The main difference between GMAT and GRE is that the GMAT is used by business schools as part of their admissions while the GRE is used for admissions to a number of graduate programs.
GMAT and GRE differ in 6 key parameters: fees, test duration, test design, test structure, scoring system, and a number of business schools that accept them. But which test should you choose?
This is what most people would tell you when deciding between GMAT and GRE – Choose GMAT if you only want to apply to a business school, and choose GRE if you have not yet decided on the type of graduate program.
However, it is partly true. Choosing between GMAT and GRE requires a little more effort. The trick is to look at each section of both tests and decide.
In this article we have highlighted these differences and compared the quantitative and verbal sections of each test to get the answer to the question: is GMAT easier than GRE or is GRE easier than GMAT?
What is the GRE?
Administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the GRE is used as an admissions consideration at thousands of graduate schools, including business and law schools.
The exam is designed to assess your verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills.
Duration: 3 hours and 45 minutes (an optional 10-minute break after the third segment)
Cost (US): $205 (including free sheet music delivery to up to four schools)
Location: Online or at a test center
Good grades for five years
You can retake the GRE up to five times in a rolling 12-month period (once every 21 days). If you take the test more than once, you can choose which results are sent to the schools you apply to.
Test Format: The GRE consists of three scored parts plus a possible unassessed or experimental part. The Analytical Writing section always comes first, but you don’t know what order the remaining sections are in or which section is ungraded.
Analytical Writing: This section consists of two timed 30-minute writing assignments. You are asked to construct your own argument on a topic and evaluate someone else’s argument on a topic. This section is scored in half-point increments from zero to six.
Verbal reasoning: The verbal reasoning test consists of two 30-minute sections of 20 questions each. In this section, you will encounter three types of questions: reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence. You can get a score from 130 to 170 in one-point increments.
Quantitative Reasoning: This portion of the exam, designed to test your basic math skills, consists of two 35-minute sections of 20 questions each.
The questions can be multiple choices with one or more answers, numeric entry questions, or quantitative comparison questions.
Topics include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. You can get a score from 130 to 170 in one-point increments.
Test Features: During the test, you can use an on-screen calculator in the Quantitative Thinking section. You can move back and forth through each section, change your answers, and mark questions for review if you want to come back to them later.
What is the GMAT?
Administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the GMAT is an entrance exam commonly used for admission to business schools and MBA programs.
The exam measures logical reasoning and critical thinking skills to demonstrate the ability to succeed in top graduate business programs.
Duration: 3 hours and 30 minutes (two optional 8-minute breaks) personally; 3 hours (optional 5-minute break) online
Cost (US): $275 in person (including free score delivery to up to five schools); $250 online (including unlimited score delivery)
Location: Online or at a test center
Good grades for five years
You may resit the GMAT up to five times at a testing center within a 12-month period (no more than eight times in total). For the GMAT online exam, you can repeat the test once.
Test format: The GMAT format depends on whether you take the test at a test center or online. The personal version has four sections, and you can arrange the sections in one of three ways that best suit your strengths and testing style.
Analytical Writing: In this section of the exam you will be asked to analyze and critique a given argument in a 30-minute writing task. It is scored in half-point increments from zero to six points.
Integrated Thinking: The Integrated Thinking section (not found on the GRE) is designed to measure your ability to use data to solve complex problems.
This part consists of a 30-minute section with 12 questions (mostly multiple choices). You will be asked to examine and analyze data from multiple sources, including tables and graphs, and to solve both quantitative and verbal problems.
The score ranges from one to eight in one-point increments.
Quantitative Thinking: This 62-minute section contains 31 multiple-choice questions. Questions include quantitative problems and “data sufficiency” problems, which ask you to determine if you have enough data to answer a specific question. You can collect six to 51 points in one-point increments.
Verbal Reasoning: The Verbal Reasoning section lasts 65 minutes and contains 36 questions that test your ability to read, understand and evaluate written material.
The three types of questions you will encounter include reading comprehension, critical thinking, and sentence correction. This is rated in one-point increments from six to 51 points.
Test Features: You can use a simple online calculator only during the Integrated Reasoning section. For the Quantitative Reasoning segment, you may use a whiteboard (home testing) or a provided laminated notebook with dry-erase markers (testing center) to work through issues.
You cannot skip and return to questions or change your answers during the GMAT.
As of May 2021, you will also receive your unofficial results immediately if you take the GMAT online.
Who can take GR or GMAT test?
The GRE offered by the Educational Testing Service is intended for people applying to graduate school: master’s degrees or business schools.
The GMAT offered by the Graduate Management Admission Council, on the other hand, is aimed exclusively at those applying to business school: MBA applicants.
Because of the varied uses of the tests, around 532,000 individuals complete the GRE each year, while less than half of those numbers, 225,600, complete the GMAT.
That makes sense: more people apply to graduate programs in general than to business schools in particular. In 2020, those numbers dropped to 286,461 and 173,176, respectively, most likely due to the impact of COVID-19.
As you can see, test takers applying to business schools can take both tests – with the caveat that you should always check with the specific schools you are applying to. Currently, over 1,300 business programs accept GRE scores, while over 7,000 accept the GMAT.
When and where can I take GRE and GMAT?
Both exams are offered year-round. If you’re thinking back to your college admissions process and limited SAT or ACT deadlines, forget that! The GRE and GMAT are both offered year-round, but you should register early for your preferred test date.
Both exams are taken at computerized exam centers around the world. These centers provide secure testing environments.
While the GMAT is always computer-based, the GRE offers paper-based tests in some parts of the world where computer-based tests are not available. In contrast to the computer-based GRE, these paper tests are only offered three times a year.
Test Structure: Sections and Content
GRE and GMAT differ in both content and the way they are tested. Here is an overview of the GMAT vs. GRE sections:
The GRE tests the following, with an emphasis on vocabulary:
- Sentence equivalence
- Reading comprehension
- Critical thinking
- Text completion
The GMAT tests these areas with a strong emphasis on grammar:
- Set correction
- Reading comprehension
- Critical thinking
When comparing the GMAT and GRE, you will find that the format of the questions also varies. The GRE has three types of questions: select all that apply; choose a sentence in the passage; and multiple selections. The GMAT only has one: multiple choices.
The GRE is a computer-adaptive test in the areas of verbal and quant.
The GRE offers two verbal reasoning sections of 30 minutes each, while the GMAT gives you one that lasts 65 minutes.
The GRE and GMAT both test the same math topics:
- Data Interpretation
- Word problems
However, they use different formats for math questions. The GRE uses multiple-choice, multiple-answer, numeric entry, and quantitative comparisons, while the GMAT uses problem-solving (multiple-choice) questions and data sufficiency.
GMAT math is harder than GRE math. This has nothing to do with the tested content (as you can see above, it’s the same), but with the way it is tested.
In addition, you can use a calculator on the GRE. You can’t do that with the GMAT.
- Using a calculator on the GRE can actually slow you down! Use hands-on tests to see which problems a calculator is best for.
For the GMAT, force yourself to use basic arithmetic in your head until test day, such as B. Calculating your grocery total while shopping.
Finally, the GRE gives you two 35-minute quantitative reasoning sections, while the GMAT offers one 62-minute section.
GMAT vs. GRE Timing
The GMAT is 3 hours and 45 minutes plus short breaks, while the GMAT is 3 hours and 7 minutes plus short breaks. This is broken down as follows:
- Analytical writing: 2 x 30 minutes
- Quantitative thinking: 2 x 35 minutes
- Verbal reasoning: 2 x 30 minutes
- Non-judged section: 30-35 minutes
- Research: 30-35 minutes
- Analytical writing exam: 30 minutes
- Oral: 65 minutes
- Quantitative: 62 minutes
- Integrated Thinking: 30 minutes
You’ll find that, unlike the GRE, the GMAT has a built-in reasoning section – this is another way to test your quantitative and data analysis skills. If you’re really good at math or if it’s your weakness, this can make a big difference in determining which test is a better choice for you.
The GRE is rated on a scale of 260-340. The GRE is rated with 200-800 points. Here’s a breakdown of the score for each test.
GRE rating scale
- Analytical writing: 0-6
- Oral: 130-170
- Quantitative: 130-170
- Total points (combined): 260-340
GMAT Grading Scale
- Integrated Thinking: 1-8
- Analytical writing: 0-6
- Verbal: 0-60
- Quantitative: 0-60
Total score (combined): 200-800
A high score on the GRE (90th percentile) is 329; while a high score on the GMAT (90th percentile) is 710.
Which is easier, GMAT or GRE?
The question of which is easier, GMAT vs GRE, really depends on you. That said, it depends on who is taking the test and what their strengths are. Which test is easier for you depends on your academic strengths and testing style.
For those with strong quant skills, GRE math will seem easy. GMAT math is definitely more daunting. So if you are struggling with Quant, the GMAT will seem very difficult. On the other hand, it can be a good choice for those who have stronger math skills.
In the meantime, if you’re struggling with the nuances of vocabulary and style, the verbal portion of the GRE can be very challenging. This is not to say that the verbal portion of the GMAT is easier.
But the Sentence Corrections section is more grammar science, and those with a logical mind are usually more adept at quickly sifting through a morass of words to find grammatical errors.
The GRE questions on text completion and sentence equivalence, on the other hand, put the art of word usage to the test, a skill that most humanities scholars have been honing for years.
The quantitative portion of the GRE is usually a bit easier than its GMAT counterpart (and you can use a calculator). The GRE section usually has more geometry, while the GMAT has more reasoning questions.
The verbal portion of the GRE, on the other hand, tends to contain more difficult vocabulary than the GMAT. Many test-takers find the verbal portion of the GMAT a little easier.
GMAT vs. GRE –Main differences
A simple rule of thumb that is largely true is that if you want to do an MBA, take the GMAT, and if you’re still unsure about which master’s degree you want to earn, take the GRE.
However, many business schools have started to accept both GMAT and GRE. So, which one will you choose and how will you choose?
Here are 6 main differences between GMAT and GRE:
- Test Fees
- Number of business schools that accept them
- Test Duration
- Test Design
- Test structure
- Scoring system
The biggest difference between the GRE and the GMAT is the length of the admissions test — the GRE is accepted for most graduate programs (including business and law schools), while the GMAT is more geared toward business school applicants.
In addition, each test has a different format with different types of questions, test guidelines, and options for sending your results to schools.
Should I do the GMAT or GRE?
It is becoming more common for business schools to accept GRE scores as part of their admissions requirements. This allows you to take the test that best highlights your own academic strengths.
Here are some things to consider when making the decision that’s right for you.
Academic Aims: If you are considering various graduate programs or just want to keep your options open, the GRE is accepted in a wide range of majors. If you’re confident about business school, taking the GMAT is one way to show your commitment.
School Requirements: Many schools accept both credits, but it’s a good idea to check admission requirements in advance. If possible, speak to an admissions officer to ask if they have a preference between the two tests.
Academic Strengths: If your math skills tend to outperform your verbal skills, the GMAT may provide a better opportunity to showcase those strengths.
If you’re a strong writer, consider the GRE. Because of the vocabulary used, the GRE can sometimes be more challenging for non-native speakers.
Exam-style: It is normal to feel a little nervous before an exam. If you like to jump around and go over your answers again, you can use the GRE format to do so. This could give some test takers greater confidence.
Practice Exam Performance: A great way to determine which test you are best suited for is to take a practice exam for each. Record them separately under circumstances that are as realistic as possible. Once you’ve taken and scored your exams, you’ll have a better idea of which one you’re more comfortable with.
Score Reporting: If you take the GRE exam more than once, you can choose which scores you send to prospective schools. For the GMAT, schools receive all of their scores. Many programs only consider the highest score.
Career Goals: Some companies, particularly investment and management consulting firms, require GMAT scores as part of the application process.
If you have specific target employers in mind, research those requirements ahead of time. Taking the GMAT before business school can save you the GMAT when looking for a job.
Advantages of the GMAT vs. GRE: Which test do I choose?
So what test do you need to take for MBA programs? That’s the big question many business school candidates ask themselves. The two tests have very different advantages and disadvantages.
One of the advantages of the GMAT is that it is accepted in any business program: if you have not yet decided where to apply, taking the GMAT instead of the GRE keeps your options open.
On the other hand, if you know the B schools you are applying to and accept both of them, you need to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Are you super strong at math? The GMAT might be something for you. Vocabulary better than grammar? The GRE might be a better choice.
The best way to find out which test is more advantageous for you is to take a (free) official GRE practice test and an official GMAT test. You can also compare the GMAT score ranges of MBA programs to your achieved score. For the GRE, use these average GRE test scores.
If you score significantly better on one, the answer is clear. If there isn’t much of a difference, spend a week getting a feel for each test to see which one better suits your ability.
Do business schools prefer the GMAT or the GRE?
The GMAT is the standardized test for business schools. Like the GRE, it consists of a verbal and a quantitative section. Unlike the GRE, the two sections combine to give a composite score of 800.
The GMAT cannot be used in place of the GRE, so don’t take the GMAT unless you’re going to business school.
Unlike the GMAT, which is only taken by business school applicants, the GRE is accepted by many types of graduate programs — including accredited business schools and top business schools (ever heard of Stanford or Harvard?).
That’s not to say that all top business programs accept a GRE score. So when it comes to taking the GMAT vs. GRE for MBA admissions, always check with the business program admissions committees to see which accept GRE scores as well as GMAT scores.
Although many business schools claim they have no preference when it comes to GMAT or GRE scores, just over 90% of applicants report the GMAT score. Why is that?
There are 3 reasons:
- GMAT is designed to test skills that aid in MBA admissions committee evaluation, all of which can not only be admitted but also pass through the MBA program.
- Taking the GMAT gives business schools an idea of the clarity of your career goals. Because GRE is also accepted for other graduate programs, admissions committees may wonder how confident you are about entering a business graduate program.
- Most business schools are used to comparing applicants’ GMAT scores because they are better at interpreting GMAT scores. You never know if business schools will tend to convert GRE scores to scaled GMAT scores to compare all applications.
The GMAT exam was specifically developed by business schools for business school applicants. Over the years we have had a good understanding of test scores and how they can help us predict the academic performance of our applicants.
Many business schools accept both GRE and GMAT as school entrance exams. MBA applicants can choose which test they wish to take to demonstrate their academic potential.
Can I submit my GRE score to business schools?
You can submit your GRE score to business schools. However, there are business schools that only accept the GMAT score.
Applying with a GMAT is certainly better as most applications come with a GMAT and it becomes easier for business schools to compare you objectively.
Which exam should I take? GMAT or GRE
Here are 4 steps to understand which exam you should take – GMAT or GRE:
- Know your goal guidelines for business schools in terms of outcomes
- Take a diagnostic test for GMAT and GRE
- Decide on the type of graduate program you want to attend
- Compare the value of GMAT and GRE after graduation
Know your goal guidelines for business schools in terms of outcomes
Check with your target business schools to see if they accept both GMAT and GRE, or if they prefer GMAT over GRE. Here are the business school guidelines on GMAT vs GRE.
Take a diagnostic test for GMAT and GRE
Take a free GMAT diagnostic test and an official GRE diagnostic test and assess your strengths and weaknesses. If you do better on one test than another, you have your answer.
If you decide to take the GMAT, take a look at the 5-year trend of GMAT scores from the top business schools and set your target GMAT score. Here are the average GRE scores from the best business schools.
Decide on the type of graduate program you want to attend
A variety of graduate programs ranging from literature to quantum physics accept GRE scores. Only business schools accept GMAT scores.
If you are confident about joining a business school, take the GMAT. If you’re still unsure and want to keep your options open, take the GRE.
Compare the value of GMAT and GRE after graduation
Many consulting firms value those candidates who have an envious GMAT score. Therefore, a GMAT score will help you get both an internship and a job.
Here you will find all the information that will help you decide on a test. GMAT or GRE. My take on this GMAT vs GRE issue is to go for the GMAT if you are targeting business schools.
A high GMAT score will not only help you gain admission into your destination business school but will also help you secure a job.
If you are planning to take the GMAT, we can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare you for.