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The GMAT vs GRE for MBA admissions: Which one is right for you

By Edvoy• Last updated: Jul 14, 2023
The GMAT vs GRE for MBA admissions: Which one is right for you
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The GMAT and GRE tests are both widely accepted by colleges and universities around the world for admission into MBA programs. Both tests measure basic verbal, quantitative and analytical writing skills that are important to success in a graduate program; however, they differ in their focus and structure.

In this guide, we will explore the key differences between the GMAT and the GRE and provide guidance on which one might be the best choice for you.

What are the GMAT and GRE?

The GMAT is a standardised test for admission to graduate business schools. It is used by business schools worldwide and is designed to measure the skills necessary to succeed in an MBA program. It tests a candidate's quantitative, verbal and analytical writing skills and their knowledge of English grammar and usage.

The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, which means that the difficulty of the test questions changes with the candidate's responses. The test consists of four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Integrated Reasoning. Each section is scored on a 0-60 scale, and the total score ranges from 200 to 800.

GRE is a standardised test used by many business schools and universities as part of their admissions process for MBA programs. It is designed to measure a student's aptitude in verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing skills.

The GRE is composed of three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The GRE score is reported on a scale of 130-170 points. Each section is scored on a 0-6 scale, with 6 being the highest score. The overall score is calculated as an average of the three section scores.

Also Read: GMAT vs GRE Which is easier?

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Key differences between the GMAT and the GRE

The major differences between the GMAT and the GRE can be summarised as follows:

Key differencesGMATGRE
ContentThe GMAT is a primarily quantitative test focusing on problem-solving and data analysis skills.The GRE, on the other hand, covers both quantitative and verbal sections and includes an additional writing section.
LengthThe GMAT is a shorter test, lasting approximately three and a half hours.The GRE is longer, lasting up to four hours.
ScoringThe GMAT is scored on an 800-point scale.The GRE is scored on a 130-170 point scale.
FormatThe GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, meaning the questions become more difficult as the test progresses.The GRE, however, is a paper-based test where all questions are of the same difficulty level.
CostThe GMAT costs approximately $250The GRE costs around $205

Also read: Guide to Mastering GMAT Exam

Which one is right for MBA admissions: GMAT or GRE

When deciding between the GMAT and GRE for your MBA application, it is important to consider the following things to make the right decision.

1. Academic strengths

The GMAT is considered to be more “business-oriented” than the GRE, with questions focusing on quantitative reasoning skills such as data interpretation, sentence correction, problem-solving and critical thinking. On the other hand, the GRE is broader in scope but still includes many quant-based concepts.

If you have a strong quantitative or analytical background or have taken courses in subjects such as calculus or statistics, then the GMAT may be more suited to you because it focuses slightly more on these topics than the GRE. On the other hand, if you feel uncomfortable with math-heavy questions but are strong in verbal reasoning and writing skills, then the GRE may be the better option.

Also Read: GMAT vs GRE for MBA Admissions

2. Acceptance

Most business schools accept both tests, but the GMAT is more commonly accepted than the GRE. Additionally, some business schools prefer the GMAT because it is designed specifically for MBA applicants.

The GMAT is also the preferred test for international students since it has a higher acceptance rate. As such, you are encouraged to research the specific requirements for the program you are applying to determine which exam is accepted.

Also Read: GMAT Critical Reasoning

3. Difficulty level

The GMAT emphasises quantitative reasoning and data analysis, whereas the GRE is more balanced between verbal and quantitative reasoning. The GMAT has an integrated reasoning section that tests problem-solving and critical thinking skills, while the GRE does not.

As a result, the GMAT is considered to be slightly more difficult than the GRE. Therefore, you should consider your strengths before deciding which test best suits you.

In general, prospective MBA students should choose the GMAT if they have a strong background in business and math or the GRE if they have a more general academic background.

Also Read: Online GMAT Exam Preparation

Factors to consider when deciding between the GMAT and GRE

When deciding between the GMAT and GRE for MBA admissions, there are several factors to consider, like

 GMATGRE
Format

The GMAT and GRE have different question formats and types.
The GMAT consists of four sections: 

  • Analytical Writing
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Quantitative and Verbal

The GRE consists of three sections: 

  • Analytical Writing
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning. 

Therefore, it is important to consider which format you are more comfortable with.

ContentThe GMAT is more heavily focused on business-related content, such as problem-solving, reasoning, and data analysis.The GRE is broader, covering a variety of topics such as vocabulary, mathematics, and critical thinking. Depending on your strengths and weaknesses, choosing one test over the other may be better.
DurationThe GMAT is a 3.5-hour test.While the GRE is a 3-hour test. It is important to consider your time management skills and decide if you can complete the test in the allotted time.
ScoringThe GMAT has a maximum score of 800.While the GRE has a maximum score of 340. Depending on the school you are applying to, you may have to choose a test based on the required score.
CostThe GMAT costs $250.While the GRE costs $205. Depending on your budget, you may have to choose one test over the other.
PreparationBoth tests require different preparation strategies. It is important to consider the time you have to prepare for the test and decide which test you can adequately prepare for.

Suggested GMAT vs IELTS

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Conclusion

When choosing between the GMAT and the GRE for admission into an MBA program, it is important to consider your individual needs and preferences. For example, if you feel that your quantitative skills are stronger than your verbal skills and prefer a more specialised exam, then the GMAT might be the better option. On the other hand, if you want to demonstrate an ability to think critically in addition to strong quantitative reasoning, then the GRE is a better fit.

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Frequently asked questions

1. What do GMAT and GRE measure?

The GMAT tests a candidate's quantitative, verbal and analytical writing skills and their knowledge of English grammar and usage. At the same time, the GRE measures a student's aptitude in verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing skills.

2. What is the format of the GMAT?

The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, meaning the questions become more difficult as the test progresses.

3. What are the different sections of the GMAT and GRE?

The GMAT consists of four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Integrated Reasoning, while the GRE is composed of three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.

4. Which exam is more difficult, GRE or GMAT?

The GMAT emphasises quantitative reasoning and data analysis, whereas the GRE is more balanced between verbal and quantitative reasoning. The GMAT has an integrated reasoning section that tests problem-solving and critical thinking skills, while the GRE does not. As a result, the GMAT is considered to be slightly more difficult than the GRE.

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