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5 Things About GRE Scores for ISB

gre score for isb

ISB takes both GRE scores, as well as GMAT scores, and you are probably wondering which test to take. Maybe you have taken the GMAT, and your score isn’t very high. Perhaps our article on GMAT scores for ISB has put you off, and to add to the confusion, the ISB website does not show any special preference for either of the tests; refer to ISB Faqs. Don’t worry! We will put you out of your misery!

In this blog, we will look at a few factors that you need to consider while deciding on which test to take to is it GMAT score for ISB or GRE score for ISB.

1. Why did ISB Start Taking GRE Scores?

TL;DR response: Because it wants to increase the applicant pool.

Seriously! Why did ISB start taking GRE? Why suddenly in 2016? The answer to this lies in what has been happening at ISB over the last many years. In 2006, if you graduated from ISB, it meant you studied in the Hyderabad campus, and graduated in a batch that had a strength of 345.

Cut to 2016, if you got admitted to ISB, it could mean you will be either in Hyderabad or in Mohali. You are probably going to graduate with 908 others next year! That is a whopping 163% of the earlier strength. However, cut ISB some slack. For any college to reach a critical mass, they need to start serving more students. Like a factory, it would make no business sense if the machines (in this case, the buildings, the teaching staff, the support staff and infrastructure) remain underutilized. However, as with any world-class MBA that has a large class size (Harvard took in 935 people last year), ISB also worries about the acceptance rate.

Acceptance rate = Number of people who are offered / Number of applicants to the program X 100

Now, if you think about it, the lower the acceptance rate, the better it is for the prestige of the school. However, if my numerator keeps increasing, my acceptance rate would balloon up. One way to fix this is to decrease the denominator. This means you get more applicants to the ISB program. Wait! Let me correct myself. This means you get more QUALITY applicants to the ISB program. However, as the GMAT is taken by roughly around 25,000 people in India, the total addressable market (TAM) remains limited.

Hence, ISB decided to increase the pool of quality applicants by opening up to GRE scores. Now, the GRE is taken by about a lakh students in India. That is a huge number, a number that is enough to ensure a large pool of quality applicants. Just so you know, the GRE is accepted by most top B-Schools around the world.

2) What is the Minimum GRE Score For ISB?

TL;DR answer: 310 with a huge bunch of caveats. Firstly, let me clear this misconception.

There is no cut-off but if you do want to hold a knife to my neck and ask me for a number, I would say 600 for reasons articulated in the article GMAT cut-off for ISB. By the same token, what would be the GRE score cut-off at ISB? If you use the GRE to GMAT comparison tool available at the ETS website, you will see that a score of Q163 and a V148 would give you a total score of 315 that is the equivalent of a 600 on the GMAT. This roughly translates to a Q44 V25 score on the GMAT. My only issue with this comparison is that it isn’t really an apples to apples comparison. If you think about it, the average Amit who takes the GRE is a lot younger and less experienced and focused than the average Ajay who takes the GMAT. However, I don’t think ISB would be looking at this fact.

So, yes, if you hold a gun to my head, I would reckon the GRE “cutoff” at ISB would be around 310. But as we say, the 3 things about MBA applications: Profile, Profile, Profile!!

3) How Will ISB Compare GRE Applicants with GMAT Applicants?

TL;DR response: ISB won’t compare.

Okay, so if you have taken the GRE and scored well, it obviously means that you are/were looking at other programs. Maybe you want to keep your options for an MS open, while taking a shot at the ISB YLP or ISB EEO programs. Maybe you took the GRE while you were in college without having a clue as to what you would do with it. Now you want to use it to apply to ISB. Whatever the reason is: Don’t worry! ISB is really looking for sharp folks who can think clearly.

GMAT or GRE is not going to stand between you and ISB. Chances are that if you apply with a similar GMAT score, your chances of selection (or rejection) remain pretty much the same. Put yourself in the shoes of the ISB Admissions committee. They have a predicament. They have no clue how to interpret these clumsy GRE scores because there is not much precedent.

They cannot tell themselves, “Oh! I remember this smart guy last year who had a GRE 320, and who made it to the Dean’s List”. They are probably winging it. Chances are that they are reading this article to figure out if they can get some juice ☺. So, if you have a GRE score, go ahead and apply! There is more to the application than the test you take.

4) Should I Prepare for the GRE or the GMAT?

TL;DR response: GMAT! Though CrackVerbal runs both GMAT and GRE programs, I would have to say GMAT. There are two good reasons for saying this:

1. As mentioned earlier, ISB has perhaps not yet figured out what to do with GRE scores. So, you can risk applying – HOPING they know what to do with your score. OR, you can apply using a good solid 3 digit GMAT score that starts with 7.

2. Taking the GMAT would enable you to apply to a lot of other B-School programs around the world. Though other schools also take GRE scores, they are in the same boat as ISB when it comes to figuring out what to do with the GRE scores. Studying for either of the tests should take you a good two to three months. The sections are also mostly common, analytical writing, verbal, and quantitative. Here is the GMAT test structure, incase you haven’t seen it:

And here is the GRE test structure for you:

To reiterate, if you have not taken the test, and are ambivalent, take the GMAT. However, if you have a good reason to take the GRE like applying to an MS program in the US, by all means, take the test. Read point #3 above.

5) Should I take the GRE if My GMAT Scores are Low-ish?

TL;DR response: Yes

Before getting any further, let me give you some food for thought: What makes you think that if you have a low score on the GMAT, you would do any better on the GRE? I suggest you don’t look at taking the GRE as an escape route. At the end of the day, you still need to be smart and focussed to crack either of the tests.

Having said that, if for some reason, a higher score on the GMAT is eluding you, you should definitely have a look at the GRE. When it comes to Verbal, both the GMAT and the GRE test you on the essential skill of comprehension. However, the GRE also puts a lot of emphasis on vocabulary, while the GMAT tests you on the rules of grammar. If you think you can learn about 2000+ new words using various techniques such as mnemonics, GRE sentence equivalence and text completion questions maybe the panacea you are seeking.

When it comes to Quant, both tests pretty much have the usual suspects: Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry. Here, the difference is in the type of questions asked. For example, the GRE has quantitative comparison, while the GMAT has data sufficiency. Having said that, I think the biggest difference could be the way the algorithm works. So, despite what people say, it might just be easier for you to score higher on the GRE (higher than the equivalent score on the GMAT).

You can go ahead and hide your GMAT sins, and apply with your freshly minted GRE score!

Hopefully, this article helped you decide on what to do with a GRE score for ISB. If you found the article useful, and would like to pick our brains on your chances at ISB with GRE, go ahead and email us at

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