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You’ve already decided to start a postgraduate course and now you’re debating picking one of the entrance tests. The GMAT and GRE exams are like rites of passage for potential postgraduate students from across the world. One of the two must be taken, but if your university doesn’t have a preference you may be tempted to go for the easiest of the two. Here’s what you need to know.


Subjective Questions: GRE offers some respite for students who hate tedious grammar rules and logic-based questions. The GRE tests are more subjective. Instead the emphasis is on verbal knowledge and vocabulary, which means the GRE may be harder for non-native English speakers. But if you have an analytical mind and are particularly good at grammar, the GMAT may be more suitable. (Score: GMAT 1-1 GRE)

Calculator: It’s true that both GMAT and GRE assume a basic level of numerical skill, but only one allows you to use a calculator during exams – the GRE. Graduate students who’ve taken the GRE will be quick to point out that the calculator is both a blessing and curse. Sometimes calculating the answer takes more time than applying some common sense. Either ways, it beats having to practice mental maths for months in preparation for the GMAT. (GMAT 0 – 1 GRE).

Math Genius: The biggest difference between the two tests is the focus on mathematics. GRE easily wins this one since the math section in this test is a lot easier than the one on GMAT. (GMAT 0 – 1 GRE)

Skipping questions: The GRE let’s you skip a question and come back to it later. That’s because the test is section adaptive, which means you can skip questions in one section and do them later at the end. Paper-based GRE tests have a greater advantage in this case. However, GMAT’s computer-adaptive which means you have no option but to keep moving forward and risk wasting time on questions you don’t know the answer to right away. (GMAT 0 – 1 GRE)

Integrated Reasoning: In 2012, an integrated reasoning section was added to the standard GMAT format. This section combines all difficult parts from the verbal and quantitative sections. Because the test is mainly for business-focused MBA courses, the section is meant to tests quantitative analysis and data interpretation. Most graduate students would struggle to answer complex questions on regressions and ANOVA tables. Since this section is only included in the GMAT, GRE clearly wins here. (GMAT 0 – 1 GRE)

The final score is as follows:


GRE: 5

Overall, GRE seems to be the easier option, but you may still have to appear for a GMAT if you plan to study MBA. Also remember that your university may prefer one test over the other, in which case you have no option. Either way, get started studying and get over this minor hurdle to start your career in earnest. Good luck!

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