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 or Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized test required mainly for getting 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. This guidebook covers all the crucial aspects of GMAT Vs. GRE that every student must know.
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This section will walk you through full details of GMAT Vs. GRE for each area of these standardized tests.
GMAT vs. GRE – Definitions
GMAT is the acronym for Graduate Management Admission Test, conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) following the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is a standardized test that graduate schools use to assess the qualifications of potential students.
The GRE is an acronym for Graduate Record Examination and is a standardized test that schools use to assess a student’s readiness for graduate-level coursework. It is owned and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The GRE is a computer-based exam, with the option of a pen and pencil version, divided into three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.
GMAT vs. GRE – Key Details
The below table highlights the key similarities and differences between the GMAT and the GRE:
Dates All Year
Validity 5 Years Fee $250
Duration 3 Hours 30 Minutes
Target Group Students planning to sign-up for graduate programs in business schools.
Dates All Year
Validity 5 Years Fee $205
Sections 5 + 1 unscored + 1 research
Duration 3 Hours 45 Minutes
Target Group Students who are undecided about the type of graduate program to sign-up for or who already know which program to sign up for.
GMAT vs. GRE – Test Format
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
The GMAT consists of three main types of questions
The GRE consists of six main types of questions.
Numeric Entry Questions
Analysis 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:
GRE emphasizes vocabulary while testing the following:
The GMAT has only one type of question:
The GRE has three types of questions:
Choose all answers that apply
Choose a sentence in the passage
(b) Both the GMAT and GRE test Math skills and have the same topics:
However, both use distinct formats for Math questions.
The GMAT has two types of Math questions:
Problem-Solving (Multiple Choice)
The GRE has three types of Math questions:
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
GMAT vs. GRE – FAQs
Q: How often are the GMAT and GRE held?
A: 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.
Q: Are there any prerequisites for the GMAT or GRE?
A:The best thing about the GRE is that there are no prerequisites to take this test. However, the GMAT demands a high mathematics level, making it challenging for test-takers to prepare.
Q: Will I get my GMAT or GRE test score immediately?
A:The GMAT does not provide test-takers with their scores instantly, unlike GRE, which provides their scores after completing the entire exam.
Q: I have written the GMAT and GRE. Will both scores be considered for admission?
A: If an applicant has taken both the GMAT and GRE, only the higher score will typically 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 write the GRE, GMAT, or even SAT and other examinations. They have free tests and video lessons, among other tools and resources for aspirants.
Kaplan: offers realistic practice GMAT tests with detailed score analysis 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.
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