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Understanding the key differences between the GRE and GMAT

By Edvoy• Last updated: Jul 14, 2023
Understanding the key differences between the GRE and GMAT
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The GRE and GMAT are two of the most common tests universities use to assess applicants for graduate degree programs.

Both tests measure verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills, but there are some key differences between them that can help prospective students decide which one is right for them.

In this guide, we will list the key differences between the GRE and GMAT.

Overview of GRE

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardised test used to measure a student's academic achievement in various areas. Many graduate schools in the United States and worldwide use it as a part of their admissions process.

The GRE is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is available in two formats: the General Test and the Subject Test.

The General Test consists of Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The Verbal Reasoning section measures a student's ability to understand and analyse written material. The Quantitative Reasoning section tests a student's ability to solve mathematical problems. The Analytical Writing section evaluates a student's writing skills.

The Subject Tests measure a student's knowledge and skills in specific academic areas: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. Each Subject Test consists of approximately 100 multiple-choice questions and lasts two hours.

The GRE is designed to assess a student's readiness for graduate-level work. It is not the only factor used in admissions decisions, but it can give admissions committees an indication of a student's aptitude and potential success in a graduate program.

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Overview of GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer-adaptive standardised test used to assess the aptitude of prospective graduate business school students. This test was developed by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) and is used by thousands of business schools worldwide.

The GMAT is a three-and-a-half-hour exam consisting of four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. Each section is scored separately and is given a score from 0 to 60. The total score is reported on a scale from 200 to 800.

The Analytical Writing Assessment section tests a student's ability to analyse arguments and make a persuasive argument. The Integrated Reasoning section tests a student's ability to analyse data and information presented in multiple formats. The Quantitative Reasoning section tests a student's ability to solve basic math problems and understand data analysis. Finally, the Verbal Reasoning section tests a student's ability to read, understand, and analyse written material.

The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, meaning that the questions become more or less difficult depending on the student's performance. Therefore, students need to answer the questions carefully and accurately to ensure they receive a good score.

Also read: GMAT Exam Pattern and Syllabus

Key differences between the GRE and GMAT

The GRE and GMAT are two of the most popular standardised tests required for admission to graduate school programs. Both tests measure a student's aptitude and are used in admissions decisions. However, there are important differences between the two tests.

1. Subject matter

The GRE is a standardised test used by many graduate programs to assess the academic abilities of applicants. It is offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The questions on the GRE are generally more open-ended and less focused on the specific subject matter. Questions can range from math to science to literature to history, and the answers are only sometimes straightforward.

The GMAT is a standardised test used by many graduate programs to assess the aptitude of applicants. It is offered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). It focuses more heavily on problem-solving, data analysis and critical thinking than the GRE does. The questions on the GMAT are more focused on specific subject matter related to business and management. Questions can range from economics to finance to marketing to operations, and the answers are usually more straightforward than those on the GRE.

2. Test structure

The GRE has three sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. The Analytical Writing section consists of two essays, one Argument task and one Issue task. The Verbal Reasoning section consists of two sections, each 20 questions long. The Quantitative Reasoning section consists of two sections, each 20 questions long.

The GMAT has four sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. The Analytical Writing Assessment consists of one Analysis of an Argument task. The Integrated Reasoning section consists of 12 questions. The Quantitative Reasoning section consists of 37 questions and the Verbal Reasoning section consists of 41 questions.

3. Cost

The GRE costs $205 for a standard exam, while the GMAT costs $250.

4. Duration

The duration of the GRE is roughly 3 hours and 45 minutes (plus a 10-minute break), while the GMAT takes 3 hours and 30 minutes.

5. Scoring

In terms of scores, the GRE and GMAT differ significantly. The GRE is scored on a scale from 130 to 170 in 1-point increments. The Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections are scored from 130 to 170. The Analytical Writing Assessment is scored on a 0 to 6 scale in half-point increments. The GRE uses a "power scoring" system which adds points to scores depending on how difficult questions are answered correctly.

The GMAT is scored on a scale from 200 to 800 in 10-point increments. The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are scored from 0 to 60. The Integrated Reasoning section is scored from 1 to 8 in single-digit increments. The Analytical Writing Assessment is scored on a 0 to 6 scale in half-point increments. The GMAT uses "adaptive testing," which adjusts the difficulty level of questions according to the student's performance. This means that the higher a student scores in one exam section, the more difficult the questions will be in subsequent sections.

Suggested GMAT vs IELTS

Conclusion

Overall, the GRE and GMAT are both standardised tests used to evaluate applicants for graduate school. However, while the tests have some similarities, the time allotted to complete the test, the structure and the types of questions asked on each test is quite different.

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Frequently asked questions

1. What do GMAT and GRE assess?

GMAT is a computer-adaptive standardised test used to assess the aptitude of prospective graduate business school students. GRE is a standardized test used to measure a student's academic achievement in various areas.

2. What is the duration of the GRE and GMAT?

The duration of the GRE is roughly 3 hours and 45 minutes (plus a 10-minute break), while the GMAT takes 3 hours and 30 minutes.

3. What are the different sections of the GRE?

The GRE has three sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. The Analytical Writing section consists of two essays, one Argument task and one Issue task. The Verbal Reasoning section consists of two sections, each 20 questions long. Finally, the Quantitative Reasoning section consists of two sections, each 20 questions long.

4. How is GMAT scored?

The GMAT is scored on a scale from 200 to 800 in 10-point increments. The Quantitative and the Verbal Reasoning sections are scored from 0 to 60. The Integrated Reasoning section is scored from 1 to 8 in single-digit increments. The Analytical Writing Assessment is scored on a 0 to 6 scale in half-point increments.

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