ISB to accept GRE scores from this year!

A blog by Ms. Vaishali Madhavan, Head-Admission Consulting (IMS)

ISB, which traditionally accepted only the GMAT for their selection process, has announced that it will begin to accept GRE scores for all variants of its flagship PGP program viz:

  • The ISB YLP (meant for pre-final and final year students)
  • The ISB EEO (meant for recent graduates)
  • The ISB PGP (meant for candidates with at least 2 years of full time, post graduation work experience)

Indian School of Business (ISB) is one of the only three Indian business schools that features in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2016 – the others being IIM A (for its PGPX program)and IIM B (for the EPGP program). ISB is ranked 29th in the 2016 FT list, up four places from its last year’s position.

Apart from the fact that ISB is a top 30 global business school – you should also consider applying to ISB because:

  • The ISB PGP offers excellent recruitments specifically in Consulting/E-Commerce/General Management/Healthcare/IT-ITES/Financial Services

  • Recruiters include A T Kearney, Accenture, Booz & Co, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Global eProcure, KPMG, McKinsey & Company, Oliver Wyman, Parthenon, PwC, Siemens Management Consulting, and ZS Associates, Amazon, Bluestone Jewellery, BookMyShow, Flipkart, Myntra, Snapdeal and Quikr

  • The 80% mean salary of the class of 2015 was INR 19,12,444

So – what are the ramifications of ISB deciding to accept the GRE and which test will you take for admissions?

Before you decide which test to take – let’s compare the two tests:

Each test has Quantitative, Verbal, and Writing components, but as you can see from the table, the types of questions within each section are not always the same.

  • Conceptually the Quantitative sections of each exam are quite similar, as both tests are based on high school level arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. The most common question type on each test is multiple-choice, which are math problems where you are presented with a question and several answer choice options. The major differences between the two quantitative sections are in the remaining question types: the GMAT has an additional problem type called Data Sufficiency and the GRE offers two additional types called Quantitative Comparison and Numeric Entry.
  • The only similarity between the verbal sections of the GMAT and GRE is the Reading Comprehension question type. Reading Comprehension questions present a 100 to 400 word passage, followed by one to six multiple choice questions.
  • The GMAT has two additional Verbal question types: Critical Reasoning and Sentence Correction. Critical Reasoning questions present a short statement or argument (typically two or three sentences), and then test your ability to use logic to evaluate the statement. These questions have multiple choice answers. Sentence Correction questions contain a sentence in which a part of the sentence is underlined, and analyze your ability to identify and correct errors in grammar and usage in the underlined portion.
  • The GRE contains two additional Verbal question types as well: Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence. Text Completion questions contain a sentence or short passage with one, two, or three words or phrases missing. From the answer choices, you must pick the missing word(s) that best fit(s) the overall meaning of the sentence. Sentence Equivalence question present a single sentence with one word missing. You must select the two answer choices that both logically complete the sentence AND produce sentences with equivalent meanings. These question types are a test of your ability to understand sentence context, as well as your vocabulary.
  • The GRE and GMAT both have a 30-minute essay on the analysis of an argument, where the prompt asks you to analyze an argument for its questionable assumptions and overall validity. The GRE also has a second 30-minute essay where the prompt asks you to take a position on an issue and present an argument for your positon using specific examples.
  • The GMAT has a wholly unique section titled “Integrated Reasoning” where, according to the test makers, the four question types (and 12 total questions) “measure how well you integrate data to solve complex problems and test the following skills:
    • Synthesizing information presented in graphics, text, and numbers
    • Evaluating relevant information from different sources
    • Organizing information to see relationships and to solve multiple, interrelated problems
    • Combining and manipulating information from multiple sources to solve complex problems”

You are given charts, graphs, tables, or other sets of data and asked to interpret and manipulate them to provide meaningful answers to the questions asked. The real challenge here, aside from the large amounts of information presented, is that the figures are responsive and must often be rearranged—adjusting rows, columns, inputs, etc—before questions can be answered.

Scoring on the GMAT versus scoring on the GRE

  • Both the GRE and the GMAT use an adaptive exam format, although in slightly different ways. The computer adaptive format on the GMAT chooses each question based on your performance on the previous question(s), meaning you must answer each question in order, and you cannot skip questions or go back to prior questions.
  • The GRE is a section-adaptive exam: your second sections of Verbal and Math adapt (become harder or easier) depending on your overall performance in your first section of Verbal and Math, respectively. That means that you can skip questions and move around within a section, much as you can on more traditional, paper-based exams.
  • The GRE gives three different scaled scores:
    • A Quantitative score reported on a 130-170 score scale, in 1-point increments
    • A Verbal score reported on a 130-170 score scale, in 1-point increments
    • An Analytical Writing score reported on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments
  • The GMAT provides four separate scores:
    • A Quantitative Score on a scale of 0 to 60, in 1-point increments
    • A Verbal Score on a scale of 0 to 60, in 1-point increments
    • A Total Score on a scale of 200 to 800, in 10-point increments
    • An Analytical Writing score reported on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments

For the GMAT, the Quantitative and Verbal scores are section scores, and these two section scores are combined to create the Total Score. The Total Score is the one most familiar to GMAT test takers, and it is given on a 200 to 800 scale, with 200 being the lowest score and 800 the highest score


  • The current price to take the GMAT is $250, while the GRE costs $205.

What should you choose – the GMAT or the GRE?

  • One advantage of taking the GRE is that it provides greater flexibility. While, the GMAT is designed exclusively for business school – GRE scores are accepted across most graduate programs. Hence, if you are applying to other programs such as Engineering Management Programs, Technical Masters Programs or interdisciplinary dual degree programs that accept the GRE – then you should look at taking the GRE
  • One immediate difference between the GMAT and the GRE is that the GRE provides an on-screen calculator for use during the Quantitative sections, while the GMAT does not allow for the use of a calculator.
  • If you are not good at synthesizing data from charts, tables, graphics, text, and numerical reports – you will find the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT challenging. In this case the GRE might be an easier test to take. Bear in mind though that certain management consulting firms consider the score on the Integrated Reasoning section as a recruitment parameter
  • The GRE puts a big emphasis on vocabulary. The GMAT places a greater emphasis on logic and grammar, which can help or hurt depending on your abilities.
  • Finally, the GRE can be more tedious than the GMAT. The GMAT does not have unscored sections, but the GRE can have one or two unscored sections. However, the GMAT does have unidentified trial questions which are not counted while scoring

To summarise..

In conclusion if you are applying to dual degrees/technical Master’s/Engineering Management Programs along with ISB – take the GRE. If you are applying only to business schools and ISB is one of the options, and your Quantitative ability is better than your Verbal ability – take the GMAT. If you are applying to Business school and ISB is one of the options, and  you have a great vocabulary but struggle with grammar, then go for the GRE.

6 thoughts on “ISB to accept GRE scores from this year!

    • Hi Abhishek,

      Yes this is confirmed news – straight from ISB’s admissions committee. They made the announcement last Sunday – you can also check


  1. Sir ideally how much time should be devoted in terms of months/hours for GMAT preparation?
    (I got 93 percentile in CAT this year.)


    • Hi Yash,

      Since you already 93 %ile you are conceptually strong and well equipped to take the GMAT.

      You need to ensure that you bridge the gap between CAT and GMAT in terms of getting used to essay writing for the AWA and an adaptive testing methodology.

      This should take you between 3-6 weeks. You can walk into your nearest IMS center and take a GMAT diagnostic test to get an accurate assessment.


    • Given that this is the firsy year that ISB is accepting the GRE – there is no average GRE score available.

      If you use GMAT/GRE concordance tables, a 710 (ISB’s average GMAT score) translates to 328 on the GRE. Furthermore the Quant and Verbal scores should be balanced – a 90%ile plus on each will definitely be helpful.

      Good luck!


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