GMAT vs GRE - The better choiceImage Courtesy:


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardised test that is conducted by the Educational Testing Services (ETS) that is required for admission to most graduate schools in the United States (USA). The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer adaptive test (CAT) required for admission to mainly graduate management programs in quite a few countries in the world.


There are a few similarities between the GRE and GMAT:

Time: The time taken to complete both GRE and GMAT is nearly the same. It takes three hours and thirty minutes (3.5 hours) to complete both these paper-based tests unless a computer-based test is introduced which takes 15 minutes more to complete.

Mathematics: Both GRE and GMAT test your basic knowledge of Algebra, Arithmetic, Data Analysis and Geometry.

Verbal Content: Both GRE and GMAT features a comprehension passage upon which one has to respond to the questions with respect to the passage that helps in the assessment and understanding of one’s vocabulary and their ability to understand the links between concepts.

Writing Content: GRE and GMAT have an analytical writing section where one is provided a text and a response is expected, following a set of instructions and guidelines, which assesses one’s analytical writing ability, structuring the text correctly and supporting your argument using evidence.

Adaptive: Both these tests are adaptive in nature in the sense that not everyone gets to see the same questions. One’s answers help in the customisation of the examination based on the difficulty as well.

Validity: Both GRE and GMAT scores are valid for a period of 5 years.

Although these two tests have quite a few similarities, there are a few technical differences between the two which are listed below, which will make your choice easier for the better suited of the two.


There are some subtle yet notable differences between GRE and GMAT with the most important one being, GRE is taken by students who wish to take admission for Masters Degree in graduate schools while GMAT is taken by students who wish to apply to business schools or management programs.

GRE has 4 sections for assessment, viz. Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills. GMAT on the other hand assesses on Analytical Writing, Quantitative, Verbal and Integrative Reasoning.

• GRE costs $195 while GMAT costs $250. Thus GRE is more cost effective and can be the ideal choice if you have a limited budget.

GRE administers paper-based tests in places where computer-based tests are unavailable thrice a year whereas GMAT is a completely computer-based test.

The combined score of all sections of GRE stands at 260-340 while the combined score for GMAT stands at 200-800.


GRE is sought after choice for most non-MBA graduate programs, and if one wants to pursue a dual-degree program, GRE is the right choice since many business schools are now accepting GRE scores as well for admissions. GRE opens multiple doors and not just to MBA programs

If one wants to apply only for management programs then GMAT is likely to be the correct choice. Short listing on schools of your choice also assists in deciding on the best test for the desired program since the schools mention which tests are more suitable for the program that one is applying to. 

GRE Verbal section vocabulary is considered to be tough for non-English speakers and those who are not familiar with complex literature. As for GMAT, it is considered to be tough in the math department. 

GRE and GMAT are quite similar overall however the technical details with respect to the areas of assessment is what makes the difference when it comes down to choosing the test.

About Ileana Sharangpani

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