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Preparing for an important test can feel like stepping into the ultimate showdown of choices. It’s a bit like picking the perfect ice cream flavour—decisions, decisions! But hey, we’ve got your back. Today, we’re diving headfirst into the Shorter GRE vs. GMAT Focus Edition face-off, armed with insights to help you make that crucial choice. So, whether you’re leaning toward new GRE or have your sights set on GMAT, let’s scoop out the sweet details and find the flavour of your test! 

In this blog:

  1. Shorter GRE vs. GMAT Focus Edition: How They’re Structured
  2. Shorter GRE vs. GMAT Focus Edition: Test Features
  3. Shorter GRE vs. GMAT Focus Edition: Comparing Timing
  4. Shorter GRE vs. GMAT Focus Edition: Comparing Test Content

Shorter GRE vs. GMAT Focus Edition: How They’re Structured

When it comes to deciding between the Shorter GRE and the GMAT Focus Edition, understanding how these tests are set up is crucial. There are some key differences in their structures,  sections, the order they come in, their adaptive nature  and the options you get (to skip, flag, and edit questions). So, let’s start by looking at the types of sections.

Types of Sections

The Shorter GRE has three main sections: GRE Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. On the other hand, the GMAT Focus Edition includes GMAT Data Insights section, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning sections.

Both tests have three core sections, but the Shorter GRE splits them into five parts with different lengths. In contrast, the GMAT Focus keeps it simple with three sections, each taking up the same amount of time.

Now, in Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning, both tests are pretty similar. But here’s the twist: the Shorter GRE breaks these sections into two smaller parts each. So, in the GRE, you have two shorter Quantitative Reasoning sections and two shorter Verbal Reasoning sections.

Here’s what’s interesting: the total time you spend on Quantitative and Verbal is almost the same on both tests. The difference is how you tackle them. Do you prefer shorter, more focused sections or longer, continuous ones? It’s a matter of personal choice. Usually, the longer GRE alternates between Quantitative and Verbal sections, so we assume the shorter version will do the same. But keep an eye out for any changes in the format of the shorter test.

Another thing to note is that the new GRE exam includes an Analytical Writing (essay) section with one less task, which the GMAT Focus Edition doesn’t have. The GMAT Focus brings in the Data Insights section. We’ll talk more about what’s in these sections later. For now, let’s move on to how the sections are arranged in each test.

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Shorter GRE vs. GMAT Focus Edition: Test Features

Order of the Section: Who Decides?

Here’s something cool about the GMAT Focus: you’re the boss when it comes to the order of test sections. That’s right, you get to pick how you want to tackle the 3 sections.

Now, when it comes to the new shorter GRE, things are a bit different. The Analytical Writing section always kicks things off, the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and unidentified/unscored sections may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section.

Computer Adaptivity: How It Works

Let’s break down the computer adaptivity of these tests in a way that’s easy to understand.

  • GMAT Focus Edition: Question-Adaptive

The GMAT Focus Edition operates on a question-adaptive system. This means that how you perform on previous questions in a section affects the difficulty of the next ones. If you answer a question correctly, the next one might get a bit tougher. On the flip side, if you stumble on a question, the next one might be a tad easier.

However, there’s a twist. If you ace previous sections, the first question in a new section might start off as a challenging one, not a medium-level one like your first question in the test.

  • Shorter GRE: Section-Adaptive

Now, let’s look at the Shorter GRE. It’s a section-adaptive test, at least when it comes to the Verbal and Quant sections. The Analytical Writing section is a bit different because it’s graded by humans after your test. 

So, what does section-adaptive mean? It means that the difficulty level doesn’t change within a section based on how you answered previous questions in that section. Instead, your performance in the first Quant section determines the difficulty of the second Quant section. Similarly, how you do in the first Verbal section affects the second Verbal section.

And here’s an important point: there’s no mixing between the sections. Your Verbal performance doesn’t impact the difficulty of Quant, and vice versa. Each section stands on its own when it comes to adaptivity.

Shorter GRE vs. GMAT Focus Edition: Comparing Timing

When deciding between the shorter GRE and the GMAT Focus Edition, it’s important to consider the time you’ll spend on each test. Let’s take a closer look at their durations:

 GMAT Focus Edition

The GMAT Focus Edition is 17 minutes longer than the shorter GRE. However, this difference in test duration shouldn’t be the primary factor influencing your choice.

For the GMAT Focus Edition, each section lasts 45 minutes. Here’s the breakdown for the GRE:

  • Analytical Writing: 30 minutes.
  • Quant Section 1: 21 minutes.
  • Quant Section 2: 26 minutes.
  • Total Quantitative Time: 47 minutes.
  • Verbal Section 1: 18 minutes.
  • Verbal Section 2: 23 minutes.
  • Total Verbal Time: 41 minutes.

Shorter GRE

In summary, the total time spent on Quant and Verbal questions is quite similar for both exams. The notable distinction lies in completing a 45-minute Data Insights section on the GMAT Focus Edition compared to a 30-minute Analytical Writing section on the GRE. We’ll delve further into this difference shortly.

Shorter GRE vs. GMAT Focus Edition: Comparing Test Content

Let’s dive into the content of both the shorter GRE and the GMAT Focus Edition. We’ll start by comparing the sections that are similar, which are Quantitative (Quant) and Verbal, and then explore the unique sections: Analytical Writing and Data Insights.

Quantitative Section: Shorter GRE vs. GMAT Focus Edition

Shorter GRE Math:

  • Not all multiple-choice.
  • Includes Geometry questions.
  • Allows you to use a calculator.

GMAT Focus Edition Math:

  • All questions are multiple-choice.
  • Does not include Geometry questions.
  • Does not permit the use of a calculator.

Both the GRE and GMAT Quant sections (but especially GRE Quant!) deal with high school-level maths concepts. They do not venture into advanced maths like calculus or trigonometry. In fact, the maths topics covered in both exams are quite similar. Both include various arithmetic topics (such as Number Properties, Percents, Ratios, Rates, Exponents, and Roots) and algebra topics (like Linear and Quadratic Equations, Inequalities, and Factoring).

There is an exception, though, when it comes to Geometry. Geometry questions are found on the standard GMAT but are absent in the GMAT Focus Edition. However, you will encounter Geometry questions on the GRE. Additionally, GRE Quant includes Data Interpretation questions that require skills similar to those needed for Data Insights on the GMAT, like analysing graphs and charts.

However, it’s worth noting that GRE Quant questions tend to be more straightforward compared to GMAT Quant questions. GMAT Quant questions often incorporate a unique twist.

For instance, in mean and median problems on the GMAT, you might not be working with a set of definite numerical values. Instead, you could have a set of mostly unknown data points with unfindable values. Yet, due to some overarching property of the set, you can still determine the mean or median. So, while understanding the basic concepts of mean and median is crucial, GMAT maths problems may differ from what you encountered in high school.

Consequently, while logical reasoning skills are essential for both tests, some individuals may find GMAT Quant somewhat more challenging than GRE Quant. If you’re curious about the difficulty of GRE Quant questions, you can explore some challenging examples to get a better sense. Still have doubts? Reach us and our expert faculty will take of it!

Suggested Read: Is GRE Quantitative Reasoning Hard?

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