GMAT

GMAT vs GRE - Which is easier?

By Sean Campbell• Last updated: Feb 1, 2024
GMAT vs GRE - Which is easier?
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The GMAT and GRE are graduate programme entrance tests that assess international students’ skills and determine their eligibility to pursue postgraduate courses abroad.

While students think they are similar exams, there are some crucial differences between the GMAT and GRE regarding their purpose, functionality, test content and difficulty level.

GMAT is an entrance exam exclusively for MBA aspirants, while the GRE is applicable for various fields of study.

This article helps you understand these exams and the differences between them for effective learning.

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GMAT vs GRE: Key highlights

FactorGMATGRE
Full formGraduate Management Aptitude TestGraduate Record Examination
PurposeFor MBA aspirantsFor students planning to pursue postgraduate studies
Duration3 hrs 7 minutes3 hrs 45 minutes
Total score800340
Results validity5 years5 years

Data updated as of January 2024

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GRE or GMAT: Which is easier?

While the GRE and GMAT are graduate entrance exams, they serve different purposes for international students’ admission to universities abroad.

The GRE applies to students planning to pursue postgraduate studies in arts, science, and other fields of study. Meanwhile, the GMAT is for MBA aspirants planning to study abroad. Before we determine which exam is easier, let’s understand the basics, pattern, syllabus, and other factors.

GRE: An overview

  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardised entrance exam that evaluates the academic and practical skills of international students to pursue postgraduate courses abroad.
  • The GRE pattern assesses the student’s ability in critical and abstract thinking and their problem-solving skills.
  • The exam consists of three sections: Verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.
  • Universities accept the GRE for admission to various courses in countries such as the USA, Canada, and Australia. Some universities have made these scores optional, so check your desired university’s requirements before applying for the exam.
  • There are two types of GRE exams: GRE General and GRE Subject tests. These exams have different syllabuses, serving different purposes.

GRE: Key highlights

GRE full formGraduate Record Examination
Conducted byEducational Testing Services
No. of sections3
Sections in GREAnalytical writing, quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning
Exam feesUSD $220-$271 (excluding additional services) (varies with location)
Exam dateETS will determine the dates

Data updated as of January 2024

GRE exam pattern: General test

Skill evaluatedSectionsNo. of questionsDuration(in minutes)Total duration
Analytical Writing12 tasks30 for each task60 Minutes
Verbal Reasoning220 questions for each section30 for each section60 Minutes
Quantitative Reasoning220 questions for each section35 for each section70 Minutes
ResearchVariesVariesVariesVaries
Unscored sectionVariesVariesVariesVaries

Data updated as of January 2024

Also read: What is the GRE quant syllabus?

GRE exam pattern: Subject test

Field of studyTotal questionsDuration
Physics1002 hours 50 minutes
Chemistry1302 hours 50 minutes
Mathematics662 hours 50 minutes
Psychology2052 hours 50 minutes

Data updated as of January 2024

GMAT: An overview

  • The Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is a standard entrance exam for international students who wish to study MBA (Master of Business Administration) or other management studies.
  • The GMAT is developed to assess your skills and determine if they meet business school requirements.
  • Over 2,400 business schools and universities accept GMAT as qualification criteria in countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and others.
  • GMAT is a computer-adaptive test; that is, the test’s difficulty level depends on your performance. The AI adapts to your answers and provides the following questions based on your performance level.

Also read: GMAT vs CAT: Key differences and similarities

GMAT: Key highlights

GMAT full formGraduate Management Aptitude Test
Conducted byGraduate Management Aptitude Council
No. of sections4
SectionsAnalytical writing, quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and integrated reasoning
Exam feesUSD $250 (excluding additional services)
Exam dateThe Law School Admission Council will determine the dates

Data updated as of January 2024

GMAT exam pattern

SectionDuration(in minutes)No. of questions/tasksScore rangeComputer- adaptive
Analytical Writing3010-6No
Quantitative Reasoning62316-51Yes
Verbal Reasoning65366-51Yes
Integrated Reasoning30121-8No

Data updated as of January 2024

Also read: The ultimate guide to mastering the GMAT exam

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GRE vs GMAT

International students often try to analyse the difficulty level of entrance exams and which best suits their requirements. Here, we give you a detailed analysis of which exam is easier, GRE or GMAT.

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GRE vs GMAT: Key differences

FactorGREGMAT
PurposeFor admissions to graduate programs in different fields of study, including business, social sciences, engineering, and natural sciences.Designed for admissions to graduate business programs (MBA) worldwide.
SectionsVerbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing assessment (AWA).Verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing assessment (AWA).
Math contentComprises math topics taught in high school and undergraduate programs.Includes math topics on data sufficiency and problem-solving skills relevant to business and management scenarios.
Verbal contentFocuses on vocabulary, reading comprehension, sentence equivalence, and text completion.Focuses on critical reasoning, reading comprehension, and sentence correction concerning business-related situations.
Calculator usageOn-screen calculator is available.Calculators are not permitted.
Score rangeVerbal: 130-170
Quantitative: 130-170
Analytical writing: 0-6
Verbal: 0-60
Quantitative: 0-60
Integrated Reasoning: 1-8 Analytical writing: 0-6
CostUSD $220-$271USD $250
DurationApproximately 3 hours 45 minutesApproximately 3 hours 7 minutes

Data updated as of January 2024

GMAT vs GRE: A detailed analysis of the key factors

Purpose

The main difference between the GMAT and GRE is the purpose of the test. While all business schools use GMAT to evaluate the applications, the GRE is more versatile.

The GRE is accepted by various universities for different graduate and professional programs and is also considered by business schools for entry into an MBA.

Sections

GRE and GMAT have sections on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. However, the GMAT consists of an additional section on integrated reasoning.

Format

Both GRE and GMAT are computer adaptive, where the difficulty of each question adapts to the level of your previous answer.

Ensure you provide correct answers and get more difficult questions, leading to a higher overall score.

Exam validity and cost

Each can be completed all year round and is valid for five years after completion, and they’re pretty similar in price. GMAT usually costs USD $250, while GRE costs USD $220-$271.

Duration

Both tests are equally long. GMAT takes 3 hours and 7 minutes, while GRE takes 3 hours and 45 minutes.

GMAT vs GRE: Test structure

SectionGREGMAT
Analytical writingTasks: 2
Duration: 60 minutes
Tasks: 1
Duration: 30 minutes
Integrated reasoningGRE does not have an integrated reasoning section.Questions: 12
Duration: 30 minutes
Quantitative reasoningSections: 2
Questions: 20
Duration: 70 minutes
Questions: 31
Duration: 61 minutes
Verbal reasoningSections: 2
Questions: 20
Duration: 60 minutes
Questions: 36
Duration: 65 minutes

Data updated as of January 2024

GMAT vs GRE: Score comparison

The GRE’s verbal and quantitative reasoning sections follow a score range of 130-170 in one-point increments, while the analytical writing is scored on a scale of 0-6 in half-point increments.

The GMAT, on the other hand, follows a scale of 0-60 in one-point increments for the verbal and quantitative sections. The integrated reasoning section has a score range of 1-8 in one-point increments, and the AWA is scored on a scale of 0-6 in half-point increments.

Score range: GMAT vs GRE

SectionGMATGRE
Verbal reasoning0-60130-170
Quantitative reasoning0-60130-170
Integrated reasoning1-8-
Analytical writing0-60-6

Data updated as of January 2024

GMAT vs GRE: Which is easier? 

Both the GRE and GMAT have varied syllabuses, so the easiest one for you will depend on your skills, academic strengths and areas of interest.

Quantitative questions

  • The mathematical (quantitative) questions on the GMAT exam are generally considered more advanced than the GRE and, thus, more suited to students with strong maths skills.
  • The GMAT quantitative section contains logical-mathematical problems, whereas the GRE has more geometry-based questions. So, the difficulty level is based on your areas of interest.

Language difficulty

  • The GRE contains difficult, uncommon words, phrases and terminologies compared to the GMAT exam.
  • This means the verbal reasoning section can be challenging for non-native English speakers.

Study materials availability

  • GMAT has more study materials available than the GRE to international students to prepare for the assessment.
  • The GMAT has six official practice exams, whereas the GRE has five practice tests for students to study and test their skills before the exam.

Also read: GRE study materials: 5 best GRE preparation books

GMAT vs GRE: Which should I choose?

If you are an international student aiming to pursue their studies in business schools, the GMAT would be your best choice.

However, the GRE will serve your purpose better if you want to keep your options open and have more graduate programme choices. Always remember to check with your desired university if they accept your chosen exam.

Received your GMAT or GRE results? Begin your study abroad journey by applying for the upcoming intake today!

Frequently asked questions

What does the GRE test stand for?

The GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. It is a standard entrance exam that analyses the academic and practical skills of international students planning to pursue their graduate studies in institutions abroad.

Which is harder: GRE or GMAT?

The GRE emphasises advanced vocabulary and has complex math questions, while the GMAT focuses on integrated reasoning and analytical writing. Some test-takers may find the GRE more manageable, while others might feel more comfortable with the GMAT format. The difficulty factor depends on their academic strength and areas of interest.

GMAT vs GRE: Which is easier?

The difficulty level of the GMAT and the GRE is subjective and varies for each candidate.

  • The GMAT is designed specifically for business school admissions and may be more challenging for some due to its unique question types.
  • Whereas the GRE offers a broader range of graduate program options, making it preferable for individuals with diverse academic interests.

Is the GRE and GMAT syllabus the same?

No, the GRE and GMAT have different syllabuses. The GMAT has an additional section, integrated reasoning, and the GRE, on the other hand, strongly emphasises complex vocabulary.

Which countries accept GMAT scores?

Study destinations that accept GMAT scores include the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and various European and Asian countries.

Which countries accept GRE scores?

The GRE is extensively used for graduate admissions in countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and others.

Should I take the GMAT or GRE?

The GMAT is usually the preferred choice for international students applying to business schools. The GRE offers greater flexibility and can be a suitable alternative if you have a broader range of graduate program options.

Is the GMAT or GRE better for an MBA?

While both the GMAT and GRE scores are generally accepted for MBA admissions, the GMAT has the upper hand in this area. Business schools often prefer the GMAT, but many institutions also accept GRE scores.

Can we use a calculator in GMAT?

Candidates are not allowed to use a calculator during the GMAT exam.

Are calculators allowed in the GRE?

Candidates can use the on-screen calculator present while attending the GRE.

When can we give the GMAT exam?

Candidates can take the GMAT once every 16 days. The maximum number of attempts per year is five times, but a candidate can take the exam eight times in their lifetime. Ensure you take the test and receive the results ahead of your application deadline.

When can we take the GRE?

Candidates can take the GRE once every 21 days. The maximum number of attempts per year is five times. Ensure you take the test and receive the results before your application deadline.

Can you take the GRE more than once?

Candidates can take the GRE more than once to improve their scores and analyse their skills. One can attempt the GRE five times a year, with a window of 21 days.

How often can you take the GMAT?

Candidates can take the GMAT five times a year, with a 16-day window. Although, one can take the test only eight times in their lifetime.

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