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GMAT v/s GRE. Which one should you sit for?

Updated: Jun 25, 2022

GMAT, GRE, Management, College, Business School, GRE, Masters, Post graduation

There would have been no basis for comparison between the GMAT and GRE some years ago until recently. The GMAT has been known to be one of the key requirements for MBA admissions while GRE is accepted for other graduate admissions. But that curve has been flattened with some business schools now accepting GRE for their admissions in place of GMAT. This has brought a basis of comparison between these two exams.

How does GMAT compare to GRE? Which one is easier, which one should I sit for? These are valid questions that may be burning in you, and in this article are the answers that you seek. This is a comprehensive comparison guide of GMAT and GRE.

What do GMAT and GRE entail?

The starting point of this comparison journey is to consider the general idea of these two exams.


The GMAT is Graduate Management Admissions Test. It is owned and administered by GMAC. This exam is taken to gain admission into graduate business school programs, majorly MBA.

The exam has four sections which are:

· Analytical Writing Assessment – One Essay Question

· Integrated Reasoning – 12 Questions

· Quantitative Section -37 Questions

· Verbal Section – 30 Questions

The Exam runs for approximately three and half hours.

GMAT Scoring

Each of the four sections of the exam is scored separately.

The Analytical Writing Assessment section is scored from 0-6 with a half-point increment. The Integrated Reasoning is scored 1-8 in a one-point increment. The verbal and quantitative are scored 0-60 with a one-point increment basis. The most important score however is the composite score that involves the Quantitative and Verbal sections. This score ranges from 200 to 800 points. You will also receive individual scores for each section. The composite score is mainly used for admission considerations.

The GMAT exam is a computer-adaptive test, especially for the quantitative and verbal sections. The difficulty of the next question is determined by the success of the previous. This means that the more the examinee gets, the harder the questions become. The test slogan should be forward ever since there is no backward movement in the GMAT exam. Once a question is answered, you cannot go back to it.


The GRE, Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test that is required for a variety of graduate admission processing. It now includes MBA admissions.

The exam has three major sections,

· The Analytical Writing – 2 Essays

· Quantitative Section – 2 Sections of 20 questions each

· Verbal Section – 2 Sections of 20 questions each

GRE Scoring

Just like in GMAT, each of the three sections of the GRE has individual scores.

The Analytical Writing section is scored 0-6 with a half-point increment.

The quantitative and verbal sections are both scored from 130-170 with both in a one-point increment.

It is a computer-based test. Unlike the GMAT, it is section-level adaptive. This means that the performance of one section of the test determines the level of difficulty of the next section.

This is possible because both the verbal and quantitative parts have two sessions.

The result then of the first section will decide the difficulty of the second one.

In GRE, you can go back to answered questions.

Basic Differences between GMAT and GRE.




Test Purpose

B-School Admissions

Several graduate admissions including some business schools.

Test Administration

Computer Based

Computer-based and paper-based.

Test Duration

3 Hours 10 Minutes

3 Hours 45 Minutes

Test Score



Test Fee



Test Sections

· Analytical Writing Assessment

· Integrated Reasoning

· Quantitative Section

Verbal Section

· Analytical Writing

Quantitative Section Verbal Section



Each question determines the difficulty of the next.


A section determines the difficulty of the next.

GRE or GMAT, Which is Harder?

On a general look, both exams are balanced in the difficulty level. Considering the verbal and quantitative sections of both, we can gain some insights.

For GRE, the quantitative section is easier than the GMAT counterpart. GRE allows the use of a calculator and that’s extra ease to it.

GMAT has a data sufficiency part which is quite challenging but it is not like that in GRE.

For the verbal sections, GMAT is considered easier than GRE. The GRE verbal tests more vocabulary than GMAT. The GMAT verbal majorly tests grammar and that is easier than vocabulary.

But on average both tests are equally tasking. One is harder in verbal while the other is in quantitative.

Which exam do Business Schools prefer?

This is a very important question that does not have a direct answer. There is no direct discrimination by business schools against GRE. Over 90% of the schools accept either score.

But there are three reasons why there may be a subtle preference for GMAT over GRE especially if it is a business school admission.

· Taking GMAT shows a clear decision to pursue a program in a business school

· The GMAT exam is specific to test skills and competencies needed for admission and life in a business school

· Lastly, GMAT has been the predominant score business schools use over time and so are more familiar with it.

Which one Should I sit for GMAT or GRE?

To decide which of these two tests to sit for, you need to establish some truth. You need to be clear about what sort of graduate program you want to get into. It is best to sit for GMAT if you are certain you want a business school. Still unsure, book a seat for GRE then. Another thing to do is to find out the policies of schools you want to study at about GMAT and GRE scores.

Finally, take the official practice exam for both GMAT and GRE and compare your score. This will help you make a better decision on which of the two to sit for. Whichever you pick, Good-luck for it!


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