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Last Updated: June 21, 2021



The Graduate Records Examination, more commonly known as the GRE, and the Graduate Management Admissions Test, the GMAT, are two popular tests required for admissions to universities in the United States. Generally speaking, the GRE is known as a more comprehensive exam, covering a variety of skills and therefore is a more versatile measure of one's skills. The GMAT, on the other hand, is usually taken only by students seeking admission into a business or management graduate program.

With that being said, some schools offer students the choice between the two exams and are not partial towards either. Despite this factor, both these exams have a few too many differences and similarities between them which the candidate can use to play to their strengths and receive a better score.

Cost Difference between GRE and GMAT

While choosing to attempt standardized tests for applying to graduate programs, candidates will always be concerned about the amount of money they have to spend on the test. This is due to the additional expense every exam will incur based on the popularity and importance of the examination. Enrolling for an examination implies the extra expense of prep materials, prep course fees, and even the retaking fee in case the initial score they received is not good enough.

The cost difference between the GRE and GMAT is as high as $45 with the GRE costing only $205 and the GMAT costing $250 for a single attempt.

Exam Pattern Difference in GRE and GMAT

While both, the GRE and GMAT are computer-based adaptive tests, the test duration and sections in the tests are different. The test duration for the GMAT test is 3 hours and 7 minutes in all. The GRE test offers a time duration of 3 hours and 45 minutes. The major differences in the two examinations are as follows-

Scoring Difference in GRE and GMAT

The calculation of scores in both exams is done on different scales. The score scale for GMAT is between 200 and 800 whereas the score scale for GRE is between 260 and 340. The way in which the total score is obtained is also different for both examinations.

In GRE, though there are 3 sections in all, only the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are considered eligible for the final score. These two scores are provided separately between 130 and 170 with both these scores added into the final score. The Analytical Writing score is provided separately on the final score report. The score in GRE increases in 1-point increments.

At the same time, in GMAT, the score for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning are scaled to provide the final GMAT score. The individual scores range between 6 and 51 but the scaled score will lie between 200 and 800. The Analytical Writing score along with the Integrated Reasoning section is scored separately for this exam and the grades for each of these sections are reported separately in the final score report.

Choosing GRE or GMAT

Both the GRE and GMAT are equally feasible options that candidates can consider taking while applying for graduate programs. The pros and cons for each of these exams depend upon the candidate and the institution the candidate is applying to. It is always recommended that the candidate enquires about the preference of the institution they are applying to and also consider the course they are applying to.

For candidates aspiring to apply to Business Schools, it is always considered a better option to take the GMAT instead of the GRE. Other graduate programs in the Science fields are generally focused on the aptitude that is tested on in GRE which would make GRE a better option for such students. At the end of the day, it will be better for students to also consider their strengths and weaknesses while opting for the test they take. For instance, candidates who are weak in their writing skills should opt for the GMAT test since this contains only one essay while GRE contains 2 essays that can seriously affect their final score.

Other factors that can help choose between the two examinations are as follows-



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