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GRE vs GMAT- Which One to Choose?

Updated on 26 October, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

gmat vs gre

GMAT and GRE are the two most widely accepted admission tests for MBA and other graduate programs. However, it can be difficult for students to choose in the GRE vs GMAT dilemma. Knowing the differences between both exams can help you decide according to your needs. Although the key factor in the GMAT vs GRE debate is the type of the course, there are other important differences as well.

GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test) is for students seeking admission exclusively in any global business school. Around 2,100 international universities accept the GMAT score for their admission process for over 6,000 programs. But GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is required to gain admission into a wide range of graduate programs across the globe.

Although many business schools have started accepting GRE scores, many others still accept GMAT scores only. Top institutions, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, MIT, NYU, and Duke, have started accepting the GRE scores, and many others are likely to follow suit. It’s always wise to look at the individual parameters and differences of both tests. Aspirants should also check with the institutions to know if they need GRE or GMAT for MBA admission. 

Let’s delve deeper into the differences between both exams, their structures, exam pattern, eligibility criteria, scores, requirements, and many more. 

Highlights: GRE vs GMAT

Below are a few key differences between GMAT and GRE:

Full FormGraduate Record ExaminationsGraduate Management Admission Test
Conducting BodyEducational Testing Service (ETS)Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)
Accepted By
  • Approved GRE Score Recipients
  • Law Schools
  • Business Schools 


2,400 universities in 110 countries
Admission Criteria ForVarious management and postgraduate programsBusiness Schools
Test Duration3 hours 45 minutes3 hours 7 minutes
Score RangeFor Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning, the score ranges from 130 to 170 in one point increments; For Analytical Writing, the score ranges from 0 to 6 in half point increments.200 to 800
Validity5 years5 years
RetakesMaximum 5 attempts in a period of 1 year with a gap of 21 daysMaximum 5 attempts in a period of 1 year; Maximum 8 attempts in a lifetime 

Eligibility: GRE vs GMAT

Although there are no specific eligibility criteria for GMAT and GRE, there are a few standard requirements that one should always fulfill while taking up either of the two exams.

  • A graduate degree
  • No age limit
  • A valid passport or Aadhar card

Test Structure: GRE vs GMAT

The evaluation process of the GRE consists of three parameters – Analytical, Mathematical, and Verbal Skills. Similarly, the structure of the GMAT exam is divided into four sections – Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal Skills.



  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing
  • Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning 
  • Verbal Reasoning

Exam Pattern: GRE vs GMAT

Here is an overview of the differences between the GRE and GMAT exam patterns:




Exam SectionsNo. of QuestionsDurationNo. of QuestionsDuration
Analytical Writing 1 Essay30 minutes2 Essays60 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning3162 minutes2 sections with 20 questions each35 minutes per section
Verbal Reasoning3665 minutes2 sections with 20 questions each30 minutes per section
Integrated Reasoning1230 minutes



Syllabus: GRE vs GMAT

As most of the sections in the GMAT and GRE exams are similar, the syllabus has few differences. Here’s a glimpse of what you must prepare for before attempting the GRE or GMAT exam.

Exam Sections



Analytical Writing
  • Analysis of an Argument (based on science, business, management, events, sports, or other subjects)
  • Analyze an Issue
  • Analyze an Argument
Quantitative Reasoning
  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Data Analysis
  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Data Analysis
Verbal Reasoning
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Sentence Correction
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Text Completion
  • Sentence Equivalence
Integrated Reasoning
  • Graphics Interpretation
  • Table Analysis
  • Two-part Analysis
  • Multi-source


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Is Passport Mandatory for GRE ExamGRE AWA Essays
Book for GRE ExamGRE Sample Issue Essays

Download these useful guides to ace your GRE preparation

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Verbal Section: GRE vs GMAT

The verbal section is different for both GRE and the GMAT. While GMAT tests the grammar and comprehension skills of a student, the verbal GRE test is more about vocabulary. Your knowledge of complex and unusual words will be preferred in GRE. 

Total Verbal segments12
Total Verbal Questions4140 (20 questions per section) 
Duration 75 minutes60 minutes (30 minutes per section) 
Topics Structure 

Reading Comprehension

Critical Reasoning

Sentence Correction

Reading Comprehension


Sentence Equivalence

Score Range0-60130-170

Quantitative Section: GRE vs GMAT

The GMAT Quant is known to be more difficult than GRE Quant. Problem-solving skills are gauged in GMAT Quant tests and the data sufficiency questions in GMAT can be quite difficult too. Also, one should know that GRE allows applicants to use calculators and GMAT does not, although GMAT quant questions are tougher.

SectionsGMAT GRE
Total Quantitative Sections2 (Quant and Integrated Reasoning)2
Total Quantitative Questions49 (Quant-37, Integrated reasoning-12)40 (20 per section) 

105 minutes

(Quant-75 minutes

Integrated Reasoning-30 minutes) 

60 minutes (30 minutes per section)
Topics of Tests

Quantitative (Problem-solving, GMAT Data Sufficiency) 

GMAT Multi-Source Reasoning: GMAT Two-Part Analysis, GMAT Table Analysis, GMAT Graphics Interpretation

GRE Arithmetic

GRE Geometry

GRE Algebra

GRE Data Sufficiency

Score Range


Integrated Reasoning-1-8


Read More:

GMAT Eligibility

Syllabus For GMAT

Exam Pattern of GMAT

GMAT Exam Dates 2022

GMAT Test Centers in India

GMAT Registration

GMAT Results & GMAT Scores

Validity of GMAT Score

GMAT Preparation Books


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Analytical Writing Section: GRE vs GMAT

The GMAT analytical writing section is a single essay that has to be written in 30-minutes. It is business or economy related, as GMAT is for admissions into business schools. Whereas there are two questions in GRE that need to be completed in 60 minutes (30 minutes each). GRE is a preferred choice for students with good writing skills. Aspirants with great analytical writing skills in economics, business, and finance should appear for the GMAT.

Total Writing Sections11
Total Essays per section12
Duration30 minutes60 minutes (30 minutes per  essay) 
TopicsArgument Analysis

Issue Analysis


Argument Analysis

Score Range0-60-6

Exam Scoring: GRE vs GMAT

Knowing the eligibility and required scores for respective universities and programs can help you decide if you should take the GRE or GMAT for MBA. Both the GMAT and GRE scores are valid for five years. The range of score you need for GMAT is within 200 – 800 in 10 points increments. While on GRE, the required score range is 130 – 170 in 1 point increment.

SectionsGMAT ScoreGRE Score
Analytical 0-6  (half-point increments)0-6  (half-point increments)
Verbal /Quantitative6 – 51 (scaled score)130 – 170; 1 point increment
IR1-8Not Applicable
Total200-800 (ten points increment) 240-360

You should know the nitty-gritty of the scoring system to score well in both exams. Students with strong quantitative and analytical skills tend to do well in the GMAT. Cracking GMAT quantitative reasoning can be a bit challenging for those struggling with math. Therefore, it is advisable for students to be efficient in solving complex problems with the help of data to choose the GMAT. On the other hand, students with strong vocabulary skills are best suited for GRE as it chooses aspirants based on their vocabulary and verbal skills.

GMAT vs GRE: Which is easier?

The difficulty level of both GMAT and GRE varies according to the type of tests and sections. 

Those with great quantitative and analytical skills do great in the GMAT. The GMAT Math section can be difficult for students struggling with quants as GMAT math is a bit advanced. Therefore, students good at solving complex problems with the help of data, charts, tables, and texts should take the GMAT. However, those with strong vocabulary skills and acumen in expressive analytical writing can excel in GRE. Therefore, GRE can be a little challenging for non-native English speakers as its verbal section is a bit arduous. Although many claim GRE to be easier, the abundant availability of GMAT study materials helps students to prepare systematically for the exam. 

Considering all these advantages, disadvantages, and structure of both exams, students can make an informed decision by gauging and comparing each detail.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do colleges prefer GMAT or GRE?

GMAT is commonly used by business schools, while GRE is accepted for admission to all graduate programs in foreign institutes.

Does Harvard prefer GRE or GMAT?

 There is no preference for one test over the other. If you submit both the GMAT and GRE score to Harvard Business School, it considers the highest single test sitting score. As per the HBS data, approximately 30% of their current students submit GRE scores. 

Which exam should I take for business school admissions?

Both the GRE and GMAT exams can be taken for business school admissions. It completely depends on what the specific university or college demands. 

Can I take both the GMAT and GRE exams?

 Yes, you can take both the GMAT and GRE exams and present their scores to universities for admission.

How long are the GMAT and GRE exams?

The GMAT exam takes 3 hours 45 minutes, while the GRE exam takes 3 hours 7 minutes.

Important Resources For PTE/SAT/ACT Exam

PTE Examination Eligibility Criteria

There are no specific PTE exam eligibility criteria set by Pearson VUE – the organizers of the test.

PTE Eligibility

PTE Academic Syllabus

PTE syllabus includes various sections such as Speaking and Writing, Reading, and Listening.

PTE Syllabus

PTE Exam Pattern

The PTE exam pattern is designed to test whether candidates can study at international institutions that have English as the main language for instructions.

PTE Exam Pattern

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.