GRE vs GMAT Comparison - Which Test is Right for You & Your Career?

gmat-vs-greUnderstand Which Test You Should Take: GMAT or GRE Compared

Many students applying for grad schools want to know the difference between the GMAT vs GRE and which they should take for their college applications.

In the past, if you wanted to pursue a graduate program, you had to submit a GMAT score, but in the recent past, most business schools have started accepting GRE scores instead of GMAT. Therefore, if you are considering taking an MBA, you might be torn between the two.

Let’s look at a comprehensive of both GMAT and GRE tests and compare how they differ in terms of format, scoring, and cost.

What is the Difference Between the GMAT and GRE Tests?

The GRE and the GMAT tests have very different purposes. The main difference between the GMAT and GRE is that the GMAT is soled used for business school applications; where as, the GRE is required for almost all graduate school program applications regardless of major or area of study.

What is the GMAT?

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is popular among individuals seeking to join the business school to pursue an MBA program. It is a multiple-choice answer, computer adaptive, and computer-based standardized test requiring a business school graduate program. GMAC is responsible for the development and administration of GMAT, which offers business schools a comparable measure of applicants’ preparedness for a graduate program.

Therefore, your GMAT score, alongside your academic record, recommendation letters, and work experience, is vital in assessing your readiness for graduate or post-graduate programs. GMAT is divided into four sections: analytical writing, Integrated, Verbal, and Quantitative reasoning sections.

What is the GRE?

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination, and it is a test graduate schools use to compare applicants when making admission decisions. It is a multiple-choice, adaptive, and computer-delivered standardized test, and sometimes where the computerized exams are not available, you can have a paper-based exam.

The exam comprises three gradable sections, including Analytical Writing, Quantitative and Verbal reasoning. Additionally, you will have unscored and experimental sections which are not gradable.

How does GRE vs GMAT Compare in Structure Format, Scoring, & Costs

GMAT vs GRE Test Sections & Subjects

GRE comprises three sections that are scored and unscored and research section. In the analytical writing section, you will write two essays with an argument essay and an issue-based essay. The quantitative reasoning section is a math section that tests the test taker on math concepts and logic reasoning. There are 40 multiple choice questions in total in two parts, and each part has to be completed within 35 minutes.

The verbal reasoning section tests vocabulary, and it has 40 questions divided into two sections of 20 questions each. Finally, the ungraded research section comprises 20 questions that will either be in the quant to the verbal section, and there is no way to know which section they will be.

On the other hand, GMAT comprises 31 quantitative reasoning questions, 36 verbal reasoning questions, 12 integrated reasoning questions, and one analytical writing essay. The content tested in the sections is almost the same.

GMAT Test SubjectsGRE Test Subjects
Quantitative reasoningQuantitative reasoning
Verbal reasoningVerbal reasoning
Analytical writingAnalytical writing
Integrated reasoning

GMAT vs. GRE Test Format & Structure

The GRE is a section-by-section computer adaptive exam. Only in areas where computer-delivered testing is not available is a paper version available. The difficulty of the second part of each section in the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections is determined by your performance on the preceding part.

GMAT is equally computer-adaptive, but there is no paper-delivered format of the test. Similarly, answering a question in the quantitative and verbal reasoning portions correctly leads to a more difficult question to solve.

Test SectionGMAT Test QuestionsGRE Test Questions
Quantitative reasoning3140
Verbal reasoning3640
Integrated reasoning12N/A
Analytical writing 1 essay 1 essay
Total Questions8081

GRE or GMAT Test Time & Length

The Analytical Writing section of the GRE is 60 minutes long, including two 30-minute essays. Also, there are two Verbal Reasoning parts, each lasting 30 minutes, while the Quantitative Reasoning section consists of two 35-minute parts. A 30-35 minute experimental section (which can appear in verbal or quant sections is also included. The total time taken to complete the test is three hours and 45 minutes for the computer-based test and three and half hours for the paper-delivered test.

On the other hand, GMAT comprises one analytical writing essay that is 30-minutes long, a 62-minute quant section, a verbal section that runs for 65 minutes, and the integrated reasoning section that is 30 minutes long. Thus, the total time taken to take the test is three hours seven minutes.

Test SectionGMAT Test Time (Minutes)GRE Test Time (Minutes)
Quantitative reasoning6270
Verbal reasoning6560
Integrated reasoning30N/A
Analytical writing3060
Total Exam Length in Minutes187190

GMAT versus GRE Test Dates & Availability

There are no specific testing windows for both tests, and they are available all year round since they are computer-based.

However, there are testing windows in April, November, and December for the GRE paper-delivered test.

GMAT or GRE Test Topics Covered

The main difference between GRE and GMA is the objective of each test and where the emphasis is in most circumstances. For example, when looking at Quantitative reasoning, GMAT tends to be more challenging than the questions you will find in GRE. This is because the emphasis of the GMAT is logic. For students who prefer logic, this test might be more straightforward than GRE, where there are challenging questions in geometry, algebra, and data analysis.

On the other hand, the GRE verbal section emphasizes mainly vocabulary. You might encounter obscure words relative to GMAT > GRE verbal section can be daunting for most non-native English speakers.

GRE vs. GMAT Scores & Grading

For GMAT, the important score the test taker receives is the composite score ranging from 200-800. The composite score considers the quant and verbal reasoning sections score, and the integrated reasoning and analytical reasoning scores will not be included in the composite score. There are also section-specific scores with quant and verbal reasoning with scares ranging from 0 to 60 on a one-point increase. The analytical writing score range is 0-6 on 0.5-point increments, and for the integrated reasoning, the score range is 1-8 on on-point increases.

For GRE, the quant and verbal reasoning sections have a score range of between 130 and 170 with ac one-point increment. The analytical writing section is scored on a range of 0-6 with half-point increments. Notably, the scores of the three sections will be individually reported and will not be combined with a composite score.

GRE versus GMAT Cost and Fees

The cost for GMAT and GRE are almost the same, with GRE costing $205 while GMAT will cost $250.

Test SectionsGMAT Test Cost & FeesGRE Test Cost & Fees
Additional Score Reports$28 per report$27 per report
Total Cost$278$232

However, the registration fee for GMAT includes sending five free GMAT score reports, while with GRE, you will only send four free GRE score reports.

To send additional reports costs $27 for GRE and $28 for GMAT for each additional report sent.

Which Test Should You Take?

Deciding between the GRE and GMAT comes down to what your career focus is. If you want to go into business school or an MBA program, you will likely have to take the GMAT.

On the other hand, if you are applying for a graduate school program in mathematics, the GRE will likely be the right entrance test for you.

Who Should Take the GMAT?

  • Students looking to purse careers in business or MBA programs

Who Should Take the GRE?

  • All students applying to graduate school programs outside of business

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