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Difference Between GRE and GMAT

The GRE and the GMAT are both standardized tests that are giving to individuals pursuing postgraduate education. The Graduate Record Examination is a test that is given to potential students prior to their admission into many graduate programs. The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is quite similar though this test is specifically tailored for individuals that are entering graduate business studies.

If you want to get admission into business schools, you will need to produce scores of the two graduate school entry exams: the Graduate Record Examinations test, known as the GRE, or the Graduate Management Admission Test, also known as the GMAT test. There are over a thousand MBA programs that accept scores from GRE or GMAT for business school admissions. So, if you’re considering getting into business schools, you will need to take either the GRE or the GMAT. But how are these two tests different? Or why take one over the other? Let’s take a look.

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examinations test, commonly known as the GRE, is the most common and widely accepted graduate admissions test worldwide. GRE is a standardized test that tests your command over basic algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and data analysis. GRE is created and administered by the Educational Testing Service, commonly known as the ETS, the world’s largest private educational testing and measurement organization. It is a computer adaptive and a computer based test that qualifies you for many graduate schools in the United States and Canada. The GRE tests your ability across three sections – Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. The GRE score can be used to secure a merit based fellowship for grad school.

What is GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, is a standardized business school entrance exam specifically designed for admission to graduate business and management programs. The test assesses the academic skills needed to succeed in management education around the world. The GMAT exam measures higher-order analytical skills encompassing several types of reasoning. The GMAT exam assesses your skills across four sections – Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Section, and Verbal Section. Over 7,000 graduate business and management schools around the world use the GMAT score as part of their admission process for their programs. It basically involves applying the math and English skills acquired over your high school and college years.

Difference between GRE and GMAT

  • Basics

– The Graduate Record Examinations test (GRE) is the most common and widely accepted graduate admissions test worldwide, conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the world’s largest private educational testing and measurement organization. The Graduate Management Admission Test (or GMAT) is a standardized multiple-choice test conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a global organization of leading graduate business schools.

  • Program

– The GRE test is used for a wide variety of programs for most graduate schools and a growing number of business schools. GRE is the widely accepted standardized test for both graduate and business schools worldwide. GMAT, on the other hand, is a business school entrance exam only used for getting into business schools. This means GRE scores can open a lot of opportunities whereas GMAT score can limit your options.

  • Structure

– The GRE consists of a 1-hour Analytical Writing section with two 30-minute tasks, two 30-minute Verbal Reasoning sections, two 35-minute Quantitative Reasoning sections, and a 30-35 minute experimental section that can be either math or verbal. The GMAT consists of a 30-minute Analytical Writing Assessment, a 30-minute Integrated Reasoning section, a 62-minute Quantitative Reasoning section, and a 65-minute Verbal Reasoning section.

  • Scoring

– For the Verbal Reasoning and the Quantitative Reasoning measures of the GRE, the scores are measured in 130–170 score scale each, in 1-point increments; and the Analytical Writing scores are calculated in the scale of 0–6, in half point increments. In case of GMAT, the overall score falls in the range of 200–800, in 10-point increments. the Analytical Writing scores fall in the range of 0–6 scale, in half point increments; Integrated Reasoning is 1–8 scale, in 1-point increments; and both Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning are measured in 6–51 scale each, in 1-point increments.

GRE vs. GMAT: Comparison Chart

Is GRE more difficult than GMAT?

The weaker English skills will impact your score more on the GRE than the GMAT. Also, verbal is a little tougher on the GRE than on the GMAT. So, if your English skills are weak, you should consider taking the GMAT. Consider taking the GRE, if your math skills are weak.

Is it better to take GMAT or GRE?

If you are 100% sure that you want to get into a business school, then GMAT might be a better option. But if you’re considering other graduate programs in addition to business schools, then GRE is your best bet.

Is GRE accepted for MBA?

Majority of the business schools accept the GRE score for their MBA programs. But there are many business schools who clearly state that they would prefer GMAT over GRE. GMAT clearly has some advantages when it comes to MBA.

Do engineers take GRE or GMAT?

The GRE is accepted for both business schools and a wide variety of graduate programs. GRE tends to be preferred as it applied to both engineering and management programs.

Other information related to GRE and GMAT:

The GRE is designed by Educational Testing Service. They also administer the test for institutions around the globe. The Graduate Record Examination is generally taken through a computer though paper versions are used sometimes. The emphasis of the GRE is to assess the applied abstract thinking of students in the standard subjects of analytical writing, vocabulary and math. The role of the student’s score in their admittance is completely up to the school that is being applied to. In addition to the general Graduate Record Examination, there are GRE tests designed to focus on specific subjects also. The numbers and subjects in existence have been reduced over the years, but eight still remain. The subjects are Chemistry, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Psychology and Literature in English.

The GMAT is a standardized test that is given specifically to individuals planning to enter a graduate business program. This test is intended to test the education level that an individual has acquired over a long-period. The test focuses on three areas such as verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills. The length of the test is 3.5 hours and it is generally administered through a computer similar to the GRE. In some instances temporary computer stations may be setup to allow testing, but there is a paper version that exists, though it is rarely used. The GMAT is intended to predict how well the student may do in the course of graduate studies.

Both of these tests are designed to test long-term education and the individual taker’s application of that education. Both use an adaptive testing format on a computer that changes difficulty or adapts the test to the taker. Both also have very different focuses and each institution has a slightly different application of the data that these tests supply.


In order to decide which test is right for you, you should 1. Know your goals for your degree program and preferred schools 2. Know your testing style, and 3. Know your strengths and your English skills vs. math skills. Please note that the GRE is used for a wide variety of programs whereas the GMAT is only used for getting into business schools. If you’re set on getting into a business school you need to narrow down your options to specific schools that you’re genuinely interested in. Majority of the schools now accept both GRE and GMAT scores. So, it is always advisable to check school requirements and preferences in order to make sure which exam they prefer.

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  1. Completely fails to highlight important distinctions between the two tests, among them, GMAT’s emphasis on critical thinking skills. GRE has no analog to Critical Reasoning questions (which are similar to Logic Problems on LSAT) or Data Sufficiency problems, which, in the entire universe of standardized testing, appear only on GMAT.) Additionally, GMAT scoring system places a much greater premium on time management. These and many other differences result in an exam that truly challenges skills business people use in the real world, in contrast to the academic abstractions measured by the GRE.

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References :

[0]Kowarski, Ilana. “GMAT vs. GRE: Key Differences Between the Tests.” U.S. News, 20 April 2022, www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/articles/2017-03-16/5-key-differences-between-the-gre-gmat.

[1]GMAT Official Guide 2018 Verbal Review: Book + Online. New Jersey, United States: John Wiley & Sons, 2017. Print






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