GMAT or GRE: Which examination should you go for?

For most of you out here, GMAT might ring way more bells than GRE. Since international business education started gaining significance in India, students began grabbing every possible opportunity that would land them in a leading foreign B-School. Recently, the management education industry has introduced multiple alternatives of the standardized tests like GMAT due to the growing number of B-Schools and the competitive streak among them to outdo each other. One such test is GRE.

In this article, we would try to shed some light on the GRE vs. GMAT analysis, evaluate the opinions of institutes about both the entrance examinations and find out how exactly they evaluate a candidate based on their GRE scores in place of GMAT.

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GMAT vs GRE: Overview

The purpose of both GMAT and GRE is to fetch admissions into business graduate schools. While most institutes around the world accept the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) as a measure of the candidate's caliber for graduate-level target programs and master-level programs, GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is strictly meant to assert a candidate’s admission to business schools for MBA programs.

Before we begin, something that should be considered is that in case of a focused decision to pursue an MBA, you should steer in favor of GMAT much more than GRE. However, there might be schools which accept GRE scores as well, but the overall weightage would most probably trip in the favor of GMAT as most B Schools compare and convert the GRE scores in the context of GMAT using the ETS comparison tool. GMAT is seen as a sign of commitment to management programs.GRE on the other hand, is an appropriate option if you are thinking about pursuing a program at a later stage but want to give the examination right away. The scores for both GMAT and GRE lasts for five years but GRE scores would help a candidate opt for either B-Schools or non-management courses. However, in case you are looking to pursue dual degree programs, you need to perform a bit of the research. Some dual degree MBA programs require GRE scores in place of GMAT scores, in order to satisfy the admissions requirements of both programs.

GMAT vs GRE : Marking Scheme

GMAT and GRE are computer based methodized tests which do not require a special tier of manual administrators due to being “adaptive” in nature. By default, GMAT has been the preferred pick of most of the B-Schools round the world. However, an overall increasing number of students are opting for GRE in place of GMAT due to its broader reach and acceptance in maximum number of graduate schools for management as well as non-management programs which is beneficial for the candidate.

Interestingly, many premier B-schools now have started accepting GRE scores for admission into postgraduate programs.

As it has been a very short period since B-Schools have started accepting GRE scores, mostly top business schools have started converting GRE scores to GMAT to evaluate the candidate’s potential. The disparity between calculating the GRE score with respect to GMAT across universities could be an extra barrier to cross in the decision-making process of shortlisting the candidate.  Let us break down the score conversion process of GRE to GMAT.

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GMAT vs. GRE : Scoring

When it comes to choosing between the GMAT and GRE for graduate school admission, it's essential to understand the scoring system of each test. The GMAT is scored on a scale of 200-800. The GRE, on the other hand, is scored on a scale of 130-170 for both the verbal and quantitative sections, and has a distinct score for Analytical Writing.

To help you understand the scoring system better, let's take a look at a comparison table of the GMAT and GRE scoring systems:


GMAT Scoring Range

GRE Scoring Range







Integrated Reasoning


Not applicable

Analytical Writing



It is important to consider the scoring system of each test while choosing which one to take. Moreover, it's crucial to check with the specific graduate program to which you are applying to find out which test they require.

GMAT Vs GRE : Syllabus

It is worth noting that, while both the GMAT and GRE are standardized tests used for admission to graduate school, they are typically associated with different types of programs. The GMAT is generally required for admission to MBA programs, as it focuses heavily on quantitative and analytical skills that are particularly relevant to business. In contrast, the GRE is more commonly required for admission to Master's programs, as it covers a wider range of topics, including quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing. Therefore, if you are specifically interested in pursuing an MBA, and have good math and analytical skills, the GMAT may be a better fit for you. However, if you have a broader range of academic strengths or are applying to a Master's program, the GRE may be a better choice. Nonetheless, it is always advisable to check the specific requirements of the programs you are interested in to make an informed decision.

GMAT Syllabus

Verbal Ability

  • The verbal ability section consists of 36 multiple-choice questions. It is further divided into Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension and Sentence Correction. The critical reasoning section determines the candidate’s skills to decide, think logically and articulate an unbiased plan of action. Reading Comprehension is a pure test of candidate’s reading skills and how does a candidate condition the inferences and understand the main idea circumventing the question. Sentence correction is mostly a grammar-based section which checks a candidate’s language proficiency. A candidate must restructure the expression depending on omitting the number of errors, correcting grammatical mistakes and adhering to the subject-verb agreement.

Quantitative Ability

  • It is mainly classified into two sections, namely data sufficiency and problem solving. Problem solving section measures the candidate’s skill to use logic and analytical reasoning in order to attempt the questions whereas in data sufficiency, it ascertains the candidate’s ability to examine a quantitative problem, identify the important data and conclude what other information is required to solve the problem. It consists of 36 multiple choice questions where there will be 18 questions in either of the two sections. The answers related to data sufficiency are evaluated based on three categories: multiple choice question where single answer is correct, multiple choice question where more than one answer is correct and question where the examinee has to type in the answer.

Integrated Reasoning

  • The Integrated Reasoning section of GMAT examines how well you can integrate large amounts of data that has been provided to you in form of a complex question and make sound decisions. The IR section is broadly classified into 4 types of questions namely multi source reasoning, table analysis, graphics Interpretation and two-part analysis. This is unique to GMAT and many business schools are separately asking for the IR score if the student is applying using his/her GMAT score. So, if you are not good with the typical Data Interpretation or logical reasoning type of problems, you might have a problem here and it is safer to avoid GMAT and go for GRE.

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

  • The Analytical Writing is basically an essay writing section where the examinee would be asked to write an essay to analyze the reasoning behind the argument. The time duration to complete the given essay. The essay is evaluated on four categories I.e. analysis of the issue, support ideas, coherent ideas and language control. Based on these four categories the overall score is evaluated. Since this is an article targeting Indian students, I would like to generalize that most of us are not good at written communication. Both exam essays are equally difficult to ace. However, one should note that GRE asks two essays with 30 minutes each (total 1-hour duration) whereas GMAT asks only for one essay. So, if you enjoy writing essays then GRE it is and GMAT if you feel it, is a tedious task.

To understand the GMAT exam pattern and guidelines in detail, visit GMAT Test Section

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GRE Syllabus : Overview

Verbal Ability

  • The VA section of the GRE general test is more or what is the same as GMAT, only simpler. While GMAT assesses your grammatical skills, GRE is a little more bent towards academic vocabulary. It analyses the ability of the student to identify relationships among component parts of sentences, words and concepts. This section is also divided further in three sections namely RC (Reading Comprehension), text completion and sentence equivalence.

Quantitative Ability

  • The GRE quantitative reason is relatively much easier in comparison of the GMAT quant section. It is based on elementary mathematical concepts of four content areas I.e. arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis (probability and statistics). Unlike GMAT, it aims to ascertain a candidate’s ability to interpret quantitative information but on a milder scale. These problems could either be independent or part of a DI (Data Interpretation) set. There is an on-screen calculator that you can use while solving this section of the test. The time duration is 70 minutes and the scores are scaled between 130-170.

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

  • Unlike GMAT, the score range for GRE’s Analytical Writing section is 0-6, in half-point increments. Both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning are scored the same way. The score range is 130-170, in one-point increment. The three sections are evaluated separately and not combined into a single composite score. You must submit two essays and the time devoted to each essay would be 30 minutes. As for GRE, the first essays would be based on analyzing an argument which is like the essay for GMAT. You would have to come up with your own analysis on the given question and back it up with justification and evidence.

To understand the GRE exam pattern and guidelines in detail, visit GRE Test Section

What is the Difference Between the GRE and GMAT?

Parameter GMAT GRE
Test Takers (2016 globally) 2.61 lakhs 5.84 lakhs
Test Cost $250 $190
When can you give? Year - around Year - around
Mode of the test Computer Adaptive Test Computer Adaptive Test*
Time (Verbal Section) 75 Minutes 60 Minutes
Time (Quantitative Section) 75 Minutes 70 Minutes
Time (Other sections)
  • Analytical Writing: 30 Minutes
  • Integrated Reasoning: 30 Minutes
  • Analytical Writing: 60 Minutes
  • Research: 30-35 Minutes
  • Unscored: 30-35 Minutes
Total Time Duration 3 Hrs. 30 Minutes 3 Hrs. 45 Minutes
Score range 200-800 260-340
90th percentile score 700-710 326-328

GRE conducts paper-based exams in those parts of the world where computer adaptive test is not possible. This is done three times a year.

Which is easier, GMAT or the GRE?

This is mainly a relative question which can only be answered by an aspirant who has marked an attendance for both the examinations. GMAT and GRE have some striking differences which can subside a candidate to choose either of the two tests. They access the caliber of the candidate in their own ways. Mainly, the difference can be evident if we compare the verbal section of both the papers. While GMAT is a core assessment of your conventional English grammar and critical reasoning, GRE focuses on strong academic vocabulary and rapid thinking skills. If you are well prepared for GMAT with your strong grammatical abilities, you are most likely to ace GRE with flying colors.

As for the quant section, GMAT has taken it up a notch in comparison to GRE as it focuses more on core problems of data sufficiency and data interpretation. GRE, on the other hand, can be a bit easy handed for quant where the examinees must solve basic mathematical questions related to quantitative comparison. Quantitative comparison is a section where examinees must determine which of the given columns represent the larger amount of data. Finally, GMAT has a new section, Integrated reasoning, which can be subjective to the test taker’s reasoning abilities.

GMAT vs GRE: Post-MBA career plan

You heard it right, there are companies that consider your GMAT scores at the time of shortlisting interviewees. They specifically pay attention to the verbal and the quant sections of GMAT and the subsequent scores of a candidate.

Consulting, financial, and other traditional MBA employers often ask for your GMAT scores and in case you have a passable GMAT score, they consider your application in comparison to another MBA from the same domain. It is always suggestable that you mention your GMAT scores in your resume, to help you score job interviews. As for GRE scorers, such opportunities are very rare since the examination emphasizes on graduate level programs more than business programs. Organizations do not see much of a reason to accept GRE scores while hiring employees and interns for managerial positions.

Is GMAT better than the GRE for MBA?

When it comes to pursuing an MBA, the decision to take either the GMAT or GRE is a major one. While both tests are widely accepted by some business schools, there are some key differences to consider before deciding which one to take. In this write-up, we'll explore why the GMAT may be the better choice for MBA admissions.

GMAT: Designed Specifically for Business School

One of the most significant differences between the GMAT and GRE is that the former is designed specifically for business school admissions. The GMAT exam has been around for decades and is trusted by top business schools around the world. This is because it is specifically validated to predict performance in the first year of an MBA program.

On the other hand, the GRE is a general graduate school exam that is accepted by a wide variety of non-business graduate programs. While some MBA programs do accept GRE scores, taking the GMAT communicates to business schools that you are committed to pursuing a degree in this field.

GMAT: Examines Relevant Business Skills

The GMAT exam is designed to measure skills that are highly relevant to success in a graduate business program and your future career in business. Each section of the GMAT is designed to target specific skills, such as analytical writing, critical reasoning, and data interpretation. Preparing for the GMAT not only helps you achieve your best score, but it also hones your skills and knowledge in these areas. This can give you a competitive edge in business school and in your future career.

GMAT: Potential Career Benefits

In addition to its use in admissions, the GMAT may also have career benefits. Some top-tier consulting firms and employers consider GMAT scores in their hiring process. Achieving a high GMAT score can demonstrate your strong analytical skills, critical thinking, and potential for success in a business environment.

Overall, the decision to take the GMAT or GRE for MBA admissions ultimately depends on your personal circumstances and goals. However, if you're specifically interested in pursuing an MBA or master's degree in business, the GMAT may be the better choice. Its focus on business-specific skills and validation for predicting performance in the first year of an MBA program can make it a more compelling choice for business schools.

Which Exam is Difficult GMAT vs GRE?

In terms of the Quant section, the GMAT is generally considered to be more difficult than the GRE. The GMAT's Quantitative section tests problem-solving skills and often includes data sufficiency questions, which can be particularly challenging. The GRE's quantitative section is generally easier, but it does allow the use of a calculator, which is not permitted on the GMAT.

Both the GMAT and GRE exams include two quant sections; the GMAT Quant section consists of Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning sections. The GMAT Quant section has 31 questions, whereas the GRE hatand the GMAT exam pattern and guidelines is 40. The GMAT exam allows 62 minutes for the completion of the Quant section, whereas the GRE exam provides 60 minutes, with 30 minutes devoted to each of the two Quant sections. The score range for the GMAT Quant section is 0-60, while the GRE Quant score range is 130-170.

Ultimately, the decision of which exam to take will depend on your strengths, weaknesses, and the requirements of the specific programs you are applying to.

Ultimately, the decision of which exam to take will depend on your strengths, weaknesses, and the requirements of the specific programs you are applying to.

GMAT or GRE : Which One Is for You?

Remember, 'Test is just a part of your application"

Go for GMAT if you are strong in Quant, Logical Reasoning and Grammar.
Go for GRE if you typically do not favour Math, strong in Vocabulary and like writing essays. Caution: Of course, you will have to first check with the college for acceptability of the test scores in the first place!

The right test to take is what you feel would influence your future as a business professional, not the one you think you are more likely to crack.

All the best!

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