Should You Take The GMAT or GRE?

All About Education, Study Abroad

Which one of these tests should you take for an MBA – GRE or GMAT? Is GRE difficult? GRE and GMAT – what is the difference? This blog is here to answer these and many other questions that pop into a student’s head.

It used to be fairly straightforward, if you wanted to go get an MBA, you would have to submit GMAT scores. However, now more than 1,200 MBA programs accept scores from the GMAT or GRE for business school admissions. (Source:

So before deciding which test to take, learn more about the universities you’re interested in and find out if they accept GRE scores instead of GMAT scores.

There are certain key differences one needs to make note of, including the cost of the test which is $205 for GRE and $250 for GMAT.

Why are these tests taken?

The most significant difference is that the GRE test is used as part of the admission process for a wide variety of graduate school programs and business schools, while the GMAT test is only used to apply to business schools.

What are the sections?

GRE has two 30-minutes Analytical Writing sections. There are two 30-minute Verbal Reasoning sections. There are two 35-minute Quantitative Reasoning sections. GRE also includes a 30-35 minute experimental section which is either math or verbal.

Whereas in GMAT, the Analytical Writing Assessment consists of one 30-minute essay, Integrated Reasoning section that contains 12 questions, a Quantitative section that has 31 questions and a Verbal section with 36 questions.

How are they different?

Verbal Sections:

The Verbal section in GMAT and GRE tests similar skills: reading comprehension, critical thinking, and grammar. Though they have many similarities, GMAT is more focused on grammar, while the GRE tests vocabulary more aggressively.

Quantitative Sections:
The quantitative sections are fairly similar in terms of the concepts they cover, but their approach is pretty different. GMAT is more difficult here; particularly the Data Sufficiency and Integrated Reasoning section which has more challenging questions that require critical thinking and analysis. GRE quantitative questions are either straightforward multiple choice or numeric entry.

Analytical Writing:
The major difference between GRE and GMAT writing is that GMAT only requires one essay and GRE has you writing two essays. For each, the student has to write an essay analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of a given argument.

How are they scored?

In GRE, the Verbal and Quantitative scores are from 130 to 170 in 1-point increments. GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800 in 10-point increments.

Note that these scores are valid for 5 years.

Which should you take?

It depends on the school you wish to apply to. Check if your selected Business School accepts GMAT or GRE scores. GRE is no longer country specific but university specific. Check if the graduate school you want to apply to requires GRE.

Take a practice test for each exam. Try to take these tests realistically, grade the exams and see how well you did in both!

Getting into any university is competitive and you don’t want to be unprepared for GRE or GMAT. So prep up well in advance! You can start by taking a look at these two topics we have covered before: ‘Tips to beat stress while preparing for GMAT‘ and ‘GRE preparation mistakes to avoid‘.

Last modified: October 15, 2018

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Should You Take The GMAT or GRE?

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