A 7 minute read

What are the key differences between GMAT and GRE?

The biggest difference between GMAT and GRE is that the GMAT is used by business school as part of their admissions whereas the GRE is used for admission to a series of graduate programs.

GMAT and GRE differ on 6 key parameters which are Fees, Test duration, Test design, Test structure, Scoring system, and Number of business schools accepting them. But, which test should you choose?

This is what most folks would tell you when choosing between GMAT and GRE – 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 true, however, partially. 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 highlighted these differences and compared each test’s quant and verbal sections to arrive at the answer to the question, Is GMAT easier than GRE or is GRE easier than GMAT.

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

GMAT vs GRE

GMAT vs GRE – 6 key 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 key differences between GMAT and GRE:

  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

DifferencesGMATGRE
Should you take GMAT or GRE?If you plan on getting into business schools graduate programsIf you are still undecided about the type of graduate program you wish to attend
Which business schools accept these testsMore than 7000 programs at 2300 business schoolsFewer business schools
Test fee$250$205
Test Validity5 years5 years
Test datesYear-roundYear-round
How the test is administeredComputer-based testComputer-based and paper-based (where computer-based tests are not available)
Test FormatComputer adaptive testComputer adaptive test
Number of sections46 (1 unscored research section included)
Test duration3 hours 7 minutes3 hours 45 minutes
AWA section1 essay – 30 minutes2 essays – 60 minutes
IR section12 questions – 30 minutesNA
Quant Section1 section – 31 questions – 62 minutes20 questions each in 2 sections – 70 minutes
Verbal Section1 section – 36 questions – 65 minutes20 questions each in 2 sections – 60 minutes
Test Score Range200 – 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 score1 – 8NA
AWA score0 – 60 – 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.com

Are you planning to enroll in a US business school? Let us help you conquer the first step of the process i.e., taking the GMAT. Take a free GMAT mock to understand your baseline score and start your GMAT prep with our free trial. We are the most reviewed online GMAT Prep company with 2060+ reviews on GMATClub.

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

gmat-vs-gre
 GMATGRE
Number of Verbal Sections12
Number of Verbal Questions3640 (20 questions in each section)
Duration65 minutes60 minutes (30 minutes per section)
Sub-sections-Reading comprehension-Reading comprehension
 -Critical reasoning-Text completion
 -Sentence correction-Sentence equivalence
Score Range0-60 (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)
temperancetumultuous
notorietyprovidential
eminencedispassionate

*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 vs gre
GMATGRE
Number of Quant Sections2 (Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning)2
Number of Quant Questions3140 (20 questions in each section)
Duration62 minutes60 minutes (30 minutes per section)
Score RangeQuantitative: 0-60130-170

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 a calculator and GMAT does not, even though GRE quant questions are easier than GMAT.

Do 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 that 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.

Are you planning to enroll in a US business school? Let us help you conquer the first step of the process i.e., taking the GMAT. Take a free GMAT mock to understand your baseline score and start your GMAT prep with our free trial. We are the most reviewed online GMAT Prep company with 2060+ reviews on GMATClub.

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 – GMAT vs GRE

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.

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.

The most significant difference between GMAT and GRE is that the GMAT is used exclusively for business school admissions whereas the GRE is used for a wide variety of graduate programs.

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.

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.

People who read this article also read

8 thoughts on “What are the key differences between GMAT and GRE?”

Let's discuss further - What's your take?

Payal Tandon
Co-founder, e-GMAT
Welcome to e-GMAT Support!
I am Payal, Co-Founder of e-GMAT.
Feel free to ask any Query.
Thank you for your query.
We will be contacting you soon on