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GRE vs GMAT: Which one is better for you?

Whenever you are applying to a business school or a management oriented program, you might have to evaluate the merits of taking GRE vs GMAT.

Before you make up your mind about the most suitable aptitude test to enhance your chances of getting into an MBA program, you should get familiar with the differences between GRE vs GMAT.

The most fundamental difference between GMAT and GRE is that GRE is used in the admission process of many different graduate school programs while GMAT is limited to business oriented programs. However, there are several other factors that you must make yourself familiar about.

In this detailed guide, you will get to know about all the major differences so that you are able to make the best choice.

GRE vs GMAT: Popularity

More than 1200 business schools accept the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) all over the world. GRE is typically considered the test that is suitable for creative individuals. Similarly, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is accepted by all business schools because it has been considered one of the most reliable ways to assess the applicants by the business schools for a long time now.

GRE Structure

GRE consist of three major sections:

  1. Analytical Writing
  2. Quantitative Reasoning
  3. Verbal Reasoning

The score range for the analytical writing section of the GRE is 0 to 6, while both the verbal and quantitative reason sections have the range of 130 to 170. These three sections are scored separately and not combined into a single score.

Candidates take the GRE on a computer. It is a section-level adaptive test which means the applicants’ scores on the first section will affect the difficulty of the questions on the next sections.

Learn more about the format & score interpretations of the GRE on our detailed guide to the GRE exam

GMAT Structure

The GMAT aims to assess the applicants when they are applying to a business school like an MBA program. Unlike GRE, GMAT is used only by business schools. There are four main sections of the GMAT:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment
  2. Integrated Reasoning contains
  3. Quantitative section
  4. Verbal section

The candidate will get a composite score in the range of 200 to 800. The scores from the analytical writing and integrated reasoning are not included in the composite score.

Also read: Everything you need to know about the GMAT

GRE vs GMAT Summary

There are several differences between GRE and GMAT in terms of the duration, pattern, sections, registration fee, and other such factors. These differences between GRE and GMAT are tabulated as follows:

What is the duration of the test?3 hours and 45 minutes3 hours and 30 minutes
What is the total number of essays?21
What is the total number of sections?64
What are the marking criteria?Verbal and quantitative reasoning sections have score ranges of 130 to 170, and the total score is between 260 to 340.Composite scores are given in the range of 200 to 800
What are the registration charges for these tests?$205$250
When should you take GRE or GMAT?When you want to get admission in a business school graduate program like MBAWhen you are not sure about the kind of graduate program, you want to get admitted to.
How long are the scores of GRE and GMAT valid?Five yearsFive years
How do the candidates take the test?Computer-based test. Paper-based tests are also available in selected regions.Computer-based test

GRE vs GMAT Quantitative Section

Quantitative Section of the GMAT

The quantitative section of the GMAT mainly focuses on problem-solving and data sufficiency questions. Candidates typically have to solve equations, graphs, evaluate different types of data, and apply data in different situations.

Quantitative Section of the GRE

On the other hand, the quantitative reason section of the GRE typically deals with the candidates’ skills in algebra, geometry, data analysis, and arithmetic. Following are the major differences between GRE and GMAT in terms of their quantitative sections.


The differences between the quantitative sections of the GRE and GMAT are as follows:

Differences in Quantitative SectionsGREGMAT
Number of questions2049
Duration60 minutes105 minutes
Score130-170Quantitative: 0-6 Integrated Reasoning: 1-8
GRE vs GMAT quant

Generally, the quantitative section of the GMAT is considered to be more challenging than the GRE. The reason behind this conclusion is the fact that GMAT focuses on data sufficiency questions that are typically difficult for many students.

GRE vs GMAT Verbal Section

Verbal Section of the GMAT

The verbal section of the GMAT consist of the following three types of questions:

  1. Reading comprehension
  2. Sentence correction
  3. Critical reading

Verbal Section of the GRE

The verbal section of the GRE consists of the following three types of questions:

  1. Reading comprehension
  2. Text Completion
  3. Sentence Equivalence


Differences in Verbal SectionsGREGMAT
Number of questions4041
Duration60 minutes75 minutes
GRE vs GMAT verbal

There are no significant differences between the kind of questions asked in the verbal sections of the GRE and GMAT. Yet, the difficulty level of the verbal section of GRE is little more than the GMAT because, typically, challenging vocabulary and reading passages are included in the GRE.

Differences between GRE and GMAT: Analytical Writing

Analytical Writing Section of GMAT

This section includes one essay that the candidates have to complete within 30 minutes. The task is given in the form of an argument, and the candidates have to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

Analytical Writing Section of GRE

In this section, the candidates are required to write two essays. One task is related to analyzing an argument, while the other one is associated with analyzing a task.


Differences in Analytical WritingGREGMAT
Number of questions21
Duration60 minutes30 minutes
GRE vs GMAT writing

Even though there are two tasks in the analytical section of the GRE, the difficulty of this section on both GRE and GMAT can be considered the same.

GRE or GMAT: Which exam should you take?

The purpose of discussing these differences is to help you out in choosing the best test that you think you can ace and get admission to your dream university. You can easily narrow down your options by checking which business programs accept GMAT scores and which ones accept the GRE.

Generally, if you have a very specific goal of getting admission to a business school, you should consider taking the GMAT. Many business schools prefer the GMAT over GRE because it has questions directly associated with the skills you need to succeed in a business school graduate program.  

Whatever your final decision can be, you can rely on our extensive guides to get high marks on the GMAT or GRE.

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