A 5 minute read

Which test should you take? GMAT or GRE. It depends on the type of graduate program you wish to join and which test you find easier. In this article, we have compared GMAT and GRE on the basis of difficulty level and preference of business schools for GMAT or GRE. On the basis of this information, we have highlighted, at the end of the article, which test should you take – GMAT or GRE.

Below is an overview of this article.

GMAT vs GRE | Brief comparison between two tests

GMAT vs GRE – 6 major differences

Here are 6 major differences between GMAT and GRE

  • Test Fees
  • Number of business schools accepting them
  • Test duration
  • Test design
  • Test structure
  • Scoring system

Look at the table below which compares GMAT and GRE on various parameters

GMAT vs GRE – Major differences


Question GMAT


General Information Who should take it? If you plan on getting into business schools graduate programs If you are still undecided about the type of graduate program you wish to attend
Which business schools accept these tests More than 7000 programs at 2300 business schools Fewer business schools
Test fee $250 $205
Test Validity 5 years 5 years
Test dates Year-round Year-round
Test design How the test is administered Computer-based test Computer-based and paper-based (where computer-based tests are not available)
Test Format Computer adaptive test Computer adaptive test
Test structure Number of sections 4 6 (1 unscored research section included)
Test duration 3 hours 7 minutes 3 hours 45 minutes
AWA section 1 essay – 30 minutes 2 essays – 60 minutes
IR section 12 questions – 30 minutes NA
Quant Section 1 section – 31 questions – 62 minutes 20 questions each in 2 sections – 70 minutes
Verbal Section 1 section – 36 questions – 65 minutes 20 questions each in 2 sections – 60 minutes
Scoring system Test Score Range 200 – 800 (in 10-point increment) 260 – 340 ( in 1-point increment)
Quant score range  6 – 51 (scaled score) 130 – 170
Verbal score range  6 – 51 (scaled score) 130 – 170
IR score 1 – 8 NA
AWA score 0 – 6 0 – 6

Do Business Schools prefer GMAT over GRE for MBA admissions. Read this article to know more.

“GMAT or GRE – Which is easier?

When it comes to the complete GRE or GMAT exam, both exams are of an almost similar difficulty level. So, to answer the question of which is an easier exam, the answer is, it depends on your comfort level with each section of the test.

So, to explore more on this topic, we have to compare each section separately and decide on the difficulty level of each test.

For any strategic advice for GMAT or MBA Admissions, write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.comTake a free trial and get unlimited access to concept files, live sessions, and practice questions.

GRE vs GMAT – Which test’s Verbal section is easier

Number of Verbal Sections 1 2
Number of Verbal Questions 36 40 (20 questions in each section)
Duration 65 minutes 60 minutes (30 minutes per section)
Sub-sections -Reading comprehension -Reading comprehension
-Critical reasoning -Text completion
-Sentence correction -Sentence equivalence
Score Range 0-60 (scaled score) 130-170

GMAT Verbal vs GRE Verbal

The emphasis of the GMAT verbal section is on grammar and reasoning whereas GRE verbal questions primarily focus on testing your vocabulary. Let me illustrate this difference with one example each for GRE and GMAT exam

Text completion example of GRE

Vain and prone to violence, Caravaggio could not handle success: the more his (1)__________ as an artist increased, the more (2)__________ his life became.

Blank (1) Blank (2)
temperance tumultuous
notoriety providential
eminence dispassionate

*To know the correct answer, scroll to the end of the article

Sentence correction question of GMAT

Some anthropologists believe that the genetic homogeneity evident in the world’s people is the result of a “population bottleneck”—at some time in the past our ancestors suffered an event, greatly reducing their numbers and thus our genetic variation.

(A) at some time in the past, our ancestors suffered an event, greatly reducing their numbers

(B) that at some time in the past our ancestors suffered an event that greatly reduced their numbers

(C) that sometime in the past our ancestors suffered an event so that their numbers were greatly reduced

(D) sometime in the past, our ancestors suffered an event from which their numbers were greatly reduced

(E) sometime in the past, that our ancestors suffered an event so as to reduce their numbers greatly,

*To know the correct answer, scroll to the end of the article

GMAT verbal vs GRE Verbal – Which is easier?

As GRE verbal tests challenging vocabulary, GMAT Verbal tends to be slightly easier.

GRE vs GMAT – Which test’s Quant section is easier

Number of Quant Sections 2 (Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning) 2
Number of Quant Questions 43 (31 for Quantitative section, 12 for Integrated Reasoning) 40 (20 questions in each section)
Duration 92 minutes (62 minutes for Quant, 30 minutes for Integrated Reasoning) 60 minutes (30 minutes per section)
Sub- Sections / Topics tested Quantitative: -Arithmetic
-Data sufficiency -Algebra
-Problem solving -Geometry
Integrated Reasoning: -Data analysis
-Multi-source reasoning
-Graphics interpretation
-Two-part analysis
-Table analysis
Score Range Quantitative: 0-60 130-170
Integrated Reasoning: 1-8

GMAT Quant is considered to be harder than GRE Quant. GMAT Quant tests your problem-solving skills. Also, the data sufficiency questions are quite challenging.

GRE allows you to use calculator and GMAT does not, even though GRE quant questions are easier than GMAT’s.

Business schools prefer GMAT or GRE?

Although many business schools claim that they do not have any preference regarding GMAT or GRE scores, but a little more than 90% of applicants include the GMAT score. Why is that?

There are 3 reasons

  1. GMAT is designed to test skills which help assess MBA admission committees, who all can, not only get in but also get through the MBA program.
  2. Taking the GMAT gives Business Schools an idea about the clarity of your career goals. Since GRE is accepted for other graduate programs as well, it might make admission committees wonder about how certain you are about joining a business graduate program
  3. Most business schools are accustomed to comparing GMAT scores of applicants as they are more comfortable interpreting the GMAT scores. You never know if business schools tend to convert GRE scores to GMAT scaled scores to compare all the applications.


Virginie Fougea, associate director of admissions, INSEAD, France

No minimum GMAT/GRE. Average GMAT: 703.

The GMAT exam is designed specifically by business schools for business school applicants. Over the years, we have been able to get a good understanding of the test results and how they can help us predict the academic capacity of our applicants.

We accept the GRE primarily for applicants based in countries where the GMAT test is not offered.


Which exam should you take? GMAT or GRE

Learn your target Business Schools policies on scores

Research your target business schools on whether they accept both GMAT and GRE or whether they prefer GMAT over GRE.

Take a diagnostic test

Take a free GMAT diagnostic test and an official GRE diagnostic test and judge your strengths and weaknesses. If you perform higher on one test as compared to another, you have your answer. If you decide on taking the GMAT, take a look at the 5-year trend of GMAT scores of top business schools and decide your target GMAT score.

Clarity of the graduate program you want to attend

A plethora of graduate programs ranging from literature to quantum physics accept GRE scores. Only Business Schools accept GMAT scores. If you are clear about joining a business school, take the GMAT. If you are still not sure and want to keep your options open, take the GRE.

Value of GMAT after completing your graduate program

Many consulting companies value those candidates who have an envious GMAT score. Therefore, a GMAT score helps you get an internship as well as a job. Learn more about the importance of GMAT

Here is all the information which will help you decide which test to take. GMAT or GRE. My take on this topic ‘GMAT vs GRE’, is to go for the GMAT if you are targeting business schools. A high GMAT Score will not only help you get an admit in your dream business school but also help you secure a job.

Planning to take the GMAT

If you wish to plan and ace the GMAT, look no further. We can help you. If you are new to GMAT preparation, why don’t you register for our free strategy webinar?

We have developed a very high-quality content to help you ace the GMAT. Take a free trial and judge it yourself.

PS – Here are the answers of the two questions asked in this article

GRE text completion article Blank 1 – eminence                 Blank 2 – tumultuous

GMAT sentence correction answer option (B) –  that at some time in the past our ancestors suffered an event that greatly reduced their numbers


Payal Tandon
Co-founder, e-GMAT
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