Pick a Test Already! Stop Using Options as an Excuse to Procrastinate

What to do? Will you take the GRE or the GMAT?

Choice is a funny thing.

The ability to choose is often heralded as an inherent good—a fundamental part of self-determination and concomitant with capitalism and democracy. Malcolm Gladwell argues as much in his TED talk about how everyone is happier because they have different types of spaghetti sauce to choose from at the market. “I like extra chunky and it makes me happy to have it.”

Yet choice is a funny thing.

Too much choice can be the exact opposite of liberating. It can be downright debilitating—a paralyzing plague. Instead of swimming in a warm lake of independence and liberty, people with too much choice are thrown into Arctic waters and scramble to exit as quickly as possible. Barry Schwartz makes this clear in his research and in this TED Talk. Having more spaghetti sauce or milk, according to Schwartz, only makes us rush decisions, fear the burden of responsibility for the choice, and in the worst cases, we avoid the choice completely.

Deciding whether to take the GRE or GMAT is no different—a debilitating paradox for some. Not for you, though. Not any more. You need to make a decision. You are not going to run away from the responsibility. You are going to take a test. So take one.

Which test do I take?

What test you take is dependent on the schools that you are applying to. Some business schools only accept the GMAT, but most schools have begun to accept GRE scores.

So stop hedging and take a test.

But, I still don’t know which test to take?

Get off the pot and take a practice GRE and practice GMAT. Head over to the GMAC website and download the software for their practice GMAT test—GMATPrep. Take the practice GMAT. Then go to the ETS website and download their software for taking a practice test—POWERPREP® II.

With the practice tests completed, let’s see what test you did better on. Use a GMAT-GRE score conversion so you have comparable scores. Now the choice is easy.

Choose the test you did better on and take the test.

But what is easier to study for?

You might want to consider how long to study for the GMAT or how long to study for the GRE, but really it doesn’t matter. You need to start studying. Both tests will require time to prepare. You won’t take either of these tests without preparation. The GMAT is less heavy on vocabulary and the GRE is less weighted on grammar, but all of these differences will be shown in your practice tests. So choose the test that you did best on.

Stop prevaricating and take a test.

But, what about…?

Stop! The time to begin is now. Stop reading an article about which test to take, and take a test.


This post was written by Kevin Rocci, resident GMAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in GMAT prep. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.



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