GRE or GMAT -Which One Should I Appear for?


“GRE vs GMAT – Which one should I appear for?” is the question which often arises in the minds of students who are seeking admissions for further studies after their graduation. Many students take both the tests, that is, GRE and GMAT, as they are not able to decide which one will work the best for them. That is why today we have decided to talk about GRE and GMAT individually and see which one is better for you-

What is GRE?

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. Mostly all the graduate schools and a good number of business schools now accept the GRE scores. A double number of students take this test as compared to its competitor, GMAT, the reason is that this test is meant not just for the aspiring MBA degree holders but all the students seeking admission for other master’s degrees as well.

It is primarily a computer-based test but is also taken offline in a few areas where computer based tests are not available. It consists of three main sections namely analytical writing, quantitative and verbal section. Also, there’s an unscored section which can appear at any moment in the test. The total exam time for this test is 3 hours 45 minutes plus short breaks.

GRE SectionsTime Allotted
Analytical Writing60 minutes
Quantitative70 minutes
Verbal60 minutes
Unscored35 minutes
Total Exam Time3 hours 45 minutes

The candidates are awarded 3 scores, one each for analytical writing, verbal and quantitative. You can also opt for GRE subject tests which are used to test the student’s knowledge in a specific subject. This test is available in the following subjects:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Literature in English
  • Math
  • Physics
  • Psychology

What is GMAT?

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admissions Test. This test is particularly required for admission to business schools only. It is computer based only and has the total time duration of 3 hours 30 minutes plus short breaks. It consists of four different sections namely analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative and verbal section.

GMAT SectionsTime Allotted
Analytical Writing30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning30 minutes
Quantitative75 minutes
Verbal75 minutes
Total Exam time3 hours 30 minutes

The test takers get four scores in the GMAT, one each for integrated reasoning, analytical writing, verbal and quantitative.




Students planning to get a master’s degree or go to business school can take this testOnly the students seeking admission to business school can take this test
The emphasis is more on vocabularyThe emphasis is more on grammar
Math questions are easier than in GMATMath questions are harder than in GRE
Valid for 5 yearsValid for 5 years
Takes about 3 hours 45 minutes in completionTakes 3 hours 30 minutes in completion
It costs cheaper to take this testThis test costs more than GRE

Which one should I appear for?

You must be thinking that for getting admission in a business school, you must have a good GMAT score but it’s not true as now most of the renowned business schools also accept GRE scores. So, you can go for either of them depending on your preference.

The GMAT is generally considered tougher than the other but this is not the case. The difficulty level of both the tests varies from person to person. None of them can be proved to be tougher than the other as just like GRE, GMAT also does not focus on testing your business skills but the general questions testing your abilities. However, your ability in math and language skills can decide which one is easier for you.

To put it in simple words, we will say:

  • You should prefer taking the GRE in case-
  1. You are not good enough with your mathematics skill as you usually get straightforward or at least simpler mathematical reasoning questions than you would get in the GMAT
  2. You have great vocabulary because GRE consists of more number of heavy- vocab questions as compared to GMAT
  3. You can easily take on the logic questions as it includes formal logic questions in it
  • You should prefer taking the GMAT in case-
  1. Your mathematical skills are top- notch as it consists of several questions requiring this skill
  2. You have great reasoning ability so that you will be easily able to solve the verbal critical reasoning questions easily
  3. You did significantly well in the writing section of your SATs/ ACTs because then you can also be sure of easily handling the writing section of GMAT as they include similar questions


Both the tests i.e. GRE and GMAT show considerable difference between them. They both focus a little more on different areas. However, in our opinion, if you are able to perform well in one test then you will most probably be able to perform the same way in other as well. Both the tests are same in nature i.e. both are adaptive tests which mean that the test would adapt as per your answers and keep on increasing the difficulty level of it. In such tests, the computer takes every candidate equally and gives them the questions with the same difficulty level. But as you start to progress, it adapts according to the answers given by you. For an instance, if you’ve given correct answers for a number of questions, it will automatically start giving you more difficult questions than the previous ones.

It is just a matter of what skills you feel are more profound in you which can help you in deciding which test is better for you. In case, you are still not able to decide on anything but just have a clear motive of getting into a Business school then you should go for GMAT. This will help you in showing your seriousness about the business schools and can earn you extra points when it’s time for selections.

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