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 is 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.
Below is an overview of this article.
- GMAT vs GRE – The major differences
- GMAT or GRE – Which is easier
- GRE vs GMAT – Verbal Section – Which test’s section is easier
- GRE vs GMAT – Quant Section – Which test’s section is easier
- Business schools prefer GMAT or GRE?
- Which exam should you take? GMAT or GRE
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:
- 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
|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 Validity||5 years||5 years|
|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|
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
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)|
*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|
|Integrated Reasoning:||-Data 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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:
- Learn your target Business Schools policies on scores
- 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 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with more than 1860 reviews. Why don’t you take a free trial and judge it 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