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GMAT vs GRE 2024 : What are the key differences? | e-GMAT

GMAT vs GRE 2024 : What are the key differences? | e-GMAT
A 9 min read

Looking to pursue an MBA program but unsure whether to take GMAT or GRE? You’re not alone. Many prospective MBA candidates face this dilemma when considering which test to take for admission to business school. With the GMAT and GRE both now shortened, let us look at the difference between GMAT vs. GRE, and which one should you choose for your MBA program?

  • The GMAT focuses on business skills; the GRE tests wider academic abilities.
  • Many MBA programs accept both GMAT and GRE scores.
  • GMAT and GRE vary in format, difficulty, and scoring.

In this article, we compare the latest versions of GMAT and GRE. Examine the different sections of both tests to provide insights into which test might be easier for you.

Taking a mock test is a crucial first step in deciding whether to prepare for the GMAT or GRE, as it helps establish a baseline score and provides insights into your performance, strengths, and weaknesses.

Key differences between GMAT and GRE

The biggest difference between the GMAT and GRE is that the GMAT is used for business school admissions, whereas the GRE is used for admission to a series of graduate programs. Therefore, most people would tell you to choose the 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.

The advice is partially true. Choosing between the two requires a more in-depth analysis of their individual sections, differences in design, structure, scoring system, fees, and the number of business schools accepting them.

Look at the table below, which compares latest versions of GMAT and GRE on various parameters:

DifferencesGMATGRE
Should you take GMAT or GRE?If you plan on getting into business school 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$275 online or $300 in person $220
Test Validity5 years5 years
Test datesYear-roundYear-round
Test FormatComputer adaptive testComputer adaptive test
Test duration2 hours 15 minutes (with one optional 10-minute break),1 hour 58 minutes  (with no scheduled breaks)
Number of sections35
SectionsVerbal – 1 Section
Quant– 1 Section
Data insights – 1 Section
Verbal  – 2 sections
Quant – 2 Section
Analytical Writing – 1 Section
Quant Section1 section – 21 questions – 45 minutes27 questions over 2 sections – 47 minutes
Verbal Section1 section – 23 questions – 45 minutes27 questions over 2 sections – 41 minutes
Data Insights1 section – 20 questions – 45 minutesNA
AWA sectionNA1 essay – 30 minutes
Test Score Range205 – 805 (in 10-point increment)260 – 340 (in 1-point increment)
Quant score range 60 – 90 (scaled score)130 – 170
Verbal score range 60 – 90 (scaled score)130 – 170
Data Insights score60 – 90 (scaled score)NA
AWA scoreNA0 – 6

Which exam is better- GMAT or GRE for MBA admissions? Read this article to know more.

GMAT vs GRE

Take a FREE GMAT mock test to understand your baseline score and start your GMAT Focus prep with our free trial. With access to 10+ hours of AI-driven video lessons and 400+ practice questions, we provide a comprehensive resource for your GMAT Focus preparation. As the most reviewed online GMAT Prep company with 2700+ reviews on GMATClub.

GMAT vs GRE – Which is easier?

When it comes to the overall difficulty level of the GMAT and GRE, both exams are similar. While the GMAT section has a Data Insights section, the GRE has a Analytical Writing section. These two sections cannot be compared directly to each other. Thus, the correct question to ask at this point is which common section of both the tests (quant and verbal) is relatively difficult.

To answer this question, let’s compare:

  • GMAT verbal vs GRE verbal
  • GMAT quant vs GRE quant
  • GMAT Data Insights vs GRE Analytical writing

For any strategic advice for GMAT or MBA Admissions, write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com

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

GRE vs GMAT – Which test’s Verbal section is easier
 GMATGRE
Number of Verbal Sections12
Number of Verbal Questions2327
Duration45 minutes41 minutes 
Sub-sections-Reading comprehension-Reading comprehension
 -Critical reasoning-Text completion
  -Sentence equivalence
Score Range60-90 (scaled score)130-170

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

Critical Reasoning question of GMAT

Even though the terms taste aversion and taste avoidance are sometimes used interchangeably, there exists enough evidence to conclude that these two phenomena are likely not always related to each other. Research shows that taste aversion occurs when the consumption of a substance is followed by an unpleasant physical experience, normally nausea, but that no following repulsive or discomforting experience is necessary for the establishment of taste avoidance. Moreover, treatments that alleviate or prevent nausea do not impact the development or expression of taste avoidance, but they interfere with the establishment and expression of taste aversion.

Which of the following statements can be concluded on the basis of the information given in the above passage?

  1. The consumption of the food item is the cause of the following nausea that leads to the development of taste aversion.
  2. The definitions of taste avoidance and taste aversion need to be revised to facilitate a clearer understanding of the concepts.
  3. The development of taste aversion is faster for new food items that generate an unpleasant reaction on their first-time consumption than for nausea-causing foods that have been previously consumed without any unpleasant physical response.
  4. The establishment or expression of taste aversion cannot be accompanied by the development of expression of taste avoidance.
  5. If a nausea-preventing medicine is administered in the time between the consumption of food and the following nausea, chances are that the development of taste aversion will be hindered.

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

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

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

GRE vs GMAT – Which test’s Quant section is easier
 GMATGRE
Number of Quant Sections2
Number of Quant Questions2127
Duration45 minutes47  minutes 
Score RangeQuantitative: 60 – 90130 – 170

GMAT Quant now contains only Problem-Solving questions whereas GRE Quant is an assortment of Quantitative Comparison, Problem Solving, and Data Interpretation questions.

GRE quant questions are slightly easier than GMAT and also GRE allows you to use a calculator, and GMAT does not.

GMAT Data Insights VS GRE Analytical Writing

The GMAT Focus Edition Data Insights and the GRE Analytical Writing section cater to distinct skill sets and are tailored to different kinds of graduate program applicants. The GMAT Focus Edition, with its emphasis on data interpretation and analysis, is particularly suited for those eyeing a career in business. It tests the ability to understand and analyze business-related data, making it an ideal choice for MBA aspirants or those looking to excel in data-driven decision-making roles. This section resonates with individuals who are comfortable with numbers and possess a strong aptitude for deciphering complex datasets.

On the other hand, the GRE Analytical Writing section is designed to evaluate a candidate’s writing and critical thinking abilities. It is an essential component for applicants who excel in constructing arguments and expressing ideas clearly and effectively, particularly in fields like humanities, social sciences, and law. This section is suitable for those who are adept at written communication and enjoy articulating and analyzing complex ideas. In summary, while the GMAT Focus Edition Data Insights is more aligned with the practicalities of the business world, the GRE Analytical Writing section appeals to those with strengths in writing and critical analysis, making each of them uniquely suited to different academic and career aspirations.

Do business schools prefer GMAT or GRE? – GMAT vs GRE for MBA

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

There are 3 reasons:

  1. The GMAT is designed to test skills that MBA admission committees use to assess candidates, to determine not only who can get into the MBA program but also who can successfully complete it.
  2. Taking the GMAT can provide business schools with insight into the clarity of your career goals. In contrast, since the GRE is accepted for various graduate programs, admission committees may question how committed you are to pursuing a business graduate program.
  3. Most business schools are familiar with comparing GMAT scores among applicants and are more comfortable interpreting GMAT scores than GRE scores. It is possible that business schools may convert GRE scores to GMAT-scaled scores to compare all 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

Before starting the GMAT or GRE preparation ,here are the 4 steps to help you decide which exam to take – GMAT or GRE:

  1. Learn your target Business School’s 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

1. Learn the policies of your target business schools on GMAT and GRE scores.

Research whether your target business schools accept both exams or prefer GMAT over GRE. Here are the policies for business schools on GMAT vs. GRE.

2. Take a diagnostic test

Take a free GMAT diagnostic test and an official GRE diagnostic test to identify your strengths and weaknesses. If you perform better on one test than the other, you have your answer. If you decide to take the GMAT, check the 5-year trend of GMAT scores for top business schools and set your target score accordingly. Also, here are the average GRE scores of top business schools.

3. Gain clarity on the graduate program you want to attend

Numerous graduate programs, ranging from literature to quantum physics, accept GRE scores, while only business schools accept GMAT scores. If you are clear about joining a business school, take the GMAT. If you are still unsure and want to keep your options open, take the GRE.

4. Consider the value of the GMAT after completing your graduate program

Many consulting companies value those candidates with impressive GMAT scores. So, a high score can help you secure an internship or job. Learn more about the importance of GMAT

The information provided in this article will help you decide which test to take, GMAT or GRE. In my opinion, if you are targeting business schools, go for the GMAT. A high GMAT score can help you get admitted to your target business school and 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 for  GMAT Focus Edition. Write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com.

If you are planning to apply to a business school, let us help you conquer the first step of the process: Acing the GMAT.

Take a FREE GMAT mock test to understand your baseline score and start your GMAT prep with our free trial. With access to 10+ hours of AI-driven video lessons and 400+ practice questions, we provide a comprehensive resource for your GMAT preparation. As the most reviewed online GMAT Prep company with 2600+ reviews on GMATClub, we’re committed to helping you succeed.

PS- Here are the answers to the two questions asked in this article:

Text completion answer of GRE

  • Blank 1 – eminence                 
  • Blank 2 – tumultuous

GMAT Critical Reasoning answer:

  • option (E) –  If a nausea-preventing medicine is administered in the time between the consumption of food and the following nausea, chances are that the development of taste aversion will be hindered.

FAQs – GMAT vs GRE

What is the most significant difference between GMAT and GRE? 

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.

What is GMAT?

GMAT is a standardized test that you submit with your MBA application. GMAT has three sections and you can score anywhere between 205 and 805 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 5 sections in the GRE and you can score anywhere between 130 and 170 in 1-point increments.

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 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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