GMAT vs GRE: Comparison

So you have decided to pursue your post-graduation abroad? Good for you! You may even have set your sights on a few colleges, eh? Even better! And now that you’re ready to take the first step and begin your preparation, you’re stumped. Because you don’t know whether to prepare for the GMAT or the GRE.

This post is meant to resolve all your questions about these two exams and help you choose the one which works best for you.




Graduate Record Exam or GRE is a standardised computer/paper-based test that is taken by individuals who are interested in pursuing postgraduate study at universities all over the world. The 3 hours 45 minutes exam has 3 sections- Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning — that check your writing and reasoning skills. The Analytical Writing section requires you to write your analysis on two arguments within 60 minutes. The Verbal Reasoning section expects you to answer 40 questions in 60 minutes and the Quantitative Reasoning section requires you to answer 40 questions within 70 minutes. There is also an unscored section that is used for research purposes by the ETS (the GRE-conducting body) and appears in between sections or at the end of the exam. GRE is scored on a scale of 260-340, in 1-point increments.




Graduate Management Aptitude Test or GMAT is a computer-adaptive standardised test that is taken by individuals to apply to business schools all over the world. It lasts for 3 hours 7 minutes and comprises 4 sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. You can choose the order in which these sections appear on the test.

Analytical Writing Assessment requires you to analyse an argument in 30 minutes. Integrated Reasoning has 12 questions to be answered within 30 minutes. Quantitative Reasoning requires you to answer 31 questions in 62 minutes and Verbal Reasoning expects you to answer 36 questions in 65 minutes. GMAT is scored on a scale of 200-800, in 10-point increments.

Confused about GMAT or GRE

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GMAT vs. GRE: Points of Similarity


  1. Acceptance by B-schools
    Earlier, there were no doubts about this issue. If you wanted to apply to B-schools, you took the GMAT. End of story. All this changed in 2006 when Stanford started accepting GRE scores, reportedly, to encourage diversity among applicants. Other B-schools soon followed.
    According to the ETS, GRE scores are now accepted by thousands of MBA programs around the world and this number is growing each day. Check out a comprehensive list of B-schools that accept GRE scores.
    Notable Indian B-schools that accept GRE scores are IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Raipur, ISB and IMT Ghaziabad. Always check the website of the school that you are interested in, for eligibility requirements.


  1. Validity of scores
    Both GMAT and GRE scores are valid for 5 years after the test date.


  1. Multiple test dates
    Both exams are held on multiple dates throughout the year and allow you to reschedule on demand.


  1. Test content
    Quantitative sections of both exams are based on high-school-level concepts in algebra, arithmetic, geometry and data interpretation. However, the difficulty level and variation of GMAT’s quant is slightly higher than GRE’s.


GMAT vs. GRE: Points of Difference


  1. Test fee
    GRE costs you USD 205 whereas GMAT’s test fee is slightly higher-USD 250.

  2. Adaptability
    GMAT is question-adaptive for each section. If you answer one question correctly, the next one will be of a slightly greater difficulty level. GRE, on the other hand, is in-section-adaptive. There are two subsections within a section, say verbal; if you attempt the first subsection correctly, the next subsection is going to be of a higher difficulty level.

  3. Review of questions
    Given the question-adaptive format of GMAT you cannot skip, return to or change your answers. However, GRE has no such restrictions.

  4. Analytical Writing
    GMAT and GRE both have a 30-minute analysis-of-an-argument task in which you are expected to evaluate an author’s argument by assessing its claims and evaluating the given evidence. GRE has an additional analysis-of-an-issue task that requires you to construct your own argument by taking a stand and supporting it with evidence from the argument.

  5. Vocabulary
    GRE is vocabulary intensive. More often than not, an average Indian test-taker will find words that they are unfamiliar with during the exam. Hence, developing a GRE-specific vocabulary during the training period is crucial.
    GMAT primarily tests your critical reasoning and comprehension skills through passages and sentence correction questions. It doesn’t care much for your vocabulary.

  6. Quant with a calculator:
    GRE allows you to attempt quant with a calculator. GMAT has no such provision because many of its questions require astuteness in estimation.

  7. Data Sufficiency
    GMAT’s DS questions are unique to it.

  8. Integrated Reasoning
    GMAT’s integrated reasoning section (with 12 questions) is unique to it. It expects you to synthesise, combine and manipulate information presented in the form of charts, graphs, tables, etc.


Which one is right for you?

Your choice of test obviously depends on your skills and abilities, your target program and your future plans. A quick look at this template will help you ascertain whether you’re a GMAT or a GRE person*!


gre vs gmat

*Names of persons in this template have been changed to protect privacy. The rest of the profile details are those of actual Jamboree students.

Hope this post helped you wrap your head around the nuances of both these exams. Now it’s time to make an informed decision!

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