But what is the difference between the GRE and the GMAT? Which test is better for MBA candidates? And is the GRE easier than the GMAT?
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), owned and administrated by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), is designed specifically for business school candidates and is the most widely-used exam for MBA admissions. More than 200,000 MBA and master’s candidates take the GMAT Exam each year.
The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), can be used to apply to a variety of graduate degree programs, including business and law. The GRE General Test is available at more than 1,000 test centers in more than 160 countries.
Both the GMAT and the ETS GRE help business schools assess your suitability for MBA and master’s programs, but do so in different ways.
In this BusinessBecause special feature, we give you a comprehensive breakdown of the differences between the GMAT and the GRE, covering exam structure, cost, test prep, and more.
Read on or skip to your section of interest by clicking the links below:
The GMAT Exam is 3 hours, 7 minutes long, and you can take advantage of two optional eight-minute breaks. The current version of the GMAT Online Exam is 2 hours, 45 minutes long and excludes the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA).
The GRE exam is 3 hours, 45 minutes in length both online and in a test center. You get a one minute break between each section of the exam until the third section, when you get an optional 10 minute break.
In terms of the exam structure, the two tests differ, with the GMAT exam structure comprising four sections while the GRE test has three. Below is a breakdown of the two test structures.
The GMAT Quantitative Reasoning section tests your ability to analyze data and reach conclusions using reasoning skills. You have to demonstrate your knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry, though advanced math skills are not required.
GMAT Verbal Reasoning tests how you read and understand written material and evaluate arguments given in a passage. GMAT Sentence Correction questions test your grammar and language proficiency requiring you to present the best way of constructing a sentence.
GMAT Integrated Reasoning evaluates your data and information analysis skills across multiple formats. You have to demonstrate the ability to integrate data to solve complex problems.
The Analytical Writing Assessment measures critical thinking skills and your ability to communicate ideas. The AWA requires you to analyze an argument’s line of reasoning and use of evidence.
You can choose to take the GMAT in three different orders. They are:
1. Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning
2. Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
3. Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
The verbal and quantitative reasoning sections of the GMAT are computer adaptive, meaning the test tailors the difficulty of each question based on your previous answers.
The first question will be medium difficulty, but from then on the computer will score your answer and select the next question according to your scores. The computer adaptive element of the GMAT means you cannot revisit questions or change your answers during the exam.
The GRE Analytical Writing section tests your critical thinking skills. You’re presented with an argument to analyze and asked to present your own coherent argument.
The Verbal Reasoning section tests your ability to analyze writing and understand the meaning of a text. You read passages and summarize the meaning of sections, sentences, and phrases. Words are omitted from passages and you have to make replacement suggestions which maintain the coherence of the sentence.
The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section consists of either independent, standalone questions or questions about a specific dataset, designed to test your ability to analyze quantitative information using arithmetic, geometry, algebra and data analysis.
Unlike the GMAT, the GRE allows you to revisit questions during the exam and you can choose to tackle each section in whatever order you prefer.
You are not allowed to use your own calculator for the GMAT or GRE math questions. You can however use a calculator provided to you throughout the GRE test.
For the GMAT, a calculator is provided for use during the Integrated Reasoning GMAT section only. For the GMAT Quantitative Reasoning section, you are provided with note boards and markers to work out your calculations.
Go to page 2 for GMAT vs GRE scoring. Find out global average GMAT & GRE scores and learn what GMAT/GRE score to aim for.