A 8 minute read

GMAT vs GRE – Which should you take? Which is easier?

GMAT vs GRE – This is the first decision you have to take before applying to a business school. What most folks would tell you is: Choose GMAT if you only want to apply to a business school and choose GRE if you’re still undecided on the type of graduate program. It’s however, partially true. Choosing between GMAT and GRE takes a little more effort. The trick is to look at the individual sections of both the tests and decide.

In this article, we have compared GMAT and GRE on the basis of 6 different parameters to make the task easier for you. On the basis of these differences, we have highlighted, at the end of the article, which test should you take – GMAT or GRE. You may also take a look at the infographic below to understand the differences between the two tests in a concise manner.

You can also watch this video to understand the difference between the GMAT and GRE.

Below is an overview of this article.

GMAT vs GRE | Brief comparison between two tests

GMAT vs GRE – 6 major differences

A simple rule of thumb which is true to a large extent is that if you want to do an MBA, take the GMAT and if you’re still confused about which master’s degree you want to earn, take the GRE. However, a lot of business schools have started accepting both GMAT and GRE. So, which one will you choose and how will you decide? Here are 6 major differences between GMAT and GRE to help you choose the right test for you:

  1. Test Fees
  2. Number of business schools accepting them
  3. Test duration
  4. Test design
  5. Test structure
  6. Scoring system

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

GMAT vs GRE – Major differences

Category

Question GMAT

GRE

General Information Should you take GMAT or GRE? 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 vs GRE – Which is easier?

When it comes to the overall difficulty level of GMAT and GRE, both exams are similar in this regard. The correct question to ask at this point is which section of both the tests (quant and verbal) is relatively difficult.

To answer this question let’s do a comparison of

  • GMAT verbal vs GRE verbal
  • GMAT quant vs GRE quant

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

  GMAT GRE
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.

[one_half]

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

[/one_half]

[one_half_last][/one_half_last]

*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

  GMAT GRE
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

Here are 4 steps to understand which exam you should take – GMAT or GRE:

  1. Learn your target Business Schools policies on scores
  2. Take a diagnostic test for GMAT and GRE
  3. Decide on the type of graduate program you want to attend
  4. Compare the value of GMAT and GRE after graduating

Learn your target Business Schools policies on GMAT and GRE scores

Research your target business schools on whether they accept both GMAT and GRE or whether they prefer GMAT over GRE. Here are the policies for business schools on GMAT vs 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. Here are the average GRE scores of top business schools.

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 target business school but also help you secure a job.

Planning to take the GMAT

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. Write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com. We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with 1875+ reviews. Why don’t you take a free trial and judge for yourself?

Here is how you can score 700+ on the GMAT?

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

FAQs

What is GMAT?

GMAT is a standardized test that you submit with your MBA application. GMAT has four sections and you can score anywhere between 200 and 800 in 10-point increments. GMAT can be taken round the year and you can take it a maximum of 5 times in a year and 8 times in a lifetime.

What is GRE?

GRE is a standardized test that you submit for a plethora of graduate programs. There are 3 sections in the GRE and you can score anywhere between 130 and 170 in 1-point increments.

What are the basic differences between GMAT and GRE?

There are 6 basic differences between GMAT and GRE are based on:
Test Fees
Number of business schools accepting them
Test duration
Test design
Test structure
Scoring system

Can I take 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 because majority applications come with a GMAT and it becomes easier for business schools to objectively compare you. Learn more in this article.

What is a good GMAT score?

A good GMAT score is one that is at least 20 points higher than the average GMAT score of the latest incoming class of your target business school. Learn in detail on what is a good GMAT score.

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