GMAT vs GRE: Which is easier and which to take?



The GMAT and GRE are two of the most widely accepted standardized tests for graduate-level education in the United States and other countries. Both tests are designed to assess the skills and knowledge of students applying to graduate-level programs, such as business school, law school, and graduate programs in the sciences and humanities. However, there are several key differences between the GMAT and GRE that students should be aware of before deciding which test to take.


This article will provide a detailed comparison of the GMAT and GRE, including information on the format, content, cost, and scoring of each test. It will also discuss the main differences between the two tests and the types of graduate programs for which each test is most appropriate. By the end of the article, you would have a clear understanding of the key differences between the GMAT and GRE, and be able to make an informed decision about which test to take.

GMAT vs GRE – An overview

The key difference between GMAT and GRE is that GMAT is used for MBA admissions whereas GRE is used for admissions to multiple graduate programs, including MBA.

Apart from this key difference, there are differences with respect to cost, duration, format, and scoring system. Here is a quick overview of the key differences between the GMAT and the GRE.

Used for admissionsMost graduate business programsMost graduate programs, including MBA programs
Testing locationOnline or at a testing centerOnline or at a testing center
Registration fee$300 online or $275 in person$220
Test duration3 hours and 7 minutes, plus two optional 8-minute breaks3 hours and 45 minutes, plus one optional 10-minute break
Test DesignQuestion adaptiveSection adaptive
Number of sectionsFourSix including one unscored section
SectionsAnalytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal ReasoningAnalytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning
Score rangeTotal score ranges from 200 to 800 in 10-point incrementsEach of Quant and Verbal scores ranges from 130 to 170 in one-point increments
Score validity5 years5 years

GMAT vs GRE – Which is easier?

If you know your academic skills and testing preferences, you can use that information to determine which test will be more manageable for you.

The general level of difficulty on the GMAT and the GRE are about the same. To get a handle on this, we need to know which part of the quantitative and verbal assessments presents the greatest challenge.

To get at this answer, let’s compare and contrast

  • GRE verbal vs GMAT verbal
  • GRE quant vs GMAT quant

GRE Verbal vs GMAT Verbal

However, the vocabulary on the GRE verbal exam is typically more challenging than that on the GMAT. The verbal portion of the GMAT is often seen as the less challenging of the two sections. While the GRE’s verbal questions are largely concerned with checking your vocabulary, the GMAT’s emphasis is on grammar and logic.

Number of Verbal Sections12
Number of Verbal Questions3640 (20 questions in each section)
Duration65 minutes60 minutes (30 minutes per section)
Score Range6-51 (scaled score)130-170

GRE Quant vs GMAT Quant

Compared to the GMAT, the GRE’s quantitative section is typically less challenging (and you get to use a calculator). When comparing the GRE and GMAT, you’ll notice that the geometry questions on the GRE exam are more common than those on the GMAT section.

Number of Quant Sections12
Number of Quant Questions3140 (20 questions in each section)
Duration62 minutes60 minutes (30 minutes per section)
Score RangeQuantitative: 6-51130-170

The GMAT Quant section is a test of your ability to analyze and solve complex problems. Data sufficiency problems are particularly difficult.

Despite the fact that the GRE’s quantitative problems are less difficult than those on the GMAT, the GRE nonetheless allows the use of a calculator whereas the GMAT does not.

GMAT vs GRE – Which test should you choose?

Choosing between GMAT and GRE depends on several factors, including your career goals, the programs you are interested in applying to, your strengths and weaknesses in math and verbal reasoning, and your test-taking preferences.

Some of the key factors to consider when making your decision are:

  • Purpose of Test: If you are specifically interested in pursuing a graduate degree in business, the GMAT may be the better choice for you, as it is specifically designed for admission into graduate management programs. On the other hand, if you are considering a graduate degree in a different field, the GRE may be more appropriate.
  • Program Requirements: Before deciding on which test to take, check the requirements of the programs you are interested in. Some programs only accept one test over the other, so this can be a determining factor.
  • Test Format: Consider the format and length of each test, as well as your test-taking stamina. The GRE is longer and has more sections than the GMAT, so if you prefer a shorter test, the GMAT may be the better choice.
  • Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning: Consider your strengths and weaknesses in verbal and quantitative reasoning, as each test has a different emphasis. If you have strong verbal skills and struggle with math, the GRE may be a better choice, while if you have strong math skills and weaker verbal skills, the GMAT may be more appropriate.
  • Test Cost: Consider your budget when making your decision, as the GMAT is a more expensive test than the GRE.
  • Test Preparation: Consider the amount of time and effort you are willing to invest in test preparation, as the GMAT is known to be a more challenging test that requires more extensive preparation.

Ultimately, the choice between GMAT and GRE will depend on your personal circumstances and goals. It is recommended that you research both tests thoroughly and speak with admissions counselors at the programs you are interested in applying to before making your final decision.

Final Thoughts

Both the GMAT and GRE are recognized and accepted by many graduate and business schools. The GMAT is designed for admission into graduate management programs, while the GRE is a general test for graduate and business programs. Both tests have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between them will largely depend on your academic goals, test format preferences, and personal comfort level. Before deciding, it is recommended to research the admission requirements of the schools you are considering and to familiarize yourself with the format and content of each test. Ultimately, the choice between the GMAT and GRE is a personal one and should be based on your individual needs and goals.

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