Most graduate programs offered by universities across the United States require students to take a standardized test. This is in addition to presenting transcripts, recommendation letters, and other requirements. 

The two most common standardized tests are the GMAT and GRE. The GMAT, Graduate Management Admission Test, is a standardized test required mainly to be admitted to business schools. The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is also a standardized test especially needed by students who plan to take a master’s degree in the United States or Canada.

There are some differences and similarities between the GMAT and the GRE, which you must know before taking either test. 

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

What Is the GMAT and What Is the GRE?

GMAT GRE
GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is a computer-adaptive standardized examination designed to assess a test-taker in the areas of mathematics, analytical, quantitative, verbal, and writing abilities. The exam is typically only offered online and has multiple-choice questions. The GMAT is frequently used as the first exam that business schools look at for students applying to MBA programs. GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized exam used to gauge a person’s general academic preparedness for graduate study and their capacity for abstract thought in analytical writing, mathematics, and vocabulary. The exam is typically only offered online and is used by many graduate programs in the United States and Canada regularly to assess an applicant’s suitability for the program. The GRE also has a “Subject Test” that evaluates technical knowledge related to a particular discipline like physics, psychology, or mathematics, which some graduate programs may require. 

Exam Formats & Structure

Although the GMAT and GRE test similar skills, they take different approaches to do so and vary in structure, format, and scoring. Here is a quick overview of both exams and a look at their structures:

Overview of the GMAT & GRE
OVERVIEWGMATGRE
DatesAll YearAll Year
Validity5 Years5 Years
Fees$275$220
ModeComputer-basedComputer-based
Sections43 + 1 Unscored + 1 Researched
Duration3 Hours 20 Minutes3 Hours 45 Minutes
Target GroupStudents planning to sign-up for graduate programs in business schools.Students who are undecided about the type of graduate program to sign-up for or who already know which program to sign up for.
AdministratorGraduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)Educational Testing Service (ETS)
How the GMAT & GRE Formatted
TEST FORMATGMATGRE
SectionsConsists of four sections: Analytical Writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.Divided into three main sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and two additional sections.
Analytical WritingThis section consists of one essay question designed to test the candidate’s critical thinking and writing skills. The section is untimed and lasts for 30 minutes.   1 Question: Analysis of an Argument Time: 30 minutes  This section assesses a student’s ability to write clearly and effectively. It includes an essay question with two tasks.   2 Questions: (a) Analyze Issues (b) Analyze Arguments Time: 30 minutes  
Verbal ReasoningThis section consists of 36 questions designed to test the candidate’s reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction skills. The section is timed and lasts for 65 minutes.   36 Questions: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction Time: 65 minutes  This section tests a student’s ability to understand and analyze written material. It includes reading comprehension, sentence completion, and critical reasoning questions. There are two verbal reasoning sections, each allotted 30 minutes to complete.   20 Questions Time: 60 minutes  
Quantitative ReasoningThis section consists of 31 questions designed to test the candidate’s problem-solving and data interpretation skills. The section is timed and lasts for 75 minutes.   31 Questions: Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving Time: 62 minutes  There are two quantitative reasoning sections; each has 30 minutes to complete. This section measures a student’s ability to solve mathematical problems. It includes problem-solving questions, data interpretation questions, and quantitative comparison questions.   20 Questions Time: 30 minutes  
Integrated ReasoningThis section consists of 12 questions designed to test the candidate’s data interpretation, problem-solving skills, and logical reasoning. The section is timed and lasts for 30 minutes.   12 Questions: Graphics Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning, Two-Part Analysis Time: 30 minutesN.A.
Additional SectionsN.A.In addition to the three main sections of the GRE, the exam includes two additional sections – an Unscored Research Section and an Unscored Section, with varying numbers of questions and time limits to complete.
How the GMAT & GRE Formatted
GMATGRE
The GMAT test is three and a half hours and contains various sections and types of questions.The GRE test is three hours and forty-five minutes and contains various sections and types of questions.
GMAT consists of four sections: Analytical Writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.GRE is divided into three main sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and two additional sections.
The Analytical Writing Section
The analytical writing section of the GMAT consists of one essay question designed to test the candidate’s skills in critical thinking and writing. The section is untimed and lasts for 30 minutes.
1 Question: Analysis of an Argument
Time: 30 minutes

The Integrated Reasoning Section
The integrated reasoning section of the GMAT consists of 12 questions that are designed to test the candidate’s skills in data interpretation, problem-solving, and logical reasoning. The section is timed and lasts for 30 minutes.
12 Questions: Graphics Interpretation, Table Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning, Two-Part Analysis
Time: 30 minutes


The Quantitative Reasoning Section
The quantitative reasoning section of the GMAT consists of 37 questions that are designed to test the candidate’s skills in problem-solving and data interpretation. The section is timed and lasts for 75 minutes.
31 Questions: Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving
Time: 62 minutes

The Verbal Reasoning Section
The verbal reasoning section of the GMAT consists of 36 questions designed to test the candidate’s skills in reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. The section is timed and lasts for 65 minutes.
36 Questions: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction
Time: 65 minutes
The Analytical Writing Section
The analytical writing section assesses a student’s ability to write clearly and effectively. It includes an essay question with two tasks – 30 minutes to complete.
2 Questions: (a) Analyze Issues (b) Analyze Arguments
Time: 30 minutes

The Verbal Reasoning Section
The verbal reasoning section is designed to test a student’s ability to understand and analyze written material. It includes reading comprehension questions, sentence completion questions, and critical reasoning questions. There are two verbal reasoning sections, each allotted 30 minutes to complete.
20 Questions
Time: 30 minutes

The Quantitative Reasoning Section
There are two quantitative reasoning sections; each has 30 minutes to complete. The Quantitative Reasoning section measures a student’s ability to solve mathematical problems. It includes problem-solving questions, data interpretation questions, and quantitative comparison questions.
20 Questions
Time: 30 minutes

Additional Sections
In addition to the three main sections of the GRE, the exam also includes two additional sections – an Unscored Research Section and an Unscored Section, with varying numbers of questions and time limits to complete.
GMAT vs. GRE – Types of Questions
GMATGRE
The GMAT consists of three main types of questions
Multiple ChoiceProblem-SolvingData Interpretation
The GRE consists of six main types of questions.
Multiple ChoiceNumeric Entry QuestionsText CompletionSentence EquivalenceReading ComprehensionAnalysis Type of Questions

The GMAT and GRE and unique on several fronts and test a student’s abilities in slightly different ways across varying parameters. Here is a break-down of the two tests: 

(a) The Verbal Sections of GMAT and GRE are virtually similar but vary in different ways. 

GMAT emphasizes grammar and tests the following:Reading ComprehensionSentence EquivalenceCritical ReasoningGRE emphasizes vocabulary while testing the following:Sentence EquivalenceCritical ReasoningReading ComprehensionText Completion
The GMAT has only one type of question:Multiple ChoiceThe GRE has three types of questions:Choose all answers that applyChoose a sentence in the passageMultiple Choice

(b) Both the GMAT and GRE test Math skills and have the same topics:

  • Arithmetic 
  • Algebra 
  • Data Interpretation 
  • Word Problems 

However, both use distinct formats for Math questions. 

The GMAT has two types of Math questions:Problem-Solving (Multiple Choice)Data SufficiencyThe GRE has three types of Math questions:Multiple ChoiceMultiple AnswersNumeric EntryQuantitative Comparisons

In general, GMAT math questions are said to be more challenging than GRE ones, in addition to which GMAT does not permit the use of calculators, but GRE does. 

GMAT vs. GRE – Scoring
GMATGRE
The GMAT is scored on a scale of 0 to 800. The score range for the four sections is 0 to 60, and the total score is the sum of the four section scores.The GRE score range is 130-170, with 170 being the highest possible score. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are scored separately on a scale of 0-60, and the Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale of 0-30.
Analytical Writing Assessment
0.0-6.0 (In 0.5-point increments)

Integrated Reasoning
1.0-8.0 (In 1-point increments)

Quantitative Reasoning
6.0-51.0 (In 1-point increments)

Verbal Reasoning
6.0-51.0 (In 1-point increments)
Analytical Writing
0-6 (In 0.5-point increments)

Verbal Reasoning
130-170 (In 1-point increments)

Quantitative Reasoning
130-170 (In 1-point increments)

**Note: The maximum score for GRE is 170, in which the Analytical Writing score (0 to 6) does not affect the overall score. For GMAT, the maximum score is 800. 

GMAT or GRE – Which is Better?

While the GRE is generally accepted by many types of graduate programs, including accredited business school programs, it is for this reason that students who specifically want to pursue an MBA should write the GMAT. Business schools typically do not accept a GRE in place of GMAT (even though some claim they do), which is why GMAT should be the preferred choice for fulfilling admission requirements at business schools. 

There is no way to assess whether GRE is better than GMAT or vice-versa. Students should make an honest evaluation of their skills, strengths, and weaknesses, read up on both test formats, see what syllabi they cover and then assess for themselves which is the better-suited option. 

GMAT vs. GRE – How to Choose in 4 Easy Steps

There is a simple method to check which test is better suited for admission to a graduate degree. The following simple steps should help with the dilemma of GRE or GMAT: 

  1. Understand GRE and GMAT
    By reading this guide, this first step would have been largely covered. It is imperative to understand both GRE and GMAT, what they entail, their similarities, differences, and applications.
  2. Decide on a Program or Business School
    Long story short – if a student desires to attend business school, they will probably have to write the GMAT. Students who have other graduate programs in mind are better suited to write the GRE. Prospective students should make a list of program choices and colleges, check their admission requirements (GMAT or GRE or both), and then note down the scores they require, which will help decide which test to opt for.
  3. Take a Diagnostic or Mock Test
    Several websites and resources on the internet offer a diagnostic or mock test for GMAT and GRE. Attempting one will help students further understand where their competence lies and what sort of questions a candidate can expect from either test.
  4. Compare and Choose
    Prospective students should compare the diagnostic/mock test results taken in step 3 and map them to the graduate programs and colleges listed in step 2. Based on the comparison, they can choose the GMAT or GRE that aligns with the corresponding program and college.

FAQs About the GMAT and GRE

Frequently Asked Questions

How often are the GMAT and GRE held?

While the GRE is offered more than once each month, making it convenient for test-takers to take this examination, the GMAT is offered only once a month, making it difficult for test-takers to schedule their exam date.

Are there any prerequisites for the GMAT or GRE?

Will I get my GMAT or GRE test score immediately?

I have taken both the GMAT and GRE. Will both scores be considered for admission?

GMAT vs. GRE – Additional Resources

Here are a few additional resources to help prospective GMAT and GRE test-takers understand both these exams and prepare them with tools, questions, and more: 

Magoosh: is a go-to site for students planning to take the GRE, GMAT, or even SAT and other examinations. They have free tests and video lessons, among other tools and resources.

Kaplan: offers realistic practice GMAT tests with detailed score analyses and tools to practice questions daily.

Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC): The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) website is an excellent source of information on the GMAT. This site includes an overview of the test, sample questions, tips for preparation, and advice on choosing a graduate program in the business.

Educational Testing Service (ETS) – GRE: The official site of the GRE, hosted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), has all the information students need about the GRE test and how to apply and prepare for it. The site also has several tools and resources for prospective applicants.  

Disclaimer
Find Your Master’s Program

Start Your Next Step Today

Let’s help you find the right online master’s degree. You can browse through thousands of schools and their online programs. Start exploring the top 20 best online master’s programs now.