GRE or GMAT
The information below will be useful to a student who is contemplating on the right choice of exam (GRE®Test or GRE®Exam) to be taken.
The GRE®Test and the GMAT® Exam assess the potential of candidates interested in applying to various graduate programs (Masters and Doctoral). The GRE®Test Test score is used by Universities/colleges for admission to their Masters and Doctoral programmes. A candidate interested in pursuing management education abroad or in premier Indian business-schools takes the GMAT. However, some business-schools have started accepting the GRE®Test Test scores for their MBA programs also (GRE®Test for Business Schools)
GRE®Test score is accepted by thousands of graduate and business schools across the globe (GRE AIDI Fellowships.pdf)
GMAT®Exam score is accepted by more than 5800 programs at more than 1600 b-schools and universities across the globe (Programs that accept the GMAT), including 80 b-schools in India.
While the GMAT®Exam has traditionally been used by b-schools as part of their admissions process, GRE®Test scores are also being accepted by some of the b-schools for their MBA programs (http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about/mba/programs/).
GRE®Test Test vs GMAT®Exam
The skills tested on the three tests are those that the candidate has developed over a period of time – especially skills developed during high school education. Hence, the skills tested on both the tests are by far the same, but the depth of understanding of concepts and the manner in which the concepts are tested varies from one test to the other.
Writing: Both the GRE®Test and the GMAT®Exam have an Analytical Writing (AW) section. The GMAT® has one writing task while the GRE®Test has two writing tasks.
Critical Reasoning: In the GMAT®, about 30% of questions in the Verbal Ability section are a test of Critical Reasoning. In the GRE®Test, Critical Reasoning is tested (though not titled as such) and toned-down when compared to the GMAT®Exam Critical Reasoning.
Sentence Correction: Sentence Correction questions in the GMAT®Exam test the student on grammar and usage skills. In the GMAT®Exam, the emphasis is not only on the functional aspects of grammar, but also on contextual meaning, effective writing and usage. There are specific error types that are looked at in the GMAT®Exam. The GRE®Test does not have Sentence Correction question types.
Reading Comprehension: Reading Comprehension passages and testing points in the GRE®Test and the GMAT®Exam are somewhat similar. The GRE® Reading Comprehension question types are different. The candidate may be asked to select on-screen a text in the passage that answers a particular question.
Vocabulary: The GMAT®Exam does not test vocabulary. The GRE®Test though vocabulary-intensive, does not test out-of-context vocabulary. Certain GRE®Test question types require candidates to select words that fit into a respective blank in a text and other question types require candidates to select multiple answer choices for a blank.
Quantitative Ability/Reasoning and Data Interpretation/Integrated Reasoning
The GMAT®Exam requires the candidate to select only one answer for a question, GRE®Test requires the candidate to select multiple answers or type-in an answer in certain question types.
While both the tests have questions on Data Interpretation, GMAT® has a section called Integrated Reasoning. The GRE tests the candidate's ability to interpret data quantitatively, GMAT®Exam in its Integrated Reasoning section also tests the candidate's ability to interpret data qualitatively. The GMAT®Exam also has four different question types in the Integrated Reasoning section.
GRE®Test is a section adaptive test - the level of difficulty of one section depends on the overall performance of the candidate in the corresponding previous section.
GMAT®Exam is an adaptive test - in an adaptive test like the GMAT®Exam, the candidate must answer every question that comes on the screen to get to the next question, whose level of difficulty depends on whether the candidate marked the previous question correctly. In the GMAT®Exam, the candidate will not be allowed to skip a question or to go back to an already submitted question. This makes time management in GMAT®Exam quite tricky.
The table below charts the differences between the two tests.
|What is it?||Graduate Record Examination||Graduate Management Admission Test|
|Who conducts it?||Educational Testing Service||Graduate Management Admission Council|
|When is it held?||Round the year (6 days of the week except on Sundays and national holidays)||Round the year (6 days of the week except on Sundays and national holidays)|
|How do I take the test?||Register online at
|Register online at
|What is the cost of the test?||$205.00||$250.00|
|How many sections does the test have?||Five (after Section 1, not necessarily in the order below)
1) Analytical Writing
2) Quantitative Reasoning (2 sections)
3) Verbal Reasoning (2 sections) PLUS 1 Unscored section and/or Research section (Quantitative or Verbal)
|Four (in the order below)
|How many questions?||Section 1: Two tasks – Analysis of an Issue; Analysis of an Argument
Quantitative 1: 20
Quantitative 2: 20
Verbal 1: 20
Verbal 2: 20
|Section 1: One task – Analysis of an Argument
Section 2: 12
Section 3: 37
Section 4: 41
|What is the pattern of the test?||Computer Based Test (Section-Adaptive)||Computer Adaptive Test (Question-Adaptive for Quantitative and Verbal sections)|
|What is the duration of the test?||3 hours 45 minutes||3 hours 30 minutes|
|Are the sections timed separately?||Yes
30 minutes for each task of section (1);
30 minutes for each section of Verbal Reasoning;
35 minutes for each section of Quantitative Reasoning
30 minutes each for section (1) and section (2);
75 minutes each for section (3) and (4)
|Can I navigate with a section?||Yes||No|
|Can I navigate between two sections?||No||No|
|What is the maximum score/score range?||Score range: 260 to 340 for the Quantitative and Verbal sections;
Score range: 1 to 6 for the Analytical Writing section
|Score range: 200 to 800 for the Quant and Verbal sections;
Score range: 1 to 6 for the Analytical Writing section;
Score range: 1-8 for the Integrated Reasoning
|Do all questions carry equal points?||Yes
All questions within a section, irrespective of the level of difficulty, carry equal points
Adaptive logic implies tougher questions carry more points and easier questions carry fewer points
|Can I view my score immediately after the test?||Yes;
Score for the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning (out of a maximum of 170 each)will be displayed immediately after the test.
Score for the Quantitative Ability and Verbal Ability (out of a maximum of 800)will be displayed immediately after the test.
|How long does it take before I get my scores?||Official scores will be available online after approximately 10-15 days from the date of taking the test||Official score card will be available online after 20 days from the date of taking the test|
|How long is the score valid?||5 years||5 years|
|How many times can I write the test?||A maximum of 5 times a year; once every 30 days||A maximum of 5 times a year; once a calendar month|
|Which universities/schools accept the score?||GRE AIDI Fellowships.pdf||Programs that accept the GMAT|
|What programs can I apply to?||Masters
MFE (Master of Financial Engineering)
MEM (Master of Engineering Management)
MIM (Master in Management)
MFE (Master of Financial Engineering)
|Where can I apply with my score?||Programs across the globe||B-schools/programs across the globe|
|What is the admission process?||GRE score
Application to graduate schools
Application to B-schools
Interview (for top B-schools)
|What documentation would I need?||Application
GRE, TOEFL scores
Statement of Purpose
Letters of Recommendation
GMAT score (TOEFL score, if required by the school)
Statement of Purpose + Application Essays
Letters of Recommendation
Work experience certificate
Proof of extra-curricular activities