? This test is also concerned with evaluating how good your vocabulary is and how easy it is to infer (again through critical reasoning) the meaning of certain terms unknown to you. Both the texts with which reading comprehension is evaluated and the questions such as “Sentence Equivalence” and “Text Completion” will include technical and sophisticated language, and words that are rarely used in everyday life. There are techniques to be able to infer the meaning of the phrases according to the context. According to Top Schools in the USA, these will be more useful than just memorizing concepts, and will require less mental effort.
- Structure of sentences: The GMAT, unlike the GRE, assesses your ability to analyze text writing. Knowing if they are well written, or have errors – not in grammar, but in functionality and structure – will be your proof.
- Discriminate missing information: The GMAT is known to be more complex and sophisticated in the quantitative area. This, since they use certain types of questions called “Data Sufficiency” in which the challenge will not be to solve the problem, but to be able to deduce with what information you could solve it. In business, this will be a very important skill: knowing what you need to solve challenges will make a difference in the world of work.
- Extract information from various sources: This ability is measured by the “Integrated Reasoning” section of the GMAT. In this one, you will be presented with a lot of information to solve problems and answer questions. It will be your job to demonstrate your ability to discriminate data and use what is necessary to arrive at the correct answer.
As you will see, both tests measure similar skills and abilities that are intended to predict your academic and professional success. That is why it is vital that you understand that these are not simple tests of knowledge, where studying a few days before will be the right thing to do to achieve the best scores. As long as you prepare with this in mind, several months in advance, with a focus on strategy and according to your profile, you will have a greater chance of reaching scores above 160 on GRE and above 700 on GMAT. So, if you plan to present them, prepare yourself in the best way for them.
PLUS: Scheme by sections
|Quantitative||20 questions per section 2-3 sections
|31 questions 1 section
|Verbal||20 questions per section 2-3 sections
|36 questions 1 section
|AWA 1||1 trial 30 minutes||1 trial 30 minutes|
|Additional||1 trial 30 minutes||Integrated Reasoning 30 minutes|