Ask Kate: GRE Score is Low

Retake the GRE, or take the GMAT?



Hi Kate,

I have situation where my GRE is a 161 M and 165 V. Is there hope for top 10 B-School with that. My GPA is extremely low, but I’m finishing up an MA with a 4.0 while I work full time as a TFA. I’ve worked for years as an AmeriCorps volunteering in blighted schools.

I hate the GMAT format and I like the GRE a lot more. Should I retake GRE since I didn’t work hard and earned a decent score, or should I shift gears to GMAT?

junior varsityHi Jamie,

The math is low and you definitely want to show you can improve the quant. B-school isn’t rocket science, but you do need proficiency with quant to hold your own ground in class and future recruiting. If you’ve sat for the GRE more than once, it’s probably better to consider enrolling in a stats class at a local community college or wherever you are finishing the MA. Stick with GRE and take again if you’ve only taken once so far. Do not switch to GMAT. The quant is much more challenging for most students.

Which is why you really need to pull the GRE quant up. It’s 80th percentile on the GRE, a notoriously weak exam. It’s like being 80th percentile on the Junior Varsity team. Schools want 80th percentile or better on the Varsity team.

You’ll need to spend significant time crafting your story of where you are headed based on your experience and why bschool is the necessary next step. Based on what super limited info you shared, you are a tough sell. You’re starting to rack up degrees and not demonstrating any substantial interest in business. Bschools don’t need pity cases. You want to put yourself forward as a strong candidate. Industry disruptor, education game changer, Something. Think big and go for it!


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