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GRE vs GMAT: Which one should I take?

Updated: Mar 31, 2023


Most people will ask you to choose the GMAT if you only want to apply to business school and go with GRE if you’re undecided on the type of graduate program. However, this is partially true as choosing between these exams takes a little more effort. The trick is to dig deeper and look at individual sections of both the tests and take the final decision. The following six parameters/differences will help you in choosing the proper exam for you:


1. Test duration

You’ll need to spend 3hr 7 min to complete all the sections of GMAT, whereas GRE is a 3hr 45

min test.


2. Test Structure

GMAT has four sections: Analytical Writing Ability (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quant Section and Verbal Section. The AWA section has one essay (30 mins), whereas the IR section will expect you to solve twelve questions in another 30 mins. In the Quant and Verbal section, you’ll need to answer 31 questions in 62 minutes and 36 questions in 65 minutes, respectively.

GRE comprises of AWA, Quant, Verbal and unscored Research section. You must write 2 essays in 60 minutes, answer a total of 40 quant questions in 70 minutes, and 40 Verbal questions in

60 minutes.


3. Test Design

Both GMAT and GRE are computer-adaptive tests. The only difference is that the former is question adaptive while the latter is section adaptive.


4. Scoring System

GMAT is scored in the range of 200-800 in 10-point increment, whereas the GRE is achieved in the field of 260-340 in 1-point increment. You get a scale score for GMAT Quant and Verbal Section in the area of 6-51 in one point increment. There’s no scale score for GRE, and these two sections are scored in the area of 130-170 in one point increment.


5. Test Fee

To register for the GMAT, you’ll have to shell out $250, whereas the GRE will cost you $205. Both test scores are valid for 5 years.


6. B-schools Acceptance

More than 7000 MBA programs at 2300 b-schools currently accept the GMAT. However, only a few hundred MBA programs accept the GRE.


Now that you know the general differences between both these tests, let us now look at:


• Difficulty Level

The emphasis of the GMAT verbal section is on Grammar and Reasoning, whereas GRE Verbal Section questions primarily focus on testing Vocabulary.

GMAT Quant is considered to be more complicated than GRE’s. This is by Design as critical thinking and analysis are specific skills that admission committees are looking for. Therefore, GMAT Quant focuses on testing Problem-Solving skills hence, the name ‘Quantitative Reasoning.’ Also, the data sufficiency-type questions can be challenging for novice test-takers as they require more critical thinking and analysis.

GRE allows you to use a calculator, but GMAT doesn’t, even though GRE Quant questions are more accessible.


• What do b-schools say on GMAT & GRE?

Officially, many b-schools claim that they don’t have any preference regarding the scores of these two tests, but a little more than 90% of the applicants include the GMAT score, and there are three reasons for the same:


1. GMAT is designed to test skills that help the MBA admission committee who can get in and get through these programs.


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 how certain you’re about joining a business program.


3. Most b-schools are accustomed to interpreting GMAT scores to compare applicants.


• Which one should you choose?

Here are the four steps that you can take on the findings that have been discussed above :


1. Learn your targeted business schools’ policies about the test scores.


2. Take a free GMAT Diagnostic Test and an official GRE Diagnostic Test to judge your strengths and weaknesses. If you decide on taking the GMAT, take a look at the 5-year trend of GMAT scores of top b-schools and choose your targeted score of the test.


3. Many graduate programs ranging from literature to Quantum Physics accept GRE schools, whereas only b-schools accept the GMAT scores. If you’re clear about joining the B-school, take the GMAT and if you’re still unsure and want to keep your options open, take the GRE.


4. Compare the value of GRE and GMAT after graduating. Many consulting companies value those candidates who have an envious GMAT score. Therefore, a GMAT score helps to get internships and jobs.


" Written By: Aishwarya Neeraj "



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