Are you a graduate student planning to study abroad? You can’t do so without clearing the GMAT and the GRE. Most graduate schools demand GMAT or GRE scores at the time of admission. The standardized tests feature different formats, different kinds of questions, and varying testing policies.

The GRE is widely accepted for most graduate programs, including law and business school admissions, while the GMAT is required for business school applications. But which test is most suitable for you? This article highlights the differences between the GMAT and the GRE to help you pick the most appropriate test. So, let’s get started!

What are GMAT and GRE? 

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) 

Starting with GMAT, we know it’s a standardized exam designed to assess your Writing, Math, Reasoning, and Data Interpretation Skills. Most business schools worldwide use this test for admissions to various management programs like MBA or Master of Finance.

The test is divided into four sections, each with a different number of questions, time limit, and scoring scale, including writing an essay about an argument (AWA), interpreting data from graphs and tables (IR), solving math problems (QR), and answering verbal questions (VR).

The GMAT is composed of particular types of questions that highlight your abilities. For instance, the Quantitative section comprises questions that emphasize Data Sufficiency. Math problem-solving skills are not enough to clear this section. You will also require logical thinking and analytical skills.

In the Verbal Section, you will encounter questions that test your sentence correction skills, requiring you to highlight and correct mistakes. The section also tests your Critical Reasoning, where you assess the validity of arguments, designed to evaluate your ability to understand, evaluate, and reason with verbal content.

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) 

The GRE consists of questions to assess your Verbal, Quantitative, Analytical, and Integrated Reasoning skills. Graduate, business, and law school programs widely accept the standardized admission test.

If you plan to appear for the GRE, you must know the difference between the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. As the name suggests, the General GRE tests your skills in Analytical Writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning skills. On the other hand, the Subject Test is tailored to assess your strengths in subjects including Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, or Psychology.

The GRE stands out with its unique approach to testing with quantitative questions based on comparisons and verbal questions revolving around Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion tasks. The questions determine your ability to analyze data, draw conclusions, and comprehend.

If you’re an adaptable thinker and can apply your skills to different scenarios, then the GRE is for you! You can choose the order of test sections from three options, giving you more control over your test experience.

Differences between GMAT and GRE

At its core, the GMAT tests business-related skills, while the GRE is broader, spanning various disciplines. So, GMAT is for business schools and MBAs, while the GRE is for various grad programs.

Both tests feature different formats, sections, and scoring ranges. The GMAT is based on Analytical Writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, and Verbal sections, while the GRE comprises Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning.

The score range varies for both tests. For instance, the GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800, based on the averages of the Quantitative and Verbal sections. On the other hand, the score range for the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the GRE ranges from 130-170 and 0-6 for Analytical Writing, with separate scores.

Here’s a quick comparison between the both.

GMAT GRE
Test Components Analytical Writing – 30 mins, 1 essay
Integrated Reasoning – 30 mins, 12 questions
Quantitative – 62 mins, 31 questions
Verbal – 65 mins, 36 questions
Analytical Writing – two sections:
1) “Analyze an Issue” task – 30 mins
2) “Analyze an Issue” task – 30 mins
Verbal Reasoning (Two sections) – 30 minutes per section with 20 questions per section
Quantitative Reasoning (Two sections) – 35 minutes per section with 20 questions per section
Unscored or Research Section – Varies
Scoring 200 – 800 scale 130 – 170 scale for verbal and quantitative reasoning. 0 – 6 in analytical writing
Cost $250 $205

 

Which is Easier, GMAT or GRE?

The answer to this differs for each student, depending on their academic strengths and testing preferences. Comparing the quantitate sections of the two tests shows that the GRE’s quantitative section is more manageable. The GRE allows you to use a calculator and focuses on basic math concepts, usually high-school-level math.

On the contrary, GMAT’s quantitative section requires complex problem-solving and higher-order thinking. Basic geometry skills are enough for the GRE to ace the test, but for GMAT; you must focus on developing and strengthening logical Reasoning for optimal performance.

Moving on to the verbal section, most find GMAT’s verbal section easier than the GRE. In GRE, your vocabulary and reading skills will be tested through Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence, which tends to be more challenging. The GMAT, however, gauges your grammar skills and critical Reasoning through Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence.

Which Test is Right for You? 

When applying to graduate schools abroad, choosing the proper test is pivotal in increasing your chances of admission. However, picking either the GMAT or the GRE is not a one-size-fits-all decision and might require you to consider strengths and preferences.

Most importantly, you must check the requirements of your target programs. Some business schools prefer the GMAT over the GRE. For example, Harvard does not specify which test it prefers, but statistics suggest it leans more toward the GMAT. As per reports, 71% of the students of the class of 2023 submitted GMAT scores, while only 29% submitted GRE scores.

If you’re a math enthusiast, the GMAT might be preferable because it revolves around complex quantitative questions, including Integrated Reasoning. For strong writers, however, the GRE is more suitable with its analytical writing and text completion tasks, allowing test takers to showcase their writing skills.

That being said, it’s also important to consider that the GRE might not be the best option for non-native English speakers. The GRE tends to be more flexible in skipping and revisiting questions, while the GMAT does not allow you to skip or return to any question.

 

Are you still confused about what test suits you the most? The best approach to finding out is taking practice tests for both and comparing your experiences. By testing your abilities, you will gain insights into which test aligns better with your abilities and preferences. You can also identify areas that require improvement for excellent performance on either of the tests!

We hope you can now decide whether to go for GMAT or GRE. Make sure also to check out our Scholarships Page for different information on scholarships and universities across the globe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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2 Comments

  1. Jesseem May 21, 2024 5:32 pm - Reply

    Hello Hyun Lee,
    Could you suggest as to which would be the scholarship (fully funded) with least chances for rejection for an Indian student (80% marks in Bachelors) planning for masters In New Zealand or Australia.
    Thanks in advance

    • Hyun Lee May 26, 2024 6:16 pm - Reply

      Hello, I can’t give any suggestions, but I think that a lower placed university will make your chances higher. I suggested using our scholarship database search to look for scholarships.

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