Last Updated: June 21, 2021
GRE v/s GMAT
GRE and GMAT
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-
- The GRE Computer-Based Exam allows one the ability to go back and check or change answers throughout the testing time, the GMAT does not.
- There are only 4 sections in the GMAT whereas there are 6 sections including one unscored section in the GRE.
- Critical Reasoning questions, which assess the candidate’s ability to evaluate information, represent about one-third of the GMAT exam. They do not appear at all on the GRE.
- In the math sections, GRE uses a Quantitative Comparison format for several questions whereas the most common questions in the Quantitative section in GMAT are that of Data Sufficiency.
- Nearly half of the GRE is made up of verbal reasoning questions, for the GMAT these questions represent less than one-third of the exam.
- GMAT contains 31 Quantitative Reasoning questions in all coming under one particular section whereas GRE contains 40 questions in all spread across 2 sections in its Quantitative Reasoning section.
- GMAT contains 36 questions in its Verbal Reasoning section all in a single section of the test whereas GRE contains 40 questions spread across 2 sections under the Verbal Reasoning section.
- GRE also has an invested interest in the Analytical Writing section providing 2 essays that have to be written in 30 minutes each whereas the GMAT only has one essay that has to be written in 30 minutes.
- The Integrated Reasoning section, which measures one's skills with authentic workplace problems, exists only on the GMAT.
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.
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-
- GRE provides candidates with an option of versatility since this examination is not strictly for business-related courses. Taking the GRE can be the best option for candidates who are still undecided about the field they want to choose.
- GRE is a general exam that also offers subject-specific exams for students interested in demonstrating their areas of expertise to their program of choice.
- GRE examines a student's ability to think more abstractly and often requires a much higher level of English language knowledge for constructing written responses and understanding the nuances of vocabulary questions. Hence it becomes the best option for candidates who have stronger Verbal skills than Quantitative skills.
- While international students who are non-native English speakers are inherently at a disadvantage when taking either of these exams which emphasize verbal skills, the GMAT aims to also measure a student's verbal, mathematical, and analytical skills that a candidate has developed through education and work, and not necessarily specific knowledge of business, job skills, or other subjective qualities like motivation, interpersonal skills, and creativity. This makes GMAT a better option for candidates who do not have excellent verbal skills.
- The GMAT focuses less on abstract thinking skills and more on analytical skills. While GRE focuses on the argument that candidates can create from scenarios provided, GMAT provides the candidate with the argument where the candidate can focus only on providing their analysis.